Nguyễn An Ninh (Version anglaise)

Version française

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Sống vỉ thế hệ tương lai

Chết vì đất nước tù đày không than

A great homage to Nguyễn An Ninh

through my  Six-Eight verses:

To live in such a way one has no shame of living
To die in such a way to avoid thousands of ironies
Is to live for future generations
And to die for one’s country without complaining days in imprisonment.

 

dead at Poulo Condor

 

Facing Nguyễn An Ninh’s flat refusal to repent and the alarming situation caused by the imminent landing of the Japanese army in Indochina in 1943, his jailer, the warden of the Poulo Condor prison, Mr. Tisseyre decided to eliminate this burdensome prisoner who was sick and potentially dangerous in his view because the Japanese could later use him as a pawn on the Indochina chessboard.

Nguyễn An Ninh since his coming back to Vietnam, became not only, as time went by, an idol for the Vietnamese youth but also one of the most respected leaders among Vietnamese intellectuals in Cochinchina. Even during his imprisonment in Poulo Condor, he was the only one to have received the esteem of all political prisoners no matter they are communists, nationalists, Trotskists or other etc…  and to have brought peace in case of stormy debates or virulent altercations between prisoners.

How come a young man like Nguyễn An Ninh arrived at becoming a « bête noire  » of the colonial authorities? However at the beginning he did not have intention to resort to violence like the Nguyễn Thái Học nationalists or the Vietnamese communists. He supported himself with his pen and the newspaper « La cloche fêlée » whose director was a longtime friend of his, a French of the name Eugene de Jean de la Bâtie. He made a mistake to have dared demand with fanfare for his compatriots the freedom of expression and fundamental rights which he had fully enjoyed during his years of study at the Sorbonne in Paris, and which were lacking then in Vietnam, by using his caustic and careless critics, and succinct analyses in his newspaper. He did not even conceal his sympathy that his has always had for the leader Phan Chu Trinh, a friend of his father Nguyễn An Khương. He was the translator of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s « Social Contract ». By means of seminars and public debates, he succeeded in provoking a collective awareness among Vietnamese intellectuals of the 1920’s and 1940’s who up until then were asleep in a seemingly happiness, freedom and justice created by the colonial authorities. Those young intellectuals only bothered with universally human subjects such as love, family, sadness of separation etc… Although they are often alongside with the rural area, they never asked any questions about what was going on there. Not that they ignore the poverty outside urban areas but they never lived there. Even though they were not issue of large estate bourgeoisie or sons of collaborators, they nourished the dream of becoming government officials.
From his return to Vietnam in 1922, instead of going into this traditional mould like others of his age, his generation, Nguyen An Ninh, this young man of 22 years of age, with rounded hairdo, law graduate from the Sorbonne, made his way in the opposite direction by advocating the method of the Indian poet Tagore. The latter thought it would be possible to obtain independence without bloodshed from the British by means of straightening up to the intellectual level of the Indian people. That was why with the help of some of his friends he did not hesitate to launch a series of debates on themes such as  » A culture for the Annamites », « The ideal of the Annamite youth » etc…, which provoked from then on visible swirls in a harbor of peace established by the Governor of Cochinchina, Mr. Cognacq.

He was the instigators of several petitions claiming not only freedom of expression but also freedom of education and freedom of the press for the natives. It was a significant worry for this governor because through his tonic speeches, Nguyễn An Ninh arrived at mobilizing and electrifying the intellectual youth of South Vietnam, casting doubts among the Vietnamese intellectuals having at the time total confidence in the French education system in Indochina. Cognacq was compelled to react because each speech animated by Nguyễn An Ninh provided the occasion to mobilize more and more people. Cognacq did not hesitate to remind him several times that there was always room at the prison of Poulo Condor for recalcitrant people like him. On the other hand, he would have access to an important post in the colonial administration if he gave up this suicidal adventure. Despite this reminder full of threat, Nguyen An Ninh continued persevering in this political involvement, which compelled the colonial authorities to imprison him several times. His first incarceration was shortened thanks to the strong intervention of many French personalities of that time, especially that of Romain Rolland, Nobel Price winner in literature in 1915, before the colonial authorities. From then on, Nguyễn An Ninh became not only a regular visitor of the prison but a man to bring down for the colonial authorities. Having been aware of the impossibility of claiming before the colonial authorities the fundamental rights by peaceful means, he soon undertook secretly the armed struggle. He became thus the leader of the party « Hope of the Youth ( Ðảng Thanh Niên Cao Vọng ) being successful in having more than 7000 adherents during its existence and aiming at redistributing land to poor peasants in 1927.

