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War diary by Đặng Thùy Trâm

From: Nina <nina@easynet.fr>
Date: Jan 24, 2006 1:03 AM
Subject: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Dear VSG Members :

I am urgently seeking information regarding the war diary of a 27-year old Vietnamese doctor, Dang Thuy Tram. The diary, which was apparently found 30 years ago by a veteran named Fred Whitehurst and then returned to Thuy Tram’s family by another veteran, Ted Engelmann, was published in Vietnam by the Nha Xuat Ban Hoi Nha Van in 2005.

I am seeking both contact with the two American veterans and any information regarding the status of a translation or publication of this diary in English. The original manuscript of the diary, from what I have heard, is in an “American museum”. I have also heard that Lady Borton is at work translating this diary?

I would be very grateful for any information or links to the various people involved in this project. I make these inquires on behalf of a reputable literary agent who has links to the Vietnamese publisher, but who is unsure of the status of this project in English translation/publication and eager to verify information regarding the context of its publication in Vietnam.

Many thanks in advance for any leads anyone can offer,

With best regards to all,

From: martin.gainsborough@virgin.net <martin.gainsborough@virgin.net>
To: vsg@u.washington.edu
Date: Jan 24, 2006 1:12 AM
Subject: RE: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Nina,

Its been translated and can be found at www.vietnam.ttu.edu

May be the people at TTU can help you.

I heard about it from a story in Vietnam News on Oct 7, 2005 written by
Danielle Novoy and lifted (I think) from the Daily Toreador. I have very
much enjoyed reading the diary.

Best wishes

Martin Gainsborough

From: "harry aveling" <haveling@hotmail.com>
To: vsg@u.washington.edu
Subject: RE: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 21:23:48 +1100

Dear Nina,

This is Ed Miller's posting October 2 last year.

Best wishes,

Harry

Dr Harry Aveling, PhD DCA Dept of Asian Studies La Trobe University Victoria 3086, Australia. Tel: 61-3-9479-1213 Fax: 61-3-9479-1880 Adjunct Professor of Southeast Asian Literature, Ohio University.

__________________________________________________

Dear Chung and list:

As the Independent article indicates, the Whitehurst brothers made a
presentation about the Dang diaries at Texas Tech last March, prior to their
return to Vietnam. This presentation was filmed, and it can be viewed
on-line at the Texas Tech website. Point your browser to:

http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/redirects/symposium2005.htm

Scroll down to "Session 10d: War diaries" (about three quarters of the way
down the page) to find the link for the video.

Texas Tech also has an English translation of the diaries available for
download:

http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/Tram_Diaries.pdf

Cheers,

Ed

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:25:11 -0500
From: "Hue-Tam Ho Tai" <hhtai@fas.harvard.edu>
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Nina:

There is discussion on Talawas about the diary as published by the nha xuat ban Hoi Nha Van. Apparently, the version that was published is not the same as the original.

Hue-Tam

From: "Nina" <nina@easynet.fr>
To: "'Vietnam Studies Group'" <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Subject: RE: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:43:57 +0100

Dear All :

Thank you all for this information and the links. Any further reactions, opinions, and comments, especially by those who have read the diary are much appreciated.

I would be interested in any readers’ reactions to the diary as published in Vietnamese by the NXB Hoi Nha Van, or if anyone is close to the publisher and has heard any accurate reports about its success in commercial terms in Vietnam. I was told, and I find this hard to believe, that it sold 600,000 copies in Vietnam?! Also, if it was cut, which passages from the original were cut? But I guess that is a question I would have to ask Fred or Rob Whitehurst.

Also, does anyone know who the translator was for the English translation that is on the Texas Tech archival website?

Or was this a collaborative effort with Lady Borton and colleagues?

Best regards,

Nina

From: sophie qj <sophie_qj@yahoo.com>
Date: Jan 24, 2006 7:59 AM
Subject: RE: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Hi Nina and list,

It would probably be a good idea to check directly with Lady about the translation. The most recent e-mail address I have for her is Ladyborton@yahoo.com.

