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A Report, from the Asia Education Foundations LINKING LATITUDES CONFERENCE Hanoi Vietnam 1116 April,


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Title: A Report, from the Asia Education Foundations LINKING LATITUDES CONFERENCE Hanoi Vietnam 1116 April,

A Report, from the Asia Education Foundations
11-16 April, 2004 Ian Gray Somerville House
  • This report also contains images, information
    and some inquiry questions that teachers may find
    useful to use with students.

That is, instead of just describing workshops and
lectures attended, this is a report, that asks
you to occasionally speculate and inquire.
  • This report is also a little interactive…
  • eg skip background to Vietnam War and
  • jump straight to first image of the Tourist
    Pathway, OR
  • See what other pathways are available

So … youve not chosen the Tourist Pathway… Ok
More choices… ? Other Pathways Through These
  • Vietnam War
  • Vietnam since 1975
  • Education in Vietnam today (including school
  • At the Conference notes from a few lectures and
  • MAIN PATHWAY see the lot

Background to the Vietnam War
  • Vietnam - a place where a war occurred.
  • In 1965 100,000 American troops fought to defend
    South Vietnam from communist North Vietnam. The
    north-south divide is a story for another day,
    but parts of it and the French role in Vietnam
    appear in this inquiry report.
  • 29 April 1965 PM Menzies announced Australia
    would have a combat role in the Vietnam War

Background to the Vietnam War
  • It was feared that like dominoes falling South
    Vietnam would become communist and then
    Indonesia, PNG and ..gulp…Australia. It was the
    era of the Cold War. Australia continued to
    increase its troop commitment.
  • In 1966 and again in 1969 the majority of
    Australians voted to support the Liberal-National
    Partys policy of keeping Australian troops in
  • By 1968 a half a million American soldiers,
    sailors and airmen were involved.

Dominoe Theory
  • Source Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday, 24
    November 1966, p. 5

Background to the Vietnam War
  • By 1970 many Australians had joined anti-war
  • By December 1971 Australian combat troops had
    left Vietnam, and in December 1972 PM Whitlam
    announced all remaining training teams would be
    withdrawn and conscription abolished.
  • In January 1973 a cease-fire was negotiated -
    American ground troops were withdrawn but naval
    and air force units remained.
  • May 1975 pro-communist forces swept the South
    Vietnamese government from power. The last film
    footage out of Vietnam showed American
    helicopters evacuating their supporters from the
    roof of the American Embassy.

Background to the Vietnam War
  • In 1975 a new united communist Vietnam began
  • In April 2004 Vietnam continued to be a communist
  • ? This background raises some KEY QUESTIONS
  • Why did the USA and Australia become involved in
    what we call the Vietnam war and the Vietnamese
    call the American war?
  • What long term impact did the 1965-1975 Vietnam
    war have on Vietnam?
  • Who was Ho Chi Minh?
  • Who are the Vietnamese?
  • Geographically
  • Ethnically
  • In terms of their EDUCATION
  • As seen through a case study of Hanoi in April
  • What is Vietnams current trade relationship with

Key Questions
  • Traditionally in Australian History classrooms
    teachers have begun with the first question
  • Why did the USA and Australia become involved in
    what we call the Vietnam war?
  • However to more fully understand the war and the
    future in Vietnam it may be more appropriate to
    begin with
  • Who are the Vietnamese?
  • Geographically
  • Ethnically
  • In terms of their EDUCATION
  • As seen through a case study of Hanoi in April
  • ? Yes OR
  • ? No..continue with traditional Vietnam War story

Who are the Vietnamese Geographically?
  • Can you locate Vietnam on a blank map of the
  • How many cities in Vietnam can you name?
  • Many Vietnamese Australians will find these
    questions too easy.
  • After 1975 many Vietnamese who had supported the
    USA in Vietnam fled the country when the USA was
    defeated. Australia welcomed these refugees who
    had fought on our side during the war.