His renown allowed him to make friend with the leaders of other political movements, especially with trotskist Tạ Thu Thâu, journalist Hồ Hữu Tường, young attorney Trịnh Ðình Thảo, communist Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai etc…

He was contacted several times by the communists and the Nguyen Thai Hoc nationalists and asked to join their movements but he took the pretext of being closely watched by the colonial authorities to refuse their proposals with courtesy. Closer to the communists in his ideas and struggle, he knew however how to make a difference. He never concealed that he had in himself the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau and Diderot. He loved to be above the melees and political rivalries and considered himself above all a Vietnamese intellectual serving his country.

Taking advantage of the political confusion taking place in France by the dissolution of the French communist party by president Edouard Daladier ( 25 September 1939 ) and of the lack of support from the French intellectuals that Nguyễn An Ninh had up until then, it did not take the colonial authorities long to put their hand on Nguyễn An Ninh and expeditiously sent him to the Poulo Condor prison by charging him with being the troublemaker and instigator of peasant revolts.
Very few Vietnamese dared talk about this prison without emotion. It is all about an archipelago of 14 small islands located at 180km from Vũng Tàu (ex Cap Saint Jacques) and accessible after 12 hours by boat. By the end of 13th century, Marco Polo noted that island Côn Sơn, the greatest of all 14 islands was uninhabited. The Poulo Condor archipelago was the object of secular dispute between the Vietnamese, Khmers and Malays. It was discovered one beautiful morning, 28 November 1861, by the lieutenant of the French Royal Navy of Napoleon III, Lespes Sebastien Nicolas Joachim. It became thus a French possession during colonial time and stood out among famous prisons.

But Nguyễn An Ninh remained the only one capable of wiping out all stormy discussions between protagonists. To relax in jail, Ninh composed many poems but the most famous remains the following found in his pocket at his interment by his prison inmates:

Sống và chết

Sống mà vô dụng sống làm chi
Sống chẳng lương tâm, sống ích gì
Sống trái đạo người, người thêm tủi
Sống quên ơn nước , nước càng khi
Sống tai như điếc, lòng đâm thẹn
Sống mắt dường đui dạ thấy kỳ
Sống sao nên phải cho nên sống
Sống để muôn đời, sử tạc ghi…
….. ….
Chết được dựng hình tên chẳng mục
Chết đưa vào sử chữ không phai.
Chết đó, rõ ràng danh sống mãi
Chết đây, chỉ chết cái hình hài
Chết vì Tổ Quốc, đời khen ngợi
Chết cho hậu thế, đẹp tương lai

Living and Dying

Living useless is not worth living
Living without a conscience is living useless
Living counter to humanism is pitiable
Living forgetting one’s country is despicable.
Living as if deaf is shameful
Living as if blind is embarrassing
Living the way one should would one live
Living as such that history engraves memory

Dying statue erected in one’s name undecayed
Dying legacy entering history unfaded
Dying that way is like living for ever
Dying as such is only physical dying
Dying for one’s country is praised at all time
Dying for posterity is a beautiful dying

His death could have gone unnoticed had there not been the check of prison guard Rognon who by coincidence verified the bag containing the bodies of prisoners dead the day before ( 14 August 1943 ) and scheduled to be sent to the morgue. Taken by pity and admiration he always had for Nguyễn An Ninh, he decided to alert Mr. Tisseyre, the director of the prison and asked him for permission to bury Nguyễn An Ninh in a coffin. But he did not know that Nguyễn An Ninh was liquidated on order of Tisseyre with a shot of arsenic. That was why Tisseyre, embarrassed by that suggestion, did not hesitate to remind Rognon that he was beginning to be interested in businesses that have nothing to do with him. Alerted by the death of her friend Nguyen An Ninh she had known at the time when she was a young student at the Sorbonne, the wife of the director of the electric company at Poulo Condor, Mme Charlotte Printanière insisted at length with Tisseyre that Nguyễn An Ninh be buried with dignity. Facing Tisseyre’s inhuman treatment, she was compelled to to tell him with irritation:

