Vietnamese refugee Luc is running for municipal election in Denmark

Luc Tan Le came from Vietnam to Denmark as a refugee. Now he is running for election – Photo: Timo Battefeld

Luc Tan Le was a child when he and his sibling fled communistic Vietnam in 1979. His escape from Vietnam landed him in Denmark where he has lived ever since. Now Luc is running for office in Haderslev municipal in the upcoming Danish municipal election. It’s the third time that Luc’s runs for election, JydskeVestkysten writes.

He explains that his childhood memories of growing up in a communistic regime have shaped his political standpoint teaching him how valuable the freedom of private ownership is.

Today Luc lives in the Danish city of Haderslev with his family. He works as a school psychologist and has a very “normal” Danish life. His upbringing was however in no way normal.

His parents originally came from North Vietnam, but they were against the communistic self-rule that had been announced in the region in 1945 so when the borders were opened to Southern Vietnam they chose to migrate there. Here Luc was born. His parents owned an engross company that they were running well due to the talent of his mother, Luc explains.

After the conclusion of the Vietnam war in 1975, the communist took control of the entire country and started persecuting business owners. Among these were Luc’s parents who had everything they owned seized.

“The communist confiscated everything. Everything had to be state-owned,” Luc says.

The communistic stranglehold and the personal persecution prompted Luc’s parents to make the decision that Luc and his siblings should flee Vietnam. They did so in 1979 when thousands of other Vietnamese people were leaving the country. Luc and his siblings got crammed onto a fishing boat with 121 people trying to escape Vietnam by sea. It was a very dangerous trip for Luc and his siblings.

“It was a horrible trip. The weather was bad, and the waves were very high. It was a very small boat crammed with people. We were chased by the authorities. They sailed after us, but they gave up after a while because the weather was too bad,” Luc explains.

He does not doubt that the fishing boat would have sunken and that people would have drowned if it wasn’t for the Danish ship who showed up and saved them.

Luc and his siblings ultimately landed In Haderslev, Denmark, in 1980 where they grew up. His parents first arrived in 1993.

The ghost of communism

In Denmark Luc started studying psychology at Copenhagen University in 1995. While he was studying, he joined the Danish Social Liberal Party, which he would later be a candidate for. The social liberal approach is important in the way Luc sees society. The social effort is important, but society has to be built on a liberal business sector. Luc is certain that his early years in Vietnam observing the consequences of the almighty state has led him to this political standpoint.

“I’ve seen the flip side of the medal and how they took everything from one moment to another. How they completely took all initiative away from people who had no sense of ownership to things anymore and how nothing, therefore, was done,” Luc says.

Many years ago, Luc went back to visit Vietnam and it was not an experience he wishes to repeat.

“It was horrible. The country had just opened up for new developments as a result of the new reforms and it was marred with poverty. It is hard to look at, there were so many beggars in the streets, and everything was dirty. And then there was corruption. You had to bribe your way to everything. It was horrible,” Luc explains.

The Danish municipal election is set for 16. November.

About Lasse Sandholdt

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Lasse Sandholdt

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