HOF074: Mai Liem

Due to his father’s service as a military judge during the war, high-school graduate Mai Liem was twice barred from pursuing post-secondary studies after the Communists took over South Vietnam in 1975. He managed to enrol on a third try, only by hiding about his father’s being in the re-education camp in the application form.

Realizing then that he had no future, Mai decided to leave Vietnam. He managed to make it to Malaysia on the fourth attempt. Sponsored by the Canadian government to Montreal in February 1985, Mai made up for lost time by throwing himself into his university studies. Relying on the support of his older siblings, who had arrived a few years earlier, Mai completed a four-year bachelor of mathematics within one year and a half after coming to Canada, earning three awards for academic achievement in the process.