Cancel 0 Cart 0 items in shopping cart. Ted Ngoy is from Cambodia, and his story starts and ends here. I instantly found the Realtor, the listing agent and arranged to go and have Ted walk through his old house. In our very first phone call, he asked if I was American and I told him that I was Chinese American. When he was working in the donut shop, he went to his sponsor and said he was having a hard time. Despite her sheltered life and being forbidden from having friends or leaving the house other than for school, Suganthini fell in love. In … Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. It was a strategy that ended up working for them. He formed the Free Development Republican Party ahead of the country’s UN-backed elections believing that he could show others the path to wealth and hoping that in being a politician his gambling addiction would be stymied. Ted sponsored hundreds of visas for incoming refugees and helped them get on their feet teaching them the ways of the donut business. The two eventually began a secret correspondence via letters delivered by the Khoeun family maid. He was raised by his mother, who was from Shantou, Guangdong, and who only spoke Chinese. The Donut King who went full circle – from rags to richesIf you walk into a doughnut MEET ''TED NGOY'' If you walk into a doughnut shop in California, the chances are it's owned by a Cambodian family. She served brief stints as a city reporter for the Daily Pilot and an education reporter for the Burbank Leader and Glendale News-Press. As part of its virtual exhibit “From I-Ching to Manga: UCI’s East Asian Collection Celebrating 30 Years,” the university library is offering online events throughout 2021 open to students and the community. I thought it was so profound that this was the very same community that just a couple of decades earlier were making fun of somebody who worked at the counter and had an accent. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have posted lower infection rates compared to other racial and ethnic groups but make up about 19% of deaths from COVID-19. I could have made a special piece just on the history of donuts. [4], Despite the wealth he had amassed and his importance within his community, Ngoy felt dissatisfied, remarking that he had "No political life, no religious life, just work, work. He saw an opportunity to expand his business and help the large number of poor, unassimilated Cambodians who had fled the Khmer Rouge to the United States. Some of his relationships didn’t end well. He hosted Dan Quayle and Pete Wilson at his house. I called her when I found out and asked if she knew about Ford and Brown. Ngoy also involved himself in American politics, joining the Republican Party and hosting fundraisers for George H.W. Somewhere along the line, things shifted. Upon his return to Orange County, Ngoy began gambling harder than ever stating "Monks cannot help me, Buddha cannot help me. If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. By 1977 he was able to purchase his first doughnut shop, Christy's Donuts, in La Habra. Thousands sign petition demanding resignation of O.C. He soon desired to open his own donut shop. 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 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. 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. [6][3], Ngoy bought additional doughnut shops in Orange County. nonprofits have responded to the impact of COVID-19 on Asian American seniors and business owners. 2,912 likes. More than 6,600 people have signed an online petition demanding the resignation of a Placentia-Yorba Linda school board member who was present at a rally that led to the siege of the U.S. Capitol. [3], Ngoy worked at various jobs, including as a travel agent and tour guide, before joining the military in 1970. 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. They’re savvy, young, hip. Bush and encouraged fellow Cambodian immigrants to support the GOP. People made fun of his accent. school board member who was at Capitol rally. Alice Gu’s film introduces us to Ted Ngoy, a refugee who escaped from a hellish, war-torn country in 1975, came to the U.S. with no money or friends. Ted had met Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., [Richard] Nixon. 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. I’m also, again, the daughter of Chinese American immigrants and my dad was a big Republican party supporter. "She … At his peak, Ngoy owned 65 shops and his wealth was estimated at US$20 million. He became tired running doughnut shops on his own and decided to train and lease shops to his relatives and employ Cambodian refugees. He married Stephanie Ngoy, whose brother was one of Ted Ngoy’s first pioneers, and the couple ran two doughnut shops. She got her start as an editorial assistant delivering mail and newspapers. Ted's son Christy Ngoy tells a story about the disappearance of a paper bag full of $85,000 while his father was in police custody. And she said she knew a lot of people in her parents’ generation who are lifelong Republicans and that’s why they hate the Democratic party. She’s currently a features reporter for TimesOC where she covers art, books, entertainment, trends and cultural issues related to Orange County. What new information did you learn in the making of the film?There was a lot that was new to me. He started from the bottom and worked his way up. and California landscape with a familiar coat — yellow strip mall signs with red lettering reading Christy’s Donuts. The Ngoys decided to keep uniformity amongst their shops, naming subsequent acquisitions Christy's. Since then her writing has appeared in Calendar, Lifestyle, Metro and Sports sections of the paper. Also, significantly for Ngoy, other Cambodian refugees and their children — donuts. Photo: Los Angeles Times … 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 spent two months in Buddhist monasteries in Washington D.C and Thailand, to no avail. One night, Ngoy devised a plan to sneak into the heavily guarded mansion that housed Suganthini, allowing the couple to meet for the first time. 