HOF081: Hoang Chinh

In the final days of the war, while many of his friends and acquaintances were converging in the Saigon harbor to look for a way out of Vietnam, 21-year-old medical student Hoang Chinh spent his time at a hospital, tending to the injured and dying. Thanks to his medical expertise, Hoang would later be offered three spots on a boat that was about to leave the country; a former patient felt safer having a doctor on board. Once his family of three arrived in Kitchener in 1982, however, Hoang struggled for five years to find a way to return to his practice. He delivered newspapers, assembled paint brushes and processed poultry while trying to find a medical internship in order to qualify as a physician. He eventually gave up on that hope in exchange for a career as a settlement counsellor and then court interpreter.