Who are the Vietnamese Geographically?
All thinking tourists need a map and a little
background information Who are the Vietnamese
Vietnam shares borders with China, Laos and
Cambodia. Myanmar,(Burma), Thailand and Malaysia
are not far away. The capital of Vietnam is
Hanoi. Hanoi is an 8 hour flight from
Brisbane. http//www.vietnamtourism.com/e_pages/v
According to the 2004 Lonely Planet Guide which
every second tourist in Vietnam seems to have
  • Full country name Socialist Republic of
    Vietnam Area 329,566 sq km - about the size of
  • Population 81.62 million
  • Capital City Hanoi (pop 3.5 million)
  • People 84 ethnic Vietnamese, 2 ethnic Chinese,
    also Khmers, Chams (a remnant of the once-great
    Indianised Champa Kingdom) and members of over 50
    ethnolinguistic groups (also known as
    Montagnards, 'highlanders' in French)
  • Language Vietnamese, Russian, French, Chinese,
  • Religion Buddhism is the principal religion but
    there are also sizeable Taoist, Confucian, Hoa
    Hao, Caodaists, Muslim and Christian minorities
  • Government Communist state Head of State
    (2004)President Tran Duc Luong Head of
    Government (2004)Prime Minister Phan Van
    Khai Refhttp//www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations
  • Click to keep going OR ? continue Vietnam since

Who are the Vietnamese?
  • Very good motorcyclists! Crossing the street was
    an adventure, but the bikes usually dont exceed
    about 35kph and they go around you as you cross
    the street.
  • ? There are at least 3.5 million people in
    Hanoi… what must it have been like when the bombs
    fell during the American war?

This is the view from my 11th Floor Hotel window
Who are the Vietnamese?
  • During the US bombardments of North Vietnam from
    March 1965 to October 1968 the authorities
    evacuated 75 of Hanoi's population. After the
    end of the bombardments the city again grew
    rapidly. Today the population of Hanoi is more
    than 3 million.
  • http//www.hanoitravel.com/

  • Motorcyclists! Crossing the street is an
    adventure but dont be there in rush hour or the
    pollution will affect you. Motorcyclists dont
    wear helmets but do wear scarves, masks around
    their mouths.
  • People sit on little stools everywhere and
    evening meals are often in the street
  • People rather than trucks often transport goods.

Hanoi buy your fruit on the street
  • Note mask.

Hanoi carrying baskets
  • What are the advantages of using these?
  • What do you use instead?

Hanoi tourists do stand out
  • But then so do the low hanging electrical wires
    in the streets
  • How might the people of Hanoi have coped with war
    time black-outs?
  • Click to keep going OR ? continue Vietnam since

And there would have been blackouts?
Helmets of captured American pilots
Are the Vietnamese proud of their military

Yes… and the display of these helmets in a
military museum alone reveals this, but 60 of
the population has been born since the war.
Vietnams population is youthful not ageing
  • Young Vietnamese learn of the achievements of
    their parents

Many of those achievements are amazing
  • How does a poor, non-industrialised society wage
    a successful war against international
    superpowers like the French (defeated in 1954)
    and the Americans (defeated 1975)?
  • Even if their army was large it was poorly
    equipped and it needed to be fed. Just getting
    food to the troops must have been difficult.

Many of those achievements are amazing
  • How do you think they did it??
  • What weapons did they use?
  • Without much mechanised equipment or helicopters,
    how did they overcome the supply line problem,
    and get food and equipment to the troops?
  • Think about it before going to the next slide.

Many of those achievements are amazing
  • The bicycle was often the answer.
  • Long range guns were dismantled and carried on
    bicycles or backs through almost impassable
    mountain tracks.

