Duc Nguyen, the younger of the famous Vietnamese conjoined twins, whose deformation was caused by Agent Orange, and were surgically separated in 1988, will bring the music video of the song “Vi Mot The Gioi Dep Tuoi” (For a Beautiful World) along on his trip starting from August 10 as a peace ambassador to Japan this week.
The song, which was written by Japanese art teacher Toshiaki Uchimoto, was inspired by Duc’s effort to overcome his troubles in life. In 2011 Uchimoto, a teacher at a high school in Japan, visited Vietnam and was shocked to see pictures featuring the wars’ consequences, especially dioxin victims. Uchimoto also met Duc, and the song “For a Beautiful World” was born and first released at Uchimoto’s school in Japan.
The teacher also invited Duc to have online meetings with his classes in the hope that the small man with big energy from Vietnam could inspire the students.
“I feel empathy with the song and want Vietnamese people to know it,” Duc shared.
He then asked local singer Nguyen Phi Hung to make a Vietnamese version of the song. The singer was not only willing to make a Vietnamese audio version, but he also helped Duc make the music video for the song.
“Along with Duc and our Japanese friends, I wanted everyone to listen and feel the meaning of the song together with vivid images on the screen, so we decided to make a music video version,” Hung said.
The video features a number of Agent Orange victims, including Duc and his family, Uchimoto, and some of his friends from Japan against the background music of the song translated into Vietnamese and sung by Hung.
Since its release in July, the song has drawn the attention of many donors to Duc’s fund to help dioxin victims.
The other twin of the conjoined pair is Viet. The twins were born in 1981 in Kon Tum Province. Viet was the elder, and Duc the younger of the two brothers.
Their relatives claim that "the reason they were conjoined twins is the influence of Agent Orange that the U.S. military used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War". His mother was farming in an area sprayed with Agent Orange a year after the Vietnam War had ended. She also drank water from a well in that area. After that, Viet and Duc were born. On October 4, 1988, Viet and Duc were separated in a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City with the help of the Japanese Red Cross.
Since the surgery, Duc’s health has improved and he is now married with a family, while Viet experienced health problems in the years after the separation. He died due to liver failure and pneumonia in 2007 at the age of 26.
At the ceremony to mark the 51st anniversary of the Agent Orange/ dioxin disaster in Vietnam (August 10, 1961 – August 10, 2012) held on August 5, Nguyen Thi Thu Ha, Deputy Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee, called on people to give their autographs to support Agent Orange victims.
According to her, there are around 20,000 dioxin victims living in HCMC, but only 4,000 of them can receive monthly financial support. The remaining 16,000 have to rely on the community’s help.
At the ceremony, hundreds of people added their autographs to a petition asking American chemical enterprises which produced Agent Orange for the U.S. military during the Vietnam War to take responsibility for on dioxin victims.
General Tran Ngoc Tho, Deputy President of the Vietnam Agent Orange/ Dioxin Association and Chairman of HCM City’s Agent Orange/ Dioxin Association, said that the petition and a lawsuit against those companies will be submitted to international courts next June.