boat people

GC: n

S: HLSUK – (last access: 10 February 2019); TheGuardian – (last access: 10 February 2019).

N: 1. – boat (n): “small open vessel (smaller than a ship) used to cross waters, propelled by oars, a sail, or (later) an engine,” Old English bat, from Proto-Germanic *bait- (source also of Old Norse batr, Dutch boot, German Boot), possibly from PIE root *bheid- “to split,” if the notion is of making a boat by hollowing out a tree trunk or from split planking. Or it may be an extension of the name for some part of a ship.
French bateau “boat” is from Old English or Norse. Spanish batel, Italian battello, Medieval Latin batellus likewise probably are from Germanic. Of serving vessels resembling a boat, by 1680s. The image of being in the same boat “subject to similar challenges and difficulties” is by 1580s; to rock the boat “disturb stability” is from 1914.
– people (n): Late 13c., “humans, persons in general,” from Anglo-French people, Old French peupel “people, population, crowd; mankind, humanity,” from Latin populus “a people, nation; body of citizens; a multitude, crowd, throng,” of unknown origin, possibly from Etruscan. The Latin word also is the source of Spanish pueblo, Italian popolo. In English, it displaced native folk.
Meaning “body of persons comprising a community” first recorded late 13c. in Anglo-French; meaning “common people, masses” (as distinguished from the nobility) first recorded c. 1300 in Anglo-French. Meaning “one’s own tribe, group, etc.” is from late 14c. The word was adopted after c. 1920 by Communist totalitarian states to give a spurious sense of populism to their governments. Legal phrase The People vs., in U.S. cases of prosecution under certain laws, dates from 1801. People of the Book “those whose religion entails adherence to a book of divine revelation (1834) translates Arabic Ahl al-Kitab.
2. Vietnamese boat people refugees fleeing by boat. The term originally referred to the thousands of Vietnamese who fled their country by sea following the collapse of the South Vietnamese government in 1975. Crowded into small vessels, they were prey to pirates, and many suffered dehydration, starvation, and death by drowning.
3. The term was later applied to waves of refugees who attempted to reach the United States by boat from Cuba and Haiti and also to Afghan and other refugees seeking asylum in Australia.
4. The ‘Boat People of Vietnam’ seemed to encapsulate all the suffering Vietnam had suffered from 1965 to 1975. Despite the end of the Vietnam War, tragedy for the people of Vietnam continued into 1978-79. The term ‘Boat People’ not only applies to the refugees who fled Vietnam but also to the people of Cambodia and Laos who did the same but tend to come under the same umbrella term. The term ‘Vietnamese Boat People’ tends to be associated with only those in the former South who fled the new Communist government. However, people in what was North Vietnam who had an ethnic Chinese background fled to Hong Kong at the same time fearing some form of retribution from the government in Hanoi.
5. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention the movie Boat People directed by Ann Hui in 1982.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 10 February 2019). 2 & 3. EncBrit – (last access: 10 February 2019). 4. HLSUK – (last access: 10 February 2019). 5. UCLA – (last access: 10 February 2019).


CR: balsero, emigrant, immigrant, immigration, refugee, wetbacks.