Randy Tran, an Amerasian and a singer

 

Yesterday, I had the good opportunity to catch up with Randy Tran, an Amerasian who left Vietnam in 1990 on the Homecoming Act ticket. He arrived at the cafe with a spring in his steps and a strong handshake. At my prodding, a bespectacled Randy, with a 5 o’clock shadow and a soft voice, begin to tell me his story while we waited for tea to arrive.

Randy is my nickname that I picked up from my singing career. I was born and raised in a small town near Hoi An and Da Nang. I never knew who my birth mother was because she left me with a Catholic church a month after I was born. The nuns and the pastor raised me until my adoption by a Vietnamese woman. However, when the Amerasian Immigration Act was passed in 1982, my adopted mother sold me to a Vietnamese family who intended to use me as a ticket to immigrate to the US. I was really upset and told my adopted mother that I’m human, not a thing that can be bought and sold but she didn’t really care. 

From 1983 onwards, I lived with my new family who initially treated me decently and even put me in school. This was the period when Amerasians became ‘hot’ items because of the Act and many wealthy families were able to afford to buy an Amerasian ‘identity’ in order to immigrate. However, it also leads to many Amerasians being taken advantage of with the promise of better lives, money, and enough food to eat if they are willing to sign documents stating that they are legally related to their new Vietnamese family. However, by 1987 the family had decided that I was a bad ‘investment’ and took me out of school. In 1987 the Homecoming Act was passed, making it easier to immigrate – you only have to look Amerasian or ‘un-Vietnamese’ to get a visa – to America so we ended up immigrating in 1990.

Unfortunately, within 3 weeks of our arrival, my family became eager to kick me out of the house. I remember being really ill and no one asked if I was okay, if I had taken my medication or even give me soup. I was ignored! They went as far as to ask me to eat less food because it was costing them money! Finally I told them that the welfare money given to us should be split into equal parts and I’ll be responsible for myself. Every month I received $40 in food stamps and $180 in cash. I had to give $100 to the family just so that I could sleep on their sofa. I started putting myself in high school, hung out with other Amerasian kids and eventually left my Vietnamese family. It was really hard on me because they were the only family I knew and they were so much part of my life even though they were never really very good to me.

I believe that all the Amerasians left today were unfortunate victims of frauds. I blame them for being so naive and blinded by false promises of better lives, money and most of all, being part of a family. At the same time I can also understand why they were so vulnerable to deception. When you have nothing, someone comes along and offers more than what you have had in your whole life until then, what do you do? Say no? 

Since winning a couple of singing contests in the US, I got into the music industry and became famous among the Amerasian community. In 1990 I came to the United States a nobody and after two years, I’m somebody. I’m famous! 

I live in Michigan now although I lived in Orange County in California for a long time. I returned to Vietnam for the first time in 2007 to try and look for my birth mother. I found someone who claimed to be her but a DNA testing proved otherwise. I’ve not stopped looking since and hope to find her some day. And I’m also here to find out more about the Amerasians who are still remains in Vietnam and I’m exploring ways to help them to leave and go to America. To let more people know about the Amerasian story. After all they don’t really belong here.

12 thoughts on “Randy Tran, an Amerasian and a singer

  1. Thank you for your wonderful work. I am an Amerasian of Japan, from the Post-World War 2 period. My father was kept from marrying my mother by the US military and was finally able to when I was 5 years old. The US has always made it difficult for Amerasians. The US has had three wars in Asia (Philippines, Korea, Southeast Asia), taking over from where Europeans left off and also left their mark with women and making Amerasian babies and neglecting them. But the Europeans did a better job than the Americans.

    I hope that Amerasians from the different Pacific and Asian nations, can come together one day, and do a big project on the issue of sex, relationships, women and Amerasian issues today, as a result of US military and globalization strategies. Women will always be made available somehow, by the US, for their soldiers. This will always be part of their strategy to stay in Asia as strategy. People like myself, see similar patterns from European and American colonization and occupation from 300 years ago to today.

    I think we Amerasians can have more power if we would work together. I think Viet-Amerasians have a bit more of a voice and a better opportunity. So many Japanese-Amerasians do not want to admit they are from Japanese mothers, even today!!!! They are so well-trained (silenced) by the Post-World War and Post Korean War histories. Today, Okinawa, Korea and the Philippines are struggling in the same way as Viet-Amerasians, each with different problems according to each country’s relationship with the US and immigration laws and cultural prejudice.

