Tài liệu A story of vietnam

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a story of VIỆT NAM Copyright © 2012 Trương Bửu Lâm ISBN: 978-1-4327-5020-6 Library of Congress Control Number: 2009939986 Readers are welcome to reproduce up to three thousand words from this book. Web Site: II a story of VIỆTNAM by Trương Bửu Lâm Third Edition I,, The author is grateful to the following persons and institutions for permission to reproduce their works or their copyrighted material: Bùi Suối Hoa, Trần Viết Ngạc, Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh, Việt Nam; Đinh Thị Thắm Poong, Lisa Boulet, Suzanne Lecht, Nhà Xuất Bản Chính Trị Quốc Gia, Hà nội, Việt Nam; Heide Park Thaviporn, Bangkok, Thailand; Lương Quang Tuấn, , San Jose, CA, USA; Phạm Ngọc Điệp, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Marcelino Trương Lực, Paris, France. The author would like to express his thanks to: -The Council on Southeast Asian Studies, Yale University for its permission to use excerpts from Patterns of Vietnamese Response to Foreign Intervention, published as Monograph Series # 11. -The University of Michigan Press for its permission to print excerpts from Colonialism Experienced, published in 2000. -The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore for its permission to use excerpts from New Lamps for Old (Occasional Paper No 66) and Resistance, Rebellion, Revolution (Occasional Paper No 75). " Unless otherwise credited, the illustrations belong to the author's collection. Unless otherwise credited, all translations from Vietnamese texts are the author's. On the cover, from top left: Marcelino Trương Lực: Reading a Page of History.Courtesy of the artist. Phạm Ngọc Điệp: The Shape of Vietnam. Courtesy of the artist. Memorial dated of the reign of Tự Đức (1858), shown here for its royal vermilion annotation. Author's collection. Đinh Quân: Evening. 1998. Lacquer and mixed media on board 40 x 55cm. Courtesy of Thavibu Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand. Bùi Suối Hoa: Chèo Theater. Courtesy of the artist. Đinh Thị Thắm Poong: Stream. Courtesy of the artist and of Vietnam Art Gallery, Hanoi. ,V CONTENTS Illustrations VI Preface to the Third Edition VIII Preface to the First Edition IX Acknowledgments XI CHAPTERS: 01: In the Beginning 01 02: The Chinese Connection 31 03: Independent Vietnam 55 04: From the Lê to the Nguyễn 98 05: Colonialism and Anti-Colonialism 121 06: The End of Traditional Anticolonialism 144 07: The Long March To Independence 178 08: The Struggle Against Colonial Reconquest 216 09: Toward Reunification 264 10: Nothing is More Precious than Independence and Unity 327 Index 366 V ILLUSTRATIONS 01. Map of Vietnam 02. The Shape of Vietnam 03. The Waiting for Him Mountain 04. Chăm Temples -Towers 05. The Communal House of Đình Bảng 06. Edict-Certificate Dated Cảnh Hưng Year 5 07. Face of the Ngọc Lũ Bronze Drum 08. Bronze Drum Decorated with Frogs 09. Triệu Đà's Nam Việt 10. Banner, Trưng Vương Thánh Tổ 11. Lady Triệu 12. Pointed Spikes in the Bạch Đằng River 13. Daoist Shrine in Dakao 14. The Ruins of Mỹ Sơn, Quảng Nam 15. Stelae Inscribed with Names of Tiến Sĩ 16. Erased name on stele 17. 13th century terra cotta 18. The One-Pillar Pagoda 19. Sketch #1 of the Battle on the Bạch Đằng 20. Sketch #2 of the Battle on the Bạch Đằng 21. Trần Artifacts. 22. The Phổ Minh Tower in Nam Định 23. Ancient Map of Trung Đô: Hanoi. 24. Public Commemoration of Đống Đa 25. A Document Dated Minh Mạng Year 17 26. Portrait & Signature of Prince Cường Để 27. Statue of Phan Bội Châu 28. Portrait of Emperor Duy Tân VI 02 04 07 10 14 15 16 17 24 33 36 43 48 62 71 71 77 78 83 84 89 89 101 117 135 152 154 161 29. Interior of the Cao Đài Cathedral 30. Exterior of the Cao Đài Cathedral 31. First Issue of the Tạp Chí Cộng Sản 32. Đinh Gia Khánh and Phạm Huy Thông 33. Nguyễn Phan Chánh, The Chess Party 34. Banner across a Street in Hanoi 35. 1945 20 Cent Coin: Lúa mọc trên chì 36. 1946 100 Piasters: Voi đi trên giấy 37. Ngô Đình Diệm's Visit to an Art Exhibit 38. Testament of Hồ Chí Minh, a Page 39. Another Page of the Testament 40. Passage to China, Lạng Sơn Province 41. Notice in Search of Burial Grounds 42. Trade Mark of Hanoi in the Early 1990s 43. Bùi Suối Hoa, Chèo Theater. 44. Đinh Thị Thắm Poong, The Stream 45. Đinh Quân, Evening VII 167 168 185 207 213 221 228 228 274 305 308 332 337 340 359 360 361 PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION A Story of Vietnam is two years old. The people who acquired it have been few and far between. The majority remained silent. Some lavished praises, but more numerous were those who found the book wanting in many areas. I will try to address these complaints, one by one. For the many typographical and spelling errors, I have no excuses but sincere apologies. This time, I shall do my best to rectify that situation. In response to the readers who mention the lack of bibliographic references, I respectfully refer them to the Preface of the first edition where I explained clearly why I omitted all references, bibliographic or otherwise. It was, therefore, a voluntary omission. That is how I could produce