Vietnamese island of ‘tiger cages’ and dugongs

This video says about itself:

Documentaries That Changed The World – Do You Remember Vietnam?

Three years after the fall of Saigon, Pilger returns to Vietnam to examine the state of the country.

By Sylvia Miexner:

Vietnam’s Idyllic Con Dao island has overcome its dark past

28 February 2012

Con Dao, Vietnam (dpa) – The island of Con Dao in Vietnam is the last resting place of a national hero and although the name Vo Thi Sau means nothing to western visitors, she is revered at home.

The girl was captured in 1949 during the armed insurrection against French colonial masters and became the first Vietnamese women to be sentenced to death.

Her grave can be found at the idyllic cemetery of Hang Duong although most foreigners who come here gaze somewhat perplexed at the imposing marble edifice that has become a popular place of pilgrimage.

According to Vietnamese of a romantic persuasion, the presence of long-departed Vo Thi Sau can be felt here more intensely at night and they regularly bring offerings of roasted chicken, white flowers, incense stocks and shampoo to place at her graveside.

The dreamlike beauty of this garden of rest is a comfort to many since many of the people buried here met a violent end. A prison which used to be housed in the villa of the former French governor was run at various times by the French, the South Vietnamese and the Americans.

A compact exhibition gives an idea of the gruesome reality which once earned this territory the name of “Devil’s island.” Around 20,000 people died here. The tiger cages, used to keep prisoners like wild animals, achieved worldwide notoriety.

This is one aspect of Con Dao, which lies around an hour by plane from Ho-Chi-Minh-City in the South China Sea. The other side is much more beautiful.

Swimming somewhere out in the ocean are gentle manatees, the shy sea cows.

Manatees are Atlantic. In Vietnam, there are no manatees, only their dugong relatives.

7 thoughts on “Vietnamese island of ‘tiger cages’ and dugongs

  1. Were you at 1968 Vietnam protests?

    HISTORY: Forty-four years ago this month we had the first full-scale political riot in the country for years.

    There was a battle in London’s Grosvenor Square between anti-Vietnam war protesters and police in March 1968 and again in October that year.

    Leading the thousands-strong demonstrations were ex-Oxford University student activist Tariq Ali and actress Vanessa Redgrave.

    Were you there? Please email Tony Patey, who was at both protests as a young reporter, at with your memories and views.


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