Heart-to-heart affection

Update: 16:46 | 05/01/2019

(BGO) - Because of loving Uncle Ho and admiring the bravery and courage of Vietnamese soldiers, Ung So - a Cambodian girl applied for serving the Vietnamese army. From the fire of war, a love affair came between her and a boy from Bac Giang province. They promised when the country was united, they would officially give each other the vow of "living together for a hundred years." 

In 1976, a wedding without wine, firecrackers and colorful flower-decorated car took place. There were only a sacred love and songs of soldiers performed by the groom and bride’s comrades as a contribution to embellishing the solidarity and friendship between the two countries of Vietnam. - Cambodia.
Heart-to-heart affection, Bac Giang province, Uncle Ho, Vietnamese soldiers, Vietnamese army, Ung So, love affair, sacred love, communal military unit, Pol Pot genocidal regime

Division 304 (Corps 2) before leaving for duty of helping Cambodia. File photo.

The beautiful two-storey house of the veteran couple of Duong Van Nguyen - Hoang Thi Xuyen (Cambodian name is Ung So) is located at the foot of a hill in Ke village, Minh Duc commune (Viet Yen district). Nguyen was born in 1949. When he was 18 years old, he said goodbye to his hometown and left for Quang Binh and Quang Tri battlefield - a sunny land full of devastation of the war. 

He served as a commando. Three years later, his unit continued to move to Laos and then Cambodia, and stationed in the deep forest. The unit fought in Vietnam’s Binh Duong and Tay Ninh provinces and Kampong Cham province of Cambodia.

On the other side of the border, in the town of Supu, Cambodia’s Kampong Cham province, there was a beautiful 16-year-old girl named Ung So. She was born in 1954 and is the eldest daughter in a family of up to 10 children.

Recalling the first days when she volunteered to serve in the army, Ung So said excitedly: “In 1970, the American imperialists invaded Cambodia. One day, they bombed our school. The school was ruined, teachers and students lost each other, and people were frightened. Amid this situation was the timely presence of Vietnamese soldiers. Admiring that help, my young people volunteered to join the battlefields together with the Vietnamese soldiers, creating a widespread movement. In April 1970, when I was just 16 years old, I was honored to be a member of that contingent. I had chances to learn the Vietnamese language and culture and pursue a course to become a nurse. Then I was admitted to a unit specializing in curing and caring for wounded soldiers".

In 1973, Ung So moved to work for the D30 unit, directly under the Commando Division 27. Here, she met Duong Van Nguyen from Bac Giang province. And the flame of love burst when he constantly took care of her. In 1975, they and their comrades joined the historic Ho Chi Minh campaign. When the South of Vietnam was completely liberated, they found each other in happiness and sadness. 

At this time, the couple's love was officially publicized in the surprise of many people. Nearly four years of love in silence, in April 1976, the ceremony of marriage registration and marriage between the two soldiers, a Vietnamese soldier and a Cambodian girl, took place in Thanh Tuyen commune, Ben Cat district, Binh Duong province.

Getting married to a Vietnamese husband, Ung So named herself Hoang Thi Xuyen. After the marriage ceremony, the couple asked for leaving the army and returned to the homeland of Bac Giang. The life in the subsidy period was extremely difficult and lacked everything while she was unfamiliar with the farm work, plus the extremely cold weather in the North.

In the story of the couple, I know that after returning from the army, Xuyen learned to become a farmer and do housework and she was as good as any Vietnamese woman. Nguyen had 32 years of continuously working in Minh Duc commune, from the head of the communal military unit to the Vice Chairman of the communal People's Committee, then the Vice Chairman of the communal People's Council and Chairman of the communal Fatherland Front Committee.

When the Pol Pot genocidal regime came to power and the war was hot in the border areas, Xuyen did not dare to return to her homeland of Cambodia, partly because of the far distance and small children. But the thing she feared the most was that if Pol Pot knew she followed the Vietnamese army, they would find and kill her whole family when she returned. 

Heart-to-heart affection, Bac Giang province, Uncle Ho, Vietnamese soldiers, Vietnamese army, Ung So, love affair, sacred love, communal military unit, Pol Pot genocidal regime

Veteran couple Duong Van Nguyen - Hoang Thi Xuyen review the memories when they together returned to Cambodia.

She said that Pol Pot was brutal. At night they knocked on the door of each house, and then called people to go somewhere, and made people lost without any reason. Fortunately, there was help from the Vietnamese troops. After the liberation of the South, her father came to Saigon many times to find her, but he could not find. 

“It was not until 1982, when her third child was 15 months old, she bravely took her child to the homeland. And then after more than two months of no information, she came back to us in a strange appearance: curly hair, flared pipe pants, a backpack on her shoulder, a hand holding the baby and a hand holding a storm lamp and a few toys for the first two daughters, slowly walking from Bac Giang railway station. Meeting anyone on the street, she told them to call Nguyen to go to pick up her”- he told.

After more than four decades following the call of love and comradeship, Ung So, with her new name Hoang Thi Xuyen, is very satisfied when she has four children (two boys and two girls) with successful study and stable jobs. She can speak Vietnamese as her mother tongue. The Vietnamese-Cambodian couple have lived together for 43 years old but have never shouted to each other. Currently, both enjoy the State's policy for Agent Orange/dioxin victims.

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Thu Phong

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