Nguyen Duc (L) and wife Thanh Tuyen at their wedding
Over 500 people attended the wedding Saturday of Nguyen Duc, one of the best known victims of Agent Orange, the defoliant sprayed by the US army in Ho Chi Minh City.

Duc, 25, was born conjoined, sharing two legs, until he was separated from his brother in 1988 in one of the world’s 18 successful operations to separate Siamese twins.

A medical expert said Duc was the first of the 18 pairs to get married.

His brother, Nguyen Viet, has been bedridden since the surgery at Tu Du Hospital where they were born and raised.

Duc said he had met his wife Nguyen Thi Thanh Tuyen in April 2004 when they were both doing charitable work for the Red Cross to raise money for other victims of Agent Orange.

Duc is an IT worker at Tu Du Hospital while Tuyen helps her mother with her business at a small market stand.

US forces sprayed an estimated 20 million gallons of herbicides, including Agent Orange, in Vietnam between 1962 and 1971. Decades later, the chemicals still remain in the water and soil.

Agent Orange, named after the color of its containers, is blamed for nightmarish birth defects in Vietnam where babies sometimes have two heads or do not have eyes or arms.

US veterans of the war have complained for years of a variety of health problems from exposure to the herbicides.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by The Vinh


by Duc Ngoc

Elementary school: An oil-on-canvas painting entitled Thieu Nu (Young Girl) is on display at Tuan’s exhibition.

Artist Thai Tuan, back from France and now living in Viet Nam, is displaying his latest paintings at the exhibition Ve Nguon (Return to the Source) in HCM City.

Tuan, 88, focuses on the beauty and gentleness of northern Vietnamese women of an earlier time.

The women include a noble young lady in an ao dai, a slender girl sitting quietly by a window, and a country girl carrying a basket of fruit while walking on a village road.

The 13 paintings look delicate and fragile, with soft colours like light yellow and moss green, which give a lyrical tone to his oil on canvas works.

“I like simplicity,” the Ha Noi native said. “I use few colours or lines.”

Tuan considers himself self-taught since he spent only one year at the Indochina Fine Arts College in Ha Noi, from 1939 to 1940.

Moving to Sai Gon in 1954 (now HCM City), Tuan began painting in 1957 and became one of the most well-known painters in the city in the 1970s.

In 1984, he left Viet Nam to live in Orleans, France, and later showed his work in Brazil, the US, Canada and France.

Besides his painting, he is an art critic whose book The Story of Art was re-published by the Van Nghe (Arts and Literature) Publishing Company for the third time this year.

Returning to live in Viet Nam in January, Tuan began to create one painting each month to prepare for Return to Source.

The exhibition can be seen at Tu Do Gallery, 53 Ho Tung Mau Street, District 1, until December 21. The gallery is open every day from 9am to 7pm. — VNS