Last Saturday 23 April 2016, Ms Nguyễn Ngọc Bích Vân (and friend, Ms Nhu) sung Vietnam’s National Anthem at the 7th Annual ANZAC Friendship Match* in Vung Tau (near HCMC).
Ms Van has sung magnificently at all seven ANZAC Friendship Matches since the first was played in 2010. Sadly, this was Ms Van’s swan song – at least for the foreseeable future.
Happily, the very exciting news is that Ms Van is bound for Australia to complete her secondary school education.
Phil Johns, former President of the Vietnam Swans (and current Executive Director of AusCham), who was MC on the day, thanked Ms Van “on behalf of all Swannies’ players and supporters – past and present”.
“Each year, Ms Van in her traditional ao dai has welcomed all Australians and New Zealanders to the ANZAC Friendship Match with the Vietnamese national anthem. As she sings, we admire her generosity of spirit and reflect on the different time when diggers played footy on the same soil 50 years earlier. How far we have come since then.
“We have been privileged to witness Ms Van grow into a young woman over the last seven years. Now, it will be Australia’s privilege to play a more active role in her life through study.
“We thank Ms Van again and wish her the very best back in Australia with her mother, Ms Bich and step father, Rob Herring. We also remain very hopeful that one year she will return to Vung Tau to again sing the Vietnamese national anthem.”
* The ANZAC Friendship Match is played and hosted each year by the Vietnam Swans Australian Football Club since 2010 in Vung Tau. During the Vietnam / American War, Vung Tau was used by the Australians as a logistics base. Between 1966 and 1971, Australian diggers played an Aussie Rules competition which they dubbed, the VFL (Vietnam Football League). They played at Lam Son Stadium which they named the Lord Mayor’s Oval. Lam Son Stadium is the home of greyhound racing in Vietnam – and the home of the ANZAC Friendship Match. This year, the Vietnam Swans played the Jakarta Bintangs.
Rob Heron served in the Australian Army during the War. In February 2016, he was in Vung Tau sharing a beer with a member of the North Vietnamese Army and a member of the South Vietnamese Air Force. Click here.