This was written by my wife Bian who immigrated from Vietnam in 2016.
Since I was a child and able to understand such things, I would feel
upset everytime I saw a homeless person on the street.
Usually it was an old man or a small child like myself. I would keep my eyes on them until they vanished from sight. It would bother me a lot, particularly at night, before I went to bed.
I wondered why my parents and the other adults didn’t do anything to help them.
I thought to myself, when I grow up I will build a big house for these people to live in. But I understood that I couldn’t just shelter them, I would also need to provide them with work. I thought, the Women could make clothes and the men could fix motorbikes. This came to me when I was just ten years old.
By the time when I was 13 or 14, I realized that there were more homeless people than I could have ever imagined. Not only in Vietnam, but all over the world.
On the news I would see people hungry and dying, without food or water. They were everywhere. At that point I didn’t think about my earlier idea anymore, I just wondered what I could do to help them. I would think, how did their lives turn out this way? What could be done to end this? These questions stayed with me until my first year of college.
One day my Professor told us a story. He said that he had hired some men to repair and upgrade his house. Early in the day, they would do their job which was both heavy and dirty. Then they would have a quick lunch, sitting right on the side walk and enjoying their meal with dirty hands. At night, they would sleep in a tent outside his home.
My teacher felt sorry for them. He wondered why their lives had turned out this way. I thought, my God, finally someone who feels the same way I do and is asking the same question.
He then gave us the answer. He said, “It’s their life, their decisions, their choices. No one can live for anyone else.” I was shocked by how simple and true this was.
I grew up in a very poor family in Vietnam. We were well known in our neighborhood because of it. Mom told me when I was a baby, I would get sick often…it was always damp in our house. One day when I was sick, she had only a few coins in her pocket. She had to borrow some money from our neighbor to take me to the Doctor.
I remember every time we had heavy rains, my Father had to use a bucket to get the water out of our kitchen because it would flood our house, which was below ground level. I also remember how happy we were when we bought out first refrigerator. It cost $250, which was an unheard of amount of money. My Mother had been saving for a very long time. In spite of all this I knew our situation wasn’t the worst, there’s always someone worse off than yourself
Yes my parents worked hard “bringing home the bacon” and raising their children and people would help them, but they also helped themselves. They didn’t let the situation control their lives. There is no shame in being poor, but there is if you do nothing to change it.
Since moving to this Country, I have noiticed a lot of elderly people working at the supermarket and other places. I asked my husband why at that age do they still have to work? What about their retirement? He said, it’s because their retirement was not enough to cover their bills. Painful, but true. If they didn’t work they could end up on the street.
Facts are Facts…there are many people around the world that need help.
Those that are able, need to help themselves as much as possible, and the Government should help their own people first, ahead of those trying to come in from the outside.
There are many people crossing our borders illegally seeking help. And then they don’t like the way they are treated after Government agents pick them up. Things don’t go as they anticipated. Children have been seperated from their parents and put in separate facilities which is horrible, but they weren’t asked to come here, that was their choice.
People need to take responsiblility for their own actions because it’s their life. Many get upset and angry and become aggressive and such behavior is unacceptable. They need to think about their decisions and make an effort to help themselves first, the same way I and my Family did, before they come asking others for help.
Categories: Immigration Policy