More than 6,600 people have signed an online petition demanding the resignation of a Placentia-Yorba Linda school board member who was present at a rally that led to the siege of the U.S. Capitol. 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. In … His story has been told through different angles in a couple of articles. He soon desired to open his own donut shop. Although the locations shared a name, he made no effort to give them a cohesive brand identity. How did those scenes end up happening?I asked him to travel to California again. He would have no more donuts to sell so he could be with his wife for the rest of the day. He wanted to be with her, but he had no one else to manage the shop. Nearly every independent donut shop in every Southern California mini-mall hides a story — and many of them start with an unlikely impresario, a Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy. "She … 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. Distraught at the turn of events, Suganthini overdosed on sleeping pills and fell into a coma, causing her parents to relent to the union shortly after the couple recovered. He spent two months in Buddhist monasteries in Washington D.C and Thailand, to no avail. I thought it was so profound that this was the very same community that just a couple of decades earlier were making fun of somebody who worked at the counter and had an accent. 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. Ngoy proved to be a shrewd businessman — he’d been a payroll specialist in the army — and by 1979 he owned 25 shops and was on his way to becoming a legend. Cancel 0 Cart 0 items in shopping cart. He became tired running doughnut shops on his own and decided to train and lease shops to his relatives and employ Cambodian refugees. She divorced him soon after and has not since returned to Cambodia. After several years of hard work, the family took their first holiday and they went to Las Vegas. One night, Ngoy devised a plan to sneak into the heavily guarded mansion that housed Suganthini, allowing the couple to meet for the first time. I wanted to tell this story in a way that was inspirational and optimistic. The two eventually began a secret correspondence via letters delivered by the Khoeun family maid. As Orange County expands its vaccine distribution, UC Irvine researchers are developing a vaccine that could prevent coronavirus outbreaks in the future. Some of his relationships didn’t end well. What new information did you learn in the making of the film?There was a lot that was new to me. Ted had met Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., [Richard] Nixon. His sponsor told him people will have their prejudices but they mean well. I think that’s the American way — the power of connections and people. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. I can’t take credit for it, but I do feel like in the making of this film and having some of these people face feelings that they hadn’t confronted in many years, it was very healing. He’s really funny. 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. They’re savvy, young, hip. Ted Ngoy (born Bun Tek Ngoy; 1942) is a Cambodian American entrepreneur and former owner of a chain of doughnut shops in California. That's because of a refugee who built up an empire, and became known as the Donut King, only to lose it all. People love her and she’s beautiful. He started from the bottom and worked his way up. I ate the whole thing. Was there any tension or awkwardness when he visited California again?He came to visit California, I think, with a little bit of trepidation. Ted Ngoy "The Donut King" Interview by Isabelle Cheam at Cambodia Town Culture Festival on April 8th, 2018. People made fun of his accent. Then things were thriving. At his peak, Ngoy owned 65 shops and his wealth was estimated at US$20 million. There’s so much competition. 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 map of Christy’s Donuts, Winchell’s and Dunkin Donuts across California during the height of Ted Ngoy’s entrepreneurship in the 1970s through the 1990s. To understand the politics, the Republican party at the time was a very anticommunist party. 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. Ted is the first Cambodian refugee to start a donut shop in California. The next day, he flew back to Los Angeles leaving behind his new wife and their two children. He married Stephanie Ngoy, whose brother was one of Ted Ngoy’s first pioneers, and the couple ran two doughnut shops. Then he opened his first independent shop in La Habra, eventually covering the rest of O.C. 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. What was it like?I spoke with him and he was in Cambodia. He didn’t want to build a brand. The film follows an immigrant tale of the American dream through Bun Tek “Ted” Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee whose charmed life is full of war, romance, entrepreneurship, racism and a caution about greed. