[i] Good morning. [name]

[r] Good morning.

[i] I’ll start with precious object. Do you have it with you?

Yes, I always have it with me. It’s a necklace I’m wearing, with a cross. It’s a gold necklace. And I got it from my grandmother, when I first went back to Vietnam since our escape. And I got it from my grandmother. And yes, that… First of all, I’m Catholic, so that’s why there was a cross on it. But she just wanted to give me something when I went back to Holland. That we are connected after all. It always stays with me. It gives me protection, gives me something familiar. And that’s the most important thing, actually.

[i] Yeah? And what does that necklace mean to you?

[r] Yeah, that necklace. Yeah, anyway, I’m thinking about my grandmother, but actually my family in Vietnam. Second, it protects me. It also makes me feel familiar, because I’m Catholic. I still go to church every Sunday. And yes my mother always says, it protects me where I go. Some kind of protection too, yeah.

[i] Do you feel that way too?

Yes, I feel protected especially from ghosts. That’s what they say. Yeah, you know, you see that in movies when you’re watching Exorcist or something. You’re carrying a cross. You feel protected, too. Maybe a little superstition, but it’s got something. Sure, we live in a… In a world where there’s nothing but people. But I do believe in the spirit world, actually. I’ve never seen them either. Maybe I’m very well protected, but yeah, that’s… I really feel protected by that, you know. And maybe unexpected things happen there, say, that yes also protected by that. But that’s unaware that I’m going to be there, yeah.


[i] Well, nice story about it.

[r] Yeah.

[i] And why do you think your grandmother gave that to you?

Yeah, look… I think my grandmother, yeah, I’m one of the first grandsons. I’m my grandmother’s first grandson. Often of both grandma’s. And we fled Vietnam for political, yes reasons, communism. And we didn’t want to live in it. And yes my grandmother is actually her daughter, her grandchildren, her son-in-law, she lost anyway and we came back for holidays and that was after, out of my mind, after seven years eight years, because I was eight when we came back. We were gone anyway. And yes, then we went back to the Netherlands and she wanted us to take something with us. I think that’s a reason why she gave us something, that we don’t forget her and at that time there was no Skype. And making a phone call was very expensive. So, uh… I didn’t write letters. So yeah it’s a way of connecting and I think jewelry in general has something like that, a story. Every piece of jewellery has a story. That’s the story of this piece of jewelry, actually. Yeah.

[i] Beautiful! Yeah, would you get over, because how old were you when you ran away?

I was… on my birthday, right when I turned 1. In the evening, we fled. My parents didn’t let anyone know I… I didn’t, I went through it, but I, I don’t know, but I got that on my birthday, where all the family was, I left in the evening. But nobody knew except a few and then we just ran away. And after half a year I think we ended up in Thailand. And we lived there for three and a half, three years. Then we went to Holland, yes.

[i] And how old were you then?

[r] When we came to Holland I was four, if it’s okay.

[i] Okay so you lived in Thailand for one, two, three, four, three years?

[r] Yeah or two and a half. I think I just turned four. Yeah, just four here.

[i] Yeah. Could you remember anything?

Yeah. Sometimes when I dream and couple my parents’ stories, I get flashbacks. But I don’t know if I really, really am, but I do remember… As my dad, suppose from the… from the beach, we’d run to the boat, we’d have to swim in the dark. And that I couldn’t swim and my father said “Okay son, now we have to be very quiet, because if you start crying the Vietcong will hear us and then you’ll ruin everything” and that I was quiet as a one year little baby, while I was crying normally. And then he’d have me on my shoulders and he’d go swimming and I’d hold him by his ear. And then I swam to the boat, or he swam to the boat. And that I just didn’t cry. And that’s the kind of thing that I get, and then I see myself in that, that’s my… My character as I am now that I am indeed like that, say that I have a very strong personality and eh … Does what needs to be done right, so to speak.

[i] Yeah. That’s a very risky undertaking to have a one-year-old child on your back. [inaudible]

[r] That’s why yeah, it’s risky to flee anyway. Because if you flee and you get caught, then yeah, sometimes a very long time in jail, yeah in your name. Or maybe death penalty, I don’t know exactly how that went back then, but those were very big risks. Imagine that risk they took and dared to take what they were facing, that had to be terrible to live there. I think so, yes.

[i] Yeah, yeah. You’re talking about, like, the power in your parents that you have now, huh?

[r] Yeah.

[i] Can you tell me anything about that?

The power? You mean perseverance?

Yes, perseverance and risky entrepreneur and…

[r] Yeah yeah yeah, those are very good qualities I got, perseverance, you know, at least strive for something you really want. Follow your future, follow you, follow you, yes follow your feeling for a better life, I got that a lot. Nothing is impossible. If they can do that, yes then to my feeling nothing is really impossible, if you want it, because that is very important. Passion, enthusiasm, motivation. That’s an inexhaustible source, yes. You can get so much energy out of it and so much, yes, power and, I got a lot of that. Yes now western society, Dutch society, yes I use that very subconsciously, because that’s what you’ve been given. It has become a habit, so it has become a good habit and I feel that throughout my life actually, in my study, in my work. I always try to do more than I receive, because then you only get plus points, only positivity. And you notice that again. Yeah. You always get something back from people from the strangest corners. Whereas you’ve actually subconsciously turned in for that. And that’s the art of giving. If you give more and ask and take less, you eventually get more in return and that is very important, not in matter perhaps but in friendship and in time for other people, because that is also important calluses. People sometimes don’t see that, people see that now in society you only see matter, money ehm, that sort of thing. But what actually is important, what I am getting more and more is friendship, network, who do you know, what can we do for each other. Um, and yes, in talents. A lot of people have different talents that you can use for each other and that’s very important.

[i] Yeah well that sounds very sensible, but you were different, weren’t you?

[r] I was different, yeah. Yes, you were.

What kind of boy were you?

I was er… Sounds very strange maybe, but I was a very naughty naughty boy once. Um, what I’m reflecting on now is who you’re hanging out with, who you’re hanging out with… Yeah, who’s around you, and that’s what you’re gonna live for. Well, I used to hang out with some popular boys in elementary school. Um, yeah, what did we do? We were always pushing the boundaries. And that gave us adrenaline and that gave us some kind of kick. And yeah, I’ve been in fights or with the police. And not because I’m proud of it, but I like to tell you from there that I learn from my mistakes. Because of course I have been arrested by the police once, or during the fight something went wrong, so now I have become who I am and now I think with my mind.

[i] And why did you fight?

[r] Yeah, it was about the weirdest things. It was about some kind of macho behavior, I guess. You don’t get to know yourself. Um, yeah, that’s instinct, I guess. That masculine instinct you don’t get to know. You shouldn’t argue with me, yeah, or be tough with me, because I’m gonna teach you something. That’s just the way it was. And, yeah, that’s actually not good. You’re not getting anything. Yeah, you get kind of a kick out of it. From “yeah, you see, you see.” But now when I think about it, yeah, you don’t solve anything.

[i] what kind of kick is that?

Yeah, that’s kind of a sense of power. I think that’s some kind of power. It is, you’re kind of at the top with a few, and then you try to be tough with each other anyway, say who can do more, who dares more. But also say to those other guys who might talk to the girls you liked or something that makes you say, “Hey you can’t do that, I make the rules here”. Well I don’t know if it really went that way, but if I reflect back now it is, I think it went that way.

And you used to hang out with popular guys, bad guys?

Yeah. Yeah, I guess when I see them now, we’re all very sweet guys, very good guys, but we used to be very angry guys and yeah… We just did whole things very bad things that were not allowed, smoking for example when we were already ten. Stealing. We started stealing candy at the Jamin’s. But then at some point you go to the Hema and steal gloves and yes, steal alcohol. Yes such things yes that hope up and then at a certain moment you go to a level where you can’t do what you want. And then you will be arrested by the police, because eventually you will be arrested and that was what it was all about.

And did the school suffer?

No school didn’t suffer. It always happened outside school. And yes, the school didn’t suffer. The school didn’t even get that much. Yeah at school the teachers didn’t get that much. Yes sometimes you get expelled from class because you have a certain institution, but otherwise the school didn’t suffer.

Yes, they only suffered when the police came. Because at home I was always very good. And at home they were the boss. But outside it was a whole new world. That’s where you were the boss. That’s where you took control. But at home I was just really good, yeah. Yeah no, otherwise I used to get a beating at home. And I’m very happy about that, because otherwise I might have become very different. Maybe yes, arguing with my parents that’s not going to be it. So in the old days I used to get ten beats on my buttocks and had to lie down and then they started counting down. Yeah. Yeah, they call that a corrective tap. But only the Vietnamese yeah that’s just a real spanking.