Many of those achievements are amazing
  • Young women assisted the war effort and their
    contributions continue to be celebrated as this
    photo in the Hanoi Military Museum indicates

Simple but effective weapons and traps
  • Stand in the booby trap and your leg would be
    trapped by fish-hook type barbs
  • ? Go to next tourist photo

The Viet-Cong dug tunnels a 1967 photograph
from USA National Archives http//www.archives.gov
There were also Russian made MIG fighter planes
And tanks
To read plaque see next slide
Tank Plaque
T54Tank One of the tanks of the 263rd armoured
brigade which led the infiltration troop unit of
the 2nd corps that seized the Saigon Presidential
Palace on April 30th, 1975
But today how much does the average 15 year old
in Australia know about the war?
  • How many think that the USA won the war??
  • If these misconceptions are about why might
    these misconceptions have occurred?

USA Cavalrymen use helicopters for evacuation of
wounded http//www.vietnampix.com/fire5g.htm and
this is NOT from a movie
  • Perhaps it was assumed that helicopters against
    bicycles was not a fair fight and that the USA
    had to win…??

April 1975 Helicopters evacuate the USA Embassy
7-4.jpg I remembered this image from 1975 the
young Vietnamese soldiers did not.
Vietnamese desperate to enter the USA Embassy
Saigon on April 29-30 1975 A USA Marines
website http//www.fallofsaigon.org/frmain.htm
Soon after April 1975 Saigon became…
  • Ho-Chi-Minh City
  • Very quickly the new communist government changed
    the name of Saigon.
  • Today locals and trendy tourists call it HCMC

  • Outside the Military Museum in Hanoi Coca-Cola is
    on sale.
  • There was no sense of animosity towards
    Australians, or Americans for that matter.
    (Listen to the former Australian Ambassador for
    one explanation of why this is so.)
  • In victory the Vietnamese are changing attitudes
    faster than we did after our victory over Japan
    in 1945 and we changed the Japanese government.
  • Click to keep going OR ? continue with Vietnam
    Since 1975

Ho Chi Minh
  • Clearly the leader who had defeated the USA would
    be honoured, but Ho Chi Minh did not live to see
  • He died in 1969. Thats him on the wall of the
    staff room at Tran Phu High School in April 2004.
  • Continue with school visit OR
  • Learn about Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh
  • Born in central Vietnam to a Mandarin family
  • 1917 he was in Paris and in early 20s visited
    China and Russia
  • He was an educated man, fiercely nationalistic
    but also influenced by Marxism
  • He adapted Marxism to Vietnamese circumstances,
    eg unlike Lenin and Mao he did not enforce the
    aethieism of Marxism and many Catholic churches
    as well as Confucian shrines and Buddhist temples
    continued to exist under his leadership.
  • In the 1940s the Japanese refused to allow the
    Vietnamese to grow rice because they wanted jute
    grown. Jute was used to make sand bags. Millions
    starved. Ho led the resistance.
  • In August 1945 as the Japanese were being
    defeated the August revolution occurred as
    Vietnamese in several areas seized control.
  • On 2 September 1945 Ho proclaimed the Democratic
    Republic of Vietnam, but under the Potsdam
    Agreement the French were allowed to return to

Ho Chi Minh
  • Ho staged guerilla war against the French
  • The battle of Dien-Bien-Phu in 1954 was
  • Dien-Bien-Phu was a French fortress stretching
    some kilometres.
  • The Vietnamese soldiers tug tunnels into it and
    used bicycles to carry artillery
  • Organised by General Giap they were invincible,
    the French surrendered and said they would take
    one year to fully withdraw. During this time the
    country was temporarily divided and many
    Catholics who had often supported the French
    headed south.
  • Under an international agreement (Geneva
    Agreement), there was to be a national election
    in 1956 but it was never held. The USA feared Ho
    and the Communists would be elected.

Ho Chi Minh
  • In Vietnam several people reminded me that Ho
    could have lived in this Presidential Palace
    built by the French for their Governor in 1902.

Instead Ho had this modest, but beautifully
timbered stilt house built nearby
  • very Queensland
  • - Why might he have done this?

