PHOTO: Le Ly Hayslip speaks to her audience about her experience growing up in Vietnam.
By Joey Voss,
Bestselling author Le Ly Hayslip spoke to Davis High students at the Brunelle Theater on Tuesday, May 28. The presentation was organized by the Global Village Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed to aid developing countries in need.
Hayslip wrote the bestselling book “When Heaven and Earth Meet,” which was later turned into a film directed by Oliver Stone.
“With the book, I wanted to tell people really why the Americans were in Vietnam and how it affected those in Vietnam,” Hayslip said.
Hayslip immigrated to America after growing up in severe poverty in Vietnam during the war. The speech covered her life story as well as advice for the youth that attended her presentation.
“Life is about education, it is neither good nor bad,” Hayslip said. “Life is something to give and not to take, we can not take from Mother Earth.”
Hayslip delved into the differences between Vietnam and America during the Vietnam War and how she was caught between the two sides.
“It was very hard for me at first. Many Americans thought that all Vietnamese were communists,” Hayslip said.
“There are still a number of Vietnamese who are very bitter about the war and communism, so they think Le Ly is communist, which she is not,” English teacher and Vietnam War veteran Richard Ferguson said. “But then of course in Vietnam many of them think she is a capitalist, so she is caught in between.”
Hayslip considers herself to be neither Vietnamese or American because she considers herself to be a citizen of the world.
“Wherever I go I am at home,” Hayslip said. “If I travel wherever I stay is my home. I am happy wherever I am.”
The main idea Hayslip wanted to get across to the students was that everyone should help those in need.
“If I can do it, you can do it 10 times better,” Hayslip said. “You are educated, you have lots of energy and good ideas, so get on and do something.”
The speech was appreciated greatly by students and teachers alike.
“It hasn’t been a very talked about subject and it is incredible that someone can talk about this subject to us,” sophomore Jacen Belew said. “She suffered through a lot so it’s amazing that she is able to talk about this. She is a very strong woman.”
The Global Village Foundation collected donations at the event, and will continue to accept donations online.