Dong Nguyen, my family's famous "Hainan Chicken Rice" restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I grew up and worked when I was only eight years old. In the photo below were my parents who established the Dong Nguyen restaurant business around 1945. When my father passed away in 1965, it was my mother who raised us and built Dong Nguyen into a well-known and very profitable business in the area. For many years in 1970s and 1980s, my family's Dong Nguyen restaurant provided for the livelihood to all my married elder sisters' husbands and children, and even to some of the husbands' parents and siblings. After the war in 1975, when the husbands didn't have jobs or a family business of their own to make a living or when they ran away from the new economic zone (Kinh Te Moi) and have no place to live, my family provided them with jobs in the restaurant and places to live and let them into our house. Anyone who is old enough and lives in the area knows that Dong Nguyen was established by the Ngo family and knows how generous we were to those who came to us for a better life. That is a fact that can not be altered or denied.
I remember when I
was a teenager long ago, my mother said to me "our restaurant is
sufficient to nurture three generations." And after she arrived in the
U.S. to join me, she said "every one (sibling) still in Vietnam is to
have an equal share of the restaurant business profit." Every
one in the picture below and all their children, if they have the need,
should be shared owners of this Dong Nguyen restaurant in Ho Chi Minh
City because the restaurant was started and made famous by my parents
for more than 30 years ago. Not a single sibling, and certainly not her
husband or sons, should take all profit and the family business. My
brother, his wife and his children in Vietnam ought to be shared owners
and have rights in this family business.
For the past 18 years, my Vietnamese sister-in-law has not been
accepted as part of the "big family", and she and my brother were
bullied, intimidated, called names and excluded from the family business, and were
looked down on and ridiculed by the people who took the restaurant and pocketed all the profits, all for the tactics of alienating and turning my brother's family away. That is heartless, cruel, unfair and unjust. I am very much saddened,
and I called on other siblings to help my brother but so far most have
turned their backs on him. On behalf of my sister in Vietnam, I sincerely
apologize to my sister-in-law and her children for how they have been
mistreated and excluded from the family business for 18 years. My
brother's family has been going through some very difficult time,
but I hope they will endure and eventually get the share of the family
business that are rightfully theirs. I told my brother that there is always hope, and I am
sure a brighter future is ahead for his family.
飲水思源 When you drink water, think of its source.
Please do not mistreat my brother -- your brother, your brother-in-law, your uncle.
Please do not deny my brother and my sister-in-law's rights.
Please do not rob my brother and sister-in-law's share of the family business.
I have no doubt Mom would kick you and your husband out the door if she knew what you would do!!
really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem
so absurd and impossible to carry out.
Yet I keep them, because in
spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at
heart. -- Anne Frank
In the midst of darkness, let there be light.
In the midst of ignorance, prejudice, betrayal and hatred, let there be compassion, hope, loyalty and love.
In the midst of ungratefulness, let there be gratitude.
In the midst of selfishness, greed and cruelty, let there be generosity, honesty and morality.