All best,

From: Chung Nguyen <Chung.Nguyen@umb.edu>
Date: Jan 24, 2006 8:36 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

The last time I checked, which was a few months ago, the number was 250,000 copies. No doubt, it's the most successful book published in the last ten years.
The diary was edited by Vuong Tri Nhan, a well respected critic in Vienam. Nguyen Ngoc Giao, editor in chief of Dien Dan journal in Paris, and Pham Hoang Quan have both documented a number of differences between the published version and the original - in terms of typos, telescoping of two entries into one, replacing a phrase in the original with something more "up-to-date" (or more politically correct with today's environment), etc. Pham Hoang Quan raises more serious issues, some sort of conspiracies, etc.
My quick skimming of the differences is that it's disputable but there is nothing that could invalidate the published text. It would be good, though, if Vuong Tri Nhan could publicly respond to legitimate questions raised.

Yes, indeed Lady Borton is translating the diary into English. The version available on the Texas tech website was done by Fred and Robert, with the help of the elder brother's wife (who is Vietnamese).

The book is in the process of being translated into a number of foreign languages - French, Japanese, Korean, etc.


Nguyen Ba Chung

There is one aspect of the book, however, that transcends this division - how the book was edited. Pham Hoang Quan and Nguyen Ngoc Giao have both documented the differences between the published version and the original. It would be good if Vuong Tri Nhan (the diary editor) could respond to all the issues raised by them.

From: "Michele Thompson" <thompsonc2@southernct.edu>
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram/Rob Whitehurst
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 06:40:01 -0500
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>

Dear Nina,
I've cc'ed Rob Whitehurst, the translator of the English version of the diary that has been noted in earlier posts, so that you now have his email address. I think he is offshore at the moment so he may be slow about responding. It is my understanding that the handwritten original of the diary was returned to Thuy's family well over a year ago, although I'm sure Rob and his brother have retained copies. I'm pretty sure that it was Rob and Fred who returned the diary although I know they had help finding the family and maybe that's where Ted Englemann comes in.
It's also my understanding that Lady Borton is indeed involved in doing a retranslation or annotated translation or something like that of it and that Thuy's family has a literary agent. It's also my understanding that Rob himself is thinking of working up something for publication on the story of the diary and finding Thuy's family to return it. I could be at least slightly off on any of these points.
cheers
Michele

From: "Michele Thompson" <thompsonc2@southernct.edu>
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram/Rob Whitehurst
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 07:12:42 -0500
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>

Dear NIna,
PS to the last message. Rob remains in touch with Thuy's family and could put you in touch with them. Thuy's mother is an accomplished traditional healer and it sounds like her own story is rather remarkable.
regards
Michele

From: Michele Thompson <thompsonc2@southernct.edu>
Date: Jan 24, 2006 11:40 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Dear Nina,
As noted in my first email as far as I know Rob Whitehurst is the sole
translator of the version than is on the Texas Tech web site. Lady
Borton had nothing to do with this particular translation and as far as
I know she didn't see the diary or the published Vietnamese version
until after Rob and Fred returned the diary to Thuy's family.
cheers
Michele

From: Michele Thompson <thompsonc2@southernct.edu>

To: Vietnam Studies Group <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Date: Jan 24, 2006 11:50 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram
Dear Chung,
It's Rob wife, I don't know which of the two brothers is the elder.
cheers
Michele

 

From: Chung Nguyen <Chung.Nguyen@umb.edu>
Date: Jan 26, 2006 7:54 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] War Diary by Dang Thuy Tram

Dear Michele:

Thanks, Michele. That's what I thought but was not quite sure. I read
the story quite a while ago. Actually in English, there is no need to
specify which one is the elder or the yoiunger, whereas in Vietnamese it's a
natural. As soon I clicked the send button I realized that the Vietnamese
habit had simply taken over for I could have phrased it in a way that the
issue would not even arise (esp. when I am not absolutley sure) !

I think Lady Borton's message has explained everything. I didn't realize
that her translation was of a different sort. When I talked to Lady, I just
assumed that she just wanted to do her own translation.

