Thong Dang Interview
Prior to the following transcription, there was already a 30-minute portion that failed to record. During this time, a lot of what was said was recapped with Mr. Dang’s first answer. He mentioned that his life was changed due to the event of April 30, 1975. He had been in a technical school because his father wanted him to be an engineer. However, during the technical practice years, as Mr. Dang worked at a factory, he realized that he did not want to do this for the rest of his life. He was able to change his educational focus, despite his father’s wishes, because his father had suffered a stroke and as a result, was incapable of leading the family further. At the same time, Thong Dang became the head of the household as the eldest son of the second wife. He claimed that a lot of his outlook on the Vietnam War and ultimately newly Communist Vietnam is based on the influence of his teacher—he had a generally gloomy outlook on life. There appeared to be bleak economic prospects, one of the many reasons he was willing to immigrate. Additionally, the situation concerning his wife’s family—whose father is a Colonel for the South Vietnam army—made him promise to immigrate to America should they get the opportunity. He was able to see the living conditions of America due to one family reunion he attended with his wife in America, which helped him make the decision. He mentioned that one instance of culture shock occurred the first day he arrived in America. He had stepped off the plane in San Jose, California on November 23. He states that remembers the exact day because back in Vietnam, and around the world, it is an internationally celebrated holiday: Teacher’s Day.