a "postmodernist witches’ brew" that narrates 4000 years of Vietnamese history in under 400 pages! Why did I not compare the Vietnamese loss to France with what was occurring in Japan, Korea and Siam? Because I wanted my readers to focus on what was happening in Vietnam, not in the neighborhood. In addition, I did not want to succumb to the vogue of "comparative history" which makes national histories into an embarrassing field of research which must absolutely be complemented even with international clichés. As for the lack of bibliographic guidance, I must say that I have never believed in spoon-feeding my students. I consider it an insult to their intelligence to provide them with suggested reading lists, analytical or selective bibliographies. Would it not be far better to let them have the initiative in establishing their own list and determine, perhaps via trials and errors, the relative value of the publications they would have found by their own means? If necessary, the teacher's guidance should come at the end of this process rather than the beginning. A reader finds that I may have misread my sources when I contended that the NLF/DRV "rarely, if ever, referred to any [South] Vietnamese institution as enemy." (page 324). Instead of engaging in a lengthy discussion, I thought it better to remove that sentence. Trương Bửu Lâm Honolulu-2012 9,,, PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION As a specialist of Southeast Asian History, I am often asked to introduce a book that would relate the history of Vietnam, from its beginnings to the present. Not any history though, but one that treats evenly all the periods and gives equal importance to the culture and the arts as to the political and military events. As often, I am embarrassed to answer that there is no such book written in English. In effect, although we have many publications that deal competently with particular periods or systematically with different topics of its past, a comprehensive history of Vietnam is still lacking. That is the reason I am happy and humbled to introduce here a work of mine I entitled A Story of Vietnam. I call it a story and not a history, because I do not want my book to be the usual conventional textbook, overburdened with interminable academic, historical and bibliographic references. I prefer it to be easy to read, shorter on facts, longer on stories. I also wanted my book to represent the sum total of what I have learned existentially about Vietnam in Vietnam, added to what I have researched and studied during the decades that I taught its history in colleges and universities in Vietnam and in the U.S. Although this book does not include a bibliography, I can nonetheless state with confidence that I have read everything I esteem to be relevant to my topic, and that I have used my sources as judiciously as I could without consciously stealing the fruits of any other authors' labor. It is, however, superfluous to say that this work would not have been viable without the contribution of those I am honored to regard as my teachers, those I am fortunate to call my colleagues and friends, and those I am privileged to consider my students. It is by standing on their shoulders that I was able to perceive all that has found its way into my text. I have not listed their names, but my gratitude toward them is not any less profound nor my thanks any less sincere. I have omitted the bibliography simply because, nowadays, with a single click, one may conjure up a near perfect list of publications on any chosen topic. The catalogs of major national libraries such as the British Library, the Library of Congress, the Bibliothèque Nationale are available on line, as well as the catalogs of major universities. Furthermore, the World Wide Web is so refined that one may obtain a full read out on any name, any word, or any expression fed into any of its ,X Search Engines. Therefore, even without a bibliography and the footnote references, readers can easily verify the exactitude of any of my statements and the origin of any of my facts by searching the appropriate words on the Internet. To facilitate further evaluation, I have supplied adequate references to the full original texts the excerpts of which I have either translated or quoted directly. While not a conventional textbook, my work can, nonetheless, provide a substantial reading material to the students who are interested in Asian and more precisely Southeast Asian affairs. To the hyphenated Vietnamese in particular, --who have not been schooled in Vietnam-- it represents a convenient reference tool to the historical allusions, cultural insinuations, mythical hints, literary suggestions, ethnic idiosyncrasies they encounter practically every day at home. Finally, this book can also be sought after by all those people who know so much already about Vietnam as a war but who still would like to know a little bit more about a Vietnam which is a culture, a country and a people. I have narrated my story with the greatest impartiality I am capable of. I have no theory that needs to be proven nor do I have any assumption to be verified. But