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. I told him that he has a story to tell. How Ted Ngoy Jumpstarted the Cambodian Donut Shop Business In an article titled, How One Cambodian Refugee Started Southern California’s Donut Empire, author Gowri Chandra discussed how Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy, immigrated with his family to San Diego, California, and changed the donut industry forever. By 1987, Ngoy owned 32 Christy's Donuts locations, largely accomplished by living out of a motorhome allowing him and his family to travel up and down the state of California establishing new locations. This caused tension in the Ngoy household, being the center of many arguments between Ngoy and his wife. It was here that Ngoy had his first taste of gambling while placing bets at the Blackjack tables. Ngoy lived in a small attic apartment a couple blocks away from the Khoeun mansion and would play flute music at night to woo Suganthini. In 1975, Ngoy fled the Khmer Rouge with his wife and three children to Camp Pendleton. Photo: Los Angeles Times … Ted Ngoy Realty "[1] In 1977, the Ngoys took a trip to Las Vegas where Ted saw Elvis Presley. We had an instant connection and it felt like we were meant to be doing this story together. It was on the market. When he was unable to pay back his debt, he would sign over his store to them. By 2005, after a failed political career in Cambodia, Ngoy was penniless and living on the porch of a fellow Parkcrest Christian Church parishioner's mobile home. Chet and Savy, Ted Ngoy’s oldest children, sit down for an interview in “The Donut King.”. Ted Ngoy. That is because I had a buttermilk bar about 30 seconds out of the fryer with fresh glaze on it. He lost everything and had to start from scratch. When he was working in the donut shop, he went to his sponsor and said he was having a hard time. Vera Castaneda is a writer who has worked at the Los Angeles Times since 2016. After cry, go back gambling." 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. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. Director Alice Gu makes her film debut with “The Donut King,” following the life of Ted Ngoy. "[1], After the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 1993, Ngoy returned to Cambodia for the country's first elections. How O.C. TimesOC e-Newspaper: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. The second time Ted came back to California, Chet took all this time off of work, took him to his timeshare in Oceanside and drove his dad around all over Southern California. He says to me, “Alice, making money — it’s so easy. He writes about his extraordinary journey. What drew you to Ted’s story at the start?Finding out about his story, it’s fascinating — a guy who comes here penniless and becomes a 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. They have social media and know how to work it to innovate their parents’ old donut shops with a worldwide following. Within three years of his arrival, Ngoy had became a millionaire with his own chain of doughnut shops across the city. For a year and a half, I struggled with how I was going to get access to that Mission Viejo mansion. Ngoy had little ego in the game; he didn’t care if his donut shops were easily identifiable as his. Once a paragon in the community, refugees now avoided him for fear of being asked for a loan. He’s friends with Dana Rohrabacher. By 1980, Ted Ngoy owned 20 Christy’s shops in Southern California. When he found one, he would sit out front in his car for hours, drinking coffee and tallying customers. Ted Ngoy arrived in California with the American Dream in his heart. He said that we didn’t have room for these refugees here. There’s a hustle to it, and director Alice Gu captures it in her debut documentary “The Donut King.”. Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. Following his time in the nation's capital, Ngoy spent time in a monastery in the Thai countryside where he spent his morning begging for alms. [1], After a particularly devastating gambling loss in 1990, Ngoy flew to Washington, D.C. and joined a Buddhist monastery where he spent a month meditating. That really broke the ice for us. Ngoy spent a total of 45 days in the mansion before being discovered by Suganthini's parents and subsequently kicked out. Search Search Santa Ana’s LibroMobile will host its third Literary Arts Festival on Jan. 23 through Instagram. Ted Ngoy stands in front of his first independent donut shop in La Habra, named after his wife Christy Ngoy. [8], Military Career and Immigration to the United States, Last edited on 30 November 2020, at 09:04, "Rise and fall of Cambodian refugee 'Donut King' charted in award-winning film",, "The story of the man they called the doughnut king",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 November 2020, at 09:04. Shortly after reiterating what he was forced to say, he admitted that what was said was a lie and stabbed himself in the stomach. 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. and California landscape with a familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with red lettering reading Christy’s Donuts. She’s currently a features reporter for TimesOC where she covers art, books, entertainment, trends and cultural issues related to Orange County. Despite her sheltered life and being forbidden from having friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love. 