[i] Yeah.

Yeah, I don’t think it’s child abuse. That, uh… Yes to the outside world child abuse can happen, because it’s pretty hard but yes my friends who had that too, yes we could laugh about it, especially now you can laugh about it. But it used to be that I sometimes had bruises on my buttocks, so I had to say during sports I fell or something. It’s weird when you say that you passed because of my parents, the police are called immediately so I knew that. From “hey I’m not gonna … You know, I’ve just been naughty and then I’ve got a beating for it and…’.

[i] And how did you experience your upbringing?

Yeah, that was… My parents were doing a lot of work. A lot of work, so, I always felt like I raised myself, so to speak. On the street, was very often with friends on the street, but at home yes, I got the upbringing of, the standards and values. Respect, I have had a lot from Vietnamese culture, because yes Vietnamese respect for the elderly. And I liked that very much. But when it comes to school and all that, I had to do it all myself. And yes a lot of sports, a lot of normal things I had to learn a lot from school or from friends. Because my parents had to work a lot in the old days. Eh my dad for example had two, sometimes two jobs and also in the hospitality industry, so he started maybe at two o’clock in the afternoon and then until twelve o’clock in the evening. And I hardly ever saw him. Mother was often at home. So she was always there for me. But on my own I think it went very well. You learn a lot yourself. You’re put on your own a bit, so you have to learn a lot yourself. Also because I am the eldest son, I have to do a lot myself. Everything myself… I also did a lot for my parents, because they couldn’t speak Dutch very well. And then I read the letters. I tried to translate, so that started very early. Because when I look at my sister now. She gets everything and also by me and I try, you have to look things up yourself. We have Google, for example. Google you can even look up a lot of things. And you used to have no Google. If I wanted to know something, I went to the library, tried, asked friends, the parents of friends. And so…

[r] Then, yeah, I was already fourteen. Yeah fourteen. Yeah, since high school. Then you’re a little wiser. And you get more and more things. Yeah.

[i] Yeah, you were still a bad boy then?

Yeah, high school, first grade, second grade, a little bit back then. But after that, I didn’t steal anymore. But then it started a little bit with the girls actually, with the girls and… Yeah, I didn’t smoke either. I never thought it was cool to smoke, because I already knew what it was like to smoke. I didn’t like it myself. So I didn’t smoke anyway. But then smoking was all the rage. And I’ve always been a different person than the rest of them. I always tried to be with one leg outside the box, so one leg was the same as them, other leg just outside the box so I stood out. And, uh, that’s how I always did it. So when everyone smoked, I didn’t smoke and then I would say “why do you smoke?” and they like it and then we would debate about smoking and I always thought that was interesting and I’m still like that. I don’t follow the herd. I’m always trying to create my own path, because the path… Because that’s the path no one’s walked yet and then you always learn more from it. And sometimes it goes wrong, you have to take a step back and then you walk a new path. Creating your own path actually.

Yeah, and when is… Did that turn? From bad boy to the right side, so to speak.

Well, it’s still going, it’s going very slowly, so to speak. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m learning from my mistakes. So sometimes I still do things that I think of ‘hm maybe you shouldn’t have done, that’s too much risk’. But, um… Yeah, I guess I started stealing when I was ten. I start smoking. And then at some point you learn from it, then you do it less and less or not really. And I’m thinking the turnaround to my sixteenth, seventeenth… Yeah, I wasn’t gonna do the bad things I felt I was doing. But still now, for example, I find going out now, I also go out less and less, first I went out a lot. Since I was 21, my student year, I went out a lot, now almost not anymore. It’s not a bad thing, but in itself you can see it makes sense, really going out, what do I achieve with it? And I don’t see that as a bad thing, but in going out you also use too much alcohol and that has an effect on your life. And that’s how I finish things. It’s like I’m becoming more sophisticated, more mature. You become more and more mature, but you have to understand, you have to see ‘hey, but you have to keep going’. Some people get stuck in their good years, so to speak. I still know people who are 35 who go out every week. And then you digest, I don’t want that, so then, yeah.

[i] And what made you follow that turnaround, make it?

Yeah. It’s just you want better for your life. You want it better and better, more and more. And I’m somebody who tries everything. And that’s where you develop yourself. And, yeah, and then I kind of filter, what do I like what I don’t like. What do I achieve in the long term, in the short term, what do I get out of it. Look if I get satisfaction out of it and I achieve something with it, that’s a win. But if I don’t, I leave it and then I pick up something new, yeah.

[i] Um, are you a prescriber or a person who prefers to, yeah, do the exact opposite?

Yeah, yeah, it’s just… Yeah, I’m a “rules to break,” I think. Or yeah it’s a little hard, but maybe to improve. Look I just gotta go one it’s gotta go right. It has to be positive, so I’m always optimistic. And uh…but of course there are rules and you have to stick to them. But I’m always trying to improve the rules and what works best for me. Maybe that’s why I have entrepreneurial qualities. For example, I now work for a company with an executive in it and they have certain rules, a system. And I abide by them. But I do like to give my input on what can and can’t be improved and I want to prove and show that ‘hey that can be improved’, and then possibly always measure, because measuring is knowing. And then you can say ‘hey you see it’s better my vision or certain processes you perform are better than now, what’s going on’. And she lets me do that very freely and I like that. So I am somebody who sticks to the rules, but if I can do better or, yes, life itself in society just changes that. There is constant change. And you just have to adapt to that. You just have to adapt to society to get the best, the best out of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] And how are you in life now?

[r] Yeah, well, I think I’m ready for the next step. I’m in my graduation year now. I’m gonna write my thesis. That’s gonna be a business plan. And, um…

[i] Can you tell me what kind of study you’re doing first?

[r] I’m studying small business and retail management at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences and… Which will train me as an entrepreneur. Personally I think that if you are an entrepreneur then you are just an entrepreneur. And that should be in you, because it is a certain property, certain yes profile. And the study is good. You come into contact with a lot of, yes, departments of an entrepreneurship or a company so that’s a good thing but… I think I could have done without the study and then just go into business. But I’m now ready to graduate. And happy with my business plan. Yes, I’m happy with that. Because after that I’m really going to do business and do, especially do.

[i] But why do you say you can do without the study? Are you still learning something from the study?

Um, yeah. You do learn things from the study but it’s all there, how do you say that, it’s all basic, basic methodology and principles that you don’t always use in real business and, it doesn’t motivate you. Some cases don’t motivate me. It’s totally, it’s irrelevant to what I want. Self-study, on the other hand, is always better for me, because it’s really focused on what you need and what you want to achieve. That’s why I think, yes the study it gives you a good basis, but it limits you in your growth where you really want to grow. Um, and I can see that. Yeah, I’ve noticed.

[r] For example, I want to grow towards, yeah, the hospitality industry now. And I want to do business there, but it’s a very… It’s more. Entrepreneurship is doing more. And studying is mastering theory, describing processes and describing what you have learned, and what can be improved. Of course I understand the link. Of course it’s always good to think about it and, analyzing certain processes, but… I do notice that it holds you back in your real entrepreneurship, the creative, just doing it. Because entrepreneurship is actually just doing, not writing a lot. And now for my studies I’m always writing reports. Just writing. And then spelling mistakes don’t go so well, the construction isn’t so good. I understand that, that’s the basis, but it limits you a lot. It slows you down, my studies, so to speak. Especially for entrepreneurship. Yeah, if I was going to work for a boss, I’d understand that my studies would be better. Because then you get a good basis and you can show ‘hey I have my diploma. I’m educated here. “I can do this. But if I’m an entrepreneur, you really don’t have to prove to anyone what you can do. Actually, just do it, actually.

[i] Yeah. So you’re an entrepreneur before you even started college?

[r] Yeah yeah yeah. That’s indeed what I…

[i] What would you have done?

What would I have done?

[i] Yeah before college?

[r] What do you mean?

[i] You were an entrepreneur before you started your studies or was it during your studies?