A person like him deserves being respected when it comes to a Vietnamese patriot. You would lose nothing if you bury him the way it should be. Besides, you will be appreciated for your your generosity. For what reasons do you continue to stop showing your admiration toward this true revolutionary? Who dare say in the future you will always be the winner? »

In spite of this remark, Tisseyre remained impassible. He left the body of Nguyen An Ninh in a pitiful condition with his clothes in tatters. He was buried the next day at Hàng Keo by his prison inmates. As for Mme Charlotte Printaniere, she was recalled to Saigon a few days later and was forbidden to return to the island. Her remark became a prophecy a few years later. Tisseyre was imprisoned in his turn by the Japanese army and was sentenced to 20 years in prison by General De Gaulle ‘s court martial for having surrendered without conditions to the Japanese Army.

By means of Tisseyre, the colonial authorities succeeded in killing Nguyễn An Ninh. But they forgot the phrase that Nguyễn An Ninh had recalled well in his poem « Living and Dying« . Dying here is just the physical death of the body. Actually, Ninh has gone but there are many other Ninhs who came to take his place and the torch of the struggle. Since the beginning of time, history has taught us that it is always possible to eliminate all the instigators of revolts but it is impossible to eradicate their ideas, especially those having to do with the defense of a just and legitimate cause.

Nguyễn An Ninh is not only the person having a notable influence on the intellectuals of South Vietnam in the 1920’s and 1940’s but also a person capable of waking up a generation. It was the opinion of historian Daniel Hémery in his work « Saigon 1925-1945 » published in 1972 in Paris.

Nguyễn An Ninh was not only a Vietnamese patriot but also a valiant militant revolutionary who fought for the Country and the People to the last breath of his life. It was the terms used by Phạm văn Ðồng to pay homage to Nguyễn An Ninh in the Liberated Saigon newspaper issue 14 August 1993, no. 571. When he was alive Ngô Ðình Diệm, the ex-president of the Republic of Vietnam, did not even forget what Nguyen An Ninh had done to the country by giving to Admiral Courbet street near the Bến Thành central market the name Nguyễn An Ninh and restoring his tomb in Poulo Condor island.

It is no surprise to see Nguyễn An Ninh succeed in receiving still after so many decades unanimous approvals from all Vietnamese political tendencies. He has always been considered by his compatriots as a Vietnamese intellectual in his service to his country. He had the possibility to become rich with his degree at that time, to put himself on the side of the strongest in the difficult moments of the Vietnam history but he preferred to choose another way, the one to share the misfortune with his people and to engage a political combat in the pursuit of freedom.

How many Vietnamese politicians still have this ideal like Nguyễn An Ninh on this land of legends?

The valley of Chămpa kings (Thánh Địa Mỹ Sơn)

 

 

 

Version française ou vietnamienne

The valley of Chămpa kings

The Old Chămpa inhabitants have incarnated their soul into the soil and the stone and they have been able to take advantage of the nature for making it in a splendid, mysterious and grandiose Mỹ Sơn. It is a real architectural, sculptural and artistic museum for the outstanding value in the world that it is difficult to fully understand.

(Late architecte Kasimierz Kwakowski )

 

The brick buildings and  sandstone statues are the cornerstone in the Chămpa art. Contrary to the Khmer, the Chămpa people continued to build the edifices in brick, despite the perfect mastery of sandstone in decorations and statues. The Chămpa architecture is inspired by India. The works are essentially composed of a main temple (or kalan in the Cham language), some towers and some outbuildings, the whole included in the enclosure. The brick carving remains a particular and original Chămpa art rarely found among other peoples of Southeast Asia.

Mỹ Sơn could be compared with Angkor (Cambodia), Pagan  (Myamar), Borobudur (Indonesia) and Ayutthaya (Thaïland). Mỹ Sơn is located  in a valley located approximatively 10 km west of Trà Kiệu. This one was known as the capital of Lâm Ấp kingdom (Linyi)  from 605 to 707 with the name Simhapura and  situated 37km south of Đà Nẵng city.

Pictures gallery

  


A great homage to Chămpa civilization vanished in the turbulence of history.


