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View Count: 39 |  Publish Date: July 23, 2013
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'Traumatised' by SBS show
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Please Log in to update your video settings Better Man reviewed
A moving dramatisation of the story of Vietnamese-Australian man Van Nguyen, whose fate polarised the nation. Autoplay OnOff Video feedback Video settings
The Melbourne mother of a man executed for drug trafficking in Singapore has called for SBS to halt the screening of show depicting his story.
Kim Nguyen, speaking through her local MP, federal Speaker and Member for Chisholm, Anna Burke, said making and broadcasting the show Better Man was opening wounds and violating the familys rights.
You have violated our rights and made our familys life so difficult.
She is traumatised. This has opened up old wounds, Ms Burke said.
Traumatised: Kim Nguyen at the funeral of her son Van after he was executed in 2005. Photo: Simon O Dwyer
Ms Nguyens son Van Nguyen was executed in 2005 after being convicted of carrying 400 grams of heroin through Changi Airport. The court case revealed Van Nguyen had carried the heroin to help his twin brother, Khoa Nguyen, a former heroin addict, pay off $30,000 in court case debts. Advertisement
SBS is due to broadcast the two-part drama Better Man on Thursday after heavily promoting it.
Speaking on ABC radio to Jon Faine, Ms Burke read a letter from Ms Nguyen to the director Khoa Do. She said she was concerned for the mental health and wellbeing of her constituents.
2005: Kim Nguyen leaving Singapores Changi prison, with her son Khoa, after visiting her other son Nguyen Van Tuong, who was then still alive. Photo: Craig Abraham
Know the truth. Understand what is right and wrong. In writing a short story, like you did, you touched our familys wounds once again, Ms Burke read from the letter.
Dont do it for your personal benefit. You havent had enough understanding of a parents responsibility.
You are not much older than my kid. Do you know what really happened? All you could do is listen to other peoples gossip. You have violated our rights and made our familys life so difficult, she read.
Executed: Nguyen Van was convicted of carrying 400 grams of heroin through Changi Airport.
Ms Burke said Ms Nguyens surviving son, Khoa Nguyen was distressed by the imminent screening.
The surviving twin is going through hell and with the title Better Man it leaves someone wondering: who is the worse man?
Ms Burke said SBS had given her and Ms Nguyen a copy of the show but she would not watch it.
She cant bring herself to watch it and she didnt want anyone else to. I am respecting her wishes, Ms Burke said.
She said Ms Nguyen was not interested in a death penalty crusade and was only interested in saving her son.
Ms Burke said the show should have been made as a dramatisation not linked to the family.
In a story published by Fairfax Media on Monday, the producer Stephen Corvini said: No ones forgotten how sensitive this story is (for Nguyens family).
An SBS spokeswoman released a statement about the criticism.
“We understand that the airing of Better Man will be an incredibly difficult and emotional time for the Nguyen family.
“The tragic case of Van Nguyens death by capital punishment in Singapore in 2005 is a significant part of Australias history. SBS and director Khoa Do felt it was an important Australian story to tell, particularly in the context of ongoing international debate about capital punishment laws.
She said the show contained a disclaimer in both English and Vietnamese acknowledging that some scenes had been created for dramatic effect and saying the family had not directly participated in it.

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Time: 16:34  |  News Code: 311643  |  Site: brisbanetimes
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