Despite her sheltered life and being forbidden from having friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love. I think that’s the American way — the power of connections and people. There’s also the moment where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo. He also sponsored more than 100 Cambodian refugee families and established a path of financial opportunity for them in America. He didn’t want to build a brand. In 1975, Ngoy fled the Khmer Rouge with his wife and three children to Camp Pendleton. The donut business isn’t easy. A day before he left, his eldest son said if you have $3.2 million you can buy it. Ted Ngoy stands in front of his first independent donut shop in La Habra, named after his wife Christy Ngoy. EN - English; ES - Español He says to me, “Alice, making money — it’s so easy. He saw an opportunity to expand his business and help the large number of poor, unassimilated Cambodians who had fled the Khmer Rouge to the United States. She got her start as an editorial assistant delivering mail and newspapers. It was really wonderful. Christy was in the front and made a lot of inroads with the community and built a lot of bridges. In English, Mandarin and Cambodian with English subtitles; Not rated, Playing: Regency South Coast Village, Santa Ana, and in limited release where theaters are open; available via virtual cinemas, including Laemmle Theatres. Tell me more about how they connected to the local community.Ted came in the 70s and it was quite homogeneously white in Orange County at the time and a lot of people had never seen an Asian person, much less heard of a place called Cambodia. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have posted lower infection rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups but make up about 19% of deaths from COVID-19. He writes about his extraordinary journey. That is because I had a buttermilk bar about 30 seconds out of the fryer with fresh glaze on it. The city of Irvine has settled a 1st Amendment lawsuit that alleged former Irvine Mayor Christina Shea blocked a resident after he posted comments on her personal page in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. [5] To understand the politics, the Republican party at the time was a very anticommunist party. The couple were wed shortly after and had three children. That really broke the ice for us. Scouring classifieds, Ngoy looked for existing shops for sale by owner. Is there anything that you left on the cutting room floor that you still think about?There are a lot of things that I still think about on the cutting room floor. By 1977 he was able to purchase his first doughnut shop, Christy's Donuts, in La Habra. I’m also, again, the daughter of Chinese American immigrants and my dad was a big Republican party supporter. We had an instant connection and it felt like we were meant to be doing this story together. In this condensed and edited conversation, Gu talks about the American dream, Cambodian American Republicans, 1970s Orange County and the best donut she ate during filming. Director Alice Gu makes her film debut with “The Donut King,” following the life of Ted Ngoy. They barely talked to him. and California landscape with a familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with red lettering reading Christy’s Donuts. Chuong Lee Tao passed down DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica to her daughter Mayly Tao, who updated the shop with a vast menu and a worldwide social media following. He soon desired to open his own donut shop. Ted Ngoy. For a year and a half, I struggled with how I was going to get access to that Mission Viejo mansion. His family had moved from a condominium to a three-storey, US$1 million mansion. Alice Gu’s film introduces us to Ted Ngoy, a refugee who escaped from a hellish, war-torn country in 1975, came to the U.S. with no money or friends. He did not fare well in either the 1993 or 1998 parliamentary elections, but his friend, Prime Minister Hun Sen, made him an advisor on commerce and agriculture. Ted Ngoy "The Donut King" Interview by Isabelle Cheam at Cambodia Town Culture Festival on April 8th, 2018. He formed the Free Development Republican Party ahead of the country’s UN-backed elections believing that he could show others the path to wealth and hoping that in being a politician his gambling addiction would be stymied. Within three years of his arrival, Ngoy had became a millionaire with his own chain of doughnut shops across the city. Search Search Microsoft.com. Ngoy had little ego in the game; he didn’t care if his donut shops were easily identifiable as his. Ngoy would often visit Las Vegas for a period of a week, unbeknownst to his wife. By 1980, Ted Ngoy owned 20 Christy’s shops in Southern California. While working a second job at a gas station, Ngoy took notice of a busy local doughnut shop and inquired of its operators about learning the business. Ngoy and his family enjoyed the fruits of their labor and at one point moved into a 7,000-square-foot mansion in Mission Viejo. As far as the immigrant experience and my parents — what it really did for me is open my eyes and I just cut them some slack about growing up here in conflict with wanting to be an American kid and their Chinese ways of raising me. MEET ''TED NGOY'' If you walk into a doughnut shop in California, the chances are it's owned by a Cambodian family. He is wealthy again. They’re savvy, young, hip. [7][3], Ngoy's fortunes improved dramatically, such that by the mid-1980s Ngoy had amassed millions of dollars through his expanding doughnut shop empire, reported as 50 locations throughout California. Vera Castaneda is a writer who has worked at the Los Angeles Times since 2016. His story has been told through different angles in a couple of articles. It was here that Ngoy had his first taste of gambling while placing bets at the Blackjack tables. EN. Ted's story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. He’s friends with Dana Rohrabacher. She grew up in Boyle Heights and graduated from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor’s in literature and a minor in journalism. Photo: Los Angeles Times … I could have made a special piece just on the history of donuts. Santa Ana’s LibroMobile will host its third Literary Arts Festival on Jan. 23 through Instagram. It really helped put some perspective on the journey to get here from somewhere else and the struggles that people go through when they arrive in a new, strange and foreign land. He tasted his first donut at a Tustin gas station, trained as a baker in a La Mirada Winchell’s and ran his own Winchell’s store in the Balboa Peninsula. Ted Ngoy, subject of the new documentary “The Donut King,” fled the Cambodian genocide to America, where he built a donut empire. