HOF154: VU Huu Quang / AU Thi Minh Nguyet

Vu Huu Quang and Au thi Minh Nguyet were professionals who had met and married when they were university students in Canada. They returned to Vietnam, where they decided to stay to see if they could contribute to the rebuilding of the country at the end of the war. But after two years, seeing the close-mindedness of the new regime, they started making plans to leave. In 1975, they had a chance to take their young children out of Saigon. Vu, an engineer by training, turned to the library for tidal maps and nautical survival tips.

In one attempt to leave, he fashioned a riverboat into a seagoing vessel. When the effort to leave on that boat failed, he moved his family to a hut by the sea to live the life of a fisherman—all to throw off suspicion from the coast guards. When they left Vietnam and arrived in Malaysia’s Pulau Bidong refugee camp, Au was seven months pregnant; she gave birth to the couple’s sixth child in Toronto after Canada quickly processed the family’s application for settlement. Renewing his contacts with his university friends, Vu quickly found work in his former industry, oil and gas. The family moved to Calgary, where Au also returned to her former line of work in banking.