Once a paragon in the community, refugees now avoided him for fear of being asked for a loan. The Khoeuns immediately sent for an ambulance for Ngoy and had Suganthini locked in her room for days following the event. I am the child of immigrants who came and moved here for the American dream. 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. Owner of 25 Christy’s Doughnut shops from San Francisco to San Diego, he is one of the most successful Cambodian business executives in the country. " In 1977, the Ngoys took a trip to Las Vegas where Ted saw Elvis Presley. In 1975, a Cambodian refugee named Ted Ngoy and his family arrived in Southern California penniless. When he found one, he would sit out front in his car for hours, drinking coffee and tallying customers. After cry, go back gambling." Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. Chuong Lee Tao passed down DK’s Donuts in Santa Monica to her daughter Mayly Tao, who updated the shop with a vast menu and a worldwide social media following. The Ngoys decided to keep uniformity amongst their shops, naming subsequent acquisitions Christy's. , 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. It was really wonderful. How O.C. To understand the politics, the Republican party at the time was a very anticommunist party. How did those scenes end up happening?I asked him to travel to California again. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. It really helped put some perspective on the journey to get here from somewhere else and the struggles that people go through when they arrive in a new, strange and foreign land. He tasted his first donut at a Tustin gas station, trained as a baker in a La Mirada Winchell’s and ran his own Winchell’s store in the Balboa Peninsula. Despite her sheltered life and being forbidden from having friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love. Ngoy also involved himself in American politics, joining the Republican Party and hosting fundraisers for George H.W. Although the locations shared a name, he made no effort to give them a cohesive brand identity. He would forge her signature on checks and even borrow money from relatives who leased stores from him. One of them being my interview with Michael Krondl, the food historian. Irvine settles lawsuit that accused former Irvine mayor of violating a resident’s 1st Amendment rights. It's the rags to riches story of a refugee escaping Cambodia, arriving in America in 1975 and building an unlikely multi-million-dollar empire baking America's favorite pastry, the donut. I say, “Ted I don’t think it’s that easy at all.” And he’ll respond, “I’ve been rich three times. I called her when I found out and asked if she knew about Ford and Brown. That's because of a refugee who built up an empire, and became known as the Donut King, only to lose it all. This is my own speculation, but it seemed like he had come to some peace with his dad and childhood. Virtual town hall addresses COVID-19 vaccine concerns in O.C.’s Asian American community. 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. Handout So, there are holes in this doughnut story. It was a strategy that ended up working for them. Somewhere along the line, things shifted. 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. In doing the research and finding that it was President [Gerald] Ford who issued the executive order to receive the refugees, a Republican president — that was a huge surprise to me given that during the time that we were making this film we were hearing Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Ngoy would make a habit of returning monthly to watch performers such as Tom Jones, Diana Ross and Wayne Newton and indulging in the incentives pit bosses of major casinos offered all the while spending even larger sums at the card tables. Like everyone else, Orange County Asian Americans have struggled to adjust to the new reality brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. He spent two months in Buddhist monasteries in Washington D.C and Thailand, to no avail. 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 I ended up not sharing that donut. He hosted Dan Quayle and Pete Wilson at his house. 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. A few return visits later, however, Ngoy began gambling. I’ve also never built an empire of donut shops, been wealthy, or rubbed shoulders with people with political influence. This is an incredible story of how he helped people. Scouring classifieds, Ngoy looked for existing shops for sale by owner. Director Alice Gu makes her film debut with “The Donut King,” following the life of Ted Ngoy. The Donut King who went full circle – from rags to richesIf you walk into a doughnut That was super mind blowing for me to hear the political flip-flop and really insightful about another time when politics were more civil and there could be discussion. Literary Arts Festival spotlights local and visiting artists of color. Interviews can sometimes feel like a therapy session. Ngoy … The Donut King: The Rags to Riches Story of a Poor Immigrant Who Changed the World (English Edition) eBook: Ngoy, Ted: Amazon.de: Kindle-Shop It was hurtful. Within three years of his arrival, Ngoy had became a millionaire with his own chain of doughnut shops across the city. I wanted to tell this story in a way that was inspirational and optimistic. 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. MEET ''TED NGOY'' If you walk into a doughnut shop in California, the chances are it's owned by a Cambodian family. She grew up in Boyle Heights and graduated from Cal State Northridge with a bachelor’s in literature and a minor in journalism. By 1977 he was able to purchase his first doughnut shop, Christy's Donuts, in La Habra. Despite never really being a huge success under the previous owners, Christy's became popular under the ownership of the Ngoys. I told him that he has a story to tell. And it was actually a donut that I refused at first from Mayly Tao, the Donut Princess. Suganthini's parents and cousins hid behind curtains in the home to ensure Ngoy would break off the relationship. What new information did you learn in the making of the film?There was a lot that was new to me. 