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. Doing this film was really an exploration for me of understanding where you come from. Scouring classifieds, Ngoy looked for existing shops for sale by owner. Upon deeper glance, it was so personal for me. [1], In 2013, he was living in Phnom Penh working in the real estate business. [1], Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. By 1977 he was able to purchase his first doughnut shop, Christy's Donuts, in La Habra. 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. What was surprising for me was watching Ted, a Republican, pictured with Pete Wilson at one point in the film since Wilson supported laws that hurt immigrants.It’s wild. Virtual town hall addresses COVID-19 vaccine concerns in O.C.’s Asian American community. TimesOC’s e-newspaper includes all six pages of Sunday’s coverage of Orange County. Irvine settles lawsuit that accused former Irvine mayor of violating a resident’s 1st Amendment rights. You just have to see the opportunity and go for it.” Those are the wise words of Ted Ngoy. There were some hurt relationships. 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. Ted Ngoy is from Cambodia, and his story starts and ends here. One of them being my interview with Michael Krondl, the food historian. Ngoy … A few return visits later, however, Ngoy began gambling. In our very first phone call, he asked if I was American and I told him that I was Chinese American. UC Irvine library highlights materials from I-Ching to Astro Boy in its East Asian Collection. Ted was dismayed. 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. UC Irvine developing vaccine that targets all coronaviruses. Christy was in the front and made a lot of inroads with the community and built a lot of bridges. In 1985, Ngoy and his wife became American citizens assuming the American names of Ted and Christy, respectively, and were enjoying a lavish lifestyle including a million dollar home at Lake Mission Viejo, a vacation home in Big Bear, expensive cars, and vacations to Europe. 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. 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. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. This is an incredible story of how he helped people. The donut business isn’t easy. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. Suganthini's parents and cousins hid behind curtains in the home to ensure Ngoy would break off the relationship. Ted Ngoy on IMDb: Movies, Tv, Celebrities, and more... Oscars Best Picture Winners Best Picture Winners Golden Globes Emmys STARmeter Awards San Diego Comic-Con New York Comic-Con Sundance Film Festival Toronto Int'l Film Festival Awards Central Festival Central All Events The Donut King who went full circle – from rags to richesIf you walk into a doughnut Which donut shop do you find yourself going back to for the sake of eating a donut?I had my out of body experience at DK’s Donuts and Bakery in Santa Monica. His secret: hard work in the extreme, a willingness to learn, and sheer determination. 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. I thought I would just get an exterior scene for context. 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. I ended up not sharing that donut. Some of the interviews in the film seemed that way.It was actually really wonderful to speak with particularly his older kids Chet and Savy, who until that interview, they didn’t have much to do with him. The premise of family in the film is how hard your parents work and the sacrifices they make so that you can have a life better than they did. 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. Despite never really being a huge success under the previous owners, Christy's became popular under the ownership of the Ngoys. She grew up in Boyle Heights and graduated from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor’s in literature and a minor in journalism. Khoeun's parents denied Ngoy's suitability as a mate for their daughter due to his lower social class, and instructed Ngoy to break off the relationship with Suganthini at a relative's home. We were taxed to the hilt, unemployment was high and he was very reluctant to give refugees a home here when Californians were out of work. It actually made national, if not international, news about the kindness of these people in Orange County. When you first reached out to Ted, it was a cold call. Over the years, he led thousands of his countrymen into... Erstklassige Nachrichtenbilder in hoher Auflösung bei Getty Images It was hurtful. The proclaimed 'Donut King' taught his family how to build and sustain a business. school board member who was at Capitol rally. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. 