Duc confesses that attending those events is still not enough for him to repay his gratitude to society and other victims who are not lucky enough to receive the community’s care like he is.
After returning to Vietnam from last year’s trip to Japan, where he was invited to talk about his situation at a school, Duc is about to carry out his owned charity project that he has nurtured for years.
The father of two children has revealed that he and a group of his friends have set up a group of about 30 members which he calls Duc Nihon. Nihon means Japan in Japanese, according to Duc.
“I want to express my gratitude to Japanese people, who have supported me during my life, so I name my organization after them. I also named my sons Phu Sy (Fuji Mount) and Anh Dao (Cherry Blossom) for the same purpose.
With support from the Vietnamese and foreign youth who he has become friend with through his Facebook account, he plans to organize regular visits and care for AO victims at shelters in the city.
“I know I am a person with much better luck than other AO victims as I received much local and foreign support right after birth. Several other AO victims have to lie immobile. I cannot turn away from them as I am also a victim but have received better care from the community,” Duc said.
He said he was in the same situation, so he understands the feeling of the children who have Agent Orange in their body. “Most of the disabled people nurse a complex about their situation. My elder brother (Nguyen Viet) is an example. He lay in one place for 365 days before he passed away,” he said.
“My project encourages youngsters to give a hand in caring for AO victims. We see them look innocent and happy when we visit them, but in fact they are miserable inside with their situation,” Duc said, adding “even elderly are not able to understand the victims well.”
With initial financial support from friends Duc, his group members and his Japanese friends have discussed their first charity trip to Cu Chi District’s Thien Duyen Shelter, where many AO victims are being cared for.
Toshiaki Uchimoto, the composer of a Japanese song about AO victims in Vietnam who heard about Duc’s project, said he and other Japanese friends will be in Vietnam between August 3rd and 5th for an exchange with Duc and local youths.
They plan to visit and donate gifts to AO victims at the shelter on August 4th, a day before his Japanese friends return home. Duc hopes that more and more young people and the community will support him to carry out others charity events after the trip to Cu Chi.
With the project, Duc also wants Vietnamese youth to understand and help AO victims and disabled people to overcome the complex of their unsound physical condition.
Besides local youths, Duc loves receiving support from the foreign community. He plans to talk about his project on NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, in Tokyo, where he discusses the problem an AO victim has to suffer through.
Duc has been interviewed on television roughly ten times. Japanese people love to use him as an example to educate Japanese youths.
Now, Duc’s charity group has 30 members, and they have helped him to make a music video. He hopes more and more youngsters, and the community as a whole, join in to support the victims.
Starting with music
The idea of establishing the Duc Nihon Group came after he and some young helpers finished a project about music.
The thought came to him during his trip to Japan last November, where Duc received a big present from Uchimoto, the teacher who wrote a song about Vietnamese AO victims and his desire for a peaceful world.
Duc said that Uchimoto felt moved and decided to compose the song after seeing Vietnamese AO victims during his trips to the country, where he saw information bout the war and the agent’s impact on Vietnam.
The beautiful melodies and meaningful lyrics of the song followed Duc when he returned to Vietnam. Duc and Uchimoto began talking about the song through the internet. He wants Duc to introduce the song to Vietnamese people.
Duc, one of the most well-known Agent Orange victims in Vietnam, spent many sleepless nights after he received the proposal. Finally, he decided to confess his intention to one of his close friends, pop singer Nguyen Phi Hung, while the two were in a coffee shop.
Surprisingly, the singer agreed to help Duc rewrite the lyrics. Hung sang the song and had it recorded without a financial request in response.
The song was still not enough. Hung suggested that Duc produce a music video. After being turned down by a few producers, Duc turned to Facebook to find some more youngsters to produce the clip. Fifty people worked together to produce the clip last month in District 7, with the participation of the song’s Japanese author.
When the clip Vi Mot The Gioi Dep Tuoi (For a Happy World) was uploaded online, Duc’s Japanese friends were surprised by his performance. They could not believe that Duc completed the music project in such a short period of time.
Hung, who met Duc nine years ago during a charity event, said he was happy to be involved in the project, since he admires the man. The singer hopes that on August 10th he will sing the song with Yoshie Ruth Linton, a Japanese singer who performs the song in Japanese, when she comes Vietnam.
Duc said he was anxious when he first started working on the project. He didn’t think he would do well with the song, but with the support of the singer, he feels pride in his meaningful accomplishment.