Obsolete flag flown
A Vietnamese-Canadian cultural group recently obtained city permission to fly flags of the now-defunct republic of South Vietnam. The Lac Viet Society successfully applied to the city to place a dozen South Vietnamese flags on public parkland at 12th Avenue and Kingsway between June 10 and June 24.
Society spokesperson Lam Dang told the Straight that the group flew the flags to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Vietnamese settlement in Vancouver. He claimed that there was no intention to commemorate the former government of South Vietnam, which collapsed in 1975 when Viet Cong armed forces reunited the country.
"We just tried to bring people together, share a laugh, enjoy the food, and have some entertainment there," Dang said.
The former South Vietnamese flag is yellow with three stripes, whereas the Vietnamese flag features a large yellow star on a red background. Nobody from the Vietnamese embassy in Ottawa was available for comment on the city's decision to permit the former South Vietnamese flag to be displayed on public property.
An alert Straight reader, Doug Eastwood, contacted City Hall late last month after noticing the South Vietnamese flags on display at 12th Avenue and Kingsway. He pointed out in an e-mail to the city that the country hasn't existed since the 1970s, and that when it did, it wasn't a shining example of human rights.
Dang said that in retrospect, it was a mistake to fly the South Vietnamese flags. "Next time, we will try to be careful because some people have different opinions," he said. "This is public land, so we have to respect it."