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Saigon Kid Dini (Haznam) Radwinto Passes Away

by Admin

February 8, 2013, Jakarta, Indonesia – Dini (Haznam) Radwinto passed away today at 11:15 am (Indonesian time). Dini was hospitalized on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 after suffering another stroke.

Additional information to follow as it becomes available.

5 comments to Saigon Kid Dini (Haznam) Radwinto Passes Away

  • Frank

    When Dini and I met at the Phoenix reunion in 2000, I am not sure if she jumped into my arms or I just crabbed her. We spun around and a round hugging each other. When we stopped, I said you look fabulous and she asked me, “How do I look, am I O.K.?” I said, Dini, “You look terrific”. I instantly thought that she had gone on a Diet or something in order to look good at the reunion. I actually thought that maybe she had done that especially for me. It did not matter; I was so elated to see her. During the Diner dance I went up to Dine and ask her for a dance. A fast song was playing, and she told me she would only dance for a slow one. I figured that because of her recent stroke she would have difficulty fast dancing. We danced to “Young Love”. Near the end of the dance, her brown eyes looked up into mine and she said “Frank, you are still the king.” I started to laugh. Dini always made me laugh. Dini had a special laugh herself. If you ever heard it, it would stay with you.
    Dini was one of the first persons I met in Saigon. From the start we hit it off. I think that we were never pretentious with each other and always had faith that we were truly friends. We told each other our thoughts with the knowledge that we would not disclose it to others.
    When I first met Dini she was dating Jim Calkins. Just before the Phoenix, 2000 Saigon Kids reunion, I located a James Calkins in West Virginia. He turned out to be Jim’s Dad, who told me Jim had died, I think it was 19 September 1968 in a car wreck, where Jim died by driving his car into a ditch in order to avoid hitting a lady at her mail box. Dini really like Jim, but over a year after Jim left, she met Jerry Horne. Jerry was a G.I. who I think Dini really liked (At the Phoenix Reunion Dini asked me if I could find Jerry. I tried, but was never successful.). Dini and Jerry of course were from different worlds, and she would be sent to Jakarta in early 1962.
    If I tried to simplify it, I would say that culturally, Dini would have been better off being an American than Indonesian. That would simplify it, but Dini was above that. Dini was a non-cultural person. She did not see nation or cultural boundaries. She was beyond what most of us can be. She was an internationalist. Religion, government ideas and fair play for society sake, political correction, and how we should think were all those things that made Dini’s life difficult. She was a child of love.
    Dini never complained about her life to me. She was very happy about her kids and proud of her grand kids. I could feel her sadness about her marriage, but we did not go there. Our friendship was above that. When Dini and I were together, in the early sixties or in 2000, we always made each other feel good. We were just friends.
    As a teacher, during that last ten years, we often get students that are anti-Muslim. I had no problem standing up to these people, with blind opinions. I would say that the Muslims I know are concerned about everything that Christians (Americans) are concerned about. They want to be successful, they want their children to be happy and they want to enjoy their grand-kids.
    My thoughts of Dini and her sister Venita, brother Fano and especially her folk’s remind me of this. I feel so fortunate to have known her and her family. I have never met her kids or her grand kids, but I hope they are proud of their “Dini”. There has only been one and there will only ever be one! Dini I Love you and will always miss you.
    Last week I heard that my cousin Jack died. He lived in S.E. Idaho and yes his sister’s name was Jill. Maybe we have entered that period in our life, which we will start to hear more about people who played a part in our lives, start to die. I must admit I do not like it. I knew Jack drank too much, I knew Dini still smoked, but it did not make me like them less. When I heard that Jack died, the first thought that went through my mind was than when I was little, visiting Jack and Jill and their parents, on the farm near Rexburg, I stepped in my first cow-patty. That thought made me even sadder! Why? How the hell do I know? Maybe it shows all of us that we are on the down side of life. We see, feel and smell our life. We now know the ups and downs (of course the ups out weight the other!?) We are past the point our “Saigon parents” were back in the good ole days of Vietnam.
    Please, I do not want to sound gloomy. I, myself, was diagnosed with a disease a couple of months ago (the VA said it was because of Agent Orange…so hard to break away from Vietnam). It may kill me soon or I may live forever (just joking). It made me realize (only to some degree) what “trivia” versus the “real” is. Oh sure, I will still argue with the best about social issues, etc., but I really believe there is a higher “thing”. (I used to believe in an after life, but I now can say that I do not know. If there is, I think I’ll be treated O.K. and if there is not, I guess I will not know the difference). Love and friendship is the best thing we have. However, humans are the only species that can kill others, especially by distance. Maybe we should learn more from the other sub-species. Look at the loyalty that a dog gives us. We do not deserve it! Maybe we should all go to the “dogs”. Dini disliked mustaches, did not like problems and hated war in 1960. How did she have so much insight (O.K., I now have a Mustache, but Dini would just laugh at me) ?
    O.K. I have lost track of where I’m going. I am just a feeling a little bit disjointed and “blue”! The Saigon kids thing is important. We lived in an era of complications, knowing we were living in history. But that did not mean we had a handle on it. We observed it, but really could not control where it was going. For some it made jobs, for others it made heroes, for others it made death and for a few it made guilt. Of course our parents and we meant well. But that did not make it right! I survived; I’m convinced, by pretending I was an observant rather than a participant! Is it possible that I developed this skill by being a “Third Culture Kid”? Did any of you think or feel this way, especially when you returned to the “real” world of the big PX’s and “free matches”??
    I think Dini felt this! Dini, I would give anything to be able to talk to you again…. today!

