fall of saigon, 1975

The Foreigner (2017, starring Jackie Chan) is unfortunately likely going to be racist.

The Foreigner is based off a 1992 book by Stephen Leather, called The Chinaman, which stars a Vietnamese main character.

So this means we have a slew of problems.

  • Creators of The Foreigner paid a Very White man to make a movie on his book regarding a Vietnamese father.
  • The role of the known Vietnamese characters went to two Chinese actors- Jackie Chan, and his character’s daughter, starring Katie Leung.
  • Those roles are still of Vietnamese characters, even in the movie.

[Image: Screenshot of Jackie’s character’s passport. The name on the passport is Ngoc Minh Quan, place of birth is stated as Vietnam.]

To say two Chinese actors look like Vietnamese people, not only erases SE Asians from media, it also tells Asians like myself that we all look alike.

And, as twitter user linhtropy pointed out, this raises a number of issues.

Base level information: 1. China was one of Vietnam’s colonizers. This is similar to whitewashing in terms of power dynamics.

3. The Fall of Saigon was in 1975. It’s still fresh for most Viet ppl. I don’t feel comfy w white ppl using this pain for entertainment.

I’m not comfortable with this either.


Little Saigon’s restaurant scene is revived with second-generation Vietnamese Americans mixing it up

Founded after the 1975 Fall of Saigon forced hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese to flee their homes, Orange County’s Little Saigon, which spans parts of Westminster and Garden Grove, started as a clustering of a handful of family-owned restaurants and shops.

Eateries served traditional Vietnamese fare, “catering more exclusively to the new refugees and immigrants,” said [Linda Trinh] Vo, and helping to “satisfy their cravings for home.” Today, many second-generation restaurant owners are taking those same Vietnamese flavors and blending them with tastes from their upbringing in Southern California.


1. April 24, 1975, Saigon - South Vietnamese line up at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, seeking evacuation days before the fall of Saigon
2. April 1, 1975, Nha Trang - South Vietnamese scramble to board an aircraft fleeing North Vietnamese forces 
3. April 24, 1975, Saigon - South Vietnamese waiting in line for evacuation watch an American helicopter take off from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon
4. March 23, 1975, Tuy Hoa - South Vietnamese civilian and soldiers climb aboard a rescue helicopter to escape advancing North Vietnamese troops

April 30, 1975 - North Vietnamese forces capture Saigon, ending the war 

Like many other remaining South Vietnamese, my father, a soldier, was imprisoned in a “reeducation camp” for seven years where he endured severe malnutrition, forced labor, and inhumane conditions.  

It was some time after the fall of Saigon in 1975 that Vietnam slowly, but surely, began to be an acceptable topic of conversation. People began to ask, with what seemed genuine interest, if I had been in the war. But during these conversations, I also began to notice a very peculiar thing. About every third or fourth person would then ask, ‘Were you wounded?’ …

People still ask me the question from time to time, although not as often as they did before the Wall. When they used to ask me, I would reply, 'No, I was lucky. I wasn’t wounded.’ Now I say to those who ask the question, 'Everybody was wounded in Vietnam… everybody.’

—  John C. Dibble