Azen Jaffe: My name is Azen Jaffe. Today is October 30, 2019. We are at Mekha Grill in Portland, Oregon. I am with Garland Joseph and we are speaking to Long Nguyen. Thanks for being with us. Could you just start by introducing yourself and telling us a bit about yourself?
[In the background you can hear traffic, people speaking, plates clinking, and cheerful instrumental music playing over the restaurant’s speakers.]
Long Nguyen: My name is Long Nguyen and I am the owner of Mekha Grill. I came to Portland about twenty years ago—around 1998—because I married a lady in the Portland area. We opened a coffee shop on 82nd.
AJ: Before Portland, where had you lived?
LN: I lived in Seattle, when I was let into the United States. When I was fourteen I lived in Seattle with my adopted family because I came here under eighteen, so I was a minor. I could not live by myself yet, so I lived with a sponsor family. I came to the States in Seattle in 1987.
AJ: Before that, you were in Vietnam?
LN: Before that, I was in a refugee camp. I was in a refugee camp for five years.
AJ: Are you willing to talk a bit about the journey from Vietnam, to the refugee camps, to the United States? We do not have to cover that, but if you want to tell the story…
LN: I will tell you anything!
AJ: Yes, if you are willing to tell us.
LN: I was born in 1972. Which was just right after the war. I did not know anything about fighting or who was fighting what. I was just a little kid, three years old. We lost the country in 1975. So at that time, I believe I was only three years old. I grew up pretty fast. After five years old I remember, pretty much. Not at three years old, but after five. I pretty much remember until now. After 1978 my dad took me to Cambodia because we could not stay in Vietnam any more. We allied with the United States and we fought with the United States, then the United States pulled out. So my dad is a traitor, you know? We were with the white people. Sorry, man [laughing].
LN: But now you kill your fellow Vietnamese from the North! Now you are screwed, man. Yup, for real they just stab you, the South. We could go to school but they did not pass out grades or anything. We were living a hard life. They took our home away, they gave us the no man’s land.
[A waiter interrupts to bring tea to the table for both the interviewers and the interviewee.]
LN: It was a tough life in Vietnam for our family after the war because… we lost the South. We defended the South, and we lost! So here we are. We decided to stay. We did not want to go to any other country before that until the last minute. We lost and thought the North would come in and shake hands and say, "Hey we are brothers, let us make the country better." But they did not. They said, "Uh-uh you come with me and you go to jail. What you have is mine." So basically we escaped to Cambodia, but the intention was to get out of Vietnam.
GJ: What was the process of getting to Cambodia like?
LN: It was tough because we are not Cambodian, we are Vietnamese. But we speak Cambodian. I think my mom is Cambodian—because we are from the south—I think my mom is half Cambodian or something. So she took us to Cambodia and she speaks Cambodian. My dad is not, but he learned very fast. Because [my dad] was a South Vietnamese soldier, he had traveled to Cambodia many times. He took us over there, but after we came to Cambodia, we could not do whatever we wanted. It was just another war after another war, it was 1978. '77 was the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, if you remember. It was a Cambodian based genocide—like two million people?—during the Khmer Rouge. So after the Vietnamese War in 1975, in '77 Cambodians started a war again. The Chinese were behind the Pol Pot. Now I know more, because when I came here I could read and research more about what was going on with that war, who was behind it. But I know the Pol Pot is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)… the Chinese… whatever… the company and political, you know. It was CCP… whatever it is… We call them that. Yeah, they basically wanted more land, to fight more to the South or something. The Vietnamese stopped them. The Vietcong, the VC, the one that took over the South—stopped the Khmer Rouge from committing genocide against more Cambodian people. At the right time North Vietnam was invaded by China. China said, "You will not let me do what I want to do in Cambodia? Now I will attack you up north,” and they did. That is the history, but nobody talks about it in the media. But I think we should share a little bit about that.
GJ: If it was not through the media that you learned about this, did your parents talk about it with you?
LN: Yes, my dad knew about that. My dad knew all about that. We went to Cambodia, we had a better life there than in Vietnam. In Vietnam, they still hunted for my dad. They wanted my dad to go to jail because he worked with the American soldiers.
AJ: So you were in Cambodia for five years?
LN: I do not know… so 1978 up to 1983 or something like that? Then I went to Thailand after 1983. Somehow in '83 or '84 I got into the camp. I stayed in the camp for four years and eight months. Then I came to the United States in 1987. So I do not know how many years... but I know that I lived in the camp for at least five years.
