|Bác Lâm Nê|
Nguyên trại trưởng trại tị nạn Việt Nam Đường Bộ Dongrek
"Born in 1927, Lam was brought up as a Cambodian Buddhist monk at a Cambodian temple in Vietnam, where he was born and raised. Lam’s parents migrated from China to work on the rice fields in Vietnam. Lam later furthered his education in France and joined the Vietnamese military after he returned, and was later appointed as Colonel.
However, during the Vietnam War, Lam, like many intellectuals, was put in a reeducation camp for six years. After he was released, he immediately took his son and fled to the Dong Rek Refugee Camp in Thailand. Recognizing Lam’s background as a Colonel and his leadership skills, people at the camp eventually turned to him to create some order within the disorganized and unsafe camp.
Lam said life in the camp was harsh. Food and clean water were in short supply, hygiene was poor and interpersonal conflicts were many—caused by differences between families, languages, ethnicities and religions. The refugees were mainly Laos, Vietnamese, and Cambodian.
Lam sought to maintain peace by preaching respect. Even though he was a Buddhist practitioner himself, he kindly welcomed worship in temples, churches and mosques throughout the camp. Religious practice in the camp allowed for the refugees to believe in a better future, said Lam.
In 1985, after spending three and a half years at the camp, Lam and his son were ordered to leave the camp after his life was threatened...."