No. In high school, I already bought clothes in China. Clothes and shoes and I sold them to my classmates in high school. Look, I already started that. I actually sold Pokémon tickets at my elementary school, bought them for seven guilders. I had ten tickets for seven, so seventy cents each. But sometimes I had very good tickets, so I sold them for two or three guilders, so I made a profit and bought new tickets. So I started trading early actually. But I dare say, yes, you’ll be thrown in the deep end. You don’t dare. You don’t know where it comes from. I do come from a family that’s very enterprising, but they don’t have, they’re not registered with the Chamber of Commerce, so they have to deal with real rules, so that’s why I never made that move. I never really had anyone I could learn from. I always had to learn on my own and sometimes that just takes a long time. If you have to learn things yourself then you fall ten times before you have made the right step. And that’s a bit my whole life actually. I learn a lot by doing, but I also make a lot of mistakes, but I think you have to learn from your mistakes. And yes, you really have to stay up, so right when you fall up and go on again. Get up and keep going. And that comes back with the perseverance of what we used to have, yeah from Vietnam, you know, persevere and don’t drop it and just keep on trying to do better than last time. Yeah, that’s what life is all about, persevering, persevering and chasing after what you really want.

[i] Yeah. And when you look back at all the businesses you’ve done, what have you been able to get out of it? What did you learn from it?

[r] What I learned from it, yes, that anything is possible. I used to be very afraid to contact the supplier, for example. I just did it. And the first time it went wrong, the second time it went right. And then every time you get a kind of confirmation of ‘hey it’s possible, you know, just do it and keep on doing it’, because they also say practice makes perfect and that’s true. Practice makes art. You get better and better at something. I read a lot of quotes. A lot of things, yes psychological things, a lot of metaphors and they all add up and that’s also for a reason that it’s true because it’s also a train of thought that someone else experienced years ago. And yes you have to learn from that and those are really sources for me to use for my own activities and doings.

[i] Can you name a few that have impressed you a lot?

[r] Yes eh, “less is more” is very beautiful. Yes I am very much, it can be very simple. The simpler the better. I like that very much. Yeah. Practice makes perfect. Those who do good, well met. It’s one of those standard things, but it all comes back and… I use them in my life, too. I’m all positivity. I have nothing good to say even if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything. Yeah, that’s one of those things. But I also say that to other people who say very bad things about other people. If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything or ‘get some rest’. And tell him another way later.’ Try, yes that has to do with feedback. Yes, often it is. Some people are just who they are and you shouldn’t judge them right away and… I always see the good in people. And I always got that because everyone is just who they are, and you have to accept that and try to deal with it. If you can’t deal with that, it says a little more about yourself than it does about them. And also the one who says something about someone else says more about that person than they say something about someone else. So that’s what I’m saying. I do judge, but I don’t say it in someone’s face or anything. I don’t think that’s necessary at all.

[i] Yeah. If you look at the relationship with your parents, I can imagine that they had a lot of trouble with you when you were little.


[i] And after that turnaround, so to speak. So how do they feel about you now?

Yes, I think they’re very proud of me. Even though they may say it more often. No, but I know they’re very proud of me, they love me. Who I am, and yes, I know that. I can see that, too. But it is in the Vietnamese community, yes, I think that in the culture it’s not them, they show it by doing things, but they don’t say it. And, but that’s very typical of Vietnamese. We’re very introverted. We keep a lot of things to ourselves. And, but I understand that too, yeah. But I know they’re proud of me.

[i] Yeah. How can you tell they’re proud of you because they don’t say it?

[r] Yes they do, they actually say through someone else, like when they talk about me, how proud they are of me and what I do and how good I am. So they don’t say directly to me, but indirectly they say about me in front of me. So… That’s how it works sometimes. And that’s the way I hear it. But it’s also the way I belong… They do a lot of things for me. When I’m sick it’s like I’m in a spa, because I’m so well taken care of. And, uh… Yeah, I feel the same way. You just feel right away if there’s love or no love. Yeah. Yeah, I can tell.

[i] Yeah. And you have quite an influence, don’t you?


[i] And your creativity

[r] Yeah.

[i] For example, redecorating the house from scratch.

[r] Yeah.

[i] Could you tell me anything about that?

Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, I got a lot of stuff from school that you need to think about. That you should have a plan of action when you start the project. And in my whole life I actually do that with small events or the house for example. The house is actually a reflection of who I am. Yes that’s very simple, less is more. All the basic things are actually white, very tight. And I brighten it up with furniture, like a wooden table that radiates warmth. And when it’s out of fashion, something else comes along that feels good for me again at that moment. So that’s the way I have it in my life. And it’s just a very good basis, and that is then further developed by, by yes, by the events, by the market, by the times, and that’s what I actually add to that. Yeah, that’s, uh…

[i] Yeah, can you tell me about your influence with this house? This was a small house you said, if I come in now, I’ll say wow… big space, pretty spacious.


[i] And you fixed that up all by yourselves, say, in a different way?


Can you tell me your part in that?

[r] My share, yes. It’s very hard to tell what your share really is, but my share was actually, all the communication with the contractor, the design, house design, the work I actually did with my parents. We actually did as much as we could ourselves. The demolition work. Building walls, we had stuccoes done. What we couldn’t do, we had done because we wanted a nice house. Yes especially the design is really from my point of view my vision actually put down. Of which I am very proud.

[r] It’s big, spacious. It’s actually a terraced house, which was very small. And by demolishing a lot of spaces, we were able to build a very large house. What we always get, we always get a wow effect when someone comes in, because people don’t expect that. I really like that too. So am I. I’m very much a person who’s very, yes introverted, not introverted. But I look very calm, but if you start talking to me and you get in touch with me, then sometimes you have a wow effect. I didn’t expect you to be like that at all! Oh can you, do you!’. And yes, I really like that too, because you trigger an emotion in someone. A wow effect that is always positive and always good.

[i] Yes. Because if you, you’re going to design something, eh the house, redesign it and how you can make it spatial.

[r] Yeah.

[i] What was that like, and how did that change, what did you do with it?

Well, it was very… Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. When we got here, we came into an empty house. In 1990 I think we came here, it was just an empty house, And we bought the stuff we could pay for, and my parents just had stuff that was good and they didn’t pay attention to design and we always lived with that. And they saved up, worked really hard. And at a certain point, it was time to, yeah, change, and I was, of course, very outdoors in this society. And I follow the trends and I am a person who has an eye for details and an eye for, yes, what I like. And then we were able to change in one fell swoop. So basically I just say what is trendy or timeless I think, because this can last for a very long time. Yes I put this down actually.

[i] Yeah. Cause the toilet was somewhere else.


So was the kitchen.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we made a lot of changes in the house. In order to organize it spatially and efficiently and indeed the kitchen was actually in a place that yes … there is a lot moved say to get this. It is very difficult to explain on camera how it has changed. So I’m not going to start with that. But there is indeed a lot of closets we have sl-, a lot of walls what actually a closet have demolished to make it simple and large, yes to make it look and …. Yeah, that’s the first impression you get. You come in, it’s wow so big! That’s it. And then the little things come. Oh that’s actually pretty good. And that was actually the most important thing, space is also very important to me. Space in life, space around you, just in everyday life, space so you can breathe and quietly, yeah, do your thing. But different if you feel very stuffy, because this house took a year to finish. Because we had some problems with the contractor, but also with the neighbours, it caused a lot of delay. And we actually lived in a ruin for a year. The living room was completely stripped bare. And that was for a year. And we didn’t have a wall for a year. So it was always cold. And for a year I felt what it’s like to live narrow, because I actually lived in my bedroom for a year. And we’ve always, we’ve eaten in some kind of ruin. And that felt very stuffy and, yes and then suddenly bam, we were sitting in a very big house, very big living room where everything was perfect. So I think that’s also very important in life itself. Space and less is more. Thinking about certain products or objects, yes actually a living room is also a reflection of yourself, of your life, of what you find important.

[i] Yes.

[r] I think that everything, anything at all, all the dots [points] in your life should be connected [connected]. You know, innovate from your core, from your base, build from that. And that’s very important.

[i] Yeah. Cause you live in your parental home, huh.


You say this house reflects who you are.


[i] Does this house reflect who you are or who your parents are or for the whole family?

[r] Yeah, it actually reflects who I am, yeah. That that…

[i] Who you are?

[r] Who I am, yes.

[i] So everything you see here reflects who you are?

