HOF029: TRINH Judy

CBC journalist Judy Trinh was only four when she, her younger sister and their parents made their escape out of Vietnam, in a boat not much larger than a yellow school bus but crammed with 300 people. Approaching Malaysia after a five-day journey, the refugees were ordered by the coast guard to turn their boat around and head elsewhere, as Malaysian refugee camps were full. That night, the captain made a daring decision to get as close to shore as possible and then to destroy their boat. Trinh was too scared to jump out of the boat, so her mom had to grab the little girl and throw her into the ocean.

The family would eventually settle in Lethbridge, Alberta, to live with her aunt. By holding down multiple jobs while going to school for English as a second language and skills retraining, Trinh’s parents managed to eventually save up enough to sponsor, one by one, members of her extended family to Lethbridge.