CAF Story | The Terrifying But Beautiful Sea
There’s people crying and people yelling, people screaming. I was thinking that that was it to myself. I was like: “OK, I’m gonna die here, so.”
I’m LCdr Kim Poirier. I currently work at director of Naval Strategy.
My dad was a rich entrepreneur. Shortly after the Vietnam War, he didn’t want to escape because he believed that he was an honest man doing honest business. A lot of the wealthy families had their life possessions confiscated.
I actually remember that day very well. A big truck came in front of our store. We were rounded up and was placed in a farm, to be working amongst peasants in the belief that everybody is equal.
My dad realized that there was no way that we could survive. He made the ultimate decision to escape Vietnam as a family.
We were going through some fields. It started raining and thundering. I remember, my cousin was saying that, you know, “You have to be brave. You can’t cry because we cannot be heard.”
Eventually, we got on a boat. It was very late at night and we started setting sail.
There were people crying and people yelling, people screaming. I was like: “OK, I’m gonna die here, so.”
Some, what I thought, were pirates. People were coming to rob us. That’s where my mom gave up her wedding ring as well.
After that, we came across an oil rig, but they won’t take us. We refused to leave. We wanted to get on the oil rig.
Whoever was in charge of the journey decided to sink the boat. The oil rig can’t just let people die, right?
So, the officials of the boat put some hole in the boat and told the oil rig that we’re gonna sink. Reluctantly, they started letting us board and then, the boat sank. And then, there was a cargo ship that came by and then took us to one of the Malaysian Islands.
I remember meeting an official. I remember they said: “Do you want to go to Canada?” Right. And we were told: “You just nod your head.” So, “Yeah, yeah, we want to go to Canada.”
I clearly remember the day that I arrived in St. Walburg, Saskatchewan. It was all white. I see snow on the tree. It was very beautiful.
Maybe subconsciously, I chose the Navy because even though it was a terrifying experience as a boat people, the beauty of the sea is… It’s hard to describe.
When you’re actually deployed, it’s just so rewarding. I contributed to helping somebody.
Capitalize on what you have, appreciate it and if you can, give back.