GJ: How did you end up in the United States?
LN: How did I end up in the United States? I had to escape from Cambodia to Thailand. I was a refugee in Thailand for five years in the refugee camp.
AJ: Did you go with your parents?
LN: By myself… I stayed by myself in a camp with five hundred other kids like me that were under age. We stayed in a whole big dorm together instead of with individual families. There were some nuns and some Catholic priests that lived with us… They educated us and we went to school. We studied the Bible in school.
AJ: Are you still connected with any of the other kids?
LN: Some, some yeah. Most of my friends do that, but I do not because I am so busy with business. Yeah I refuse to… to lose, man. I wanted to come here… I wanted a piece of the American dream. I could not have had that where I was, so I fought really hard.
AJ: I am excited to learn more about your business journey, but I am also curious to know why you went to Seattle after being in Thailand?
LN: Oh, why did I come to Seattle? It was just that my sponsor was in Seattle. We could go to any of the fifty states but… I think… a guy in Seattle wanted to adopt a kid in the refugee camp! So there I was—he lived in Seattle, so I went to live in Seattle. I did not know anything about America.
AJ: You were a teenager right?
LN: Yeah, I was thirteen or fourteen years old—really naive. I did not know what America was, man.
GJ: What were your first impressions of America?
LN: Oh God, it was so sad. When I was living in Seattle, I lived with a Caucasian family, not Asian at that time. I do not think that we had a bilingual school at that time. So they put me in American kid class, which is duh-duh—I did not know anything.
AJ: Did you speak any English?
LN: No, man. No English at all, man. They put me right into ninth grade at that time—I think I was fourteen years old or something like that? So they put me in as a freshman and I did not know anything. But after [laughs] four years you know, I got it, man. It was really hard! At that time we did not have computers or anything like that. I had a big, big dictionary so I would try to learn a single word every night. It was tough!
AJ: Were your parents still in Cambodia?
AJ: Who was the person who sponsored you?
LN: That person was Vietnamese family in Seattle. His name was Cuong Nguyen[?]. He did not have a kid so he just adopted me.
AJ: Was he a good guy?
LN: Yeah he was a pretty cool guy. He worked very hard doing landscape, and he did a paper route for a living. He did pretty well. I lived with him and I learned how to do the paper route through him too! Because that was what he did and I learned that from him. I know that is a good way to make money in Seattle. Because in Seattle, a lot of people read newspapers. I tell you, at every stop at least three houses order newspapers. Not like in Portland. I see in Portland not many people read the newspaper. But in Seattle, there are two kinds of papers, the Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times. The Post-Intelligencer comes out in the morning and Seattle Times [comes out in] the evening. But they both get read by a lot of people in Seattle. Here there is one Portland newspaper. I do not see people read much. I want a newspaper route so I can exercise and make some money, but you cannot. It is tough, man. Portland is really tough. I think in 1998 I came to Portland. I opened a coffee shop in Portland. At that time it was really bad. Especially because my coffee shop location was on 82nd. So there were a lot of prostitutes and really fast traffic at that time. Just after 9/11.
GJ: What were some of the similarities and differences you saw between Seattle and Portland when you first came here?
LN: Seattle is faster, more full of life. I think Seattle has more jobs.
AJ: Can you talk a bit about high school in Seattle? You said there were not many other
Asians, mostly White people. Were you able to make friends? Did you feel connected to any communities?
LN: Yeah, I had an adopted brother. A lot of my friends, they did not know me at first but they got to know me very quickly. They liked me very much. I had a great time in high school, I went crazy just like all the White kids [laughs]. Yeah, but you know...
AJ: What High School was this?
LN: Ballard High School.
LN: I think 15 and 65th Mount West, Ballard High School. I made a lot of good friends there.
AJ: What did you do after high school?
LN: After high school, I went to college. I wanted to be a lawyer. But in my second year in community college, I felt that I could not continue school anymore because I had to support my family back home. I just quit school and I got a job.
AJ: So at that time you were in Seattle your family was still in...
LN: Cambodia, but at that time they were about to move back to Vietnam. Because at that time I think it was about ninety-something, so they did not really accept refugees anymore.
AJ: So they were in a refugee camp that whole time?
