Hai Ho is a 55-year-old Vietnamese male residing in Portland, Oregon. He lives in a group home and spends his days writing and listening to music.
Hai was born in Vietnam and lived there until he was 15-years-old. Despite living in Vietnam during the war, Hai has good memories of life in his home country:
Hai: My family was in the capitol, Saigon, and so we were pretty peaceful—only in 1968 when there was the Tet Offensive and the Communists came into the capitol and tried to take over. But otherwise it was kind of nice, you know. I had friends in my little group—streets and homes area—and it was kind of an innocent life because there weren’t too many machines and we just tried to live day by day, or week by week, because we were pretty poor there.
Interviewer: What made you decide to want to come to the United States when you were a teenager?
Hai: It was at the end of the war, you know, and people all tried to escape the Communists because we were in the South, and the South were fighting the North. And so a lot of people left the country and came as refugees.
In 1975, near the end of the Vietnam War, Hai, his parents, and six of his eight siblings came to the United States as refugees. Hai’s aunt, who was working for the United States government at the time, helped them immigrate. When they arrived in the United States, Hai and his family lived in South Carolina and worked on a farm for a while. Later, they moved to California and lived there for around eight or nine years. During that time, Hai’s two brothers, who had been in the military, came to the United States, and his whole family was reunited. Hai’s family then moved to Portland, Oregon and, except for college, he has lived there ever since.
Education is very important to Hai’s family, and all of his siblings have college educations. Hai attended Oregon State University, where he got Bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics. Hai was so successful that he got a scholarship to the University of Utah for graduate school and earned his Master’s degree in electrical engineering. In July of 1985, Hai was working on his thesis and planning to get his PhD when he started hearing voices.
Listen to Hai talk about the symptoms he experiences:
Even though Hai was hearing voices all of the time, he knew he needed to work, so he worked for a number of years while struggling with symptoms:
I did hear voices in 1985, but I was so young I could not stay home, so I tried—I lost my job at Hughes Aircraft Company and later on I tried to find a job, and I got one with the Naval Aviation Depot in Alameda, California. I think the boss was nice and he probably know I have problems but he wanted to give me a chance to see if I can recover and do it, so I kind of dragged through the job for five and a half years. And I think the bosses were lenient and that’s why I was kept. But I finally resigned because my problem got so bad. My brain got burned out and, like, couple times I feel very strong radiation and I believe it’s from this satellite who was trying to destroy my brain, and it burned my brain—I feel like half of my brain was burned away and I suffered that for four years, and I keep on praying and talking to the angels and see if they can fix my brain. And finally four years later, like overnight, I feel like my brain was rebuilt again.
Listen to the above excerpt here:
But, unfortunately, the voices returned…
I [heard] voices more and more, and I tried to—I resigned my job at thirty-two years old in 1992, you know, and in February 1992, I resigned my job and tried to fix my schizophrenia problem because, you know, it’s really bad. [In] 1997, I suddenly broke down for a couple weeks then and I don’t know why. I was thinking a lot about the girls in the war, you know, like the Vietnamese girls who were suffering, and I tried to help them, and I give money to Vietnam. And I could not eat, sleep, like but once a week, and I was getting skinny and so my family called the police and take me to the hospital.
One of the things that helps him is writing. In fact, writing has been instrumental to Hai’s stability. In 1995, he started writing and finished his first book, Discovery of Invisible Intelligent Life and Civilization. He sent the book to the White House, after which he received thank you letters from President Clinton and Vice President Gore.
Despite being hospitalized in 1997, Hai still believes that the years from 1995-2005 were good ones for him. He credits his success to angels from America, Russia, China, and Vietnam, who he says protect him from nerve radiation and bad angels.
I done really well otherwise from 1995 to 2005. I stay home and I was really excited about discovering the angels, and so I talked to them by typing on computers about six to eight pages a day. And I talk to them and they can see what I type. I keep talking and different things and discuss my life. And I have SSDI also, so I didn’t have to work. I just sit home and do that, and I was stable and stayed out of the hospital.
Hai started having difficulty again in 2006. He went into a deep depression that included sleeping most of his days to fight off suicidal thoughts.
There are two kind of suffering. There’s mental suffering and physical suffering and I suffer both. And from 2006, I suffer mentally, torture by satellites, and I sleep for fourteen, fifteen hours a day to try to avoid depression because I hear voices that say, “You have to die.”
Listen to an expanded version of the above here:
In 2007, Hai was hospitalized again for around 10 months. However, the doctors put him on new medication that has helped him to function well for several years now. At the time of recording his story, Hai was living in a group home, where he has time to write, research his interests on the internet, and listen to music:
I’m pretty much settled down now, and I live in a group home and it’s a nice area. It’s close to the market, and I get up about 8:30 and I don’t eat breakfast but just drink coffee and I enjoy typing. I hear good voices from the angels, and they said they love me for working with them for twenty, thirty years. My book will be twenty years now old by next month, and I’ve been working with them and I typed about 44,000 pages of conversations with them, you know, just like people talking out loud. I talk by typing on the computer in Open Office document. And then eat lunch—I do that when I have time, and I write e-mails, and kind of Google search on dark matter angels also, with Google. And I listen to music a lot also. Music has been really helping me.
Even though he hears voices and struggles on a daily basis, Hai finds meaning in the suffering by conceptualizing it as a way of protecting and helping others:
Yeah, I think I just suffer and I rationalize by thinking that, you know, I suffer for other people. Like I’m like a Marine taking the bullets for his friends, you know, somebody has to suffer to kind of be—take away the resources of the enemy. Otherwise the enemies will attack other people, you know, so I just rationalize that.
I think one good thing about my suffering is that I can leave the information for my family and maybe friends who help my family not to suffer schizophrenia anymore in the future.
Hai believes in Buddhist principles, particularly the concept of karma. Others have helped him, so he believes in helping others and being kind to others as well:
Hai: Sometimes people suffer so much. They think it’s meaningless but they should think that they are taking the bullets for other people, you know, and that might help them. I try to promote Buddhism also because I think it’s a peaceful religion… It promotes no harming, no killing, and so—yeah, and I don’t promote, not too much, but just examine my story and maybe they think it’s a success at the end, you know, and try to be nice and try to do good things for other people. Just like I was harmed, you know, but I was a nice person and I suffered so much, so when I see suffering people I give them money. And I have problems with that, too – managing my money.
Interviewer: But you try to reach out to other people who are also having difficulty.
Hai: Yeah. Yeah, but I think eventually other people will take care of you again, you know, and once you do good things for other people and then there’s some other people who look out for you and help you.
Interviewer: So it comes back to you.
Hai: Yeah, it comes back. I thought about the laws of karma, and when you sow the seed, you reap the fruit and that kind of thing, and I think people should believe in it and be careful in what they do.
Despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hai feels as though he has accomplished a lot in his life and has a lot of good memories.
It was important for Hai to tell his story, especially because he finds it hard to open up to people. Nonetheless, Hai hopes his story will help others:
I find it really hard to find somebody to talk to about my life, especially verbally because they don’t have the training or the understanding to listen. And so it’s really nice to talk to you, Dr. Tracy, and have you ask questions and keep me going. I enjoy it, and I hope the information will help society.