 

 

The kingdom of Chămpa (Vương quốc Chămpa)

linyi

It is an ancient kingdom of Indochina known in the past as « Lâm Ấp » ( or Lin Yi )(192-749), then Hoàn Vương (Huanwang)  (758-859)  and finally  Chiêm Thành ( or Tchan-Tcheng in Chinese) (988-1471) and located in what is now central Vietnam, from the Anamitic cordillera   Hoành Sơn, Quãng Bình in the North to  Bình Thuân (Phan Thiết) in the south. The amazing Cham towers in red bricks and sandstone found in Ðà Nẵng and Phan Thiết are the sole silent witnesses of a civilization vanished in the turbulence of history.

The Cham were no doubts of Indonesian origin and occupied the coasts of central and south Vietnam from the neolithic time. In 2nd century, this sailors people adopted Hinduism in contact with Indian merchants, which gave birth to the Champa kingdom. A Chinese traveller of 4th century described them with a particular typical look: big straight nose, black and curly hair, practicing a funeral ritual that involves the cremation at the drum sound. The Chàm were not only excellent sailors but also formidable builders and ingenious farmers. The Chàm succeeded in achieving the unity of the country at the beginning of 5th century after having resisted several rounds of Chinese domination attempts. Their capital was located at Indrapura (Trà Kiểu), near Ðà Nẵng (former Tourane of the French ) from 7th to 9th century.

Thanks to the silk, spices, and ivory trade between China on one hand and India and the Muslim world on the other, this kingdom experienced a period of prosperity that was troubled first by the Khmers conquest in 1145-1147 then next by the expansion policy of Kubilai Khan’s Mongols. To face this domination, the Chàm sought alliance with Vietnam, which allowed the Chàm and the Vietnamese to come out victorious during this confrontation. To seal this union, a Vietnamese princess of the name Huyển Trân of the Tran dynasty, sister of king Trần Anh Tôn was proposed to become in 1306 the wife of the Champa king Chế Mẫn ( Jaya Simhavarman ) in exchange for the two Cham territories Châu Ô and Châu Rí, located at the Hai Vân Pass. These are no other than the two northern provinces Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên of presently Vietnam (Huế). This union was of short duration. The Vietnamese continued to claim more land toward the South and the death of king Che Man a year after his marriage, without an heir, was only an additional pretext in the conquest of Champa. The king of Vietnam set up a plot by sending his general Trần Khắc Chung to rescue his sister, who had to be sacrificed according to the Cham tradition, at the funeral of her husband. The provinces of Châu Ô and Châu Ri’ became then the subject of discord between Champa and Vietnam.

The Cham had an awakening with king Chế Bồng Nga who struck the Vietnamese several times by ransacking the capital Thăng Long in 1372 and 1377. But he was assassinated in 1389 during a new invasion of Vietnam and his death marked the decline of the Cham. The Vietnamese annexed this kingdom around 1470 under the Lê dynasty with king Lê Thánh Tôn.

Today, the Cham are dispersed as a diaspora from Kampuchea to Malaysia and constitute one of the ethnic minorities of Viet-Nam. (less than 100000 Chams).

Gia Long ( Founder of Nguyễn dynasty)

 

 

Gia Long

French version

Gia Long is the imperial title prince Nguyễn Phúc Ánh took in 1802 for his reign at the time of the reunification of the Vietnam empire which extended from the border of Lạng Sơn to the point of Cà Mau on the gulf of Siam.

Gia long results from the combination of two following words: Gia and Long (Gia being a word extracted from the name Gia Định, the ancient city of Saïgon and Long that of the name Thăng Long, the ancient capital Hànội). During the 25 years of fighting against the Tây Sơn, he roamed the whole Cochinchina. He knew perfectly well all the corners of the Mekong delta. Prince Nguyễn Ánh was so attached to the people of the South and in particular to Saigon city that he was khnown at the time as « General Gia Định ».

Before the unification of Vietnam (1801), the last survivor of the Nguyen was hunted down several times by the Tây Sơn ( or the people from the West ) of Nguyễn Huệ. He owed his safe life to a French missionary Pierre Joseph Pigneaux de Behaine who shared with him his meal brought in by a confidant, P. Paul Nghi, and who did not hesitate to organize his escape in the Cancau principality of Mạc Thiên Tứ, the son of his allied Mạc Cửu Hà Tiên region) after the assassination of Nguyễn Huệ. Vương by the Tây Sơn, which is told by the British John Barrow in his book  » Voyage in Cochichina » in 1793.