I do come to history with emotion, even with passion. Sometimes, my sympathies surged to the surface or my distastes became apparent, though at no time, have I consciously distorted the facts or altered the documents in order to validate my feelings. The ten chapters of this book are naturally of unequal length: those that deal with the more modern period tend to be longer than those that concern earlier times. They adhere strictly to the chronological order, meaning that Chapter One --In the Beginning-- deals, among others, with the legendary origins of the Vietnamese people and the last chapter, Chapter Ten-- Nothing is more precious than Independence and Unity-- recounts the social traumas, the economic hardships, and the political isolation the country experienced after reunification in 1975 to the remarkable recovery effected since 1986 and culminating in October of 2007 with the recognition the international community gave to Vietnam by electing it to be a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, by a vote of 183 by 192 voters. Truong Buu Lam Honolulu 2009 - tblnow@Gmail.com X ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many people have helped me during the long gestation of this book. My wife, Võ Lê Thanh Diệp has supported me through mishap, sickness and health. She always treated me with kindness and grace, in spite of the fact that I deprived her of many outings, many distractions, because for most of the time during the last eight years, I was riveted to my computer. Our meals, when eaten together, were opportunities for me to test on her the validity of my interpretations or the accuracy of my translations. The late Professor Huỳnh Sanh Thông should be credited here for suggesting to me, at least thirty years ago, to undertake the project of writing a book addressed to younger Vietnamese generations who have grown up in their adopted countries or who were born in their new nations in which they have not had the opportunity to learn much concerning the land of their ancestors. The late Professor Jagdish Sharma spared no effort in encouraging me to take on this project and has consistently followed every move I made in this undertaking. He has read every page of this manuscript, sometimes more than once, and checked every sentence in it for grammatical errors, for my flawed usage of the English language, or for any quirks in my reasoning. Little could I have anticipated that my son, Lâm Sơn, who was merely a toddler when I first undertook this project, would be able to revise Chapter One for me. I did not allow him to go further for he had a very busy schedule of his own pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Administration, while working for the New York City Board of Education. My ODWHEURWKHUVTrương Bửu KhánhDQGTrương Bửu Điện, DQGP\ sister, Mrs.Võ PhướcThưởng,aswell as my cousin Lý&hánh 7UXQJ and their families have sustained me from afar with their affection DQG care, by frequent calls and emails. They have shared without reservaWLRQ their experiences of the events I have not been priviledged to witness DQG refreshed my memory of those we had been involved in together. XI In Honolulu, a group of friends, Tôn Thất Viên, Nguyễn Thế Thanh, Bùi Uyên, Huỳnh Văn Thanh, Bùi Tùng, Dương Sơn Trường, Lê Tấn Phước and their families have surrounded me with their warmth and their responsiveness. We gathered together often to play cards, to eat together, or just to talk. It was during those sessions that I challenged them to attest to the veracity of certain facts, to select the proper words for my translation, or to assess the value of certain of my interpretations. From Vietnam, Trần Phương Liên, Ngô Mạnh Long, Lê Đông Phương, Nguyễn Bá Tước, Nguyễn Kim Hoa, Trịnh Văn Mạnh, Bùi Suối Hoa, Hồ Tôn Trinh, Chương Thâu, Nguyễn Ngọc Bích have generously provided me with their advice and with much of the material I so desperately needed. Special thanks are due to Professor Trần Viết Ngạc and Professor Han Xiaorong, former students from a long time ago but a present day highly esteemed friends, and to Phan Văn Hoàng, Ph.D., who, tirelessly and diligently, have helped me correct many errors of facts and fine-tune many interpretations. Without the generous and expert assistance of Carl Hefner, Neal Nizumi of Honolulu, this book would not have looked as it looks here. Their professionalism has no equal but their commitment to excellence. This edition has benefitted greatly from the generous assistance of Luvie Hurdus and Susan Stann Burke who have meticulously proofread the manuscript and made numerous grammatical and stylistic suggestions. Needless to say that I have not always heeded the suggestions of my advisers so that the text's deficiencies should be wholly my responsibility. To all of the above, I offer affectionately my heartfelt thanks. XII Chapter 1 IN THE BEGINNING A Story of Vietnam 01. Map of Vietnam. Drawing by and Courtesy of Phạm Ngọc Điệp 2 1: In the Beginning The Vietnamese have no stories recounting the formation of the world, the creation of human beings, animals and all the things that people usually refer to as the