I am in agreement with Shawn's sentiment. I don't think there would be any
issue. The Tram family and Fred Whitehurst have become exceptionally close,
the kind of closeness that only people who have gone through unfathomable
depths of suffering and anguish could understand. It's one of the most
remarkable stories of our time. It's, in a way, a testimony to a strength of
American culture that seems unparalled in the world.

Nguyen Ba Chung

Subject: RE: [Vsg] War diary by Dang Thuy Tram and other war diaries - availability this past weekend on Trang Tien
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 10:25:26 -0600
From: "Sidel, Mark" <mark-sidel@uiowa.edu>

I spent part of this past Saturday at the Trang Tien street bookstores
and the Dang Thuy Tram and other war diaries were prominently displayed
and clearly selling very well. At the Cong ty phat hanh sach bookstore
on the north side of Trang Tien, they were stacked at the cash
registers and selling; at the bookstore on the south side they were prominently
displayed as well. I bought all I saw, as follows (but there may be a
few more, because I was moving pretty quickly on a day I was leaving
Hanoi):

Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram (NXB Hoi Nha Van, 2005) (this is really a
beautifully designed and produced paperback volume) (includes 27 pages of
photos then and now)

35 Nam va 7 Ngay (NXB Kim Dong, 2005) (volume of nine essays on the
Dang Thuy Tram diary and its return)

7 Ngay va 35 Nam (NXB Kim Dong, 2005) (expanded version of volume
above, sixteen essays on the Tram diary and its return)

Nhat ky Nguyen Ngoc Tan (Nguyen Thi) (1953-1955) (subtitle = 25 tuoi
doi, gan 10 tuoi quan va nhung dong nhat ky cua mot cam tu quan vao nhung
nam 1953-1955) (NXB Hoi Nha Van, 2005) (foreword by Nguyen Ngoc)

Nguyen Van Thac, Mai mai tuoi hai muoi (NXB Thanh Nien, 2005) (with
forewords by Vo Nguyen Giap, Phan Van Khai and Dang Vuong Hung) (fifth
edition, expanded)

Hoang Kim Giao, Song de yeu thuong va dang hien (NXB Quan doi Nhan dan,
2005) (ed. Dang Vuong Hung)

If anyone wants ISBN numbers or other data for library ordering, just
let me know. Academic libraries buying Vietnamese books should
certainly get all of these and anything else available in this area.

Best wishes to all. Mark

Mark Sidel

Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 16:30:40 -0500
From: "Diane Fox (dnfox)" <dnfox@hamilton.edu>
Subject: Re: RE: [Vsg] War diary by Dang Thuy Tram and other war diaries - availability this past weekend on Trang Tien
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>

I think this has been mentioned before, but just to be sure:

Dr. Le Cao Dai's memoir of being a doctor in "B", on the HCM Trail:

Tay Nguyen Ngay Ay
translation by Lady Borton for The Gioi "Memoirs of War: the Central
Highlands"

Dr. Dai worked for many years after the war with the 10-80 Committee,
and with the Vietnamese Red Cross (Agent Orange Victims Fund) until he
died.

Diane

Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 06:08:27 -0800 (PST)
From: "Lady Borton" <ladyborton@yahoo.com>
Subject: For VSG: Accurate information re. THE DIARY OF DANG THUY TRAM

Dear friends,

I'm aware that some members of the VSG group have expressed interest in The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram, and I have noticed that mis-information is circulating.

Let me make some corrections and give you the basic facts.

A CD scan of The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram came into my hands last March (2005) kindness of a veteran friend, Ted Engleman, who asked if I could find the family.! He'd received the CD from Fred and Rob Whitehurst, both veterans of the war in Viet Nam. Fred and Rob had carefully harbored the original diary for 35 years while they looked for the writer's family. The brothers gave a workshop on the diary at Texas Tech. Ted attended the workshop and, since he was headed next to Ha Noi, brought a CD to me here.

Ted knew the page in the diary that lists the names and work addresses of Dang Thuy Tram's parents, as of 1970. We popped the CD into a computer and found the addresses. My Vietnamese colleague, Anh, did the phoning (her Ha Noi accent would be more effective on a "cold call" than my American a! ccent). Anh soon discovered that the father was deceased and that the mother had retired. This seemed to be a dead-end.