The tough life he experienced during his years of vicissitude gave his partisans an occasion to interpret later his exploits and perils that he succeeded in overcoming as a sign of God’s will in helping him to regain the throne. The grotto of coins (Hang Tiên) in the region of Ha Tien, accessible nowaday by boat, evokes the souvenir of the young prince Nguyễn Ánh, who took shelter there with his troops while waiting for French reinforcements. One  finds coins left by pirates. Vietnamese sayings go with his exploits, such as:

« Kỳ đà cản mũi »

The varanus is in front of the prow

to mean a task cannot be done because of the obstruction of someone. Thanks to the presence of a monitor that blocked his junk on its way to the sea, he was narrowly saved because his enemies were waiting for him there. Another time in the region of Ha Tien, his junk was bothered by the presence of snakes. He was forced to give order to his subordinates to row faster so as not to be pursued by the snakes. This allowed him to reach Phú Quốc island sooner and avoid the trap set by his adversaries. That is why a Vietnamese saying goes:

« Gặp rắn thì đi, gặp qui thì về »

to mean it is possible to keep going when encountering snakes and it is better to go back when encountering turtles.

Thoughout historical accounts, it is noted that Nguyen Anh was lucky during the years of fighting with the Tây Sơn. One time he was chased by the enemies. He was forced to cross a river by swimming. He was aware that the river was infested with crocodiles. He had to resort to buffaloes that splashed about the riverside to take him over. Even the perilous rescue of his boat engulfed by waves by the young intrepid Lê Vân Duyệt (15 years of age ) who later became his talented general, in a stormy night was the object of prophecy discussed for so many years by the people of Long Hưng Tây village before the event took place.

In spite of these facts having something to do with legitimizing by divine protection the struggle led by Nguyễn Ánh, it is not fair to ignore the qualities in this outstanding personage. He did not have the genius of strategy of his adversary, general Nguyễn Huệ. But he had an incommensurable patience parallel only to that of Gou Jian (or Cẩu Tiễn in Vietnamese ), the prince of Yue in the North at the episode of Spring and Autumn ( thời Xuân Thu )( 476 B.C ) who waited long years to get ready for revenge against Fu Chai ( Phù Sai ) the Wu State’s sovereign ( nuớc Ngô của Ngủ Tử Tư ).

He was gifted at being able to recruit as subordinates individuals of valor ( Võ Tánh, Lê Văn Duyệt, Nguyễn Văn Thành etc…) and grant to frienship a particular signification during his reign, which has been noted towards French missionary Pigneaux de Behaine or his French lieutenants Jean Baptist Chaigneau ( Nguyễn Văn Thắng), Philippe Vaniera, Olivier Puymanel or Siamese king Rama I ( or Chakkri ).

In acknowledgement of the debt that Nguyễn Ánh had let him go back safe and sound with his army to rescue his imprisoned family, the latter was fast to offer many years of hospitality to prince Nguyễn Ánh and his suite when he was forced to take refuge in Bangkok after his scathing defeats against the Tây Sơn at Mỹ Tho (1785).

Nguyễn Ánh was a brave and tough man. With him it seems like there is no one in the South who dares to oppose him. To repay the debt toward his family assassinated by the Tay Son, he remained unruffled before the tortures he reserved for his adversaries. The vanquished enemies were put to death by appalling tortures. Men were torn and women and children were stamped by elephants. Their corpses were thown in the field for crows to eat. It was the fate reserved for the female general Bùi Thị Xuân, the son of emperor Nguyễn Huệ, king Nguyễn Quang Toản etc…

This pact of friendship was born in a military confrontation between his lieutenant Nguyễn Hữu Thùy and Chakkri which was still a general sent by the Siamese king Taksim (Trịnh Quốc Anh ).

Before the volte-face of Taksim imprisoning his family, Chakkri was forced to compromise with Nguyen Anh and return to Bangkok to overthrow Taksim. To recognize this debt and to assist Nguyen Anh to recover the throne, Chakkri sent an army of 50,000 men which was completely decimated in 1785 by the strategist Nguyễn Huệ in the western Mékong (Mỹ Tho).