LN: No, they stayed back in Cambodia. They still lived in Cambodia. In ‘98 or something, the camp closed. “No more refugees. You cannot come over no more, we do not accept you.” My family was about to go back home. So I was working to send money to my family. I did a paper route… I did all kinds of jobs. I worked in a hospital, bringing food to other people. I did summer jobs. At that time I was eighteen or nineteen so I still had a summer job… whatever it is. But the government gives you the summer off. I saved all that money. I wanted to open a business somewhere. A coffee shop that is what I dreamed of, running a coffee shop. Because in Cambodia we have a restaurant and coffee. You know, we sell them side by side. So I thought “Hey man, I have no family with me. I cannot open a restaurant because it is too much work.” If you have a restaurant you have to have a lot of help. A coffee shop is less work because you just have people making coffee. You give them their coffee and then you just collect the money, you know? In the nineties, coffee sold pretty well, so I opened a coffee shop.
AJ: Your first coffee shop was the one in Portland?
LN: Yes, I came to Portland to open a coffee shop.
GJ: What was it like owning your first business?
LN: It was cool. I loved it, I loved it. I did not have money then. I borrowed from everybody I knew—my uncle, my girlfriend [laughs]. I was lucky that I had a Vietnamese owner that signed the lease for me. Nobody, no other Vietnamese people, open a big coffee shop like that in Portland because Portland is a small city, so everything is small. I came from Seattle. I saw this huge building, you know? Jeez. And the rent was not much, about three thousand dollars at that time, which is a lot! But you know, when I came from Seattle I thought “A big building like this for three thousand dollars?” I thought it was nothing. So I opened a coffee shop. But Portland does not make a lot of money. Not many teenagers drank coffee yet then. Coffee had just come recently.
AJ: How long were you involved with the coffee shop before you started doing restaurants?
LN: About four or five years. My wife said, "You know your family opened a food business back home and you guys are very successful. You know, one of the top people doing noodles in Cambodia and Vietnam. Why don't you cook?" We started a restaurant instead of a coffee shop. Because coffee shops bring a lot of teenagers, a lot of gangsters [Laughs]. There was a lot of shooting going on in Portland because a Vietnamese coffee shop was wild! It is bad! Kids come—because they are not bad, they just do not know the law. They are just newcomers. You know, when they are newcomers they do not know the law. Until they get educated. Then when they know [the law], they are scared. But when they first arrive you tell them to do anything and they will do it! Because they come from a communist country! It is a third world country. It is different. So shesh, America, man, it is too cool. Too many guns here, man. Tell them and they will do it until they realize that, if you break the law you go to jail for a long time! So then they are scared. They know and they stop doing it, but when they first come they are crazy, man.
AJ: So it was mostly Vietnamese folk who went to your coffee shop?
LN: Mostly! Chinese, Vietnamese Asian people—Laos, and Cambodian. White too, but not much—maybe ten percent or five percent.
AJ: And it was on 82nd.
LN: Yeah on 82nd.
GJ: Did you know many of these people in Portland before you came here or did you meet the person who helped open up your coffee shop in...
LN: My girlfriend, who lived in Vancouver.
GJ: Okay so you guys moved here together?
LN: Yes, we moved here together. At that time I had my first kid. My wife said she did not want to live in Seattle. She wanted me to move out to Portland. It is a smaller city. So we came here and opened up a coffee shop.
AJ: Where did you meet your wife?
LN: In Seattle.
AJ: Can you tell me about her.
LN: I went to college and I had a friend in college. He said he wanted to meet a family that was going to introduce a girlfriend to him, and he wanted me to come along. So I came along and I met my girlfriend there too. My friend wanted to see her sister, but somehow I met my wife there. So there you go, I know [laughing] the girl was far away, man! Which is really rare. I do not usually date a girl that far, you know? To me when I just came to America from Seattle to Portland or Vancouver whatever it is—it was far enough for me, but it was fun. So she moved to Seattle and worked for a while. I knew her there. Then we had a baby together in Seattle and then Chau wanted to move here because her family is back here. She said maybe the family would help her with the baby. She wanted to be closer to her mom and dad in Vancouver.
AJ: It sounds like the café that you ran was like a hangout spot. Like people went there and hung out. Do you have any other memories from that time?