Yeah. Yeah, I can only say about myself because, um, I can’t say it reflects my parents. But when I see it that way, my dad doesn’t, my dad doesn’t care. He’s very easy. He doesn’t care what the house looks like as long as the basic things are there. And I understand that too, he comes from, he has a completely different background. Where basic things were just needed, as long as there’s water, as long as there’s shelter, warmth, food. It doesn’t matter if something is beautiful or not. Because that’s not a primary need. That’s, uh… yeah, that’s very much like others, it’s a bit of a luxury thing, and he grew up with it, and so did my mother. And that’s how you see what they’re like in everyday life. They work very hard. They buy food they need. But when it comes to clothes for example, it just has to be warm, they don’t care if it’s from Armani or Prada or from another expensive brand. That’s not important to them. For us on the other hand, we come from a different society, for us it is just a little more important. Of course I find an expensive bag or an expensive jacket of Gucci that 2000 euros or a warm jacket of Nordface of 200 euros I see it that way, I don’t need that expensive, this is affordable, but I also get that from them. While on the street for example, if you didn’t get that, then you know you want to… show it off. That you have expensive stuff, that’s how it is to your upbringing, to your environment with whom you deal. And I got a lot of that from home. Primary needs, that’s actually very important. Out there, it’s all an afterthought. And I got that a lot from home. And, um, back to the question about this house, who it reflects, yes, it reflects who I am. It could also be that they say that it reflects them, that’s possible, I don’t know exactly where they are in there. I can only say that it reflects me because I need this space. I find this, this could also be my home if I lived on my own. Ehm the space, light, a lot of things tight. Yeah, so am I. Considerate, efficient, effective, a bit trendy yet timeless. Yeah.

[i] And that means your parents gave you a lot of freedom to decorate this house like that?

[r] Yeah. Yeah. And they have given that for my whole life actually, that freedom to learn things for myself, that’s why I say I’ve raised myself kind of. It may sound negative, but it’s not. But I have been given that freedom to develop things myself, I don’t know if they have done things consciously or unconsciously. But I’ve been given that freedom a lot to find my own way, my own… To find my own path. And I like that too, because I also hear other Vietnamese families, including children, who are very limited in that. She was not allowed to do a lot of things. Yeah, I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things either. But I went against that. I was just going to do it and she has to accept that and of course you always have to keep that balance, but some children, friends I know they have very much obeyed their rules, so they are who they are now, but just different. Yes I can only speak for myself that I have been very free in and learned a lot and because of that I was able to create this as well. Yeah.

[i] Yeah. What you see in the background huh.


That painting.


Is that your choice then?

[r] Yeah. Yeah, this is a painting by a very good friend of mine who’s an artist. Um, you can actually see why I like this painting so much and find it very inspiring, which it might not be for some people and for me it is. Is that it’s really an addition to the house, to my life actually. My life is very spatial, if you look at it that way, I need it, but this is a piece of chaos, but also brings structure. And it is so creative that you can see everything in this painting. Everyone has a different vision. In this painting. Some find it very dark, some people see yes, flowers in it, birds in it, depth, some say there are snakes in it, so it’s, it’s very creative. And that’s what I like about an art object that everyone has their own vision and opinion on it, because nothing is truth but everything is truth as well. And that is also beautiful, because then you can be yourself. And give your own opinion in it. And nobody can judge you on that, whether it is right or wrong. Because that’s just who you are and what you see. And that’s what I like about this painting. And especially because the whole house is kind of cream, off-white. And then all of a sudden this bam is in it, some kind of center, a center in the house. That’s very beautiful. That brings a little, something to someone and we can always talk about that, that’s why we sit at the dining table. But yes, I think that’s very beautiful.

[i] What we discussed about this painting now?

[r] Yeah, anyone who comes in and says “what is it anyway?” And then, for me, that is really “what do you see in it” and then the stories “yes, what do I see in it” and then they start to feel, which I don’t want because then… Then I say “ho ho don’t feel”, and then eh, because it also has structure in terms of depth in the painting. That gives it a small accent, which is also very beautiful. So it is a very complex painting. And that’s very beautiful in life when everything is so simple and yet so little bit complex, so just a very nice balanced room actually.

[i] Does that painting say anything about you?

[r] Yes actually the whole house says something about me! But the painting also says something about me. That’s a piece of me that is very complicated, yes a complex part of my life. A part of me is very complex. I can’t get out of it myself. So complex that I don’t know how to explain it, complex but very creative. And that is always positive.

[i] And what is complex about you?

[r] Yes, that’s the complex thing about it. I don’t know what’s so complex about me. I’m very understanding, very creative. Um… Yeah, I feel like I have a lot of good qualities… Yeah, it’s just very… I still have to find myself. It’s always a search for yourself, keep developing yourself. I think that’s how I’ve spent my whole life developing myself, bringing out the good in you. That’s perhaps the most complex thing in me that I’m still searching for and looking for. And that’s a good thing, because that piece of curiosity produces new things, new events in life. Life is actually collecting experiences. And that makes you complex. And that’s just good. Yeah.

[i] Um, you said you have a certain vision, someone with vision.


You’re gonna start your own business after college.


What is your vision for the future?

[r] My vision of the future, yes that’s very eh, yes that’s also very complex. I want to… Yes, I am just an entrepreneur and I want to take on a lot of new challenges. Sure, I want to have a lot of basic things right. I just want to have a family, children, a good home, a very nice life, only positivity, a lot of fun things in life and that’s what I strive for. Yes that in combination with entrepreneurship and bringing out the best in people and letting people experience how good life can be and how much fun it can be if you stay positive.

[i] How do you let people experience it?

r] By presenting my products and services in a good way, by letting people experience them. In this way I want to communicate, but also in touch with me, by means of communication, to show people how life can be positive. I am also someone who, what I would like to do later on, is motivate people, coach people, people who sometimes don’t like it or who still need a push, that I can just give it and I find that very important…. That seems like a lot of fun for me to grow into. That’s doing something good for your fellow man. But also for yourself, of course, because that makes me feel good and motivates people, coaches, a kind of motivator and then as a guest speaker. I can see that in front of me. A group of people like that and then I want to show some methods and then put down on paper what life is all about. On my vision of course, because everyone has their own vision about life. But just my vision about life and what you can do to yes, to be better in who you are but also what you want to do, entrepreneurship or certain jobs or be a family man. Could be anything. So I think that’s a lot of fun too.

[i] Yeah. Does that have anything to do with what you were like as a kid? Um… Yeah, if I can link it back like that, it has something to do with it. I guess I was always the little boy who always wanted to be in the front. Always wanted to lead. I did it in elementary school, in gymnastics. That I, yes, want to put a team together, manage people and lead them. So that certainly has something to do with that. And I also find that real leaders have to follow in order to lead. And then I learn such things and then I think hey that’s a good one, and then you’re going to implement that in your life, I do that constantly and then yes I think the basis was there. Entrepreneurship, acting, leadership, motivation and yes and the bad things I have learned I have given up, because I used to know, I did, I noticed when you started crying got your attention. Yes that sounds weird, but I cried quite often to get attention, with girls at my teachers. I started crying, I got attention. Now that I’m seeing again, it’s not good attention. But I do notice, emotion gives attention. And that’s why I’m very enthusiastic, creative, motivated, because that also creates attention. And, that’s how I attract people to me. And so I’ve used a different emotion now. So you don’t see me that quickly, it’s been a long time since I’ve cried. But I now have another emotion that gets me attention, and attracts people to me.

[i] What emotion is that?

Spontaneity, positive. Laughing, attracts a lot of people. Yeah, just acting crazy. Sometimes I just act crazy to attract people. But I’m always trying to make people laugh, that’s… Yeah, or sometimes a little smart.

[i] Yeah? You don’t cry anymore to get attention?

[r] No no crying I do, no.

Yeah, but could you cry that easily?

[r] Yes I could have been an actor, yes indeed. I used to be able to cry so easily and, I say, I still can cry so easily. I tried last time at my girlfriend’s. It almost worked out for me. But, yeah, it’s really getting that emotion out of me somewhere. Yeah, I should have been an actor sometimes. No, it’s good where I am now and where I want to go.

[i] Well, that trait’s in you. Maybe you can also use it in your entrepreneurship.

Yeah. Yeah.

[i] Your future enterprise.

[r] Yeah.

[i] You know what kind of business you’re going to do?

[r] Yeah, I know what kind of business, will probably be in nutrition. Food and technology. Technology is the future. So you just need to know that. And nutrition, yeah, that’s a primary need. Um, so that’s what I want to work in anyway. Passion is in design. Clothing, design, there’s my passion. But I think it will be those three combined and I have a lot to do with sports. I work out a lot. But I see that in the link with nutrition. Because nutrition is becoming healthier. Everyone wants to live a healthy life. Pay attention to their nutrition. Because yes, obesity is just, yes, it’s just… That’s what’s going on. Everybody’s getting a little fuller because of bad food. Yes I notice that with training, that I need good nutrition, to look healthy and good and therefore yes I think that it is very good link for my entrepreneurship in the food industry for example.