I suggested that Anh call back to the mother's institute and see whether her name was on the list for the annual Tet party. Being of retirement age myself, I'm pleased to be included among the retirees at some of these parties at Tet. I often say that Ha Noi is Viet Nam's largest village. Indeed, Anh phoned back and soon discovered that Dang Thuy Tram's mother and sister live across our street and half way down the block.

A week or so later, Mme. Doan Ngoc Tram and two of her daughters came to visit. By then, they knew that I had worked in Quang Ngai Province during the war at the same time as Dang Thuy Tram and that I am Dang Thuy Tram's age. They also knew that I had done original historical research, translations of memoirs and journals, and had written books about Viet Nam. During our conversation, I explained that I had not looked at the diary (except to find the names and work address) while it was in my possession because I considered it a private document.

However, I did say that the diary would be a rare primary historical document and, as such, was probably unlike any letters the family had received from Dang Thuy Tram and unlike anything they had read in the press at that time. By then, of course, all three of the Tram family visitors had read the diary; they nodded in agreement. I suggested they think about publishing the diary because it would lift up many voices now lost. In some way, it seemed to me, the diary would be a story familiar to the many Vietnamese who lived their own versions of those years, yet it would likely carry a reality and veracity never before in readers' hands.

The family took a month to decide about publication. Nxb. Hoi Nha Van (Writers Association Publishing House) brought out Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram (The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram) in July 2005. If a book in Viet Nam sells 3,000 copies, it is considered a best seller. To date, Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram has sold 366,000 copies. All proceeds have gone to support health care for impoverished children and adults as a continuation of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's work and vision.

The original hand-written diary is the property of Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram, mother of Dang Thuy Tram. It is on temporary loan to the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. The family members hope that the diary will be returned soon to them here in Viet Nam. All rights (publication in print or electronically, translations, film, TV, radio stage, etc.) to the diary belong to Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram. Those rights are not shared with any other individual or with any institution.

As I mentioned, the two brothers who took care of the diar! y had tried for thirty-five years to find the family. Rob Whitehurst translated the diary into English. The brothers hoped to use the proceeds from an English-language edition to provide health care for impoverished children and adults as a continuation of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's work and in her honor. For this reason and for many other reasons, the people of Viet Nam have a special love and respect for Fred and Rob Whitehurst. Their story is known everywhere across this country.

Last August, Fred and Rob visited the Tram family in Ha Noi and went with the Tram family to Duc Pho, the district in Quang Ngai Province where the diary is set. In October, the Tram family (Dang Thuy Tram's mother and her three younger sisters) visited the Whitehurst brothers and their mother in the U.S. A web search will find American and Vietnamese press coverage of both visits.

Rob's English translation based on the hand-written original is on the Web and will be published in book form in Ha Noi this April. It is itself a historical document, for it fueled the two brothers' search for the family of Dang Thuy Tram. The feeling (and stamina!) Rob brought to the hand-written text embodies the extraordinary friendship that has blossomed between these two families and between the two brothers a! nd the people of Viet Nam.

As has been noted on the VSG list-serve, I am finishing up an annotated English translation of the hand-written original with assistance from Dang Kim Tram, Dang Thuy Tram's sister. That translation will provide historical and cultural context, in much the same way as the annotations for my translations of General Vo Nguyen Giap's Dien Bien Phu: Rendezvous with History and Dr. Le Cao Dai's The Central Highlands: A North Vietnamese Journal of Life on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1965-1973.

Thus, on 30 April, we expect to have two English versions, both published in Ha Noi by Nxb. Hoi Nha Van (Writers Association Publishing House). Proceeds from both books will be used to continue the work of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram. Meanwhile, translations of Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram into Romanian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Korean, and Swedish are in process, all with permission from the copyright holder, Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram.