Ho Chi Minh
  • If elections had been held in 1954 he may very
    well have been elected. Today he continues to be
  • His body is preserved in this mausoleum (against
    his wishes to be cremated).

Some museum representations of Hos contributions
seemed quite strange
  • This is from the post-modern Ho-Chi Minh museum,
    which also included very large representations of
  • ? Continue with Uncle Ho or first find out a
    little about the ethnic diversity of Vietnam that
    he helped to unify OR straight on ?

Vietnamese are close to the soil
    EVERYWHERE most people in North Vietnam are still

ETHNIC MINORITIES Museum of Ethnology
  • Main ethnic group kin or Viet
  • Khmer 1mill /80 mill and live in South
  • Australian bridge in Mekong area greatly
    appreciated but in some places roads are not used
  • Khmer lack knowledge of Viet language, market
    economy and consumer demand schools are fewer
    in this area

Ede House Vietnam Museum of Ethnology - Hanoi
  • The Museum of Ethnology is a fascinating place
    where you can climb in and out of traditional
    houses. The academic who lobbied for it and
    organised its building was doing so in 1968. In
    the middle of the American war he was trying to
    ensure the preservation of traditional Vietnamese
  • This Ede Long House, is of a style that has begun
    to disappear rapidly since the 1980s. It housed
    communal families from the Central Highlands. The
    family name was always that of the mother.
    Property decisions were made by the most senior
    female. After marriage a son resided in his
    wifes house. The smoke from the fires inside was
    a little suffocating.

Bahnar communal House Vietnam Museum of Ethnology
- Hanoi
  • Central Highlands
  • Until recently built only for men but now women
    visit on special occasions
  • Built high so you could find it in the jungle
    said a guide…hmmm…oh and as a symbol of power…
    now that I can believe. (Thats high-rise
    everywhere isnt it?)

Tay communal House Vietnam Museum of Ethnology -
  • Not sure where this one was from but again the
    smoke inside was a health hazard!
  • Floors in many of these houses were made of cane
  • This one reminded me very much of a Queenslander

Uncle Ho unified these people
  • Between 1860 and 1890 the French established
    colonial administration of Vietnam, Laos and
  • Many sporadic uprisings occurred against their
    rule in Vietnam but none were unified on a
    national basis.
  • In May 1941, while under Japanese occupation, Ho
    persuaded several nationalist groups to form the
    Viet Minh which aimed to free Vietnam from
    Japanese and French control.
  • And as youve already seen in 1954 he succeeded
    for a time…before the USA arrived.
  • The History of Vietnam has been one of successive
    invasions, from the Chinese, the French and the
  • Vietnam War pathway ends here.
  • So how do students today feel about all these
    invasions and past enemies? ? next slide

School Visits
  • Along with other teachers attending the Linking
    Latitudes Conference I got to meet with the
    Principal and Deputy Principal and observe some

Tran Phu High school
  • The Deputy Principal was also the Chair of the
    local branch of the Communist Party and we were
    told this was common.
  • The Principal told us
  • English is the only LOTE, though previously
    Chinese, Russian and French had been available
  • 30 of this schools students enter university
  • Curriculum emphasises Science and Environmental
  • Australian History is not studied but students do
    know a little about Australian Geography
  • Economics is not studied until University
  • Teaching Qualifications 4 years after Year 12
    graduation (and he apologises for this not being
    a high standard)
  • Rich people and some foreign governments give
    scholarships to gifted students (and students
    were keen to hear if our schools offered any.)

Tran Phu High school
  • Parents pay about 3 per month for children to
    attend this State School
  • Teacher income about 100USA per month
  • School Day Mon-Sat 7.15- 11.45, then 12.30
    5pm. Students only work one shift but younger
    teachers work both
  • Class Size about 40-50 and Deputy reminds us
    that it would be higher were it not for good work
    of government
  • TV Interview
  • I was asked
  • What will you tell people about this school and
    Vietnam? (I emphasised friendliness)
  • Why are you here? (learn about Vietnamese culture
    and history)

Vietnamese students are very Australian
  • Despite the appearance of Ho and desks in
    straight lines, students had a relaxed friendly
    relationship with their teacher and an
    Australian-like sense of humour. To boy What
    do you want to be?
  • ANS David Beckham
  • And when a girl was then asked she replied, with
    a giggle Victoria Beckham.