For political reasons, he did not hesitate to kill people who had served him with devotion when he was still a young prince hunted down by the Tây Sơn. It is the case of Nguyễn Văn Thành, Ðặng Trần Thường. That is why he was ofen compared to Liu Bang (Lưu Bang), the great Han emperor having reserved the same treatment toward his comrades-in-arm. Despite that, he was also seen as a man of the heart. He was fast to render great homage to his comrade-in-arm Nguyễn Văn Thành whom he forced to commit suicide for a calomnious insinuation and burst into tear before the altar set up in honor of the latter. He ordered freedom for his family and restitution of confiscated possessions and titles. One also finds his profound attachment to his subordinates’ lives through the message addressed to his brother-in-law, general Võ Tánh in charge of defending Qui Nhơn or to Pigneaux de Behaine, his spiritual father, military advisor through the ceremony arranged at the funeral of the latter, which was reported by Father Lelabrousse at the Missions Etrangeres on April 24, 1800.

He was also a seducing warrior. His consideration toward queen Ngọc Bích, the young wife of his adversary, young king Cảnh Thịnh (son of king Quang Trung) was exemplary. She was crying out when she saw a very majestuous man standing in front of her:

-General Gia Ðịnh, what do you want of me?

He smiled and answered her with kindness:

Don’t be afraid and stop crying please. General Gia Dinh will be more gentle than a Tay Son one. This residence remains the same for you despite of the change of ownership.

Since his gentleness and his will to conquer the heart of the queen was so strong the latter could not resist. She became thus his first rank concubine and had two sons with him. She was married two times to two kings (Cảnh Thình and Gia Long) and was the last daughter of the Lê kings. That is why the two implacable adversaries became « brothers-in-law » because Nguyễn Huệ was the spouse of Ngọc Hân and Gia Long that of Ngọc Bích. It is also for the latter that a Vietnamese saying goes:

Số đâu mà số lạ lùng
Con vua mà lấy hai chồng làm vua

What a bizarre fate she has
Daughter of a king, she got twice married to kings.

In spite of his reputation of being a warrior hardened by years of war and vicissitudes, he was also as vulnerable as any ordinary man. A great number of worries has come upon him that he did not wish to hide and reveal to his confidant, Frenchmen Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau:

Ruling country is easier than managing a harem.
This was revealed by Michel, the son of J.B. Chaigneau in his journal « Le Moniteur de la Flotte » in 1858.

Despite the treaty initialed at Versailles in 1787 by Counts de Vergennes and de Montmorin for king Louis 16th and by his son Nguyễn Phúc Cảnh witnessed by bishop of Adran, Pigneaux de Behaine, the collaboration of a great number of French subordinates in his ranks and his interest in science and Western techniques, he continued adopting a very ambiguous policy toward the Europeans, in particular the missionaries. Was this benevolent attitude due to the friendship he tried to honor toward his friend Pigneaux de Behaine or to his open mindedness like KangXi in China aiming at better utilizing the catholic missionaries’s competences?

One keeps asking these questions up to now. However, one knows that throughout the construction of the Purple City, the maintenance of the mandarinal system, the reform of the Le code based on that of the Qing in China, he appeared to be more than never an admirer of the Ming and Qing dynsties, a convinced Confucianist and a more retrograde emperor. During his last years, he began a policy of folding back by choosing as his successor prince Nguyễn Phúc Ðảm supported by most of the Confucianist mandarins in lieu of the children of prince Cảnh who deceased of an illness. The prince known under the name of Minh Mang did not hesitate to do away with the children and wife of Cảnh (Mỹ Ðường) and gave the Europeans an opportunity, especially the French government to intervene militarily, by deliberately leading an anti-western and anti-catholic policy and thus renewing a policy in line with the Chinese policy. Nguyen Anh could have become a great emperor at the image of a Japanese « Meiji » when he had the advantage of being circled by a great number of Frenchmen including his private physician (a certain Despiaux) and he had an open mind to Western techniques and sciences.

It is a shame for Vietnam to have lost an opportunity to enter the era of modernization.

It was unfortunate for the Vietnamese people to have written later their history with blood and tears

He does not deserve being forgotten in our history because he arrived at enlarging our territory and unifying the country under his banner. But he is no longer a great emperor of Vietnam because grandeur is measured by not only the enlargement of Vietnam but also by the good deeds he brought to the Vietnamese people and by the magnanimity toward his adversaries.

It is regrettable to say so because Nguyễn Ánh with the qualities he showed us during his 25 years of vicissitude could have done better to his country and people more than any other kings of Vietnam (including king Quang Trung).