    I started a project and am also finishing my book and hope to find a publisher. It is named: ‘Dream of the Water Children: The Black Pacific.’ It is on the plight of women and children and the subaltern (minority) people of the Pacific under the weight of the US military. I use my family history to tell the larger story. Please visit my website: http://waterchildren.wordpress.com

    I hope someday we can make a good meeting, a good project amongst all of us. Until then, I am very happy for this project you are doing and wish you strength and inspiration to continue. Sincerely, Fredrick D. Kakinami Cloyd

  2. I RECENTLY RETURNED FROM SAIGON,SEARCHIG FOR MY OLD GIRLFRIEND FROM THE WAR,1972 1973 ,TO MY SHOCK AN OLD GRANDMOTHER RECONIZED THE PHOTOS OF HER AND NEW HER. SHE HAD A BABY AFTER I LEFT NAM IN 73, THE GRANDMOTHER SAID THE BABY LOOKED JUST LIKE ME,, MY HEART SANK,, I NEVER NEW THIS UNTILNOW 2014, SHE (THYNA) MARRIED AND HAD TO KIDS , LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE THAT I LIVED WITH HER , I UNDERSTAND THEY MOVED TO CANADA,BRINGING HER TO KIDS, BUT THE VC WOULD NT LET THEM TAKE THE WHITEBABY NAMED (VIHN), SO THE GRANDMOTHER TOOK CARE OF VIHN UNTILL THEY COULD FIGURE SOMTHING OUT,YEARS WENT BY,THE GRANDMOTHER COULD NOT AFFORD RAISING THE CHILD SO SHE SENT HIM TO AN ORHPANAGE IN SAIGON, DATES I DONT KNOW ? FOUNING FATHERS IS CURRENLY HELPING ME ON THE SEARCH,IAM GOING TO DO ALL I CAN TO FIND BOTH OF THEM, IAM SO SAD THAT THIS BOY GREW UP WITHOUT FAMILY, HE DESURVES A PAYBACK, GOD WILLING I HOPE TO SEE THEM BOTH ,,, GOD BLESS THE AMERASIANS …… DENNIS

  3. Hello , Mr. Randy Tran your story sounds so much like mines I too came from a orphanage Kim Chau came to USA on the airlift in 1975 to NYC please sir if you can email me back at ingleton29@ gmail.com it would be more than appreciated . So many questions thank you

  4. Ca sĩ này đã từng sống với gia đình tôi một thời gian, trước khi anh ấy về sống ở Hội An! Trước đó, anh ấy sống ở nhà bác Hai Sinh, bác họ của tôi nhưng có vẻ không được tốt lắm, và muốn về sống với gd tôi! Nhưng ba tôi ngại hiểu lầm từ bác họ nên đã khuyên anh ấy nên về sống lại nhà đó, …. Nếu khoảng thời gian này có giúp anh tìm thấy thêm thông tin gì về mẹ ruột của mình, thì thử kết nối lại liên lạc nhé!

    • Xin chào, cảm ơn bạn rất nhiều vì ý kiến ​​của bạn. Tôi xin lỗi khi nói rằng tôi không đọc hoặc viết tiếng Việt nên tôi đang sử dụng Google Translate để hiểu những gì bạn đã viết và trả lời bạn.

      Tôi không liên lạc với Randy Tran kể từ khi có ý tưởng về trang web này và tôi không có cách nào liên lạc trực tiếp với anh ta. Lần cuối cùng chúng tôi đã nói vào năm 2012, anh ấy đang sống ở thành phố Hồ Chí Minh và biểu diễn tại một địa điểm âm nhạc.

      Tôi sẽ cố gắng để xem nếu tôi có thể liên lạc với anh ta một lần nữa và tôi sẽ vượt qua tin nhắn của bạn. Một lần nữa, tôi cảm ơn bạn đã đọc tác phẩm của tôi và may mắn trong việc tìm ra Randy Tran.

  5. I too was born in Vietnam and raised in Da Nang. Came to US in 1972, I’m American and black just like Randy Tran. My father was in the military witH 2 tours in Vietnam. I’ve been in Texas since 1972. Since his dad was military. The pentagon may help. If would like to help Randy to find his family. I was born Lai Nguyen. Now I have an American name. I want to help Randy. I feel his pain. If anyone knows Randy. Tell him I want to help. Please reply…

    • Hi Anthony, Thanks for the message. It has been a few years since I last saw Randy and I do not know if he is still in HCMC or move back to the US. I have a Vietnamese contact number for him but I cannot guarantee that it is current. If you can email me at pangolert@protonmail.com I can pass his number to you and perhaps you can try to get in touch with him. Hope that helps.

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