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Daughter from Danang

Social|02 Sep, 2012|31 Comments |
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Rating: 2.7/5 (11 votes cast)

A heartbreaking documentary that alters their expectations of happily ever afters, Daughter from Danang is a fascinating emotional drama of nostalgia, identity and personal legacy of war.

To all outward appearances, Heidi is the proverbial “All-American Girl”, who come from small town Pulaski, Tennessee, but his birth name was Mai Thi Hiep. Born in Danang, Vietnam, in 1968, she is the mestiza daughter of a U.S. soldier and a Vietnamese woman.

Fearing for the safety of his daughter at the end of the war, Hiep’s mother sent him to the U.S. the “Operation Babylift,” a Ford administration plan to move the orphans and children of mixed race to the U.S. for approval before the victim of a terribly uncertain future after the U.S. Vietnam withdrew. Mother and daughter know nothing of each other for 22 years.

Now, as if by a miracle, meeting in Danang. But what seems to be the signal for a happy ending is just the opposite. Heidi and her Vietnamese relatives are caught in a clash of cultures and confused at the mercy of the conflicting emotions that will change their lives forever.

Through intimate moments and at times unbearable, Daughter from Danang deeply shows the width of the chasms of cultural difference and the depth of the wounds of war can work, even within the same family.

Daughter from Danang, 2.7 out of 5 based on 11 ratings
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31 Comments

  1. Carakidd says:

    Also, I agree with you about the PR efforts of the US in Operation Baby Lift. Children were not knowingly taken but rather were voluntarily surrendered and offered up by their birth mothers. Nonetheless, it caused a huge mess and was a waste of time and money as well as children’s lives that were displaced.

  2. Carakidd says:

    Not that translator. She was excellent. I am referring to the male translator towards the end that tranlates during the family discussion about taking care of Heidi’s mother.

  3. happymana says:

    I disagree, the translator herself Vietnamese, married to a Vietnam veteranexplained all that was going on, Heidi lost her innocence when she was raised by southerners who are pretty much racist.plus it’s a culture clash. Americas OBL programme was wrong. Children were knowingly taken from their birth mothers, it was a PR stunt to make USA look good and draw media attention away from a defeated Goverment.

  4. Carakidd says:

    Part 4No one is really at fault for what happened. It is typical when two cultures come together, and it is expected. What is incredible is how much Heidi’s mother understood that. As a woman in one culture, uneducated and poor, she had an incredible amount of wisdom and understanding for her estranged daughter.

  5. Carakidd says:

    Part 3Secondly, the translator, a non-English speaker, did not translate in clear or direct terms what Heidi’s brother or family members said! What was so eloquently explained to her by her brother was lost in the translation from Vietnamese to English. What was said was acceptable even in American culture, however it was not communicated to Heidi.

  6. Carakidd says:

    Part 2Heidi is going through full-throttle culture shock during the time in which she has the conversation. She had many expectations, dreams, and ideas about what would happen before the trip came, and this set her up for this type of derailing, because no matter what, nothing is EVER exactly what you imagine. EVER.

  7. Carakidd says:

    Part 1Here’s the thing. One, culture differences. The way in which the people in Vietnam are behaving is unknown to Heidi, making her sensitive and over-stimulated as well as unsure and scared. She, as a normal person in a foreign environment, is not taking into account the culture in which she is encapsulated in, no matter where she goes, that dictates her ideas, beliefs, and perception of reality. There is a clear culture clash as a result. In addition,

  8. marichande says:

    I don’t think she doesn’t want to help her family. I think the problem is the big cultural differences between them. For her family it’s normal asking her for money all the time. But for her, it seems like they are just interested in her money. Instead of saying “thank you for that”, her sister told her the next time she should bring more money. I’m not American and I’m sure I couldn’t deal with such a situation either.

  9. solmasolma says:

    American selfishness sure set in! Too bad – for your mother to give you up as she did was a great sacrifice for your well being. I don’t understand why you don’t WANT to help her in any way you can. You have been given so much – as we all have in N America. We all like to give to Haiti, United Way, World Vision, why not your own family Shame on you – You have become spoiled

  10. minhtung91 says:

    Why? It’s just a word meaning a person from the East and is no more “racist” than the Vietnamese word “Tây” (Occidental) which is widely used to refer to the “Westerners”…

  11. i was separated from my family for a long time too. One day they just showed up in America living in another state. I am so angry sometimes because I have to help them from time to time. I could have just ignored them. But deep in my conscience I just couldn’t. And that causes me heartache from time to time.

  12. sarge5000 says:

    i saw this documentary back in a sociology class in college. it’s really a fantastic display of how social upbringing and worldview can affect your perception of others, even your own blood.