I will add one final note, again, that it was easy to find the family of Dang Thuy Tram because of the special Vietnamese custom whereby each office honors retirees as well as staff and special friends with a party at Tet. Knowledge of that custom led us quickly to our neighbors, the Tram family. And so, in the tradition of Tet, let me wish each of you in the wider neighborhood of Vietnamese Studies the best of health, prosperity, and success in all your endeavors during the coming Year of the Dog,

Warmly,
Lady Borton

From: "Shawn McHale" <mchale@gwu.edu>
To: "Vietnam Studies Group" <vsg@u.washington.edu>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:55:08 -0500
Subject: [Vsg] Rights to Dang Thuy Tram diary

Dear list,

I really hope that there does not develop some sort of tussle over the rights to the Dang Thuy Tram diary. Texas Tech claims (on the scanned copies of the diary) that the rights to the diary belong to Mrs. Dang Ngoc Tram, Frederic Whitehurst, and Texas Tech. Lady Borton, however, states that the

The original hand-written diary is the property of Mme. Dang Ngoc
Tram, mother of Dang Thuy Tram. It is on *_temporary_* loan to the
Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University. The family members hope that the
diary will be returned soon to them here in Viet Nam. *_All_* rights
(publication in print or electronically, translations, film, TV,
radio stage, etc.) to the diary belong to Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram. Those
rights are not shared with any other individual or with any institution.

It would strike me that the right thing for researchers to do is 1) thank Texas Tech for its role bringing this to the attention of individuals worldwide 2) request that Texas Tech allow Mrs. Dang Ngoc Tram to claim sole rights to the text.

From: Hue-Tam Ho Tai <hhtai@fas.harvard.edu>
Date: Jan 26, 2006 12:09 PM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Rights to Dang Thuy Tram diary

Here is the article that mentions the editing of Dang Thuy Tram's diary.
Pham Hoang Quan, "Bien soan nhat ky?"
http://www.talawas.org./talaDB/suche.php?res=5500&rb=0307

From: Trude Bennett <tabennet@email.unc.edu>
Date: Jan 25, 2006 6:50 AM
Subject: [Vsg] Please post on behalf of Lady Borton -- thank you!

Dear friends,

I'm aware that some members of the VSG group have expressed interest in
/The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram/ and have noticed that mis-information is
circulating.

Let me make some corrections and give you the basic facts.

A CD scan of /The/ /Diary of Dang Thuy Tram/ came into my hands last
March (2005) kindness of a veteran friend, Ted Engleman, who asked if I
could find the family. He'd received the CD from Fred and Rob
Whitehurst, both veterans of the war in Viet Nam. Fred and Rob had
carefully harbored the original diary for 35 years while they looked for
the writer's family. The brothers gave a workshop on the diary at Texas
Tech. Ted attended the workshop and, since he was headed next to Ha Noi,
brought a CD to me here.

Ted knew the page in the diary that lists the names and work addresses
of Dang Thuy Tram's parents, as of 1970. We popped the CD into a
computer and found the addresses. My Vietnamese colleague, Anh, did the
phoning (her Ha Noi accent would be more effective on a "cold call" than
my American accent). Anh soon discovered that the father was deceased
and the mother had retired. This seemed to be a dead-end.

I suggested that Anh call back and see whether the name of Dang Thuy
Tram's mother was on the list for her institute's annual Tet party.
Being of retirement age myself, I'm pleased to be invited to some of
these parties at Tet. I often say that Ha Noi is Viet Nam's largest
village. Indeed, Anh phoned back and soon discovered that Dang Thuy
Tram's mother and sister live across our street and half way down the
block.

A week or so later, Mme. Doan Ngoc Tram and two of her daughters came to
visit. By then, they knew that I had worked in Quang Ngai Province
during the war at the same time as Dang Thuy Tram and that I am Dang
Thuy Tram's age. They also knew that I had done original historical
research, translations of memoirs and journals, and had written books
about Viet Nam. During our conversation, I explained that I had not
looked at the diary (except to find the names and work address) while it
was in my possession because I considered it a private document.