[i] And what do you want with that food eh yeah … Yes what do you call it? Because it’s not just any food, is there an underlying thought in it?

[r] Yeah, that’s, after all, it’s all about money, you mean?

[i] No, because you just said that the link with health, nutrition, sports, all that link has to do with health.


[i] Is that what you want to do in your business, too?

Yeah, yeah, sure. I think everyone should have a healthy lifestyle, because yes, you get a lot of energy out of it. You also feel much better, your self-confidence also noticed when I was a little fatter. And now where I am, you radiate more self-confidence. People also get a good impression of you faster. Because you are wearing a lot, you indicate discipline, you indicate that you are doing well. Research has also shown that people who are yes, a little healthier or a little more physically literate are in a better position to achieve more, so that also gives them self-confidence. So that has only positive sides. And I actually want to bring that back to entrepreneurship, so to nutrition. Like when we start a catering business, for example, that we also want to communicate that to the outside world. That nutrition is very important. So, um, you see that’s still too little, I think. For example, I don’t see that you eat a healthy sandwich. For me it’s very important to know how many calories it contains, what kind of proteins it contains, carbohydrates and whether it contains fats. A lot of people don’t know about it yet, but I think that’s very important, because that’s how I look at nutrition. I’m looking at okay I want to get 2000 calories a day, if I eat this hamburger, how much food is in it, what’s in it? Because then I can think a little bit about it. And that’s where we’re going, it’ll take a while, but people are already getting a little more vision. But I think we’re going there from hey I eat this, what’s in it? And you have to be as transparent as possible for your consumers. And that’s very important. That’s where we’re really going, I’m sure of it. We people want to know more and more. You know, food, for example, now that the food industry uses a lot of bad substances. And now we are getting to know more and more, ‘oh well maybe I should eat organic anyway’, but then there comes another factor with it costing more money. So people are going to consider it. But at some point everyone will eat organic food, less bad substances in it, so everyone can live healthier lives. More energy, more life out, or more energy out of your life, so you can do more actually.

Is that your mission?

[r] That is indeed my mission, because that is how I am. That’s how I want people to experience how it is. What it’s like to live a healthy life. What it’s like to have a good lifestyle. Because you only get positive things out of it. Only, only love and good things you get out of it. You become, you feel better and that is very important. Because if you just, that may be stereotypical thinking, but people who eat bad food, for example, have certain activities around their diet of bad food, which in turn motivates them to keep doing that, so getting Mac Donalds is very lazy for example. Just eating, getting fast food, sitting in front of the TV, not exercising, eating food, sleeping again, or eating before bed, is also very bad. And that creates, you see, reflection of your body is also who you are. What you eat is who you are. In the end all that has to do with each other again. And that may come back into your home. Because your house might be messy again. You don’t feel like doing laundry, so your whole, your dishes are full and it might smell a little. It’s all, you can tell right away what someone’s like, what they live in, what they do. It’s all connected.

[i] And what kind of food do you offer in your business?

Um, what are we gonna offer?

[i] Yeah.

We’re probably going to offer Asian, yes, Asian cuisine. Of course, that has a link with me, because I’m Vietnamese. So it’ll probably be Vietnamese food. But Japanese food, sushi does very well. Which can also be very healthy. So that’s what we want to offer. We want to keep it close to home, combined with healthy food, so instead of white rice, I would rather offer brown rice.

[i] Yeah.

[r] And also show that it’s better. And that it, everything takes some getting used to. People are used to something. You have to show something else. At some point we get used to it and then it’s back to normal. So, um, that’s how it works. But Asian cuisine is our thing.

It reflects who you…?

[r] It does indeed reflect. Yeah that’s why, innovate, innovate from your core, so that’s our base. That’s why it must always be linked to what you do. Because that’s always one, that’s like a wall that you reinforce with again a block that is the same. That reinforces, at some point you build a very solid house. That’s, that’s very important. That you have a good foundation, your house anyway, your bottom must be good. Your skeleton and then you build it up quietly with the same link.

[i] How old are you now?

I’m just 27 now.

[i] 27?

27, yeah.

Yeah, and at what age are you starting to think that way?

I think I’m past… Four, five years I’ve been thinking like this more and more. More links, more reading. I read some anyway. But I’m reading more and more now. And it’s just a good basis. That’s my foundation actually how I stand in life and what I do. And I only notice positivity because of that and…

Do you read magazines or do you read books?

I really read books. Yeah, you do.


Books and research, actually.

And what kind of books are they?

Yeah, they’re more psychological books, books about psychology. About thinking, actually, about the human brain, because that’s what we are, the brain. And, yeah, people’s habits. A lot of people, actually. Yeah. People’s development, actually. And entrepreneurship, of course. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it’s called self-development books. So, for example, how to think better, how to communicate better with people. What is life about, in, what is life about with the rich people, the somewhat mediocre people, eh I don’t know. So such, I read all kinds of things about people actually.

Where does that passion actually come from?

I don’t know. Of course it’s something, I guess. To know more about humans. Passion, passion comes from me, I think. Yeah I don’t know where that comes from, maybe it’s my talent to know more about man, I don’t know. Yeah, doing the right thing. Trying to do the right thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] Speaking of talents, what talents? [name] Do you see in yourself?

[r] I don’t know. I think entrepreneurship is my talent, dealing with people. I don’t know if I can call that a talent. But yeah, I’m very good. I’m very social. Yeah, that’s really, uh… My talent, I guess. I can do everything a little bit. I’m a little good at sports, I’m a little good at studying. I’m a little good at everything. And that, sometimes I’m sorry. But all I see in it is positivity. that I can do everything a little bit. I can always talk to anyone about something. I always have a link somewhere and otherwise I make it a link. And then I’m very interested in the subject. So I’m always open to new things and that’s very important to me. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] But that’s also a talent.

Yeah, that’s how I see it. Yes, indeed, that’s also a talent. So, it’s not really visible maybe. But it is indeed a talent, yes.

[i] And where do you want to excel?

[r] I do think in entrepreneurship. And a speaker in motivation in life, I think. I think that’s where they excel. I do want to put myself [er] to it at some point. I was always afraid to present. In front of the class, I was really scared. But sometimes when I stood in front of the class and presented, I was at the end of oh I want to do it again. I don’t do it enough, I know that. But I do want to excel in that, because yes I know I have that in me. Just say motivate people, entrepreneurship, so I want to do that combination at some point in the long term. Yeah, because that doesn’t take a lot of power either. I can do it for millions of people, be such a speaker. So I think that can be efficient and effective indeed.

[i] Do you have any inspiration in that area?

Yes there are, I listen to guest speakers, um… Ron, his name’s Ron. Zig Ziglar, they’re all American entrepreneurs. And yes, they do inspire me. I listen to these, I read books but I also listen to these kind of guest speakers who talk about life. The way they see it. The way they think they see certain vision, I’m sure. And then I listen to it and that’s actually all right.

[i] Are there any other sources of inspiration for you? Up close?

[r] Yes yes my parents of course. Yes my parents I must not forget! My parents are indeed of core, yes they are my inspiration, really perseverance. I really got from them. Entrepreneurship, you know, showing initiative, love of fellow men. Got a lot, too. They do a lot of good will. For the church. For the community. And yes, they get satisfaction out of it. They’ve worked really hard over the years. And I would really like to do something for them in the long term.

[i] And that’s?

[r] Yeah, everything they’ve done for me. Giving back in time, but also financially, if I’m really right, that I really want to do that for them, let them sit back, enjoy, let them travel. I would, I’ve traveled a lot. I have seen a lot of the world. And I would like to give them that too. Um, let them go out and see the world, because the world is very beautiful. All those countries. All those cultures. Yeah, that’s so beautiful.

[i] Where have you all been?

I’ve been to Asia a lot. I’ve been to America. And Europe.

[i] Any specific countries?

I’ve traveled all over Europe. So eh, we’ve been camping [RV?] or driving to France, to Belgium, to Spain, I’ve been to Portugal. I’ve been to England, to Italy, Switzerland and Germany. Um, that was it for Europe.

Who are we?

Me and a group of friends, we went by car. Kind of backpacking. Very intense, but very fun to do. I went to America. I’ve got a lot of family in, the West Coast. In California a lot and in San Jose. And I’ve been there twice three times. I’ve also been on my own once to make a Road Trip from north to south. That’s what I did. I’ve been in Asia, I’ve been to Hong Kong with my girlfriend. We did a Road Trip in Vietnam. I’ve been to Vietnam four five times. I’ve been to Thailand. I also backpacked. I’ve been to Indonesia, also backpacked. Um, yeah, actually, it was. So I’ve seen a lot of real stuff.