universe. For example, unlike the Chinese, they do not have Pan Gu whose dead body generated the whole world with all of its components: his eyes became the sun and the moon, his breath the atmosphere, his blood the oceans and the rivers, his bones the mountains and from the lice of his body sprang all the animated creatures, the insects, the animals and the humans. Neither do they have a myth to explain, as the Filipinos would do, the color of their skin: the Creator under baked the first batch of clay images and these people turned out to be too white. S/he over baked the second batch and they became black. Now endowed with experience, s/he produced a perfect batch into the brown people that were the Filipinos. Again, they are not as fortunate as the Japanese to hold a legend that bares the secret of the configuration of their country. Every child of Vietnam, nevertheless, would know that their country follows the curves of an elongated letter S, its two enlarged extremities filled by the fertile deltas of the Red river in the north and of the Mekong River in the south. Central Vietnam is constituted by very narrow stretches of coastal plains hemmed in, on one side, by the chain of mountains called the Long Mountains (Trường Sơn) or, in the old days, the Annamitic Chain and, on the other side, by the Pacific Ocean. The stylized profile of the country as it is drawn on maps evokes the image of a long bamboo pole with two baskets suspended at both ends which are usually carried by peddlers, street hawkers, or peasants in the countryside on their way to and from markets. 3 A Story of Vietnam 02. The Shape of Vietnam. Drawing by and Courtesy of Phạm Ngọc Điệp. 4 1: In the Beginning Vietnam is not a big country. It can fit snugly into the state of California, although Vietnam would beat California hands down when it comes to population: there are indeed three Vietnamese for every one Californian. The General Statistics Office in Hanoi gave Vietnam a population of 84 million in 2006. In length, from the northernmost point at the frontier with China down to the southernmost spot on the Gulf of Thailand, the country stretches over substantially more than one thousand miles. The widest expanse of land extends slightly more than 350 miles, whereas the narrowest stripe covers barely 25. The two main rivers of Vietnam are the Sông Hồng (Red River), which is also called Sông Nhị (Second River) or Sông Nhĩ (Ear River) in the North and the Sông Cửu Long (Nine Dragon River) also known as the Mekong River, in the South. The Red River owes its name to the various red dirt and other sediments it carries over its long course all the way from the southern Chinese province of Yunnan to finally empty itself into the Gulf of Tonkin via many different branches: the two main ones are the Sông Lô and Sông Đà. As many other rivers in the world, the Red River assumes at the same time the role of a life-giver and that of a life-destroyer for the millions of beings who choose to live and work along its course. Its water fertilizes and irrigates thousands of acres of rice fields, while its floods --almost an annual occurrence-- are legendary for ravaging entire provinces of North Vietnam. In order to prevent the river from overflowing out of its bed, the Vietnamese people have learned to build dikes over long stretches of the riverbanks. According to some scholars, these works of water control required such concerted effort that a centralized authority emerged early enough in the history of Vietnam and a unitary state --characterized by some as a hydraulic state-- was the ultimate outcome of the common struggle against natural calamities. In addition, as the level of water fluctuates, the dikes must keep up with the rising tide so that many portions of them stand substantially higher than the surrounding land. In the vicinity of Hanoi, for example, the river in certain years reach the level of 12.30, while some quarters of the city lay well underneath at a level no higher than 4. 5 A Story of Vietnam The Mekong is a long river: in terms of length, it only yields to the Chinese river Yangtze. But it can boast about the role it plays in linking together all the five countries of mainland Southeast Asia -- Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam-- with the province of Yunnan in southwestern China, after it takes its source from the Tibetan plateau. In the nineteenth century, the French colonialists discovered to their chagrin that they could not use, as they had hoped, this river as an access way to southwestern China they considered an Eldorado that had remained untouched by other imperialist powers. Cut in many places along its course by many turbulent rapids, the Mekong becomes rather tame on its southern end. From the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, it divides itself into two main branches, which flow briskly but steadily toward the ocean. These branches with their countless tributaries constitute the main highways and byways on water connecting Vietnam with Cambodia and beyond. Merchants of all kinds traveling in both directions have always heavily used these means of