Back for good!

KLIA Airport, March 08, 2015

I spotted them as they looked a bit odd from the rest of the crowd. For a minute there, I thought they were a Vietnamese couple returning from holiday in KL. Probably their first trip out of the country as they looked a bit lost….

As they were checking in, I was called to the next counter.

“Are you Vietnamese, sis?”, asked the lady suddenly. “Can you help me? I don’t know how to get to the plane”, continued she even before I could react. Oh well, this is not my first, so why not?

“Sure”, I said.

“My suitcase is overweight. Can you wait for me there?”

After last night’ learning about the Islamic value of helping others from my Malay friend, my patience certainly does not run dry.

“OK. Let’s go!” said she eagerly, all by herself as she approached me.

“Oh so just you?”

“My first trip back in the last three years, you know? Since I moved here with my Malaysian husband.”

“Oh so you live here. It’s only a 1.5-hour flight. Why the wait for 3 years?”

“My mother-in-law would not allow me to go back. Gotta fight hard this time, sis. Yet she would not allow me to take the 2 kids with me, one 2-year-old and one 4.5-month-old. Afraid I would not return, sis. That’s why!”

Her story just got me intrigued.

“Is there a reason why she should be afraid?”

“Well, I found out after I moved here that my husband only enjoyed fishing for leisure and would not want to work. We have been supported by his mom for the last 3 years while I am raising 2 kids. First 2 years they gave me 200-300 to send back to my mom. This Chinese New Year there was none. I am so sick of this life, sis. No freedom. Totally dependent.”

“Then why did you move here in the first place?”

“The matching agent told me this guy had 3-4 properties, that marrying him and moving to KL from such a poor province like Can tho would change my life, that I would not have to worry about finance for the rest of my life.”

“So how long are you gonna be back in Vietnam for?”

“Back for good, sis. Back for good. Poor kids, but what else can I do?”

Almost 20 years later since the “Marrying Taiwanese” movement in Vietnam with thousands of tear-filled stories on the media, am I really talking to another bride on a foreign land, still?

Is it purely hope for a better life? Is it greed? Or is it simply the vast blue sky admired from the bottom of a well?

Is it her to blame?

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