However, I did say that the diary would be a rare primary historical
document and, as such, was probably unlike any letters the family had
received from Dang Thuy Tram and unlike anything they had read in the
press at that time. By then, of course, all three of the Tram family
visitors had read the diary; they nodded in agreement. I suggested they
think about publishing the diary because it would lift up many voices
now lost. In some way, it seemed to me, the diary would be a story
familiar to the many Vietnamese who lived their own versions of those
years yet would likely carry a reality and veracity never before in
readers' hands.

The family took a month to decide about publication. Nxb. Hoi Nha Van
(Writers Association Publishing House) brought out /Nhat ky Dang Thuy
Tram /(The Diary of Dang Thuy Tram) in July 2005. If a book in Viet Nam
sells 3,000 copies, it is considered a best seller. To date, /Nhat ky
Dang Thuy Tram / has sold 366,000 copies. All proceeds have gone to
support health care for impoverished children and adults as a
continuation of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's work and vision.

The original hand-written diary is the property of Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram,
mother of Dang Thuy Tram. It is on *_temporary_* loan to the Vietnam
Archive at Texas Tech University. The family members hope that the diary
will be returned soon to them here in Viet Nam. *_All_* rights
(publication in print or electronically, translations, film, TV, radio
stage, etc.) to the diary belong to Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram. Those rights
are not shared with any other individual or with any institution.

As I mentioned, the two brothers who took care of the diary had tried
for thirty-five years to find the family. Rob Whitehurst translated the
diary into English. The brothers hoped to use the proceeds from an
English-language edition to provide health care for impoverished
children and adults as a continuation of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram's work and
in her honor. For this reason and for many other reasons, the people of
Viet Nam have a special love and respect for Fred and Rob Whitehurst.
Their story is known everywhere across this country.

Last August, Fred and Rob visited the Tram family in Ha Noi and went
with the Tram family to Duc Pho, the district in Quang Ngai Province
where the diary is set. In October, the Tram family (Dang Thuy Tram's
mother and her three younger sisters) visited the Whitehurst brothers
and their mother in the U.S. A web search will find American and
Vietnamese press coverage of both visits.

Rob's English translation based on the hand-written original is on the
Web and will be published in book form in Ha Noi this April. It is
itself a historical document, for it fueled the two brothers' search for
the family of Dang Thuy Tram. The feeling (and stamina!) Rob brought to
the hand-written text embodies the extraordinary friendship that has
blossomed between these two families and between the two brothers and
the people of Viet Nam.

As has been noted on the VSG list-serve, I am finishing up an annotated
English translation of the hand-written original with assistance from
Dang Kim Tram, Dang Thuy Tram's sister. That translation will provide
historical and cultural context, in much the same way as the annotations
for my translations of General Vo Nguyen Giap's /Dien Bien Phu:
Rendezvous with History/ and Dr. Le Cao Dai's /The Central Highlands: A
North Vietnamese Journal of Life on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, 1965-1975./

Thus, on 30 April, we expect to have two English versions, both
published in Ha Noi by Nxb. Hoi Nha Van (Writers Association Publishing
House). Proceeds from both books will be used to continue the work of
Dr. Dang Thuy Tram. Meanwhile, translations of /Nhat ky Dang Thuy Tram
/into Romanian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Korean, and
Swedish are in process, all with permission from the copyright holder,
Mme. Dang Ngoc Tram.

I will add one final note, again, that it was easy to find the family of
Dang Thuy Tram because of the special Vietnamese custom whereby each
office honors retirees as well as staff and special friends with a party
at Tet. Knowledge of that custom led us quickly to our neighbors, the
Tram family. And so, in the tradition of Tet, let me wish each of you in
the wider neighborhood of Vietnamese Studies the best of health,
prosperity, and success in all your endeavors during the coming Year of
the Dog,

Warmly,
Lady Borton
Ha Noi


Date: Mon, 03 Apr 2006 15:36:57 -0400
From: "Hue-Tam Ho Tai" <hhtai@fas.harvard.edu>
Subject: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

A news item from the Herald Sun in Durham, NC about Dang Thuy Tram's
diaries. Dang Nhat Minh is considering filming the story.

http://www.herald-sun.com/firstnews/37-720033.html

From: Markus Taussig <markustaussig@mac.com>
Date: Apr 3, 2006 12:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram - AP Article

The publication of the Dang Thuy Tram diaries sends an interesting
message regarding the state of debate over granting party membership
to entrepreneurs (and permission of party members to legally own
shares in private companies). Has there been new discussion of this
issue in the papers during the run up to the Party Congress?