transportation. The mountains of Vietnam are not high: in general they fluctuate between 2,000 and 5,000 feet, except for its peak, the Fan Si Pan, situated in the north west, which rises up to exactly 10,038 feet. They run from the North West to the southeast to stop short about one hundred miles north of Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as that city was called before 1975. From there to the south, the landscape is monotonously flat: the land hardly rises but a few feet above sea level, most of it a gift of the Mekong River and its sediments. There are only three exceptions: one of which, the Black Lady Mountain (núi Bà Đen), located about 75 miles west of Saigon, in Tây Ninh province, near the Cambodian border, is a renowned site of pilgrimage for worshippers of the Black Lady. The two other exceptions are situated further south, also near the Cambodian frontier, called Thất Sơn or Núi Sập and Núi Sam which derive their fame from their religious tradition. Rain forests, shielding a great variety of species of trees some of which are hard wood, such as teak and mahogany, cover virtually the totality of the mountainous areas. These forests fit well the definition of the word "jungle", if one complements them with their exotic fauna: monkeys, elephants, tigers. Not long ago, maybe seventy years ago, buses traveling from Saigon to Dalat, a resort on the mountains situated about two hun6 1: In the Beginning dred miles in the northeast, did not dare stop along the way during nighttime for fear of attacks by wild animals! There is a very famous feature lodged on top of a mountain found in central Vietnam: it is a bloc of stone suggesting the shape of a woman holding an infant in her arms. The woman fixes her eyes on the horizon, exactly on the spot where the ocean can no longer be distinguished from the sky. That mountain is called the Waiting for Him Mountain: Hòn Vọng Phu. A touching tale explains the presence of that statue. A brother and a sister, aged 9 and 8, started a vicious quarrel while cutting sugar canes. With his long knife, he almost split open the head of his sister who fainted from losing much blood. Terrified by the thought that he had killed his sister, the boy ran away from home. Nobody could even guess where he had gone. Years later, far away from his native village, he founded a family and begot a son. One day in combing his wife's hair, he noticed an enormous scar right in the middle of her head. His wife explained to him the circumstances of her wound and the man realized that his spouse was no other than his sister. Feeling a profound guilt, and without any attempt at explanation, the husband sailed his boat into the horizon: he never came home. Every day, the wife carried her son onto the top of the mountain to look for her husband. She waited for so long and kept herself so tense that she and her son slowly turned themselves into a block of stone. 03. Hòn Vọng Phu. There are many sites that claim to be it. This one is located in Phù Cát, Bình Định Province. 7 A Story of Vietnam Rains more than the low or high temperatures delimit the year's seasons, although in the north, the 30+ degrees centigrade of the summer can drop to about 10 to 5 degrees in the winter months of January and February. Elsewhere, a moist and hot 30 degrees centigrade endure pretty much the whole year round, except on the slopes of mountains and possibly during the winter months when the atmosphere seems somewhat less oppressive. That discrepancy is due to the influence of seasonal winds called monsoons which regulate the dry-cool and rainy-hot portions of the year. The north-east monsoon, which blows roughly from September-October to April-May, brings the cold and dry air from the Asian continent to the northern regions of Vietnam; it weakens drastically as it reaches the Hải Vân Pass, situated about 40 miles south of Hue, and, thereby, leaves unaffected the southern half of Vietnam which, consequently, has a more equally distributed fresher weather throughout the same six months. The other six months, from about April-May to September-October, a hot and humid wind blows from the ocean around the equator toward the peninsula, bringing with it heat and rain. Rain, anyway, plays a very crucial role in the life of the common people as attested by a popular song which every child learns to recite soon after being able to speak: O heaven please send us rain So that we may have Water to drink Fields to plough A bowl full of rice And a big portion of fish Nguyễn Văn Ngọc, Tục Ngữ Phong Dao, Hanoi, 1953, p.128-129 Very early in time, people came to live on the Vietnamese land. Many different ethnic groups share the land of Vietnam. The official policy of the present day government divides them into two general categories: the plain (kinh) and the mountain peoples (dân tộc: ethnies). Although all of them are now considered Vietnamese, in this book, I shall call Vietnamese the kinh people and for the dân tộc, I would reserve the appellation of ethnic minorities. The mountain peoples, in effect, belong to a great variety 8
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