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I'm confused about The Engineer and Kim! 
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Broadway Legend
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Post I'm confused about The Engineer and Kim!
Dear "Miss Saigon" Fans,

I'm sorry, but I am TOTALLY confused about The Engineer and Kim, so I have a few questions (SPOILER ALERT!):

* If The Engineer had gotten his way, and Kim had never killed herself, would The Engineer have set Kim, Tam, and Chris free, and just started his own classy prostitution business in America, or would he have CONTINUED to force Kim to be one of his whores? Is Kim STILL working as one of The Engineer's whores when she is girl....during 1978, and does The Engineer OWN that bar in which Kim is working? That place IS really a whorehouse, right? Is Kim LIVING in the 1975 whorehouse, and is she LIVING in the "bar" during 1978? Do she and the other whores have to sleep with The Engineer, too?

* When, and how does Kim decide that suicide is the only answer? She may be wandering around, singing, "I still taste your kisses...." right after Chris and Ellen make their final decision about Tam, but Kim is singing in her own ROOM; she DOESN'T HEAR them, does she? If she believes, in her heart of hearts, that The Engineer will take her to America, and that he will THEN just keep her as a prostitute, then why doesn't she either find another way to get what she wants, or why doesn't she plan to fool him once she and Tam and Chris are in America, rather than killing herself? If she only knows what ELLEN told her, and she HASN'T yet heard a "No!" from Chris (A "No!" in response to the request that Chris and Ellen "take Tam with them", that is), then why doesn't she just wait for Chris to come to her room, or why doesn't she go back to Room 317, and confront Chris herself? Does she feel that if Chris tells The Engineer to go screw himself, he (Chris) will STILL not take Tam to America, anyway? Couldn't she somehow contact John, in an effort to get HIM to convince Chris and Ellen to show a little mercy? If I were Kim, I'D probably go to Chris, tell him to get John over to his room right away, tell those two guys my ENTIRE story, and make a plan by which Tam and I could get Visas, WITHOUT any involvement from The Engineer; I'd make a promise to Ellen, too, saying that Tam and I would live in another American neighborhood, and that Tam would be sent over to Chris' house....WITHOUT me, whenever Chris wanted to see his son.

Does Vietnamese law forbid Kim from leaving Vietnam, because the authorities KNOW that she killed her cousin?

* Speaking of that incident, what happens to the body of Thuy? Do the Communist policemen remove the body from Kim's room? Don't the policemen want to ARREST Kim? Does she hide Thuy's body....with the help of The Engineer? I mean, she murdered The Peoples' Commisar, for Pete's sake! That's a NATIONAL crime, and even SHE knows that she's up a creek for having killed Thuy!

I'm sorry that I'm so confused, and if there are any really cool "Miss Saigon" websites that might help me to answer some of my own questions, please tell me about them, because I'm addicted to this musical, and I don't have a solitary soundtrack of it! <Oh, cry for me already, for goodness' sake!> ;) LOL!

Well, thanks in advance for your replies.

Till Next Time,
The Duchess of Mint
(The Original Lone Wolf)
OPINION: Mitt Romney is "that wicked plastic man!"

Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:07 pm
Young Hoofer
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Post Re: I'm confused about The Engineer and Kim!
1) For the Engineer, Kim is simply a ticket to the US. Assuming they both got to the US, I don't think he would bother continuing to employee Kim. In 1978 (Bangkok), the Engineer is reduced to receiving "10 cents an hour" working as a doorman (ie. guy who pulls gullible tourists into the club) for the "Club Owner." The Engineer does NOT own that bar, as he is abused, taunted and exploited by the Club Owner. Technically, Club Moulin Rouge (Bangkok, 1978) is a "Go-Go Bar" which is not a whorehouse per say, however, generally, tourists will pay a "bar fine" and take the girl back to their hotel. She is not living the bar, but in an apartment nearby (where the Second Act scene with John takes place). At Dreamland (Saigon, 1975), it is the same situation where Kim lives in a small, run down apartment (where Sun and Moon takes place). Generally speaking, the Engineer is not really portrayed in a sexual manner. His only motivation is securing money to get to the US. There is an implication that he may have "broken in Kim" as there is a line said to John "She's sort of a virgin, well, more or less."

Unnecessary Detail: Incidentally, in the original direction, the guy is credited as the "Owner of the Moulin Rouge" where as in the 2014 production, he is now the "Club Owner" who apparently owns ALL of the bars in that particular area of Patpong, Bangkok. I heard this directly from the guy who plays the "Club Owner" in the 2014 Japanese production (which is identical to the 2014 London Production, except for the language).

2) Kim only puts up with the Engineer because he has a plan to get to America (since this is his only motivation in life). Kim wants to reunite with Chris and raise her child with him, but she doesn't have the financial means to do so. Basically, the Engineer bribes a bunch of pirates to take them to Bangkok as the first step towards getting to the US. The two things that have sustained her for 3 years is her hope of reuniting with Chris and her love for Tam. When she finally thinks she can reunite with Chris, she runs into his wife instead and realizes by the end of the scene that she can never be with Chris again. Instead, she does her utmost to make sure that Tam can have a better life in the US by trying to give him away to Ellen. She cannot hear the conversation between Chris, Ellen and John of course, and she wanders the streets back to her apartment defeated and miserable (I still taste your kisses, your voice sings in my heart. You can't deny what we were yesterday, but you'll come back tonight for him). You can see from these lyrics that she has already decided to make sure that Tam will be provided for regardless of what Ellen and Chris thinks. In the finale, Kim also sings "they think they'll decide you life; no, it will be me." At this point, I think her mind is set on what she has to do for her child.

3) Kim and the Engineer escape to Bangkok the same night that Kim shoots Thuy. The authorities don't know that she killed Thuy. In the 2014 production, the Assistant Commissar notices Kim running off from the scene with Thuy but chooses instead to see if Thuy is still alive. He gets incredibly angry and orders his soldiers to find the murderer "no matter what". The next scene shows Saigon in Chaos. (Stage direction: "soldiers seem to be everywhere") She's forced into a corner and has no choice to ask the Engineer for help, using her son as a bargaining chip to get out of the country. (Kim: Engineer, Thuy's dead. He was about to kill my baby and I shot ... we must leave, Tam and I, we must set off for America tonight) So Kim knows the danger and leaves Vietnam that evening. Since they are sneaking out the country with help from pirates, Vietnamese law is not really a concern here.

Happy to answer any other questions you may have.

Thu Aug 07, 2014 1:18 am
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