From Ho Chi Minh’s fictional Diary:

19 May 1900
Kim Lien Village, Vietnam


Today was my tenth birthday so father said I should write a diary. I also received gifts including a blue-and-white bird and an abacus that belonged to my grandfather. Father told my brother and me a story about Kim Long, son of the warrior Ton That, who was only twelve when he carried the news of his father’s victory against the Chinese invaders. He journeyed one hundred and twenty kilometers to the Emperor and then died of exhaustion. The story is carved on a tablet in the Van Mieu Temple father says he will take us to see one day.

This morning I read again the poem by my favorite poet, Nguyen Trai:

The people were burnt in flames
or buried in tombs of disaster.
To deceive heaven and to deceive men,
The invaders killed and oppressed.
Humanity and justice were trampled, taxes
squeezed dry the living.

The name of Ho Chi Minh is the last pseudonym he took to conceal his identity from French security, to whom he was a wanted man from youth. He was born Nguyen Sinh Cung. The Nguyens are the Smiths of Vietnam. Ho’s father was a low-level mandarin known for his revolutionary ideas and contact with other resistance leaders, in particular Phan Boi Chau. Ho was born in a house made from bamboo; the house has been reconstructed as a shrine. By Vietnamese standards of the time, this house would have been considered the house of a well-to-do family.
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