Home Oral History Interview - Mrs Lieu Thi Ngo

Oral History Interview - Mrs Lieu Thi Ngo


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Interviewee: Mrs Lieu Thi Ngo
Interviewer: Alex Sydney
Translator: Mr Dan Vuong
Date: 20th May 1999

Q. First of all, could you tell me, how did you come to arrive in Britain... Why did you come to Britain?

Lie Thi Ngo (LTN). My husband was in the army; the American Army (or the South Vietnamese Govt Army), so after Vietnam became controlled by the communitsts, we could not live there, so we escaped from Vietnam to England.

Q. And how did you escape?

LTN. By boat. After we left Vietnam in a boat, we were picked up by a boat called 'The Bowness', which rescued us.

Q. And where did 'The Bowness' take you to?

LTN. We came to Singapore first for three months, and then came to England; came to Tawney Island.

Q. And how long did you live at Tawney Island?

LTN. Two months, after two months living in the re-settlement centre, we lived Wales for six years.

Q. Whereabouts in Wales?

LTN. Various - Merther Tydvyll - [it was] very quiet (laughs).

Q. I went through Merthr Tydvill two weeks ago in the car. So how, why did you come to Hackney.

LTN. Then I was really shy and quiet, and I got some mental illness...

Q. Depression?

LTN. Yeah, yeah. My husband came to London to find a job, and in that time, the Vietnamese community in Islington and Hackney, they tried to help the Vietnamese get a house, and job. So we were lucky, we got erm... after four months, we got the house from the council in Clapton.

Q. In Clapton, and when was that?

LTN. About 1986.

Q. So do you like living in Hackney?

LTN. Yes, I like it very much.

Q. What do you like about Hackney?

LTN. It's near to my friends, near the community, when I have problems, the community can help.

Q. When you say community, do you mean places like the An-Viet Foundation, or do you mean your friends?

LTN. Different communities here; there are three - here, the An-Viet Foundation, the VLC, and in Stoke Newington.

Q. Are you at all...; do you believe in any religion particularly ?

LTN. Yes, Buddah, Buddist.

Q. I thought you did. So could you tell me what you have to do as a Buddist; in a week, what would you do?

LTN. For the month; the first day of the month, and the fifteenth - the middle of the month; that's the Vietnamese calender yes?, then I will go temple. At home I will pray for the living, for happiness, and for the future.

Q. Right, OK, so you do that twice a month. Whereabouts is the temple that you visit?

LTN. The temple called Ling Son. In Tottenham.

Q. Do you have any family or children in Hackney?

LTN. I live with three childre; one daughter and two sons

Q. And what do your children do?

LTN. My daughter is an actuary.

Q. An actuaral. What's that?

LTN. For the pension, for the elderly.

Q. OK. And do your sons work at all?

LTN. Yeah. My son, he works in computer science.

Q. So he makes quite a bit of money?

LTN. Yeah, in one year maybe thirty thousand pounds.

Q. It's good isn't it? Are you proud of all your children?

LTN. Yeah, I'm very happy, Yeah.

Q. That's good, that's good. Erm, right, if you could do whatever you wanted in a day; your favourite things, what would you choose to do?

LTN. Go shopping, go to community centres, and cook for the family; very busy. But happy. For my children, they like food.

Q. They like food, so what sort of food... what's your favourite... if you were cooking your best dish, what would that be?

LTN. Vietnamese food, sometimes English food.

Q. OK, but what's your favourite thing to cook, your very favourite thing?

LTN. Spring Roll, lots, allsorts.