LN: Yes, in the coffee shop I put out a couple of pool tables. Basically older men went there just to drink coffee, listen to music, and debate some politics here and there. Then after three, the high school kids came out. Some of them were older, maybe seniors, eighteen years old or seventeen. They came out to shoot pool. My kind of coffee shop was not just like a regular coffee shop. We had loud music. It was almost like a jukebox with coffee, video games, and pool tables—but the one with three balls, not eight. You know, the one with pockets. The Vietnamese people do not play the one with pockets. We play with three balls, one black and two white. So you have to hit three at the same time and count one to four. It is from the French. That is where we get it from. The French, they have that. Because we lived under the French for a hundred years, colonized. So our food and culture is a little bit mixed.
GJ: It sounds like your coffee shop was a pretty fun place.
GJ: What was it called?
LN: It was called Café [unclear]. [Unclear] means a traveler.
AJ: Sounds like a cool place to be.
LN: Yeah it was. It was a cool spot for kids to hang out. But I had a tough time with it, you know. Most of the time the kids would not leave me alone. Yeah, for real. They were naughty. They were really naughty. In Portland they are really naughty. They are very stubborn, the kids. They wear red and blue. I do not know if you were born at that time or were in Portland at that time, but they would wear red and blue and whenever they saw each other they would shoot at each other! You know, they would draw Crip or Blood or whatever, yeah… I do not know what kind...
GJ: Do you have any specific memories of this?
LN: No, it was just reality in the nineties—the Crips and the Bloods or something like that. You know, you are wearing blue and the other kid is wearing red. They would start chasing each other and beating each other up. Crazy!
AJ: Did that cause problems?
LN: May I ask what year you were born?
LN: So see, it is just at that time. It was crazy! And they wear really stupid jeans, they are really baggy and saggy all the way down here, okay? When they run they have to pull them up and run [Nguyen acts out running with saggy pants.] all the way and they cannot run, you know?
LN: But they love to fight! But you look at them [and ask], how can they fight? Their pants are all the way down here. But that is fine, you know kids at that time... and they were crazy! They all had guns [laughs], yes. At the time police did not like that. That time was the worst for police, in the nineties.
AJ: Was it continuous that you closed the café and opened the restaurant or was there time in between?
LN: Yeah. We closed the café and we applied for the hood. It is a process though, opening a restaurant in Portland. It is really tough. So we had to stop and applied for the hood… It took me two years or something, man. To close the café and then apply to open the hood? I had a hard time with the city because I did not know the process. I went to the wrong people, you know? I got screwed. The city nailed me pretty well. Slowed my project down almost a year and a half or two years. Then after I got up, got going and finished the restaurant, 9/11 came and the economy was horrible after that. Where my spot was, there was no parking and there was really fast traffic. It was just not the place for me, and the owner jacked up the rent all the time. Because after I changed from retail to, you know, selling stuff, to restaurant updates to the public so there is more money now. So they increased the rent every year. I could not afford it, so I closed... I let my wife open a nail shop. I helped my wife open a salon. She was running that to pay rent, for the kid, and to help me out a little bit. At the time… I think it was about eight years after I started my restaurant. The three years after I opened my restaurant, it was no good. It was really horrible for me. But I have had really good experiences with restaurants, in how different they are in Asia and America. I know I did not make a lot of money, but I do not take that as a failure. I think that it was an experience for me. It was just a stepping stone for me. I know how to make it. It was just not the place for me. So I just closed that restaurant and opened a salon for my wife in Vancouver inside a Fred Meyer. I found another spot after eight years while my wife was running the shop. I would go eat at the restaurant down the street. I passed by a building that was for rent. I just got the phone number and I asked, "Hey how much?" Because it was a small spot next to the corner of the building. That was my first restaurant on Sandy. It was a bar or café, something like that. It was out of business. It was available for rent so I just got the number and asked what the price was. I said “Okay” and I leased that spot. I put in the hood and I opened a noodle shop. Then I opened and it was a success. People came in because they knew me. They remembered me from the other restaurant on 82nd. Now I have moved here so the Asian community knows me. They come to get the Phnom Penh noodle, which is the Cambodian noodle soup that I have today. I am really famous in Portland because of that noodle. It is a pork noodle soup. They cook it in the south and we named it Phnom Penh noodle soup. Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia now. That is where my family landed in Cambodia and we cooked that soup to survive while we were in Cambodia.
AJ: So your family had a restaurant while you were in Cambodia?
AJ: Is that the dish that you serve here? They were doing it before. That is where it comes from?
AJ: So we are at the Division Location. When did you open this location?
