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Rats

Rats were like house pets for us on Pulau Bidong. Except we did not pet them. Rats were in the sewage. Rats were in the house. Rats were in the rice bags. Rats were inside a noodle pack. Rats were on the roof tops. Rats were on the mountain. Rats were in the public restrooms.

Noodles for every meal

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provided us with proper diet and did outstanding job in keeping us healthy. I don’t recall exactly how often we were given food but every other day or 2 times per week, we were given either chicken, fish and along with some kinds of vegetable. Your portion

Những Kỷ Niệm Bidong

“Đã có nhiều lần thức dậy trong đêm khuya, những ngày mưa lớn nhỏ, hoặc là những ngày nắng chói chang, tôi muốn gào thét lên: Pulau Bidong. Tôi muốn kêu tên Pulau Bidong thật to và mãi mãi. Tôi muốn kêu tên những người bạn cũ: Hân ơi, Trang ơi, Nhật ơi, Huy ơi,

Mountain

For security reason, no one had the permission to wander to the northern side of the island. Pulau Bidong Island was open to the sea on the South side. C beach was in the South, which faced Kuala Terengganu City on main land Malaysia. Jetty, (the UNHCR area), was in the West.  Zone F beach

Island Love

Love was everywhere on Pulau Bidong. A good number of us escaped Vietnam alone. This surely contributed love always being in the air on this little island. “Ngày mai em đi, biển nhớ tên em gọi về gọi hồn liễu rũ lê thê gọi bờ cát trắng hoang vu…” During the first mornings, I cried

Fishing

Fish were everywhere around the island, if you want to know the best locations, you come along with me. Source: Unknown Warning: For your safety, fishing was an illegal act. By law, you could go to jail and had your head shaved if you ever got caught by the island Police Task Force. One time

Cigarettes

My sister, Mai, did all the work. My dad was a smoker. We had no money when we first arrived Pulau Bidong island. What we did for our dad, (and we had to compete against other kids as well), was walking around certain common places and picked up left over cigarettes butts. Dad would take what