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. I am the child of immigrants who came and moved here for the American dream. A day before he left, his eldest son said if you have $3.2 million you can buy it. Thousands sign petition demanding resignation of O.C. The whole community banded together and they all agreed to sell him out of donuts every morning by 9 a.m. He subsequently received training through an affirmative action program to increase minority hiring within the Winchell's chain of doughnut shops, and managed a store in Newport Beach where he employed his wife and nephew. Ted and a lot of the Asians who came aligned themselves with the Republican party. Ngoy had become an example to other Cambodian immigrants, who began to follow his business model for their own entrepreneurial endeavors. I could have made a special piece just on the history of donuts. Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. Ngoy's gambling had progressed from the card tables to placing bets on sports games with Cambodian bookies. He was very surprised that anybody would find him and want to tell his stories. [2], In 1967, Ngoy was sent by his mother to study in the capital, Phnom Penh, where he fell in love with Suganthini Khoeun, the daughter of a high-ranking government official. Literary Arts Festival spotlights local and visiting artists of color. [1], When his wife returned to California for the birthday of a grandchild in 1999, Ngoy began an affair with a young woman, serving as the final straw between him and his wife, Christy. Interestingly, largely because of Democratic policy we got a grant for our camera and it came from this girl, who was the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who landed in Arkansas. They barely talked to him. I’m also, again, the daughter of Chinese American immigrants and my dad was a big Republican party supporter. 2,912 likes. He is nicknamed the "Donut King." He said he’s Chinese Cambodian and we spoke Mandarin for a couple of minutes. His family had moved from a condominium to a three-storey, US$1 million mansion. By 1990, the ‘doughnut king’ was reported to be in the grips of a serious gambling habit. He wrote a book called “The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin” and he gave really fascinating insights into donut culture, history and our relationship to donuts in America. Designers Andrew Hem and Charlie Le were awarded a SWSW Film special jury recognition for their poster design of “The Donut King” in 2020. Ngoy also involved himself in American politics, joining the Republican Party and hosting fundraisers for George H.W. He dissolved his party and accused the government of corruption. The Khoeuns immediately sent for an ambulance for Ngoy and had Suganthini locked in her room for days following the event. That phrase “Donut King” is already so eye-catching right off the bat. Also Jerry Brown, who we’ve seen in California as our beacon of hope and morality, in 1975 was actually the opposite. Upon his return to Orange County, Ngoy began gambling harder than ever stating "Monks cannot help me, Buddha cannot help me. Bush and encouraged fellow Cambodian immigrants to support the GOP. What is Ted up to in Cambodia nowadays?Ted is doing well. 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. Handout So, there are holes in this doughnut story. Ted Ngoy and I couldn’t be farther apart. If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. Help might be on the way. The world moves so quickly now, but I do believe that it is still real and it is still possible. There’s also the moment where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo. [4], Ngoy secured work as a janitor with Peace Lutheran Church in Tustin, California. Something else about Orange County that I found so beautiful and touching while we were making this film, there was a man who owned a donut shop in Seal Beach and his wife was stricken with cancer. Ngoy's political career ended in 2002 after breaking with two powerful allies, the commerce minister and the head of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce. nonprofits have responded to the impact of COVID-19 on Asian American seniors and business owners. Ngoy attempted Gambler's Anonymous, but denies its help with his situation stating that when he went to meetings "I cry, everybody cry. Less than a decade later, he was a multimillionaire at the helm of an unlikely empire of independent donut shops that continue to dominate the west coast and fend off advances by large chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts. [4], Despite the wealth he had amassed and his importance within his community, Ngoy felt dissatisfied, remarking that he had "No political life, no religious life, just work, work. It was a strategy that ended up working for them. She served brief stints as a city reporter for the Daily Pilot and an education reporter for the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press. Ngoy would often visit Las Vegas for a period of a week, unbeknownst to his wife. To think about what Ted did years ago — letting bygones be bygones. In 1975, a Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy and his family arrived in Southern California penniless. These are all people who present day you don’t associate with welcoming refugees with open arms. EN - English; ES - Español The Donut King: The Rags to Riches Story of a Poor Immigrant Who Changed the World (English Edition) eBook: Ngoy, Ted: Kindle-Shop

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