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. I think that’s the American way — the power of connections and people. There’s also the moment where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo. Photo: Los Angeles Times … 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. Vera Castaneda is a writer who has worked at the Los Angeles Times since 2016. He writes about his extraordinary journey. We had an instant connection and it felt like we were meant to be doing this story together. They barely talked to him. He says to me, “Alice, making money — it’s so easy. , 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. 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. , 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. 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. 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. People made fun of his accent. These are all people who present day you don’t associate with welcoming refugees with open arms. 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. 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. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. Ted Ngoy Realty Ted Ngoy. nonprofits have responded to the impact of COVID-19 on Asian American seniors and business owners. 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. He dissolved his party and accused the government of corruption. When you first reached out to Ted, it was a cold call. school board member who was at Capitol rally. Ngoy's gambling had progressed from the card tables to placing bets on sports games with Cambodian bookies. Then he lost it all. He lost everything and had to start from scratch. 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. To think about what Ted did years ago — letting bygones be bygones. Upon deeper glance, it was so personal for me. I could have made a special piece just on the history of donuts. A day before he left, his eldest son said if you have $3.2 million you can buy it. While working a second job at a gas station, Ngoy took notice of a busy local doughnut shop and inquired of its operators about learning the business. , Ngoy bought additional doughnut shops in Orange County. He didn’t want to build a brand. It was here that Ngoy had his first taste of gambling while placing bets at the Blackjack tables. Cancel 0 Cart 0 items in shopping cart. At his peak, Ngoy owned 65 shops and his wealth was estimated at US$20 million. 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. Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. 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. He soon desired to open his own donut shop. 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. 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. Christy was in the front and made a lot of inroads with the community and built a lot of bridges. 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. That really broke the ice for us. He wanted to be with her, but he had no one else to manage the shop. He’s really funny. Ted is the first Cambodian refugee to start a donut shop in California. His sponsor told him people will have their prejudices but they mean well. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. I thought I would just get an exterior scene for context. Ngoy spent a total of 45 days in the mansion before being discovered by Suganthini's parents and subsequently kicked out. 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. His family had moved from a condominium to a three-storey, US$1 million mansion. 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. 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. The next day, he flew back to Los Angeles leaving behind his new wife and their two children. 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. People love her and she’s beautiful. These are kids who are American educated. He became tired running doughnut shops on his own and decided to train and lease shops to his relatives and employ Cambodian refugees. Over the years, he led thousands of his countrymen into... Erstklassige Nachrichtenbilder in hoher Auflösung bei Getty Images There’s this portion in the film that goes into Ted and his ex-wife Christy’s experiences in Orange County during the 70s. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. Ted Ngoy arrived in California with the American Dream in his heart. There’s so much competition. He was very surprised that anybody would find him and want to tell his stories. Ngoy had little ego in the game; he didn’t care if his donut shops were easily identifiable as his. That phrase “Donut King” is already so eye-catching right off the bat. By 1990, the ‘doughnut king’ was reported to be in the grips of a serious gambling habit. 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. If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. The same goes for if you’ve been to California and tasted a donut from one of the many shops owned by many other Cambodian refugees like Ngoy, who have proven over time to be a top competitor with the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. Ted was dismayed. Ted Ngoy and I couldn’t be farther apart. 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. What was it like?I spoke with him and he was in Cambodia. The whole community banded together and they all agreed to sell him out of donuts every morning by 9 a.m. Shortly after reiterating what he was forced to say, he admitted that what was said was a lie and stabbed himself in the stomach. and California landscape with a familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with red lettering reading Christy’s Donuts. Search Search Microsoft.com. The other discovery for me was what I called Donut Generation 2.0, the kids who go to take over the parents’ mom and pop shops. The two eventually began a secret correspondence via letters delivered by the Khoeun family maid. TimesOC e-Newspaper: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. In our very first phone call, he asked if I was American and I told him that I was Chinese American. After several years of hard work, the family took their first holiday and they went to Las Vegas. They have social media and know how to work it to innovate their parents’ old donut shops with a worldwide following. 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. In a couple of minutes hall addresses COVID-19 vaccine concerns in O.C. ’ s e-Newspaper includes all six pages Sunday... 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