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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 5, 2018)
ASIA / PACIFIC
Page 4 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
February 5, 2018
Vietnam veterans recall
all-female Tet Offensive squad
By Hau Dinh
The Associated Press
UE, Vietnam — As a
19-year-old scout and spy for
the communist forces in
South Vietnam, Hoang Thi No
remembers the determination and
spirit of her 11-member team of
young women who took part in the
audacious Tet Offensive that turned
the tide of the Vietnam War 50 years
“If we didn’t fight the enemy, they
would destroy us all,” she said. “We
were young and weren’t afraid. ...
Once we had a strong ideology, we
could do anything.”
Her unit was known as the
Perfume River Squad for the river
that runs through Hue, Vietnam’s
cultural capital and third biggest
city. Four of them died in the fighting
that raged through the city for most of
that February; two died later in the
They were part of a mobilization of
as many as 80,000 fighters — regular
soldiers from Communist North
Vietnam, guerrillas of the National
Liberation Front of South Vietnam,
known as Viet Cong, and village
militia — who launched virtually
simultaneous surprise attacks on
more than 100 cities, towns, and U.S.
military bases in South Vietnam
during the early morning hours of
January 31, 1968.
Official U.S. statistics for a month
of fighting put the death toll at more
than 58,000 enemy combatants,
3,995 American soldiers, and 4,954
allied South Vietnamese troops plus
“Psychologically, the war turned
against the Americans at that point,”
said Alan Dawson, at the time a
26-year-old U.S. Army journalist in
South Vietnam. “That attack in the
Tet Offensive was really the moment
that the final outcome of the war was
decided to the communist advan-
After an initial period of chaos, U.S.
and South Vietnamese forces rallied
to overwhelm the communist
attackers, largely through the use of
Had the offensive been nipped in
the bud everywhere, it might have
been more clearly recognized as a
major military defeat for the
communists. But the tenacious
Vietnamese guerrillas in Hue held
out for about a month, helped by the
work of the Perfume River Squad.
MARIO MEETS MINIONS. Japanese video-game company Nin-
tendo Co. says a movie starring the plumber in the Super Mario franchise
(pictured) is in the works. The movie, two years in the making, will be dis-
tributed globally. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)
Mario and Minions? Illumination
to co-produce Nintendo film
By Yuri Kageyama
The Associated Press
OKYO — Mario is getting together with the
Japanese video-game company Nintendo Co. says
a movie starring the plumber in the Super Mario fran-
chise is in the works, co-produced with Chris Meledandri,
the chief executive of Illumination Entertainment, the
U.S. animation studio behind the popular Despicable Me
Nintendo’s star game designer Shigeru Miyamoto told
reporters the script is mostly finished. He’s promising a
“fun” movie, since Meledandri shares his thinking on
The movie, two years in the making after a meeting
between Meledandri and Miyamoto, is set for global
distribution through Universal, which co-owns Illumina-
tion, according to the Kyoto-based maker of Pokémon
games and the popular Switch machine. They did not give
other details, including the release date.
Miyamoto said some people mistakenly think that
making games is similar to making movies.
“Creating in an interactive medium is totally different
from doing that in a passive medium,” he said, saying he’d
wanted to make such a film for years.
Meledandri and he hit it right off: “We want to make
something great,” he said.
Nintendo reported an October-December profit of 83.66
billion yen ($768 million), up 29 percent from the previous
fiscal third quarter.
Quarterly sales ballooned to nearly 483 billion yen, up
from 174 billion yen the previous year, on the success of its
Switch, a hybrid game machine that can be played both as
a home console as well as a handheld.
Nintendo now expects to sell 15 million Switch consoles
in this fiscal year, which ends in March. That’s up from its
initial projection to sell 10 million Switch machines,
which was raised last year to 14 million.
Nintendo brought the world the FamiCom game
machine in the 1980s and has had its up and downs as
people’s entertainment tastes changed.
In recent years, Nintendo did an about-face to its past
policy of shunning smartphone games, and has scored
success in that sector as well. It has brought back a
revamped version of the FamiCom, which proved so
popular it will go on sale again later this year.
Nintendo executives also expressed hopes for its
upcoming Nintendo Labo, whose trailer shows the Switch
being played with cardboard concoctions, resembling a
piano, fishing rod, robot, and other items.
Nintendo Labo, set to go on sale April 20, is based on the
idea that the Switch, which is a controller packed with
sensors, can be used with different attachments for many
kinds of play. Executives joked that they initially thought
cardboard would be cheap, but it turned out to be more
expensive than they thought.