Seen a lot of different parts of the world?

Yeah, yeah. And I want to see a lot more, of course. But, it gives so much inspiration and you learn so much from it. Yeah, it’s just the cultures, the people, the way they are. What they do, and I always reflect that with what we have here and what we do. And we have it right here. Because people, yeah friends around me who are always nagging how bad it is, and how much tax they pay. But they don’t know what’s going on out there, how bad it is. Yeah, how people live out there. And what it’s like out there. And then, yeah… But that does indicate something about humans, I think we are originally very ikke ikke ikke, I want more, I want this, it’s not good, it’s … We’re very pessimistic, most of us, what I notice. And there’s gotta be a switch, that they’re like, “hey we’re good, that’s good what we’ve got. And that’s… People just have to go through that and… Through various, yes factors, such as travel, for example, you come into contact with that feeling of ‘hey, we have it right here. Or maybe they should go to a bad neighbourhood here in the Netherlands and live there for a year. Then you also have hey, I’m actually quite right where I am right now. Yeah or get in touch with only bad people for example, you know, they just have to get in touch and then make that switch and you really like hey yeah, I’m fine and we shouldn’t complain and we just have to make something positive out of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] And who are your friends?

Um, I have… One neighbor boy who lives, he lived the two houses down the road. I’ve known him since I was four. And now he lives down there with his girlfriend. So I really already know him. I’m 27, 23 years old now. And yes, we’re really best friends.

Is he Dutch?

No, he’s Moluccan. His name is Moluccan. And, yes, his parents came here. So we have some kind of link in there. Yeah, he’s from the Moluccas, also an Asian area. Even though they don’t think so but it’s just on the map that it’s Asia so yes it is, officially. But yes, we have a link there. I have a lot of friends there, mainly Moluccan friends, because there are a lot of Moluccans here. But I also have a lot of Dutch friends that I know from primary school. Vietnamese friends, who live a bit further away. So I’m very happy that I have very varied friends, who each do their own thing. Everyone has such a certain level what they do. Is very different. So my life has never really been pigeonholed. Very open, I’m always open to new friends. So, that’s very important to me. That you have new friends, but your good friends, that you keep cherishing them because that’s actually your core. Yeah, and then just, new friends. I do that on Facebook.

[i] The more friends the better?

Yeah, I say that. It sounds weird. A lot of people say yes no you should have some good friends, but on Facebook for me the more friends the better, it’s pure network. I’m happy when I say hi and bye, and then we’re friends. Who knows I might need you someday, then we already have a warm connection. Um, that’s how I see it. The more the better. The more people know me, the better. Cause I don’t know everybody. But that’s why I want to make myself as attractive as possible. On knowledge but also on the physical, so that more people come to me, so that yes then I have achieved more. And then you can achieve more.

[i] And has that succeeded?

[r] Yes so far, yes. But still, I think I’m really going to start if there is entrepreneurship, because then, that’s the real thing. Entrepreneurship that’s my last, or my last maybe, my next phase where I’m going to get to know a lot of people because I noticed my own business in clothes and shoes but I wasn’t focused yet. Because school is also one thing. You can’t completely collapse on it, because you still have a lot of things to do. Studying is really being alone, typing, and entrepreneurship there really opens up a world for me. I think I’m also going to travel to Vietnam to do business there. Yes, I want to go there too, I see a lot of potential there.

[i] You want to do a lot of things and get to know a lot of people.

[r] Yeah.

[i] Do you have any time left to support your core friends?

[r] Yeah, thank God I do. I do that once a day. That’s with training. Luckily, we all share the same vision about training. We all want to be healthy and train. We’re all a little macho boys. So we’re all training. That’s our quality time actually. For the rest, everyone does their own thing. Once in a while we go out. Yeah, a friend of mine. [name] he’s a DJ. So we often go out with him then. Also friends of mine who organize parties, so I help them out. So I do have our quality time, stuff. So I’m really happy about that.

[r] Yeah, they’re fortunately enterprising friends, yeah.

[i] Do you only have friends who are enterprising?

[r] No, not just that. Actually, I wish I had more enterprising friends. I do have enterprising friends, preferably even more. Yeah, it is what it is. Yeah, it’s a good balance in there, so… Entrepreneurial friends and less entrepreneurial friends. Entrepreneurial friends just want to be entrepreneurial. Those other friends who can also take it easy on what I naturally have an interest in. Just space, take it easy, chill out, don’t be enterprising.

[i] So you look for that balance and see your friends again?

[r] Yes, yes. I also see this balance in my friends. In the end it’s also about balance. That reflects on my constellation, I am scales. So that’s a good balance in being. Yeah, all I see are connections. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] Very good.

[r] Yeah.

[i] Hey, and if we’re talking about the city you’re living in right now.


Cause you don’t know anything else, do you?

Um, what do you mean you don’t know anything else? I was very good at topo.

Now you haven’t lived anywhere else? Then here?

Oh, no, I didn’t live anywhere else. No no no. I haven’t…

[i] When you came here, did you live in this house in this town?

[r] Yeah, yeah. We have lived in this house. Yes, we did. I know. Actually, I’m somebody who would go out there. But I guess it’s just certain choices were made in my, uh, in my past that eventually made me stay here. There have been certain turning points, oh I’m going out of the house, because when I went to study in Amsterdam, I wanted to live there. But studying wasn’t quite my thing. So I went to Amersfoort, and then it was better to live at home. At given up I felt, yes it was in the old house, I felt locked in the house, I wanted to get out of the house. I still slept in the small room. Then my parents said, I’ll give you a big room, will you stay at home? Then I went to a bigger room, I stayed home. It’s really a bigger room. So there have been certain moments in my life where I wanted to get out, but ended up staying because of choices actually. So, uh… But I think it has done a lot with me, otherwise because I also wanted to study abroad, but because I had my own business, I couldn’t do that again. So… Otherwise I tried, say, I’m still trying to leave. Abroad, for example. So I’m somebody, I’ll just do it.

[i] But this is your base, right?

[r] This is my base, yeah. This has always been my base.

[i] And you feel at home here?

Yes, I feel very much at home here.

[i] And also in this town? Yeah, in this town, too. I’ll definitely want to live here. I’ll also want to live in the city. In Amsterdam, for example. But I would also like to live in Vietnam. So I’m still sitting there watching where we’re going. Of course I’ll discuss with my girlfriend what she wants. Luckily she’s just as easy as I am. If we can live somewhere where we can live, that’s where we’re going to live.

[i] What kind of ancestry does your girlfriend have?

[r] She’s Chinese. Yeah.

You stay close to yourself, don’t you?

[r] I’ll stay close to myself, yeah.

In all your choices.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

And how did you even find your way around this town?

Yeah, I used to hang out in Maarssen when I was young. This is where I made friends. I never really went outside of Maarssen. Once in a while we went to Utrecht to shop, but mostly here, Maarssen was my base. There was plenty to do in Maarssen and there were plenty of kids. So that was really fun. And I think my character has taken me a long way too. Yeah, I wasn’t afraid of people. I wasn’t afraid to go outside. I wasn’t afraid to approach people, I wasn’t afraid to show initiative to do things. So people did come to me a lot with “hey, shall we do something or…”. That’s how I found my way when I was young, yes, I still am. I’m not afraid to do things. Learn by doing things. And that’s also very important to me.

[i] Yeah. Do you have a favorite place here in Maarssen?

Yes, we have a field here in Peacock Camp. It’s for my high school. There’s a field with a soccer field and a basketball court. And that’s also the center of all of Maarssen. So that’s where I used to come to sit on a bench and chat in the evenings, especially the summer evenings. Just what young people did. Now my favourite place is actually the gym. I often come to the gym there to train, I really like that. And home is my favorite place. I’m home a lot. I can yeah, I can sit at home very well. I never feel alone. Even though I’m alone, I don’t feel alone. I’m very easy at that. Yeah, you are.

[i] And are there any, uh, public places in town or where you like to go?

[r] No no no no I don’t really have an open place where I really often come no.

[i] And are there any places you avoid that you don’t feel comfortable with?

[r] No, not really. No, there aren’t. Or I do that unconsciously. I don’t come anyway. But it’s really where I feel unsafe. That’s what I think about first. A place where I feel unsafe. No, I feel, I’ll look for places like that, if I have to do something there. I wouldn’t mind. Another experience richer.

[i] And what makes you stay here so long anyway?

[r] I think because of my parents.

[i] Yeah?

