Thursday, February 5, 2015


Fr: Ai Ngoc Dang* Dinh thuc Ngo*Anh tuan Mai

   THANK YOU, MERCI CANADA            
My wife and I wrote this song to commemorate the 40 years anniversary from the day Canada accepted us as refugees from Vietnam. It is a more formal way for us and many other Vietnamese Canadians to say thank you to Canada after all these years.
Ma femme et moi avons écrit cette chanson pour commémorer le 40 années anniversaire du jour que le Canada nous a acceptés comme réfugiés du Vietnam. C'est une façon plus formelle pour nous et beaucoup d'autres Canadiens d'origine vietnamienne de dire merci au Canada après toutes ces années.      Hung Vu

        Hung Vu came to Canada 40 years ago from Vietnam. He's written a song expressing his love of his home and adopted land.
Hung Vu came to Canada 40 years ago from Vietnam. He’s written a song expressing his love of his home and adopted land.
Jean Levac / Ottawa Citizen
Vietnamese immigrant says 'Thank You, Merci Canada' — in a song
ROBERT BOSTELAARMore from Robert Bostelaar
Published on: January 24, 2015Last Updated: January 24, 2015 7:55 AM EST

Hung Vu fled Vietnam on the day Saigon fell, clinging not to a helicopter skid but to the deck of a boat with a balky engine.

Four decades later, the Ottawa technology entrepreneur-turned-public servant has recorded a song about his journey and the country he says so warmly adopted him. Its unabashed title: Thank You, Merci Canada.
“I’ve been here 40 years and owned a business and wanted to do something, but I never had the ability or courage,” Vu explained this week. “In the end I said ‘I’m a musician, so why not write a song about it and put it on YouTube?'”
He clarifies: “I’m not really a professional musician. Just a hobbyist musician.”
Hung Vu, born Vũ Tiết Hùng (his family name comes first) is a modest man.
The business he owned was Milkyway Networks, one of Ottawa’s early-Internet corporate stars. After Milkyway was sold in 1998, Vu had roles in other fast-arcing tech firms — Third Brigade was one — and for the past six years he has been a senior IT security specialist for the federal government.
And his music hobby? Vu began composing songs as a teenager, writing in Vietnamese, French and English to embrace, he says, different tastes and styles. He plays classical and rock guitar and bass guitar. He was in the bands Les Lunettes and Viva, big in the Vietnamese communities of Montreal and Ottawa.
If music has been a theme running through his life, water is another. There was: His last-minute escape on the South China Sea after the boat crew sent him running for supplies to repair the engine; the ocean he crossed to reach Canada and join a sister studying at Quebec’s Laval University; the summer bays on which he kite-surfs; and the broad Ottawa River he walks beside in all seasons. In his “stage name,” Vu Han Giang, or Vu of the Cold River, the themes come together.
Yet he was not part of the “boat people” migration to Canada in the late 1970s, sponsored by efforts such as Ottawa’s Project 4000 led by then-mayor Marion Dewar. Vu, whose father owned a taxi in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City, was part of an earlier wave with the means to get out as the communist army of North Vietnam drew closer.
Vu studied engineering at McGill, and by 1981 his parents and six other brothers and sisters — “all of my direct relatives” — were in Canada, too.
“It’s a great life story that I have in Canada,” says Vu, “and that’s the reason I wrote this song.”
Vu’s wife, Lan Ton, stage name Thuy Lan (Sweet Orchid), also came to Canada in 1975. She helped with the lyrics and added her voice to the recording, made in the Britannia home where they have raised three children. As a pop song, Thank You, Merci Canada may never make a Top 40 playlist, but its instrument tracks are crisp and pleasing, and its words — “… a land of opportunities, diversity, a peaceful home, my new country” — are heartfelt.
It could, in some ways, be reminiscent of the ornate folk songs that are a particular Vietnamese tradition. But in it, too, are echoes of the patriotic tunes of early Canada, those too written by newcomers unashamed to show sentiment.
The Vus hold copyright to Thank You, Merci Canada, but Hung provides the lyrics and chords in his video and says he will be honoured if others wish to do their own versions.
Will today’s newcomers want to write their own songs of appreciation 40 years from now?
“Of course, it is harder now than it was in ’75,” Vu says of the challenges newcomers face. “But in Canada, you do have opportunity. You can hear it in my song.”
And he quotes, almost singing: “With doors open to me, from sea to sea.”

Are you grateful to live in Canada?
Then sing along!
Download the lyrics
And share it — send us a link to your YouTube or SoundCloud version at