One student gave me her exercise book as a memento
  • Australian educators are very respected
  • TV crews followed us
  • Students seemed a bit obsessed with becoming
    Western but one girl I spoke to assured me they
    did not want to lose their Vietnamese culture
  • She was the one who gave me her exercise book as
    a memento
  • Students I met were not wealthy but most had
    access to a computer and via the cafes to the
  • ? continue Vietnam since 1975

Critical Thinking is just beginning
  • The new Geography Syllabus requires the use of
  • Professor Nguyen Viet Thinh, Dean of Faculty of
    education at Hanoi University described how the
    1990 curriculum was intended to last 10 years.
  • Geography must be taught but only 6 exams occur
    each year and only in March is it revealed if
    Geog will be part of the national test in May.
  • Click to continue with Geog curriculum OR ?
    continue with Tourist Slides

Geography Curriculum
  • One hour pw or 35 hours per year through most
    Year levels but by Year 10 it seems completion of
    English to a satisfactory standard is a
    prerequisite to continue study in Geog or
  • National curriculum, that schools can only
    slightly adapt, tends to emphasise scientific
    approach to rotation of planets, capes, rivers,
    oceans and geography of continents and problem
    solving is still a new approach.
  • P.S.For some Australian educational material on
    the Mekong delta see
  • http//www.mekong.es.usyd.edu.au/

At the Conference
  • The Conference attracted over 350 educators from
    around Australia and made the news in Hanoi
  • We were addressed by a large number of speakers
    including the Australian Ambassador and the
    Senior Australian Trade Commissioner as well as
    the current Vice-Chancellor of RMIT University
    the only international university permitted spoke
    to establish in Vietnam.
  • A common theme was the importance of education
    within Vietnamese culture

At the Conference Joe Thwaites Australian
Ambassador to Vietnam
  • 1991 Australian bi-lateral aid resumed after Viet
    troops left Cambodia
  • Viet President has visited in 93 and 99, Aust PM
    visited in 94 and Foreign Minister Downer has
    visited 7 times
  • Vietnam now the 3rd largest destination for
    Australian aid after PNG and Indonesia
  • A former Melb Uni student is now Viet Min for
  • Trade balance is in Vietnams favour by 2.3b b/c
    we buy Viet oil
  • Aust is 4th largest investor in Viet
  • Viet has applied to enter WTO in 2005 Aust
    supports this
  • Viet govt is encouraging o/s Vietnamese to return
    and become involved in eco dev
  • Return to the Military Museum where Coca-Cola is
    on sale

At the Conference Michael Mann former
Ambassador, CEO ABC TV etc now VC RMIT
  • Teachers day late November is a big event in
    Vietnam the PM of Vietnam on that day takes
    flowers to his primary school teacher
  • Forgiveness anecdote man he knows, born 1949
    had a brother who left to fight for the
    revolution in early 1960s. In 1966 this man came
    home and his parents were disembowelled in front
    of him ? he fought for the VC but says it was 2
    years before he heard of the idea of communism.
    He was wounded, but by 1995 becomes a Govt
    leader, his sister lives in USA and he sent his
    sons to USA to complete MBAs.
  • Vietnam has a history of repelling invaders eg
    13th century Mongols who had successfully invaded
    many countries failed to invade Vietnam

At the Conference Michael Mann former
Ambassador, CEO ABC TV etc now VC RMIT
  • 1979-80 last invasion, by Chinese ? Chinese
    Ambassador said China could not hope to have as
    good relations with Vietnam as Australia has.
    Vietnams relations with big powers, China,
    France, USA have never been good but with middle
    powers like Australia they are fine.
  • Rapid change 1984 no Hotels in Hanoi, students
    read texts in street because there was no street
    light and there was not enough rice.
  • Education today peasants will go without food to
    educate their children

