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Monologue by Duy Anh David Pham Nguyen

Nguyen, Duy Anh David Pham
Leahy, Judy
Date of Interview: 
Overcoming obstacles; Relationships with people and places; Stories and storytellers; Cultural identification; Tolerance and respect; Then and now
Duy Anh "David" Pham Nguyen tells of how he came to live in the US and what he went through with his family to get where he is today.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Judy Leahy interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
DN (Duy Anh David Pham Nguyen): My name is David Nguyen. I'm 30 years old. My real name is Duy Anh Pham Nguyen. I was born in Vietnam March 19, 1971. I came to America when I was 9 years old. We are one of those "Boat People". We escaped in 1979 with a whole families. My family's of six, my mom and dad, and I have two older sister and one younger sister. I'm the only boy in the families. I don't know that much about Vietnam, but, um, my dad told me that communist is not a real good place for our future. That's why we escape. Our boat is around thirty feet long and we, have two deck of that, probably 100 person on a boat. My dad estimate it's took us three day to, from Vietnam to Singapore, but the calculate was wrong. We have enough supply for only three days, but it's took us seven days. Finally, there's a big ship rescue us, and they took us directly to Singapore. We stay-, stayed there for 6 months and then Immigrant take us to, uh, United States. When I came to, uh, America, the first state that we live in is Georgia. We live in Columbus, Georgia, because my aunt marry a GI. [Pause] Right next to our, house, that's where his base is. So, uh, later on, my mom and dad divorce. She moved to California, later on we move with her. So I live in California, for 15 years, [pause] and, uh helping my mom out, going school, help her out then work part time as a sale cashier. Graduate from high school. Went to first year of college [pause] and then, I went to a trade school, electronics, but I didn't go in far in that one. So my mom tell me that since the family's doing jewelry, she think that I should do jewelry for a living. So, I went to GIA for six months, get a degree from that, [pause] and start working as jeweler since then. I met my wife when I was in school, we fall in love and marry, and then we have kid. But, for my future and my kid future California is not a place to live. If you have a lot of money that's a good place to live, if don't, it's not, because there are so many gangs over there. And kid, teenage they get pregnant, s-, so I-, I'm worry about my kid getting pregnant so that's why I move to Charlotte. When we move to Charlotte all we have is $2500 in our hand, no place to stay. [Pause] So we have to share one house with one of my friend, we pay him $500 a month. But, they keep complaining that my kid, you know, messing up their house so we finally move out to an apartment, which we can't even afford [pause] to live in. I found my first job in Charlotte as a jeweler. I work for Skatell and then my wife helping [pause] my friend mom with his nail salon. [Pause] Anyway, um [pause], my boss at Skatell lied to me. That, he promised me that after six months he give me a raise, but he didn't, so I quit on that day, after six months. On my wife in the other case, my friend mom, [pause] sh-, she never give my wife any customer, so how we going to support ourselves if we don't have any work? She took all of her customer to herself and give to her family, so, my friend just, my wife just worked there with a very low income. We save up the money with the help from my mo-, mother-in-law, and go borrow from my family and her family to open up a nail salon. Finally the business is doing real good, and my kid is doing good in school, [pause] and, um, just a couple months later we open ourselves a tanning salon. Right now I'm real happy with my life, I'm real happy with my wife and my kid.