When the small boat loaded with people landed on the shores of Thailand at the beginning of 1987, it was the completion of a process that began long before each person set foot on board—the final act of a lost war.

Dizzy, dehydrated and unsure of where they were, the 14 adults and 15 children—including my parents and six-year-old brother—had spent five days and five nights at sea. Two days into the journey, the group ran out of water. My mother considered drinking my brother’s urine, but the smell of ammonia allayed her desperation. With a broken rudder, no food and limited fuel, they’d decided they needed to stop as soon as they saw land—knowing that this might never happen.

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Hannah Hoang

Hannah Hoang is a 2D artist based in Saigon, Vietnam. She's specialised in 2D animation, illustration, character design and raising her two cats.

Xuyen Nguyen

Xuyen Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American writer based in Beijing. Her personal work focuses on stories related to migration, refugees and the psychology of trauma.