Yeah. I think my parents made me stay here for so long. My parents always said, “You can stay as long as you want. And I may have taken that a little too literally. But yeah, I think that’s my first thing. And, of course, saving, financially. Since I live and experience here, I can do anything I want. Financially, I can pay for anything. That’s why I think I can travel a lot and party a lot, do a lot of things I liked. I think if I have lived on my own that yes that will be different, yes other activities. Maybe travel a little less because you don’t have the money to travel. So maybe I’ll go to work sooner because you need the money to yes pay your expenses, so. But I think that’s one reason why I’m staying here. Financially I don’t think I’m ready for that and for my parents. Yeah and since the house is all the way up it’s really hard to let go of something like that for a little less, but now…

[r] Yes of myself, indeed. There’s so much in here. I will want to take over this house later, for example, yes, but in consultation with my sister, I think. If she wants it.

[r] Yeah, I think they want to go to Vietnam, so yeah. So I guess that’s the next step.

[r] Yeah when they’re retired, yeah.

[i] That’s gonna take a while?

It’ll be quick. 15 years is so over. Time really flies.

[i] But you also said you could live in Vietnam.

[i] So suppose when they leave for Vietnam…

[r] Yeah. I could buy a house or something there. Look, I think the base will be Holland. Holland is just a good country. Also for your children, Holland is very good for opportunities. But I will also want to live in Vietnam. Because I really like the culture there. I also like the people. And… Yes, the weather is nice. Sometimes maybe too hot, but it still is. And the food is really good there. And it’s all cheap. Yeah, it’s all got something to do with it.


[r] So it’s so different from here. Here after seven o’clock or after five o’clock you come home, you’re tired, you watch TV, eat, sleep, next day again. There it’s seven o’clock at home, not eating at home but eating out. Because everyone yes, it’s so cheap out there that everyone goes, yes eat out. And I like that too. So I’m gonna really want that combination. Maybe someday it will be in the Netherlands. Because it’s just very cold here, but at some point it gets warmer and warmer, I think about x-number of years. Then maybe we’ll get a culture like that, you never know. Spain, for example, has such a culture.

[i] What kind of culture is that?

[r] That warm culture, because the sun shines there more often, so a bit warmer, is a bit more cosy. I notice when the sun shines more, the people are more outside and when more people are outside, there are more people on the streets. When there are more people on the street, the terraces are full. Then there is more communication with each other. And that makes it more sociable, making people work less, less… Their real things have to start doing, be more social. In warm countries there are also a lot more social people than in colder countries. Because people are more inside. And they’re more alone and…

And the social is in you?

[r] Yes, and that social is in me again, of course, and I like that very much. Yeah. Yeah.

[i] Yes. Hey, and how do you see yourself? Um, how do you feel then, are you a Maarssenaar, a Dutchman, a Vietnamese, how do you see yourself?

[r] I am a Dutchman with a Vietnamese background. Um, nationality. No Dutchman with Vietnamese background, descent. Yes, I am. Sure when people ask, “Where are you from, where are you from? Then first I ask ‘do you mean which city I’m from or’, because then I feel like a Dutchman. But it can also be “no, what is your origin?”. Then I say I’m Vietnamese. But also because I was born in Vietnam, I feel more Vietnamese. And that’s what they’re interested in.

[i] Even though you were one when you left?

[r] Yeah, yeah. That, yeah.

[i] Actually, you don’t know the country at all.

[r] Actually, I don’t know the country at all, but I feel…

You grew up here.

Because I was born there, I feel so much more connected to Vietnam than I do here. I think that my sister feels just a little bit different than I do, for example. Yeah.

[i] While you find very good connection in Holland.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

You can go anywhere…


You feel everywhere…

Yeah. But that, I feel connected to everything, actually. When I come to France and I’m a tourist and I have, I feel that connection, I’m in France too. I think it’s in my nature that I don’t belong anywhere. Unless it’s really a cult or something, then I really have to come in. I can feel at ease everywhere. And, uh, I make that connection very quickly with everyone. And I like that very much. But going back to, because I was born in Vietnam, I feel very Vietnamese. And I am reminded of that every time my parents tell me, for example, ‘yes he went along with vuot bien’, you know, with the trip from Vietnam, on a boat trip. But then I get all that and I feel that too. I have really been on a boat, I see pictures of me in Thailand. I’ve really been in a camp. Even though I didn’t experience it, I did. That does add in my past, I did. You know, I can tell.

[i] You were there.

Yeah, I was there. I’ve got pictures, look here I am, I was sitting here…

And I always hear stories. All those stories and all those pictures make a picture and that picture makes another story for yourself. Yes, because my father always told me, [name] used to be in Thailand, it was the only boy walking around everywhere, and he was real and at one point he crawled through a fence outside the camp and someone brought me back, because they knew who I was. I’m thinking, “Hey, you see, they knew who I was back then, see?

[i] You were enterprising back then.

[r] I was very popular back then, no, but, that is, that’s a picture of who I was, and who I am and what I’ve been through and that’s what I think…. Yeah, that’s just part of me then.

[i] Do you think it’s important to be known by everyone, to be popular?

[r] No, I don’t think that’s important. I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t care who knows me. So I don’t think that’s important, but I do think it’s important, that sounds weird, I do think it’s important that they know me. So, that’s very…

[i] Because?

Because, um… Or no, it sounds weird, I don’t care what they think of me, I don’t care what they think of me, in the sense that I must be popular. In the negative sense or so, so arrogant, look at me, you have to know who I am. If not, but I do think it’s important to get a lot of people to know me so I can get something positive out of it. So actually the negative side of it is important to be popular or that people know you, not that, but the positive side of it, because then I can get something out of it. But whether it really matters to me, that doesn’t matter. But it just has to be that balance in it, and yes it is.

[i] You’re a man on a mission, huh?

[r] Yeah, sure, yeah.

[i] And you’re very conscious of yourself?

Yeah, it’s getting sharper and sharper, so to speak, there’s more focus. And I keep learning. I also keep performing and repeating. Because also this repeats and confirms again who I am and what I do and how I reach. But in the end you have to acknowledge it, and also say out loud, call out or say yes to who you are and what you do, because otherwise…

[i] people don’t know you.

[r] Don’t people know you, yes they do.

[i] Hey if you reflect back all these years that you’ve lived here, how do you see that you’ve contributed to this town?

[r] Okay, yeah. Yeah. Anyway, I’ve organized a soccer tournament at the youth center. I used to teach dance. I did a lot of things there, too, for the youth. Yeah, I did a lot of things for high school too.

What kind of things?

I helped a lot with drama. So I was a boy who helped a lot and tried to be in the organization. To learn things but also to be in contact with the people of Maarssen, yes.

[i] And were you only involved with young people?

[r] Yes mainly with my age group, peers yes.

[i] And what balance did you see in that?

[r] Just that something was coming for them, because I am myself as a boy you are yourself, you are in the category and yourself there was no dance school or no dance class. Or no indoor football tournament, so while I liked it a lot and then you talk to people, yeah too bad there isn’t. But nobody takes the initiative to do it and I was the one from hey I’m going to see how we can do that. So that’s the way it’s always been. Yeah.

[i] And did you attract a lot of young people?

[r] That’s why you do attract a lot of young people. For example, if you organize a soccer tournament like that, you tell someone else you like it, they talk again and then your name always comes up because you are the contact person. And so you attract people indeed yes. At some point they call you, can I join or I have a team. And that’s how you attract people, so you have to, yes, always try to be at the front to attract people. That’s one of my visions, always try to be in the front, always try what people don’t dare to stand for, stand up for it and do it, try to do it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] How beautiful. And besides that, you do other things?


Cause you volunteered, I suppose?

Yeah. Yeah, I volunteered. Sometimes I did it in combination with my studies, or for school I did it to get points or something or, yes. That’s what I did.

[i] Like what?

[r] For school I did it sometimes. As a project I had to do a project and then I would do that with it. But besides that, right now, you mean? No, I’m just studying now, I’m graduating, working on it. Now I’m really focusing. Yeah. It’s important, too.

[r] Yeah, I just have a side job right now.

[i] What are you doing?

[r] I’m working for Nike as a salesman, and I’m just doing that right now. Yeah.

You do a lot of things. Where do you get the time from?

[r] Yeah, I do. Yeah that’s why I always try to plan it, because it’s very important to have a good planning. And yeah it is. It’s just, it’s a bit of a breakthrough now. And then, yeah, I guess if you like it, you don’t see it as work or study… Study, I think it’s really spicy, I have to say. I find it, my motivation is, however, difficult because it is only typing. And I really want to do business, but that’s where we’re going. I’m now really on the last legs and then we’re going to do business.