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. In doing the research and finding that it was President [Gerald] Ford who issued the executive order to receive the refugees, a Republican president — that was a huge surprise to me given that during the time that we were making this film we were hearing Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Doing this film was really an exploration for me of understanding where you come from. The Donut King who went full circle – from rags to richesIf you walk into a doughnut Ted Ngoy is from Cambodia, and his story starts and ends here. UC Irvine developing vaccine that targets all coronaviruses. Ted Ngoy once owned a huge chain of doughnut shops across the US state of California and was known as “The Donut King”. And I thought, “How could that be?” He’s passed away now so I can’t talk to him about it, but it was a learning experience for me about my parents’ relationship with politics. She divorced him soon after and has not since returned to Cambodia. Upon his return to Orange County, Ngoy began gambling harder than ever stating "Monks cannot help me, Buddha cannot help me. [4], Ngoy secured work as a janitor with Peace Lutheran Church in Tustin, California. Through the maneuvering of his brother-in-law, chief of police and briefly future president of Cambodia, Sak Sutsakhan, Ngoy was promoted to the rank of major and appointed military attache at Cambodia's embassy in Thailand. It's the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America's favorite pastry, the donut. The world moves so quickly now, but I do believe that it is still real and it is still possible. These are kids who are American educated. You just have to see the opportunity and go for it.” Those are the wise words of Ted Ngoy. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. The documentary goes back and forth between Ngoy and the present-day lives of second- and third-generation donut shop kids or what Gu refers to as Donut Generation 2.0. When he was working in the donut shop, he went to his sponsor and said he was having a hard time. Ted Ngoy and I couldn’t be farther apart. While working a second job at a gas station, Ngoy took notice of a busy local doughnut shop and inquired of its operators about learning the business. He would forge her signature on checks and even borrow money from relatives who leased stores from him. Once a paragon in the community, refugees now avoided him for fear of being asked for a loan. It was a strategy that ended up working for them. He is nicknamed the "Donut King." He spent two months in Buddhist monasteries in Washington D.C and Thailand, to no avail. There’s so much competition. Ngoy would make a habit of returning monthly to watch performers such as Tom Jones, Diana Ross and Wayne Newton and indulging in the incentives pit bosses of major casinos offered all the while spending even larger sums at the card tables. Then he opened his first independent shop in La Habra, eventually covering the rest of O.C. Ted Ngoy arrived in California with the American Dream in his heart. Ted Ngoy was a high school student in Phnom Penh when he first set eyes on Suganthini Khoeun, the daughter of a high-ranking government official. This is an incredible story of how he helped people. Ted Ngoy (born Bun Tek Ngoy; 1942) is a Cambodian American entrepreneur and former owner of a chain of doughnut shops in California. The king of the title, Ted Ngoy, was named Bun Tek Ngoy when he arrived in California in 1975, a refugee separated from his family. A few return visits later, however, Ngoy began gambling. Although the locations shared a name, he made no effort to give them a cohesive brand identity. He started from the bottom and worked his way up. At his peak, Ngoy owned 65 shops and his wealth was estimated at US$20 million. I told him that he has a story to tell. Upon deeper glance, it was so personal for me. UC Irvine library highlights materials from I-Ching to Astro Boy in its East Asian Collection. Did working on this film change or contribute to your perspective of the American dream or immigrant stories?It seems like these days the American dream is harder and harder to attain. He became tired running doughnut shops on his own and decided to train and lease shops to his relatives and employ Cambodian refugees. What was it like?I spoke with him and he was in Cambodia. If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. When he was unable to pay back his debt, he would sign over his store to them. He subsequently received training through an affirmative action program to increase donut hiring within the Winchell's chain of doughnut shops, and managed a store in Newport Beach where he employed his wife ted nephew. By 1990, the ‘doughnut king’ was reported to be in the grips of a serious gambling habit. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. With Ted baking, Christy handling the counter and the kids helping out, the Ngoys soon saved enough to buy their own shop for $45,000 in 1976. Ted Ngoy Realty What new information did you learn in the making of the film?There was a lot that was new to me. He’s really funny. Also Jerry Brown, who we’ve seen in California as our beacon of hope and morality, in 1975 was actually the opposite. 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