Mick noticed a pagoda between the villages of La Van and Vinn Thanh and at 11:54 hours, decided to check it out. These villages both lie to the west of Xuyen Moc. Inside, Mick found an old Buddhist monk who spoke fluent English. The monk introduced himself as Hao An Dung and went on to explain that in Vietnamese, this name means Good Peaceful Hero. He had been a member of the Vietminh, fighting against both the Japanese and the French.
His name was originally Thanh Van Hao (‘Thanh’ means achieved or intelligent male, his original surname being Hao, which means good). When he stopped his work as a freedom fighter for the Vietminh and embraced his new life as a Buddhist monk and began to help others, he became Hao An Dung.
Mick said to him, “Hao – may I call you Hao? My name is Michael Lampman. I get the strong impression that the Australian Government has told a series of lies about the war in your country. I, for one, do not see how the people here could possibly be a threat to Australian security or freedom.”
The Monk asked, “Are you related to a German engineer called Friedrich Lampman?”
Mick was surprised by the other man’s fluent English and answered with, “Yes he was my grandfather. You speak excellent English; why is this?”
To this the old monk replied, “I learned my English when I was studying at Oxford, England.”
Mick now asked, “Can you tell me something about Buddhism?”
Hao said, “Yes, think of your body and mind as two separate entities. Your body will just decay after death, but your mind will still exist. Think that every action you make will affect your karma. The relationship between someone’s actions and reactions which may cause suffering or joy is known as the ‘Law of Karma’. Understanding of karma is the basis of the Buddhist faith. Once you die, your mind will leave your body and will enter an intermediate state. This can be a dreamlike state during which you experience many different visions that arise from things that you did during your life. These visions may be pleasant or terrifying depending on your karma. We cannot choose our rebirth, but are reborn according to our karma. If we have good karma, we are reborn as a human, but if we have bad karma, we are reborn in a lower state such as an animal or worse.
“With reference to your grandfather, Fritz Lampman, it saddens me that the descendants of that fine man can be so misguided as to be in the service of the American aggressor. That is bad for your karma, you know, but you can make up for it.”
Title: Full Circle for Mick
Author: Michael Kramer
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 2013, Carolyn and Michael Georg Kaspar Friedrich Lampman applied for passports at the Albury Post Office and while hers went through immediately, (she is Australian born), his application resulted in a phone call being made to Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and that department refusing him a passport on the grounds that his Australian Naturalisation Certificate “Did not say if his gender was male or female.” It did however; state that “Michael Georg Kaspar Friedrich Lampman presented himself before me at the Millicent Council Chambers on …. To swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors. This makes one wonder if the clerks at DIAC are conversant enough in the English language to know that “Himself” can only mean a male.
Michael’s reason for wanting his passport was to return to Vietnam and to fulfil his promise to a Buddhist Monk to return as a qualified engineer to help to rebuild the country that he had helped to destroy as a young Australian soldier in the Vietnam War during 1968 and 1969.
At a later date, DIAC cancelled his citizenship and papers, (he was a naturalised Australian Citizen, originating from Germany) even threatening to send him to jail for two years, for “Falsifying an Official Document,” resulting in him then using “Engineering Problem Solving Techniques” to rectify the situation as he was now also driving illegally on the grounds that in NSW it is not legal for someone to hold a driver’s licence unless that person has either “Approved Residency Status” or Australian Citizenship.
This is the story of a man’s battle and final victory against rampant bureaucracy, racism and PTSD. It deals with the first symptoms of PTSD, its diagnosis and its treatment and self-help strategies.
In 1967, he volunteered for service with the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, and was told that seeing how he was only twenty years old, he would need the signatures of his parents in order to join the army. Yet, the Australian Government was calling up males aged twenty years for service in the war if they wanted to serve or not. This prompted him to simply alter the date of birth on his Australian Naturalisation Certificate from 01/03/1947 to 01/03/1946 and he was in the army and this action was something that would become a problem forty five years later.
He went on to serve in Vietnam with the First Battalion of Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) and continued to serve until he received a medical discharge some ten years later. As a treatment strategy for diagnosed PTSD, he was instructed to undertake tertiary studies which resulted in his better management of PTSD and his becoming a much better person as a result. In time, he was to undertake studies and now holds the Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering, and the Associate Degree of Civil Engineering. He operates his own architectural and engineering drafting service, providing a high level of competent drafting work.
In 2010, he applied for an Australian passport which was refused by Immigration on the grounds that his Naturalisation Certificate did not list his gender. At a later date, the Australian Department of Immigration cancelled his Australian Citizenship papers, which have since been re-issued to him as well as an Australian passport. At a function held at his home, it was suggested that he put the experiences into a novel and this is the result.
Author Website: http://mickkramer.com/