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Saigon office nameplate survives in Hong Kong, thanks to Dinh

Rather inconspicuously, and certainly not given the prominence it deserves, the Reuter Saigon office nameplate hangs on the wall of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club (see photo).

If you can’t read it, the inscription says: “For many years this nameplate marked the entrance to the Reuter bureau in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh city. It was brought out in May, 1980, by former Saigon Office Manager Pham Ngoc Dinh,. Having missed the last airlift of refugees fleeing the final communist advance in April 1975, it was kept under close police supervision during the following five years and spent several spells in detention. Dinh was finally allowed to leave after the Australian Associated Press, a close associate company of Reuters, sponsored him. He now works for AAP in Sydney.”

As for myself, I barely qualify as a Saigon dreamer  as I spent only two months there, In May 1970 and March 1971, as holiday relief. But saw plenty out in the field during those times.

Dinh’s engraving on the nameplate reads: "I was born 2nd Time in Australia by Reuter Company. Pham Ngoc Dinh, 8th May 1980". ■