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FEMALE FORCE. Veteran spy Hoang Thi No holds up a photo of the all-female Perfume River
Squad, in Hue, Vietnam. January 31, 2018 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offen-
sive, a tactical setback for northern Vietnamese troops, but a strategic turning point of the Vietnam
War. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)
“Our duties were to enter the city to political will, which they were well
get information of movements and aware was wilting under pressure
important locations of the enemy,” No from anti-war sentiment back
said. “We also mobilized local people home.
Seeking to maximize psychological
to support the revolutionary forces by
stocking up food and digging secret impact, they targeted high-profile
trenches and tunnels, getting ready targets in Saigon, the South
for the fight. When the offensive Vietnamese capital now called Ho
started, we guided our major forces to Chi Minh City. They included the
various top important locations to Presidential Palace, Tan Son Nhut
air base, and most dramatically the
fight the U.S Army in Hue city.”
No joined her comrades in Hue in U.S. Embassy, where sappers
marking the anniversary of the penetrated the outer perimeter but
offensive with speeches and patriotic were shot down before they could get
to the main building.
Dawson said the Americans and
No suffers from a thyroid condition
that doctors attribute to contact with South Vietnamese knew an attack
Agent Orange, the herbicide that was coming, but didn’t understand
U.S. warplanes sprayed over large the scope of it. “The Viet Cong, for
parts of Vietnam to try to deprive the example, smuggled weapons into
Saigon by the thousands; rifles,
communist forces of jungle cover.
The veterans, mostly in their 70s grenades, that kind of thing,
and 80s and some wearing their including even in mock funerals they
combat medals, looked happy just to had, and they got the weapons in
get together, chatting in the hallways coffins into Saigon.”
U.S. Marines spearheaded an
before the formalities, laughing as
they shared wartime stories and allied effort to clear the communists
posed for group photos taken with in bitter house-to-house fighting in
their smartphones. The hall where which neither side paid much heed to
they were meeting was about a half a the safety of civilians. Dramatic
mile from Hue’s famous Citadel, the footage of the harrowing fighting
scene of the fiercest fighting, whose dominated U.S. television coverage,
walls are still pockmarked with with devastating political effect. In
March, embattled U.S. President
bullet holes among the moss.
Communist military planners of Lyndon Johnson announced he would
the Tet Offensive had hoped their not run for another term and put
attacks would incite a popular limitations on bombing as a prelude
uprising to upset the balance in what to peace talks.
The fighting dragged on for seven
had become a very costly and
years, fuelling U.S. street
increasingly conventional war since
and convulsing American
the escalation of the U.S. military
the North prevailed
presence in 1965.
They also believed that a show of
strength would weaken American
China lashes out at Taiwan over cancellation of flights
BEIJING (AP) — China is again
heating up the rhetoric against rival
Taiwan, with a spokesman saying
that Taiwan’s cancellation of added
flights during the Lunar New Year
holiday “hurt the feelings of people on
Spokesman for the Chinese cabi-
net’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Ma
Xiaoguang, said the move to cancel
176 flights over the holiday beginning
February 16 is creating inconven-
iences and is “foolish and unpopular.”
“The irrational action by the
Taiwan authorities creates inconven-
ience for tens of thousands of
travellers and difficulties to a great
many families on both sides during
the Lunar New Year,” Ma said at a
bi-weekly news conference.
“It has hurt the feelings of people
on both sides, for which the Taiwan-
ese authorities bear the full responsi-
bility,” Ma said.
Taiwan complains it was not
properly consulted about the opening
of route M503 and that it poses a
danger to planes landing on and
taking off from islands near the
Chinese coast controlled by Taiwan.
The move announced by Beijing on
January 4 also takes aircraft near a
Taiwanese military zone.
Taiwan announced in response
that China Eastern Airlines and
Xiamen Airlines will not be allowed to
add flights during the holiday, the
most important time of the year for
family gatherings in Taiwan, China,
and other parts of Asia.
China and Taiwan divided amid
civil war in 1949 and Beijing threat-
ens to use force to take control of the
self-governing island republic. It has
been increasing economic and diplo-
matic pressure on the island since the
inauguration of independence-lean-
ing President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016.
Tsai has refused to endorse
Beijing’s contention that Taiwan is
part of a single Chinese nation that
must eventually be unified. China’s
ruling Communist Party, which
wields the world’s largest standing
military, has refused to rule out the
use of force to achieve that goal.
China sent bombers and fighter
planes to fly around Taiwan twice in
December and in January sent its
sole operating aircraft carrier
through the 100-mile-wide Taiwan
Strait with its battle group.
The Chinese planes flew near
South Korean and Japanese air
space, prompting Japan to dispatch
fighter planes to intercept them.