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Foreword for One Life Of Learning

Dr. Sylvester Clifford

     Hung Tan Nguyen fled Vietnam in April 30th, 1975, having served in the South Vietnamese Navy. He, his wife and children, and some of his wife's relatives have established themselves in the United States. In this book we see Vietnam through Hung's experiences as he develops into an adult, and then through his struggles to succeed in his second homeland. Here are revealed the tenderness and toughness of child and adult, the resiliency of youth, the ever renewing dreams and persistence of humans in desperate circumstances. Throughout, there are touches of humor, and always a clear-eyed reality.

     The volume will be of particular interest to those thousands of Americans who helped Vietnamese refugees gain a foothold in the U.S.. For them it is a rare opportunity to "See ourselves as others see us." It will be a valuable history to other refugees, and even more precious to their thoroughly American descendents.

     Mr. Nguyen previously has published both poetry and prose in his native language; this is his first professional venture into American English. Those twists of grammar and unfamiliar idioms that mark him as a "foreigner" enrich the writing by novel imagery and originality. The story itself reawakens poignant memories -- cuts into the mind and heart all the more sharply for being true.

Sylvester Clifford
Vermillion, S.D.
Refugee Resettlement Committee

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