From: Diane Fox (dnfox) <dnfox@hamilton.edu>
Date: Apr 3, 2006 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries/Le Cao Dai's memoir

Hi--

I've had my students read draft translations of DTT's diaries and
excerpts from Le Cao Dai's memoir (he was also a surgeon on the
Trail). To my surprise, they unanimously preferred LCD's--because it
was more focused on the day to day events, less on the emotions, which
they eventually found too repetitive. I wonder if anyone else has had
this experience, or has any other observations about a comparison
between the two works.

Diane

From: jon mcintyre <jon.mcintyre@gmail.com>
Date: Apr 3, 2006 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries/Le Cao Dai's memoir

Diane,
Having read about half of Mai Mai Tuoi Hai Muoi in directed reading I can certainly empathize with your students. Tuoi 20 was similarly leaden with looooooong detailed descriptions of emotional states and impressionistic descriptions that wore on the nerves after a few pages. It was a bit of a let down because I'd really hoped it would have day to day type reportage of the author's time as a soldier. I felt the same way about Dang Thuy Tram's. I think the reason some of these diaries are so heavy on the emotion is that they were written for the author's own purposes, not with a goal of serving an audience. It makes them hard to read (for me at least) but given the reasons for, and conditions of, their production it makes sense.
Best,

From: harry aveling <haveling@hotmail.com>
Date: Apr 3, 2006 10:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries/Le Cao Dai's memoir

Hi all,

I'm teaching two courses in Translation Studies at the University of Indonesia this semester. As a translation exercise in one of those classes, I gave each student two [different] typescript pages from the diary to translate from English into Indonesian. The students found the diaries very poetic and moving. Puting together the story, and knowing the end in advance, gave an extra pathos to the final presentations of their translated pages.

I'm not sure, as a teacher, that I would ask my students to read the whole thing. Maybe an extract is enough.

As a translator, though, I know that often when students find something unusual and difficult is happening, it is not always good just to turn away -- sometimes something significant and different is happening that they need to work on: in this case, the different way emotion is expressed in Vietnamese society. The colleague with whom I am teaching the course has translated Duong Thu Huong into Indonesian and noticed the similarity of tone immediately.

Best wishes

Harry

From: Diane Fox (dnfox) <dnfox@hamilton.edu>
Date: Apr 4, 2006 6:42 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries/Le Cao Dai's memoir

Dear Harry--

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I think there is something in what
you say, but perhaps I should have pointed out that my students have
been reading Vietnamese literature (poetry and prose) all term, and
have not had this reaction with anything else.
One student pointed out that part of the difference was that this was
a diary, not written for anyone else--and made a comparison with how
it would be if someone read her own diary. So genre, more than a
particular cultural shaping of emotional expression, seemed to her the
important distinction.
I also want to correct an impression I may have left earlier: I think
Dang Thuy Tram's diary and Le Cao Dai's memoir work very well together-
-in part because they let students see that there is no one
single "Vietnamese" way of experiencing or expressing a similar
experience...the combination helps break through stereotypes.
I'd be interested in more thoughts on this.

From: "harry aveling" <haveling@hotmail.com>
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 12:10:09 +1000
Subject: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries/offline

Hi Diane,

What you say makes sense to me. My concern was with a situation where the students find the material too "weird" and move on to approving what is more easily recognisable. Obviously your course is not doing this. A whole semester's work sounds wonderful; do you a syllabus you could send me as an attachment, please?

Best wishes

Har

From: Dan Duffy <dduffy@email.unc.edu>
Date: Apr 4, 2006 4:01 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

Some months ago I expressed skepticism about the story of the diaries
being saved from the flames on the battlefield, at the intervention of a
non-com with an officer.

A colleague let me tag along recently when Dang Nhat Minh met with Roger
Whitehurst in Durham, and I asked him about that. What happened was
Whitehurst was destroying papers after reviewing them for intelligence
value.

