In the Preface I wrote: "I am only an instrument of my brother. This Homepage is a self-expression of General Hieu." I am going to elaborate this affirmation.
I only started to be aware of my brother expressing himself through me when I was writing the article Cover-Up of General Hieu's Death . I suddenly made the following statement without any hesitation: "Although this is an imaginative development, I think it follows closely with what really happened that day, because I am convinced it has been sketched under the spiritual guidance of my brother's spirit." That was on 25 August 1998.
Prior to that day, in the beginning of July 1998, when I started writing my first article My Brother, General Hieu , I only felt a gentle nudge of inspiration to write. In it, I stated "My brother and I were not very close to each other" - right in the introduction - and "Without doubt, other people knew my brother better than me" in the conclusion. I was satisfied when this article was published in the 541st issue of Van Nghe Tien Phong magazine in the end of July 1998, and was hoping that article would trigger other people to take over the task of writing about General Hieu, because as far as I was concerned, I felt that I had already mustered everything I knew about my brother from my memory and mind. I was totally exhausted and caput.
But my brother did not desist! In the middle of July, he pushed me to send a letter to the Pentagon inquiring if they possessed any evaluation reports on General Hieu, written by American military advisors. The Pentagon responded that all significant documents pertaining to the Vietnam war era had been delivered in bulk to the National Archives three years ago. When I contacted the National Archives, I was told that the following week, that was the third week of August, right when I had two weeks of vacation, all documents of the Vietnam war era would be released 100 percent to the general public to peruse. In hindsight, my brother turned on the green light at the right time. Were I to contact the Pentagon or the National Archives earlier, I would certainly receive from either of these two agencies a "Sorry, there was nothing on him" note, after having a clerk research superficially one or two boxes among the huge stacks of documents kept on a floor the size of a football field.
Besides the pile of documents that my brother selectively guided me in retrieving (him, consciously; me, unconsciously) from the National Archives (it was like searching for a needle in a hay stack), he also directed my nephew Dung, his eldest son, to suddenly fetch and give me a manila envelop containing pictures, three letters and the death certificate of my brother. During all those years, from 1975 to August 1998, we had ample opportunities to meet each other, at least once or twice every year, and even so, Dung had never mentioned this treasure of documents, even his other brothers and sisters did not know that he had in his possession all this memorabilia!
Back to New York, after I wrote the article Cover-Up , I had no difficulty posting up to the Internet the following articles: General Kills Self In Saigon Dispute, Evaluation of ARVN 22nd Division, American Advisors' Evaluation on General Hieu, A Discussion Session between General Hieu and General McAuliffe, Tuong Hieu Hop Voi Bo Chi Huy (Staff Meeting), Dieu Hanh Binh Doan (Orders of Operation), Hanh Quan Toan Thang 46 (Operation Total Victory 46), Hanh Quan Toan Thang 8/B/5 (Operation Total Victory 8/B/5), Hanh Quan Dat May Do Tham (Sensor Operation), and Co Van My Luong Gia Si Quan Su Doan 5 (Evaluation of 5 Division's Officers), I had only to type verbatim the existing documents written either in English or in Vietnamese or to make minor arrangements. These articles were like ready-made dishes that I needed only to warm up a little bit before serving.
At this stage, I thought I had completed my task. But no ... my brother did not think it was enough: starting from the middle of September, every morning at 3:00 a.m., I was awakened by him, turned on the computer, began typing without outline, without anticipating in advance how to begin and how to end, without having to make any correction on syntax, kept on typing, sentences came out with ease like water from a stream, straight to 5, 6 o'clock. I then went on preparing to get ready for work, all day long I did not feel tired or somnolent. Some female colleagues even teased me for having an enhanced good-looking appearance!
The first article published under such conditions, was Hanh Quan Snoul (Snoul Operation). I am an educator without undergoing any formal military instruction whatsoever, with in hands only 6, 7 messages General Hieu dispatched to Task Force 8 and Task Force 9. Despite that fact, someone, after having read that article, phoned me to ask was I a member of the general staff planning that operation for producing such a precise narration. He then told me this is a psychic pen or automatic writing phenomenon. I had never heard of such a thing.
I finished writing this article on 20 September 1998; on 25 September 1998, my brother made me produce the next one Valiant General Nguyen Van Hieu.
At this stage, my brother decided the Vietnamese part of the task was more or less done, and instructed me to start translating the documents, written in Vietnamese into English; he told me the American public should know about him too. I translated in one shot, rather my brother dictated the translation to me, approximately twenty articles from Vietnamese into English and from English into Vietnamese, and was done within two weeks! It was indeed extraordinary, I could not possibly do it all by myself.
At this point, General Hieu's homepage was split into two separate parts: Vietnamese and English.
Then my brother made me write the article Tuong Hieu Voi Tha Nhan (General Hieu In His Rapport With Others) , which was achieved on 18 October 1998, an article full of details pertaining to other Generals that my brother Tri wondered how I was able to dig out of nowhere !
I thought that was it... But I was so surprised when my fingers started typing words of the title of Loi Tac Chien Dac Thu Cua Tuong Hieu (The Unique Combat Style of General Hieu)! While my head did not have any idea about combat concept in general, how could I discourse on unique combat style! Despite that fact, my fingers kept on typing and the outcome was that article as such. In reading it, I wonder: since when did I become such an expert in the field of military analysis.
These four last articles were like dishes that my brother, as a dexterous chef, concocted from his own hands, for the simple reason I have never learned how to cook military dishes!
Oh Ho! When it came to translate these two articles into English, all through the process, I was wondering when did I study all these English military terminology! I reread these two translated articles and felt at a loss: someone else had translated them, it could not possibly be me!
Looking back, from the day I started working on this webpage full throttle in the beginning of September, until I relatively achieved it in the beginning of November, roughly two months, I was able to produce approximately 150 8"x11" pages in Vietnamese and an equal amount of pages in English. In total 300 pages in such a short period of time!
In summary, be it a sensational psychic pen phenomenon or merely an ordinary writer's spell, I consider myself happy for enjoying an intimate experience with my brother, whom I barely knew when he was alive (after his marriage, from August 1954 to March 1975, I only met him again 10 times), but now has become my closest friend!
Nguyen Van Tin
1. General Hieu Moved His Headquarters To Lai Khe (11/23/1998)