LN: I had this location a long time ago. When I came to the United States I bought this building through a friend of mine. He did not want it anymore. He did not want to deal with the renter here, with this Vietnamese lady [laughing]. He was sick and tired of letting this lady rent the place. He wanted to let it go...
[An employee of Long Nguyen brings him the phone and a break is taken in the interview.]
AJ: Everything okay?
LN: Yes. there is a little bit of a problem at the restaurant down there. They want my help, but it is okay. I want to finish the interview.
AJ: If you need to go whenever, that is okay.
LN: Continue whatever you want to talk about.
AJ: So you were telling us about this location.
LN: Yeah I had this [property], and I wanted to open a restaurant here. But I knew it was mine and at that time I needed to get back to my community. I had to open where my community was. Because if I opened here it would be hard for them to get here because this place has no parking at all. But at that location, it was right in the middle of all these other Asian restaurants. I blended in with them, so at least if they went to eat at those restaurants, they would know my restaurant was there. So we got the hood hill ready but I did not open up a restaurant here. I saw an opportunity at that place. I jumped in because I had no name yet. I wanted to establish my dish, my noodle shop, the Phnom Penh noodle. Because nobody, no other Vietnamese people and Cambodian people were doing that yet. So I wanted to do it there because that was where the Asian people were. So I jumped in and did it at that place. I did not even serve [Phnom Penh] here until now because that dish is pork noodle soup. Not many Caucasian people know of it yet. A lot of Caucasians know pho, pho, pho, which is the beef version, but this is the pork pho and the [unclear] is not pho. So I wanted to get to know and jump into my community. I wanted to build a name and I did. Yeah so people helped me out. Then now I have the Asian community eat, and now more Americans come too. Because they know pork noodle soup is, instead of just beef noodle soup. So a lot of people come and eat, both white and Asian.
AJ: What is your favorite part about having a restaurant?
LN: I love restaurants. The reason I opened a restaurant is because I could not have the dishes that I wanted to eat, the Phnom Penh noodle that I had to eat when I was a child. Either my family or some other families have it. It is the Cambodian Pork Noodle soup. That is where I come from, and they do not have it. Or if they have it they just do not cook it the same. So I know that my family [cooks that authentically], we are the ones that make that. If I do not do it, then nobody will step up and do it. I cook the dishes that no other Asian people have. So I do it, just because that is what I eat. I want to introduce it exactly like that in America, I do not want to twist any little bit. I make it the same.
AJ: You mentioned also with your restaurant you are serving the community. Do you feel connected to either the Cambodian or Vietnamese community here in Portland?
LN: I have pretty much, a little bit. I think most Cambodian people know that I have Cambodian noodles and they come and eat. They love it. They come and eat time after time, and the Vietnamese people do the same thing. But yeah I think I pretty much know what the Asian community does. I support them from time to time, do charity and stuff like that.
GJ: How do you support your community? Besides opening up a restaurant.
LN: How do I support my community?
LN: What do you mean by my community, the Asian community or everybody?
GJ: Yes, or Vietnamese or Cambodian.
LN: Like my neighborhood or something?
GJ: Yes or your neighborhood.
LN: Yes, for example on Sandy, that location at that corner, has been owned by Vietnamese for many generations. Not many people make it, but I bring something that is authentic. So it is the talk of the town on Sandy. So now it brings more people to that community I think. I do not know if that is good or bad, but I bring business there, and I clean up very well there. I make sure that the corner is nice and clean. The neighborhood around there loves me. They do not have any problems with me at all.
AJ: Did your children go to school here in Portland or in Vancouver?
LN: Yes, we live in Vancouver. No, we live in Portland.
GJ: Where in Portland?
LN: We live by Parkrose High School.
AJ: So how old are they now?
LN: One is turning one, one is eighteen, and one is thirteen. Two girls and a boy.
AJ: How do you think growing up in Portland was for them?
LN: I think it is a very cool place to have a family, Portland. It is very calm. I do not think it is dangerous in Portland. I think it is a pretty cool place to have a family. Just like myself, I fit right in. You just work a little bit hard and you will make it. Because we do not have a lot of jobs in Portland, besides Nike and Intel. It is hard to find anybody in Portland that has some work—people from India or somewhere like that. Hardly people that, right? Don't you think? So Portland, how about Nike they do not make any shoes in Portland [laughs]! Or Intel, you know? So Portland is kind of funny when it comes to jobs.