At the Conference Tim Gauci Senior Trade
Commissioner, Australian Trade Commission
  • GDP growing at 7 pa 2nd fastest in world after
    China but rich are getting richer and poor poorer
    in rural areas. Hanoi labourer earns 20 US per
  • Trade imbalance because we import oil but also
    b/c metals, cereals, dairy are not in increasing
    demand esp b/c of
  • appreciation of A
  • ASEAN Free Trade Agreement b/c Australia cant
    compete with Singapore, Malaysia etc
  • Viet does not discriminate against Aust when a
    large of our exports are from Japanese
    subsiduaries b/c if the export licence is an
    Austn one that is all they care about
  • end Vietnam Since 1975
  • ? continue OR
  • return to other possible pathways

At the Conference Temple of Literature
Vietnams first university in 1076
  • Students sat on the turtles and rote learnt
    Confucian scripts from the walls. Last Confucian
    exam was in 1907.

At the Conference Temple of Literature
Vietnams first university in 1076 (first
Doctorate in 1442)
  • Site is being restored
  • …and American Express is helping to fund it,
    (Caption reads Ministry of Culture and
    Information with support from American Express
    Foundation assisted US-Indo-China
    Reconciliation Project 1994)
  • Chinese rule 179BC 138AD
  • 3 major life ceremonies in Vietnam
  • Wearing your first hat
  • Going to school
  • Getting married

At the Conference Vietnam Minister of Education
  • Retention rate 46 in upper secondary, not yet
    up to ASEAN averages, but female literacy is
    highest in region
  • Plan for 2015 targets quality of education
  • 25 000 Viet students studying overseas and
    largest in Aust.
  • End Education pathway

One Party State
  • In the final analysis Vietnam remains a
    one-party, undemocratic State
  • But it is much more than that.
  • ? (Tourist slides end here … student review
    questions continue.)

Can you answer the key questions?
  • These were introduced earlier as
  • Why did the USA and Australia become involved in
    what we call the Vietnam war and the Vietnamese
    call the American war?
  • What long term impact did the 1965-1975 Vietnam
    war have on Vietnam?
  • Who was Ho Chi Minh?
  • Who are the Vietnamese?
  • Geographically
  • Ethnically
  • In terms of their EDUCATION
  • As seen through a case study of Hanoi in April
  • What is Vietnams current trade relationship with
  • ? What about a time-line? How many dates from
    Vietnamese History can you recall?

  • Access Asia - http//www.curriculum.edu.au/accessa
  • Wonderful links and web-based activities -
  • http//www.mekong.es.usyd.edu.au/
  • Trinity College in Western Australia offer a
    wide-ranging portal into material relevant to the
    Vietnam War http//library.trinity.wa.edu.au/subj
  • Young People, Old Country Lower Secondary
    (Years 7-9), http//www.curriculum.edu.au/accessa
  • units have also been written to encourage the
    development of skills
  •  Unit 1 students explore the history of Vietnam
    and how the past affects the present. 
  • Unit 2 Should the Mekong be Dammed?
  • analysing a variety of views on the use of
  • predicting the consequences of implementing
    particular plans.
  • Unit 3 Casuarinas and Sand Dunes - A Case Study
    in Sustainable Development
  • Students explore and evaluate ways of reclaiming
    and regenerating an area in Vietnam. Involves
    explaining the consequences of modifying places
    predicting the consequences of implementing
    particular policies analysing links among
    resource use, economic growth and ecological
  • Unit 4 Vietnam - A Nation in Change
  • Students explore the impact of changes in
    contemporary Vietnam - economic, social and
    political. Involves describing how culture,
    belief systems and social organisation contribute
    to the identity of Vietnamese people describing
    features of the economic and political systems
    analysing the impact of change on society and
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