  • Kenneth R. Yeager

    Frank, thanks for the great write up regarding you and Dini, that lovely little lady. She was a sweet thing and I will always remember her smiling face. Haven’t seen her in years but I will still miss her.

  • Suellen Oliver Campbell

    Memories of good times at the Haznam home always remind me of Dini, Veni and Fano. Dini taught me how to French-inhale cigarettes at one of her slumber parties. I gave up the “habit” pretty doggone fast when I learned the cost of a pack of cigarettes (as I was chintsy with my allowance of 50 cents a week.)
    Many of my memories of Dini include food: she introduced me to crispy rice patties, made by their cook. Nothing has ever tasted quite like those.
    One afternoon, Dini and I watched the family cook slice open the neck of the dinner chicken. That cook was a master at the slit and kill method and we wondered aloud if she might have acquired that skill at a rebel camp. That night we ate that chicken, but not with the same appetite we usually had.
    Dini also introduced me to the most delicious blueberry jam. It was usually served at the Haznam breakfast table, and we went through quarts of it I am sure.
    Dini had a cat named Minet that could make her laugh hysterically. The teenage guys (you know who you are!!!) had teased that cat to the point it was probably insane, and with its teeth bared, it delighted in chasing us around the house. You didn’t have to do much to enflame it…a glance its direction could cause it to go rogue! Minet was fast and would be right on our heels, ready to chomp at any moment. I would run as fast as I could, expecting at any second to feel Minet’s sharp fangs penetrate my bare heel. Meanwhile, Dini would be laughing uproariously at our genuine panic.
    But perhaps this particular memory of Dini has had the greatest impact on my life: one afternoon, the guys were seriously deriding President Sukarno of Indonesia. They asked Dini how she could defend such a man, and Dini quietly replied with dignity,”Right or wrong…my country.” Under fire, it was such a testiment to true patriotism.
    I often think of that statement from Dini when my country is being criticized, and hope over the years I have been as verbally loyal to the U.S.A. as she was to her country that day so long ago in Saigon.
    I pray blessings on Dini’s family and for sweet Veni, who has lost a dear sister. Dini will be in our hearts forever through wonderful memories of her laughter, kindness and spirit. Rest in peace and be well now, Dini.

  • Maile Doyle

    Frank, I only knew the Haznam sisters for a brief time. But I always felt welcome in their home when they hosted parties for the ACS teens. They both made such a clear impression on this very young teenager in a new country and culture where everything was a new experience. I remember thinking, “Wow, I am at a party at the Indonesian Ambassador’s house!”
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about Dini and really saying what we all are thinking as we watch our contemporaries pass from this life. It is truly that season of our lives.
    Bless you, Maile

  • Janet Bogardus

    Frank, I don’t know if I knew you in Saigon; I left in the fall of 1960. But I wanted to tell you that I was really moved by your email, your heartfelt reflections about Dini and about being a Saigon Kid who’s hearing of our high school friends who have passed on.

    I knew Dini and Veni, and spent many a slumber party at their house. They were both so welcoming and fun to be with. I was really sad to hear that Dini is no longer with us – and from what you say it sounds like her life after Saigon was not always easy.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings, and I hope you’re getting good treatment at the VA.


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