AJ: Have you faced discrimination here?
LN: Personally... not much. There is discrimination everywhere. How about that? Every culture has discrimination. Even your own culture discriminates against your own. Like Vietnamese and Vietnamese. How about that? I see that some Caucasian families dislike us, but that does not mean that it goes too far. To me, I think in every culture there are hateful people and there are loving people. So yes, in my life I have seen a lot of loving people and hateful people. Yes, maybe some other people are discriminated against, they have seen a lot. But as for my own experience, Americans have treated me pretty nicely. How about that? Pretty fair. They have given me opportunities to say what I want to say. Before they chop-chop me up [laughs]. For real though, I feel that. I appreciate America very much.
AJ: Are your parents still in Vietnam?
LN: No, actually I sponsored them. I already brought them here.
AJ: When did they move here?
LN: 1998 or something like that?
GJ: So they came to Portland the same time you did?
LN: No, they came a lot later. I moved to Portland and then I sponsored them. Before they came to the states—about six months—I came to Portland and opened a coffee shop. Basically I went back and forth between Seattle and Portland at that time. But my family likes to live in Seattle.
GJ: Are they still there now?
LN: Yes, they still are. Because there are more Vietnamese in Seattle.
LN: More Vietnamese. Portland is like a dead city. There is not much to do here.
AJ: What are they up to in Seattle?
LN: They are retired now. My dad had a restaurant, I think he wanted to close that and just [unclear] or something like that. He is retired and my mom has retired already. So they are already retired.
GJ: What was their response to the United States when they first moved here? What did they think about it?
LN: I do not know. I think they moved here because of us. All of their children came to America. So they just came, but when they came... I do not know. I do not want to say anything for them, but I think they are very satisfied. It is a little sad, but you know… I do not know, because they come here at sixty or seventy—kind of old. So they are not regular citizens that can go to work. So they just sit and we support them.
AJ: Do you have plans for your restaurants, for your business?
LN: I want to cook good food. When I have more opportunities for my restaurant, that is it. Bring good food to my city, to my neighborhood, and to my customers. That is it. I focus on my two restaurants. That is it. I do not want to open more because opening a restaurant nowadays is tough. Because the price of everything is expensive, but you cannot charge a lot for your dishes because if you charge a lot people will not eat. Period. The food costs a lot. Not just that. The employees [cost] a lot. Twelve dollars, fifty cents. When you have a restaurant that is really famous, customers come in all the time. Then you can afford to have employees, but for a small business to hire [and pay] twelve bucks or thirteen bucks an hour, it is pretty tough to open a business. You will go out of business very fast when you have employees. I mean it. The most scary [part] is [hiring] employees. You will fail very quickly if you do not sell enough because everybody thinks there are people running [the restaurant] full-time. Full time is only eight hours, and my restaurant is open twelve hours. It is tough.
AJ: How many people do you employ?
AJ: Is your family involved at all?
LN: Yes, they have to… Otherwise, you cannot make it. I know twelve dollars and fifty cents is not much. I agree, you know. But you have to sell. If you do not sell, twelve fifty stacks up really fast. It is a yin and yang to have an increase of the minimum wage. On the other hand, it is really bad for small businesses, really bad.
AJ: I can imagine.
LN: Like you open anything, you hire an employee, you know standards like that. You know and if you do not make it? Oh my God. That is why you see a lot of small businesses die out. Soon or later you will see Walmart or McDonalds. That is what it is, for real. I tell you, even Hawthorne, twenty-third, Division—small businesses. I think about fifteen percent do not make it. They mostly fail.
AJ: That sounds difficult.
LN: Yeah, very difficult. Or they have to do it themselves, you know what I mean?
AJ: Do you have any other questions?
GJ: What have you learned from owning a small business?
LN: You yourself have to work. You yourself have to work. If you do not work you do not make it, basically. You cannot afford to hire people and then go have a good time.
AJ: I think that we have gotten through all of our questions, but is there anything more you think we should ask, or that you would like to talk about before we end?
LN: No... I appreciate your conversation. As a refugee, I came here and I love it. America gave me the opportunity to do what I want to do.
[An employee comes to talk to Long Nguyen.]
AJ: Well thank you very much for speaking with us. Again my name is Azen Jaffe and I am with Garland Joseph and we are talking to Long Nguyen on October 30, 2019.