| Life after the Collapse of South Vietnam
When the Second Republic of South Vietnam collapsed on April 30, 1975, almost all officers who served in the ARVN (South
Vietnamese Armed Forces) and anyone who collaborated with the South Vietnamese government were put in re-education camps
for years. Then the Vietnam Communist government used force to kick all former officers' families who lived in the cities
out of their homes. A lot of people including my family were also expelled from the cities and kept in the new economic
zones so that the Communists could extort money. They confiscated properties such as houses, factories, stores, cars, and
jewelry from people. Everything changed; life became miserable, and we had no religious nor personal freedoms.
Hundreds of thousands of people took refuge abroad creating a sudden mass exodus from Vietnam. From 1975 to 1990 many
people left Vietnam by boat or crossed the border through Cambodia to neighboring free countries such as Thailand or the
Philippines. These Vietnamese refugees became known as boat people or walk people (land escapee). About 60% of the boat
people escaped successfully; however, 40% died at sea or were killed by Thailand's pirates. Most people who escaped from
Vietnam were aware that anything could happen to them when they bartered their property and risked their lives.