Agent Orange: The bitter taste of history!

/////Agent Orange: The bitter taste of history!

A piece history has been uprooted from its location in Phuc Qua Vietnam and replanted in Ho Chi Minh. When I say this I’m referring to the War Remnants museum. The awe and the excitement of seeing tanks and helicopters is quickly replaced by horror. I have been through my fair share of horror stories but wandering through the tiger cage area was something that made my stomach retch with revulsion. Before I divulge what I have seen, I think it would be better to start from beginning.


Vietnam Prisons

A cage like none I have ever seen!

We entered the War Remnants museum and wore our badges like everyone else. There was much chatter at the entrance as is bound to be at any tourist attraction. To the left hand side of the entrance a bold heading displays ‘Tiger cave’. Curious to see what place a tiger has in a War Remnants museum we moved into the room.

Tiger is a misnomer for no tiger ever lived a life so pathetic. Tiger cages referred to small cages that were at most a half a meter high. The sides were covered with barbed wire. Men were forced into these cages where they could not sit and could not turn. They couldn’t even move their legs.

Sadly, this wasn’t the worst form of punishment that was meted out to the prisoners. How people can think of methods to be so cruel cannot be fathomed. I cannot even bare to recount what I read and so I leave it to you to discover if you ever wander through the same path that I did.


Agent Orange

This photograph caught my attention because I found it extremely symbolic!

The inside of the War Remnants museum was dedicated to the war that the Vietnamese fought against the Americans. As with every stroll down war history there are horrors. I cannot help but believe that there is a lot of propaganda has added spice between the lines. Maybe the Tiger cage exhibit was so extreme that I became emotionally stunted. Maybe it was that the horrors were of a different kind. Whatever the reason was I was glad to exit from the Tiger cage exhibit.

The inside of the museum displays the effects that chemicals used in the war had on the Vietnamese. Agent Orange was apparently the worst. Genetic malformations, congenital defects, still born children, paralysis, cancer etc are just a few outcomes that top the list that Agent Orange caused. Along with the Vietnamese the Americans who fought were also exposed to Agent Orange. The effects have been seen for 4 generations. While the number of reported incidences related to Agent Orange decline with every generation, the people continue to suffer.


There are many instances in my trip that I feel that global leaders should get up and travel before the take on their yoke of authority. Go see the effects that war has on people, on the environment, on culture, on life, on animals… The world never seems to learn. While Vietnam is recovering from the horrors it witnessed, other nations are plunging into sorrow.

If only everyone traveled and took the time to learn just how similar we are! Countries, continents, religion, race, color are our own inventions. History has repeated itself for centuries and yet the world never learned. Just because war has not touched your shores yet doesn’t mean it will never do.


  • They say that history is written by the victor and that may well be true but deep with the darkness of the War museum hides a truth. The truth simply states that war can benefit no one.
  • The war museum is a testimony that man is his own worst enemy. My mind is far to muddled and my heart cringes so badly at the thought of the suffering that people have endured. It is a place to visit to learn history. It is a place to visit should one need to understand the true value of peace. I leave it to the historians to distinguish between fact and fiction. I just discovered anguish.
2018-08-11T12:06:38+00:00 January 13th, 2017|Asia, Destinations, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam|9 Comments


  1. Elisabeth Bunch - Pages of My Passport January 13, 2017 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    This is so sad and troubling… I actually felt a bit sick seeing the photo and reading about that cage…terrible. You are so right that global leaders should spend time traveling to learn about world issues and circumstances. I wonder what percentage of them do now? Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Jessica February 10, 2017 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    I actually thought about this a lot while I was in SEA. I am from the US and my grandfather fought in the Vietnam war. He has health problems from agent orange. It is weird to think that myself and others see Vietnam as an amazing tourist destination, while feeling far removed from the fact that there are still people alive today that lived through the war. That’s the case with a lot of other countries too.

    • Penny February 11, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      True. Cambodia is another country on that list. It’s good to be aware. I feel it changes the way you see things in life.

  3. Becky March 4, 2017 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Great that you have written this article, I always try and visit places that might not necessarily be pretty but are part of somewhere’s history. I vividly remember visiting here when I was travelling in Vietnam. Did you also go to the cluster bomb museum?

    • Penny March 12, 2017 at 1:16 am - Reply

      We didn’t have much time left over so sadly no. I wish I had time to. Then again I was emotionally spent on so many levels.

  4. Nuraini April 8, 2017 at 2:54 am - Reply

    🙁 Every time, we say, never again – because *this* time it was so horrific. And then, somewhere else, not too much time later, we do it again.

    And right now, yet again. Maybe in 20 years, there will be one such museum in Aleppo.

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 12:01 am - Reply

      That is exactly the same thought that ran through my head when I was in the museum. It sad that we look back at history in horror but so many people are blind to the horrors that occur in the world on a daily basis.

  5. Cherene Saradar April 8, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    I love when travel bloggers pay attention to history. So many just joyfully frolic around a country with no regard to it’s current or past problems. I remember being horrified at those tiger cages. You are so right about more people needing to travel. Especially world leaders. They really should read a history book every now and then also! The entire region has some very sad recent history and some currently with horrific things happening!

    • Penny April 9, 2017 at 12:03 am - Reply

      Thanks Cherene. I always think that we have an obligation. Sure it is nice to show the world that traveling is great and beautiful. Yes… It is! BUT traveling is also a way to sensitize oneself to other cultures. It is a way to accept people the way they are and for what they stand even if it may be different from what we believe in. Life is too short for these battles. Heck… It is the battle that makes our life shorter still!

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