By ANH DO
Hoi Trinh was a teenager when he left
In advance of Tet, Trinh held a reunion with many of the refugees he has helped to resettle. We caught up with him.
Q: You and a group of refugees in
A: We do this every year. It’s a chance for all of us to meet up and share stories. Most of the refugees came here in 2005, and at first we did it at
Q: First, what is the current status of refugees awaiting asylum? And second, for young Vietnamese Americans new to the issue, please share background on the cause you’ve championed for, is it close to two decades? How many years exactly has it been?
A: Well, for the refugees from the
Q: What keeps you motivated?
A: Not much. I know all of them personally. I consider them as part of my extended family so if I didn’t fight for them, I would actually feel guilty about it. Besides, it doesn’t require much effort on my part.
Q: Please outline what needs to be done for 2012.
A: Lobbying for the remaining stateless Vietnamese refugees in
Q: How does having a child keep your work in perspective?
A: It reminds me of how incredibly lucky I am. And that all children deserve to have an identity, a place to call home like my son. It is certainly more difficult now to balance between personal responsibility and public duty but I hope I’m finding it!
Q: How do you stay ahead of fundraising and how can people help with this?
A: We managed to raise around $5,000 at our reunion last Sunday. I love the fact that for those who have been since resettled here, they have not forgotten those who are still left behind. It speaks volume of our people’s ideals and values. Further, we have also received small donations from friends and supporters who simply share our vision and support our work. VOICE is a 501(c)(3) organization, so they simply write us a check and send it to us. Do feel free to email me at [email protected] if you want to find out more about how you want to help.
Q: Now you’re based again in the
A: Just like going home really. I was there for 10 years and never really left. We reopened our office in September last year so I just get to spend more time there since then. The
Q: Recently, you did a lot of work in
A: I was there as a consultant for another NGO doing fuel-efficient stove and clean water work in
Q: How do your emcee duties play into all your other commitments?
A: I only do my hosting gigs on weekends. And not on all weekends for that matter. So all is good. At least it helps pay the bills, and I enjoy making people laugh every now and then.
Q: What are your tips for managing stage frights and/or public speaking?
A: Be yourself. Speak from the heart and people will listen.