Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The communist occupation

A student told me recently that, more traumatic than being forced to work in the rice fields in South Vietnam in 1975, when she was beaten for pulling out rice shoots which she hadn’t yet learned to distinguish from weeds – a young privileged girl, as she had been then, her possessions reduced to a rice bowl and a pair of chopsticks that she carried with her always – were the very first days of the communist occupation, when the soldiers had jeered at her taste in miniskirts and the breadth of the flares in her trousers. To this day, she said, she has never regained her confidence with clothes.

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