[i] You’re already an entrepreneur.

[r] Yes indeed yes. I just really need to see it in the numbers. That’s very important, because I really need to get that confirmation. Confirmation of ‘you can do it’, in figures, in capital. Yeah. I’ve never made a lot of money, so to speak. And that’s nice to get, that confirmation, because you can make a lot of money. I only hear from people, yes, you’re very wise. You learn, you do a lot. You can do a lot. Only that is not yet confirmed in capital. And that’s also very important.

[i] Yeah, that’s important to you, do you define that as successful?

[r] Yes, indeed, that’s what success is. Sure I think success is, of course it’s much bigger than capital. They say money doesn’t make you happy, but that’s actually not true. Money does make you happy, but love for money doesn’t make you happy. The people who have love for money, that’s very evil. Because that love for money goes beyond everything else, look money does make me happy if you give me a hundred euros, two thousand euros, makes me happy. But my love for it, that’s dangerous. And that’s what I do to a lot of people…

and what makes you happy?

[r] So that I can make other people happy, or with certain activities I can finance. Money is a good tool to create happiness or a piece of happiness, because happiness is very big. Happiness is also in giving love, and yes, money is just a means to support that, just like people. People also make you happy. And, but people, yes the love for people alone, imagine, can you, is also dangerous. So you have to yeah, love for people alone is…

[i] What’s the danger in?

[r] Yes, it may be that you love the wrong people, for example, and then you cherish that and yes, ‘but I am so in love with…’ and that makes you blind. That actually makes you unhappy when you have a lot of love for them. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that… that’s also, it can be dangerous. So you always have to be well-balanced. You have to see it. Recognize it very quickly. But maybe I haven’t really experienced what it’s like to make a lot of money yet. Imagine that coming and I’m so crazy about that money and I’m so, so in love with money that I’m just working and then it can be dangerous for example.

[i] You’re talking very wise already, aren’t you?


[i] Wise words, wise things, do you think that if you didn’t come here but stayed in Vietnam, that’s different?

And will it be different than you are now?

I don’t know. Of course, that’s all to do with the knowledge I’m getting. Here I have the internet, so you can look up a lot of knowledge. I’ve gathered a lot of knowledge from English literature or English documents. If I would now place myself in Vietnam, I think my English would be very weak. I think so. Because you don’t come into contact with English. Yes, Vietnamese. I think it would be different. It’s very difficult because in Vietnam you’re very much pushed to, that has also to do with communism, but very much pushed into who you are and what you have to do and it limits you very much. If I have to introduce myself like that, what I hear from my parents, is what you do, I couldn’t do that in the past and I wasn’t allowed to. My mother, for example, used to not be allowed to read books by my father. She had to work and then when she came home to sleep. And my mother loved to read books. Look she read them in the evening books, things like that, I think it limits her growth. My mom’s very smart. I know, my mom’s really smart, really sweet. But she never got the resources to develop that. And that’s…

[i] That possibility.

Yeah, she never got that opportunity, and that limits you. So you see, if I were in Vietnam, yeah, it wouldn’t be like this. Yeah, that’s really the difference. Here, I think I’d be right there. I don’t know, maybe I’d go to…

[i] Doing the same thing?

[r] Yeah, I might have a “pho” stall or something. But that narrows it down. Then you’re a pho stall, then you just have a pho stall. And then maybe develop from that. But you’re working. Often when you stop working, you stop learning. Unless you get that time to learn. You just notice, for example, the knowledge I’ve gained here and will undertake there, yes I think it’s much better, unless you… You notice that there’s a very small group of people there who are rich. But they’re also very rich. That ten percent is super rich. And that is often family on family on family who know people again and that is always transferring family. Someone who wants to start up from the ground up is very difficult, because first of all it’s corrupt and money is very hard to earn so that’s very difficult. For example, if I go there to do business I have a much better chance, anyway your first impression as a Vietnamese from abroad. Your knowledge, your attitude is very different. They look at you very differently, so you have a better chance of success. Yeah. Than if I were there. So that’s the difference. I’m glad we came here. Yeah.

Yeah, because here you also have the opportunity not only to develop yourself…

[r] Developing yourself? Yeah.

[i] But also the ability to travel.


Which you love very much.


[i] And by traveling, you also broadened your horizons.

[r] Yes, travel is one of the factors that widens your horizon anyway. That culture, people how they interact with each other, the language, yes you learn so much from travelling. And that is indeed very nice.

i] Different factors huh, entrepreneurship, travel, personal development, a lot of reading… Yes, that makes you a very wise person.

[r] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] And actually what your, yes I don’t know if your ultimate goal is, that you want to pass on to others by giving training, by being a speaker and so on. Actually, you can do it now.

[r] Yes, exactly. I think I can hear it. Only that’s a point. I don’t feel comfortable with it yet, because I don’t have it behind me financially, so to speak. That sounds weird, but I guess I look at people, for example, when you teach me something about entrepreneurship, but you don’t earn anything, you don’t have any money, that doesn’t seem as credible as you… That has all to do with how people look at society. For example, if someone comes in with a very nice car, has a very nice house and he says come in I’m going to tell you something about my business, then someone who lives in a terraced house and has a bicycle in front of the door, and who says ‘hey come in, I’m going to tell you about…’ has a completely different image. It’s weird, but it’s how it’s communicated. It can all be fake. It could also be happiness. I also know a lot of people who are rich, but who aren’t really wise at all. They’re not wise at all, they talk more like one, I think yes, I’m sorry. But they have just had success or just hit the jackpot via via which they do have money. So that’s that again. But I like myself when I get confirmation of hey [own name], you’ve got so much, you’ve got, yeah, you’ve just… You don’t live at home, you live on your own, you have… Then I’ll be able to be speaker of hey, you know, it’s all right, because I can do it. Cause I can tell you later, because I’ll tell you later from… You know, you can be a motivator without, ’cause I used to feel the same way, I didn’t do it. But at one point, I did. I haven’t changed any other way. I’m still [own name] who it was, but I have the money. But you can do it. You can live like this even without the money. Everything I go through is also very important for later for who I am. But everything has a reason why I do things too. So that’s why it is, it would be weird if I say, I don’t know, don’t know why I did it. I do think it’s important to think about why I do things. So that later I can always argue why I did it then, wise or not, I leave that in the middle. But I always show why, yes.

How do you see yourself in 5 years?

[r] I see myself living on my own in 5 years with my girlfriend, hopefully with kids, a successful running company. Catering company in which we are successful, yes, we have a good basis. Nice staff and continue to develop. I will certainly see that in 5 years’ time. And then, yes, somewhere around here. Maybe in Vietnam still have something.

And in 5 years you’ll still be here in Maarssen?

[r] I think so. I’m not sure. I like it very much around here, I think it’s very nice to… We have new neighborhoods behind it, I’d like to live there two under one roof, yes. Three kids, four kids, I don’t know.


Yes, I’d like to have as many children as possible. If my finances are ready, I would like as many children as possible.

[i] And attention?


Time and attention?

[r] Yes, that… Sure I want that too… I don’t know how that all goes. I guess I’d give them a lot of time and attention in the evening. A little less during the day, I guess. Unless it’s in the hospitality industry. Maybe in the morning, you know, after 3:00. I do hope I have enough staff so I don’t have so much real executive work. More strategic moves. Communicating with people and arranging things than the operational part. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[i] Well, I like to finish that.

[r] Yeah.

[i] Do you have anything else to say?

[r] No, actually, I don’t.

Anything else you want to say?


Or a last sentence?

Last sentence, yes.

[i] A motto or something, or a spell?

Yeah, I… First of all, I’d like to thank you for the interview, because it’s very reflective of who I am and where I’m from. Because it is important to know where you come from and to take everything you’ve done that with you into the future because that makes you who you are. And my motto is ‘be positive’. Always be positive. Wanting the good and doing the good and continuing to develop. Because yes, I am very grateful that we are here in the Netherlands, that we are also welcomed with open arms. And that we do something good with it and that we also give something back to society. Although it’s not direct, it’s not direct from hey I want to thank you, the Dutchman by the way. But just to society that it creates one, a good society together. Yes in contrast to what happens with many other subcultures, I think that’s a pity. But I think that has to do with culture, that we Asians are very introverted, very peaceful and very enterprising. Yeah.

[i] Well. Thank you for telling me, sharing your wonderful story. Thank you. Thank you.

[r] I’m gonna go to the bathroom!