Vietnamese dolls - Susan Hughes

Submitted by Editorial team on

Extract from an interview with Claire Hall, 12 February 2010

Reproduced with permission of Susan Hughes

I remember writing letters to him because I wanted a Vietnamese doll. They used to stand on a little wooden plaque – I suppose about four inches by three inches. They had ridiculously long legs. And they had the wee coolie hat, and they had – I don’t know what you call those dresses that go over the long white pants, but they had those. And I desperately wanted one because everyone else had one. So I wrote and asked him for one and he sent it back, and he was writing letters to me.

So they just started emerging in the playground did they?

I suppose in people’s houses. But that was what I definitely wanted. All the girls had them. It was a hugely prized possession. If your Dad was in Vietnam, you needed to get one of these Vietnamese dolls. And then I must have sent something to Mum about, ‘Oh, it’s a drag writing letters to Dad’. And she must have told him that, and he never wrote to me again. And I feel really sad about that, because she should have made me do it anyway. 


Interview extract from exhibition at Vietnam Veterans Reunion held at Manurewa RSA, 5-6 June 2010

How to cite this page: ' Vietnamese dolls - Susan Hughes ', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 14-Mar-2019