Audio Recording of Interview
Victor, an immigrant from Vietnam, describes his life journey—from fleeing Communist rule in Vietnam, relocating to Indonesia, and eventually settling in the United States—as well as his Buddhist spirituality and familial values. Victor describes how his Buddhism has informed how he parents and how he views the current pandemic, as well as connecting him back to his Vietnamese and Asian identities.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Chesley Chan
Location: Orlando, FL
Summary:Victor, an immigrant from Vietnam, describes his life journey—from fleeing Communist rule in Vietnam, relocating to Indonesia, and eventually settling in the United States—as well as his Buddhist spirituality and familial values. Victor describes how his Buddhism has informed how he parents and how he views the current pandemic, as well as connecting him back to his Vietnamese and Asian identities.
Topics: Spirituality, Places of worship, Post-war/conflict journey, Family, Employment, Education, Cultural adjustment, Immigration Process, Pandemic
Section 1: (00:00-07:55)
Immigration - Grew up in Vietnam, came to Indonesia as a refugee, and applied to live in the United States because he had an uncle there. Arrived to New York City in 1980. Moved from NYC to Orlando in 2006.
Education - Came to New York as a high school student.
Employment - During high school, he worked part time in a restaurant. Moved to Orlando to start a food supply business, because of a spotted lack of competition in Florida.
Family - Moved to Orlando with his wife and two children, a son and daughter, in 2006.
Section 2: (08:27-17:38)
Spirituality - A devout Buddhist whose father instilled the virtue of prayer within him.
He prays with incense as is tradition.
Post-war/conflict journey - Dad urged him, then in his teens, to leave Vietnam after the Communists gained power.
Education - From the age of five, he went to a Chinese school in Vietnam where he learned both Chinese and Vietnamese.
Did not learn about Buddhism in school.
Family - A third-generation Chinese in Vietnam, he learned Buddhism through his father and their Chinese culture.
Section 3: (18:14-26:04)
Post-war/conflict journey - Left Vietnam, sailing on a boat to Malaysia, but was not accepted, before eventually arriving in Indonesia.
As a fifteen year old, he noticed the others on the boat crying and praying.
Spirituality - Found a religious community in Chinatown, Manhattan, with many Chinese families going to the temple. Has a religious altar in his own house, where he prays everyday.
Places of worship - Visited Buddhist temples in NYC, where he eventually began bringing his wife and kids. He now attends a temple in Orlando, where he visits to pray every Sunday, following the monk.
Cultural adjustment - Came to a New York City with an already burgeoning Chinese population with many temples. In Orlando, he has also found a home with his spirituality, attending a big temple in downtown Orlando.
Section 4: (27:16-36:10)
Pandemic - He sees a lot of suffering through the pandemic, but at the time of the interview has been lucky to not have anyone in his proximate circle get the virus.
Spirituality - He prays that the Buddha will help rid the Coronavirus; the pandemic has not changed his own religiosity. Prayer remains as a value of his Asian and Chinese cultures; you must pray and you must trust the Buddha.
Family - He instills religious values in his family, emphasizing the importance of Buddhism to his children