  13. Heidi! Don’t think about your family’s motivation or behavior too much. Just do whatever you can for your family. If you just cannot doing anything for them that is fine too. I guess you’re poor but $50 or $100 does not seem too much in America. Send them a little money once in a while.

  14. ladyem15 says:

    this is what we call ” life ” for children of war. It creates unfortunate circumstances. Heidi was not ready, mentally to open this door. She shouldn’t have open this door to her past. If you happened to read this, your life is your husband and children, they are your obligation, not your past. , . love to talk to Heidi if you ever need to talk. td from ct

  15. boyidle says:

    You should support you mother and write to her that you love her. You should do the least you can because you love her. She loves you no matter what. What can you do in response? Please do something before it is too late.

  16. boyidle says:

    I know she thinks and acts differently from you since you and your mother come from different cultures, it does not mean that you can not love each other. Even strangers can love each like Obamas mother loved his father. Why people can not love the ones that gave them life? If they do not love their mothers then can they love their own children and expect their children to love them back?

  17. boyidle says:

    She loves you unconditionally as any other mother on earth. She did not leave you when you were born, she brought you up until the day of separation for your own security for your future. You love her too. You tried your best to look for her.

  18. boyidle says:

    Heidi Have you ever helped the poor and unfortunate people through charity organization or by any other means? Or have you ever thought of sharing your luck with those people? Your mother deserves your help more than any other people on earth. She is poor and she needs help. Please look at the hut where she lives, look at what she eats, look at how her future is going to be like.

  19. No we’re not. Outside of the big cities, Viet Nam is still very poor. We’ve still have a lot of work to do. Even in Ho Chi Minh City, you can see sprawling skyscrappers in one area and tiny shacks in other parts. I haven’t been to Da Nang myself so I can’t comment on how well her family is living. But I agree with what you said. It’s just unfortunate that the 2 met under such conditions

  20. When was this filmed? We don’t have xich lo’s anymore.

  21. Agatha says:

    Dr. Svalgaard, you mention the sun being here bofere, in 1645. I hate to read anything into anyone’s comments but does this mean you think we’re headed into a Maunder and not Dalton minimum?It all depends on if the Livingston & Penn effect holds up or not. If it does, we’ll have a Maunder Minimum, if not, just a normal’ small cycle, like 100 years ago. It is too early to tell. Now, contrary to common belief, a Maunder Minimum does not mean total absence of solar activity, just that sunspots are much harder to see [smaller, warmer, not clumped together, etc]. There will still be cosmic ray modulation [as there was during the MM], still be aurorae [at high latitudes, but fewer at low latitudes]. If this happens [and as a solar physicist I pray it will, but is enough of a skeptic not to count on it] we’ll learn a lot. I don’t believe that the climate will be much worse [colder], so am not concerned. You can form your own pet theory about that.Christoph Dollis says:December 23, 2010 at 5:46 pmThese simple observations point to the energy source of the Sun being external. ”Really? What rubbish. – AnthonyWell, why don’t you be the one person to explain it then, because no one else has.See below for a [wrong] explanation of coronal heating. Solar energy generation is not under debate any more, that was figured out back in 1938.James F. Evans says:December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pmMDR states: “If there corona were gone, the change in the radiative energy flux incident on earth would be changed by only a small, fractional amount.”Pure speculation.Not at all, because we can measure the radiative energy flux. We don’t know what the situation would be if the “corona were gone”.Perhaps you don’t know. Just pay attention, then, to the free lessons you can get on the blog.Zeke the Sneak says:December 23, 2010 at 6:42 pmYet Don Scott and Wal Thornhill have shown how the application of plasma physics and electrical priciples explain the motion of these particles in the sun’s atmosphere.So go see what they believe happens. [Except, of course, it doesn't]. There are many theories about coronal heating. In fact, too many. There may be more than one mechanism. In general terms it works like this: The solar atmosphere is permeated by a magnetic field. The lower part of that field is rooted in the photosphere where violent motions [convection] move the field around, at times twisting and shearing the field. A twisted field has more energy in it than a quiet, regular, straight’ field, and is notoriously unstable [as anymore trying to build a fusion machine will know] and explodes easily, heating the atmosphere. That is one reason why the corona is hot. Another is that waves are generated by all that surface motion. As these waves travel upwards in the rapidly thinning corona, the wave steepens and eventually breaks into a shock wave’ also heating the plasma [much like cracking of a whip]. A third reason is that the magnetic field points in different directions and at the boundaries between differently directed magnetic fields, the fields can reconnect [as we have direct observed by spacecraft about the Earth]. Such changes on the magnetic fields can create electric currents that also can heat the plasma. so, many ways to skin that cat, and possibly they are all active at the same time. When solar physicists say they don’t understand how the corona is heated it general means that they can’t agree on which one of several possibilities is the most dominant [maybe there is single dominant one].

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