Vietnamese American families
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2014.036.002 Oral History Interview with Cambao de Duong November 17, 2003

Cambao de Duong is a Chinese-Vietnamese immigrant born in Saigon, South Vietnam to Chinese parents. Cambao grew up in a multicultural environment and learned to speak Chao Chow, Vietnamese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. He would receive a high level of education in Vietnam, and inspired by one of his principals, became an educator. De Duong would teach at the college level until he received an officer commission in the South Vietnam army. Given his previous service in the South Vietnamese government and army, he was granted refugee status and was quickly approved to relocate to the United States. When Cambao first came to New York City, he decided to work in a non-profit organization, where he assisted Asian immigrants with forms and vocational training. De Duong gradually became heavily involved with social work and community advocacy, becoming co-founder of the Greater New York Vietnamese American Community Association, as well as the Indo-China Sino-American Senior Citizen/Community Center. He makes observations of the changing demographics, crime rate, and sanitation of Chinatown during his decades-long involvement with the local community. De Duong shares his experience in Chinatown during the 9/11 attacks, and notes how similar it was to his experiences in the Vietnam War. He discusses the economic impact of the attacks and goes into detail regarding unemployment and increased requests for social services. Additionally, he observed that while the restaurant businesses in Chinatown mostly recovered two years after the attack, the garment industry will likely not recover.