Overseas Vietnamese Family in the UK Cherishes Precious Memories of Uncle Ho

On this joyous occasion of commemorating the birthday of Vietnam's beloved leader, Uncle Ho, a Vietnamese expatriate living in the UK has come forward to share an extraordinary story of their family's connection to the nation's hero.

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Poet Thanh Phan lives in the district of Bromley in South East London. Photo: VNA
Poet Thanh Phan lives in the district of Bromley in South East London. Photo: VNA

Thanh Phan, a Vietnamese expatriate living in the United Kingdom, has paid tribute to the late leader Ho Chi Minh on the occasion of his 133rd birth anniversary (May 19, 1890), the Vietnam News Agency reported. As a devoted patriot, Ho Chi Minh dedicated his entire life to the struggle for the independence and prosperity of the Vietnamese nation and people. On this special day, Phan fondly remembers the great leader and shares his memories of Ho Chi Minh.

The renowned poet, now in his eighties, declared that May 19th is of particular significance to his family, as it is associated with the memory of his beloved father who joined President Ho Chi Minh in the early stages of the struggle against the French colonialists.

Poet Thanh Phan revealed that his father passed away on May 20th—coincidentally, the day after the birthday of Uncle Ho. As a result, the entire family looks back on this month with reverence and remembrance.

Poet Thanh Phan recalls the memory of the photo his father was honored to take with President Ho at the war zone. Photo: VNA
Poet Thanh Phan recalls the memory of the photo his father was honored to take with President Ho at the war zone. Photo: VNA

In September 1945, heeding the call of the leader, Phan Nam Anh (later renamed Phan Hoa Sinh), a renowned silk merchant in Hanoi, and numerous other capitalists contributed funds and gold to the government during the weeklong Gold Week from September 17th to 24th.

This event marked a crucial milestone in the life of businessman Phan Hoa Sinh when he chose to heed the call of President Ho Chi Minh to join the struggle for the defense and liberation of the nation. President Ho Chi Minh‘s call had an immense impact on his life and ultimately changed it.

During the nine-year resistance war from 1946 to 1954, Sinh had the great honor of living and working alongside the leader and many of his comrades, such as Pham Van Dong, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Truong Chinh, in the Viet Bac base.

Poet Thanh Phan and his wife with a photo of his father, Phan Nam Anh (later renamed Phan Hoa Sinh). Photo: VNA
Poet Thanh Phan and his wife with a photo of his father, Phan Nam Anh (later renamed Phan Hoa Sinh). Photo: VNA

According to acclaimed poet Thanh Phan, his father gleaned much wisdom from the President, such as his working style and his simple yet humble lifestyle. Phan further observed that this humility and modest way of life, which his father had learned from Uncle Ho, was passed down to his grandchildren. After spending eight years in England, Phan brought his elderly parents to stay with him, as he was concerned about their declining health and advanced age. His three children, born and raised in England yet educated and influenced by their grandfather, have all adopted a simple and modest approach to life, even after achieving success.

His father’s deep love for Vietnam inspired Thanh Phan to write many beautiful poems, particularly those that pay homage to the city of Hanoi. Whether through his words or his actions, Thanh Phan has demonstrated his own patriotism and admiration for his homeland.

Living in the UK for almost half a century, the poet still reflects deeply on his roots, particularly his hometown, Hanoi. He has composed numerous poetry books about Hanoi, including the anthology of poems “Night of Milk Flowers” published by the Ethnic Culture Publishing House, Ministry of Culture and Information in 2004 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Liberation of the Capital. The three poems in this collection, “Remembering Hanoi’s Spring”, “Hanoi – Night of Milk Flower” and “Old Memories – Nostalgia”, were set to music by composers Tran Hoan and Thuan Yen.

For decades, up until the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Thanh Phan had been making regular trips back to his hometown in Vietnam, where he would take part in many cultural and artistic events and programs.

Hannah Nguyen