He was burning them in a drum at his base. He describes this as a
standard practice, without making any reference to the policy of passing
along all documents to CDEC within 24 hours.

His non-com ARVN assistant intervened before the intelligence officer
could burn that specific book, with words I will leave to them to reveal.

a footnote for aficionadoes of literature and intellligence -

Dan

From: Hoang t. Dieu-Hien <dieuhien@u.washington.edu>
Date: Apr 4, 2006 6:50 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

Interesting. Thanks, Dan, for that anecdote. All the stories I've read so far from English sources (I haven't read them all) said that it was Whitehurst who saved the book from the flame. There was no important Vietnamese figures in these stories, except for the doctor herself. Whitehurst's role in keeping the diaries all this time, though, should not be underestimated. To neglect giving credit where credit is due, however, is disturbing to me. In this case, it is distorting the credit.

Hien

From: Dan Duffy <dduffy@email.unc.edu>
Date: Apr 4, 2006 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

Hien, I don't want to go too far into a story that I am sure Whitehurst
and Minh will tell for themselves, but Whitehurst is emphatic that the
active agent in the saving and publication of the diary is Dang Thuy
Tram herself.

Whitehurst is a quite a man. Google him for his varied and celebrated
career. I had heard of his participation in the FBI lab scandal under
Clinton. He had something to do with Waco. Now his mission in life is
to de-bunk forensic science, his own profession.

Like many of the interesting VN vet intellectuals - WD Ehrhart, Wayne
Karlin, Bobby Muller - he has a Jesuitical fervor against false faith.
Still, he is country, and FBI, an aggressive attorney with his own firm,
not the same kind of liberal as those others I just mentioned.

So it was something when he explained to me at length that the deceased
diarist herself saved the diary from the flames, saw it translated, saw
it returned to Viet Nam, saw it published there, and is going to see it
made into a movie. He recognizes not only her agency but her control in
this affair as a matter of fact.

Dan

From: Ben Kerkvliet <ben.kerkvliet@anu.edu.au>
Date: Apr 5, 2006 12:35 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

As I recall, one of the introductory pieces in the published diary
conveys the account Dan mentions below. The name of the ARVN soldier
is also provided.

Ben Kerkvliet

From: Chung Nguyen <Chung.Nguyen@umb.edu>
Date: Apr 5, 2006 5:18 AM
Subject: Re: [Vsg] Dang Thuy Tram's diaries

The reporter and others who intitally worked on the story were so impressed

by Nguyen Trung Hieu's intervention that they considered him a true hero on
the

Vietnamese side. That brought about a real effort to locate him in the U.S.

 

The search, with plenty ups and downs, was showcased prominently on Tuoi
Tre online.

 

Th? B?y, 15/10/2005, 07:01 (GMT+7)
Hành trình di tìm Nguy?n Trung Hi?u - k? 1
Nh?ng cu?c trò chuy?n lúc 0 gi?
http://www.tuoitre.com.vn/Tianyon/PrintView.aspx?ArticleID=103178&ChannelID=89

Hành trình di tìm Nguy?n Trung Hi?u (k? cu?i):
http://www.tuoitre.com.vn/Tianyon/Index.aspx?ArticleID=103977&ChannelID=89

 

Nguyen Ba Chung

From: Dan Duffy <dduffy@email.unc.edu>
Date: Jun 15, 2006 6:44 AM
Subject: [Vsg] New York Times article on Dang Thuy Tram and Fred Whitehurst

Last week Seth Mydans had a nice long article "Diary of Northern Doctor
Killed in the Vietnam War Makes War Real: a 1960s's Memoir of Love and
Loss." Page A8, Tuesday, June 6, 2006.

Good quotes from Peter Zinoman and Hue Tam Ho Tai on reception of the
book, from Fred Whitehurst about not burning the diary and his living
relationship with the dead author. Good photos, of DTT in high school
and of her mom now.

Not in story are any interviews with actual readers, or Whitehurst's
backstory as a dissident to the FBI, on forensics and on Waco.

 

 


 


 


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