The host of the podcast The Vietnamese Boat People grew up listening to her mother telling unbelievable stories. She would share with her child tales of trying to escape Vietnam and family separation. Tracy Nguyen Mang's mom revealed a complicated family history from riches to rags. Tracy never knew if her mom's accounts were true, but they were always captivating. The mother's natural storytelling abilities made Tracy want to do the same. It wasn't until Tracy was in her 40s that she decided to act on that desire.
The podcast is Tracy's attempt to hold onto her heritage. As a mother to mixed children, she felt that her Vietnamese side was slipping away from her. Neither her husband nor her kids spoke the language, and she only saw her parents a few times a year. Additionally, they were getting older. She feared they wouldn't be around to share their memories for much longer. To fix this, she decided to make audio files of her family members talking about their experience as The Vietnamese Boat People.
Through that process, Tracy understood the need to talk about that period in history. She realized that, much like her mother, there must be other people who want to share their accounts. That's what led her to produce a podcast as an outlet for other people's stories.
With The Vietnamese Boat People, Tracy hopes to create an accessible oral history. Lessons in American schools about the Vietnam War rarely talk about the refugees. There aren't any TV shows or movies about them or any form of representation. With this project, the host wants to tell a forgotten piece of the past.
Each story on the podcast is inspiring, and some are heartbreaking. Through expert narration, insightful interviews, and masterful production, Tracy builds these stories. They are both educational and relatable. Most of all, they help to preserve an important legacy. New episodes of The Vietnamese Boat People debut each month.