Working conditions under the landlords

172 take l
Interview with Nham Cam, a peasant.
Nham Cam:
When I worked for the landlords, I had to carry excrement and plow the fields. All I got for my work, I was given only daily meals of roots and corn and was not paid at all. I never had any meal with rice and fish or meat. That was how I was treated when I was poor and had to go to work for the landlords. I had to begin working very early in the morning and worked continuously for 10 to 12 hours a day, about 8 hours during daytime and 4 hours during nighttime. They made us work hard but gave us little to eat, and very bad food too.

Harassing the French

173, take 1
Nham Cam:
During the French occupation of this area, my job was to provoke them and put them on the alert all the time. I was a squad leader, commanding a group of twelve men. We would crawl up to a French post at night and fire a few shots at them now and then, causing them to expend a lot of bullets and making it difficult for them to sleep and eat. Sometimes we even crawled our way right up to the walls of the military posts, such as the one over in Hue-dau, placed explosive charges there and exploded them one by one throughout the night. And so that night there was no way any of them could sleep. Our objective was to harass them and cause them to expend with a lot of ammunition. Our objective was not to engage them in big battles. We crawled up to the fences and the walls of the military posts and pasted our propaganda leaflets there.

Unfair treatment of debtors

174 take 1
When the landlords came to a peasant family to collect their debts and the peasants did not have to money to pay the landlords, what happened?
Nham Cam:
When a tenant could not pay back the landlord's loan or was not able to pay the full rent on time, the landlord would send his people to the peasant's house and dismantle the house if the amount indebted was large. If the debt was small, then they would take away household goods such as pots and pans and baskets. As a tenant, we had to turn all the rice over to the landlord after the harvests. After that, we had to hire ourselves out on a daily basis in order to get some food to eat. The landlords would send their hirelings to the tenants' homes at harvest time to take all the rice away in oxcarts and baskets. If you still owed the landlords something after that, they would take everything of any monetary value, such as pots and pans, from you. You have to pay all the debts, that's all. So a tenant, after working so hard for the landlord, had nothing left for himself at all and, as a result, had to hire himself out as a daily laborer after the harvest in order to get some food to eat. We had to run around looking for food for each meal, each day. That was how things were.