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. Irvine settles lawsuit that accused former Irvine mayor of violating a resident’s 1st Amendment rights. Ted and a lot of the Asians who came aligned themselves with the Republican party. That is because I had a buttermilk bar about 30 seconds out of the fryer with fresh glaze on it. UC Irvine developing vaccine that targets all coronaviruses. 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 says to me, “Alice, making money — it’s so easy. Like everyone else, Orange County Asian Americans have struggled to adjust to the new reality brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Ted Ngoy and I couldn’t be farther apart. In 1975, Ngoy fled the Khmer Rouge with his wife and three children to Camp Pendleton. Ngoy spent a total of 45 days in the mansion before being discovered by Suganthini's parents and subsequently kicked out. It was here that Ngoy had his first taste of gambling while placing bets at the Blackjack tables. Despite never really being a huge success under the previous owners, Christy's became popular under the ownership of the Ngoys. 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. After several years of hard work, the family took their first holiday and they went to Las Vegas. TimesOC e-Newspaper: Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. Help might be on the way. Vera Castaneda is a writer who has worked at the Los Angeles Times since 2016. The couple were wed shortly after and had three children. Ngoy built a vast donut shop empire across California and it started in 1970s Orange County. One of them being my interview with Michael Krondl, the food historian. He is wealthy again. Within three years of his arrival, Ngoy had became a millionaire with his own chain of doughnut shops across the city. It was really wonderful. EN. Ngoy attempted Gambler's Anonymous, but denies its help with his situation stating that when he went to meetings "I cry, everybody cry. 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. When he was unable to pay back his debt, he would sign over his store to them. 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. He would forge her signature on checks and even borrow money from relatives who leased stores from him. There’s also the moment where Ted revisits his former home in Mission Viejo. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. These are kids who are American educated. 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. For a year and a half, I struggled with how I was going to get access to that Mission Viejo mansion. People love her and she’s beautiful. He is nicknamed the "Donut King." Ngoy and his family enjoyed the fruits of their labor and at one point moved into a 7,000-square-foot mansion in Mission Viejo. Literary Arts Festival spotlights local and visiting artists of color. There were some hurt relationships. He would have no more donuts to sell so he could be with his wife for the rest of the day. To understand the politics, the Republican party at the time was a very anticommunist party. There’s this portion in the film that goes into Ted and his ex-wife Christy’s experiences in Orange County during the 70s. These are all people who present day you don’t associate with welcoming refugees with open arms. By 1990, the ‘doughnut king’ was reported to be in the grips of a serious gambling habit. He said that we didn’t have room for these refugees here. Director Alice Gu makes her film debut with “The Donut King,” following the life of Ted Ngoy. Ted Ngoy was born in the Cambodian village of Sisophon near the country's border with Thailand. Ted's story is one of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption. I ate the whole thing. He also sponsored more than 100 Cambodian refugee families and established a path of financial opportunity for them in America. How O.C. Chet and Savy, Ted Ngoy’s oldest children, sit down for an interview in “The Donut King.”. I wanted to tell this story in a way that was inspirational and optimistic. 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. Interviews can sometimes feel like a therapy session. Over the years, he led thousands of his countrymen into... Erstklassige Nachrichtenbilder in hoher Auflösung bei Getty Images 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. [7][3], Ngoy's fortunes improved dramatically, such that by the mid-1980s Ngoy had amassed millions of dollars through his expanding doughnut shop empire, reported as 50 locations throughout California. It was hurtful. [1], After a particularly devastating gambling loss in 1990, Ngoy flew to Washington, D.C. and joined a Buddhist monastery where he spent a month meditating. What is Ted up to in Cambodia nowadays?Ted is doing well. [1], In 2013, he was living in Phnom Penh working in the real estate business. Although the locations shared a name, he made no effort to give them a cohesive brand identity. Ted Ngoy stands in front of his first independent donut shop in La Habra, named after his wife Christy Ngoy. I told him that he has a story to tell. The film follows an immigrant tale of the American dream through Bun Tek “Ted” Ngoy, a Cambodian refugee whose charmed life is full of war, romance, entrepreneurship, racism and a caution about greed. We had an instant connection and it felt like we were meant to be doing this story together. What drew you to Ted’s story at the start?Finding out about his story, it’s fascinating — a guy who comes here penniless and becomes a Donut King. I am the child of immigrants who came and moved here for the American dream. 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. 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. Then he lost it all. That's because of a refugee who built up an empire, and became known as the Donut King, only to lose it all. He suggested that Ted hang out in the back and to put Christy in the front. I ended up not sharing that donut. He’s really funny. What was it like?I spoke with him and he was in Cambodia. It was on the market. Scouring classifieds, Ngoy looked for existing shops for sale by owner. Ted was dismayed. The proclaimed 'Donut King' taught his family how to build and sustain a business. Ngoy had little ego in the game; he didn’t care if his donut shops were easily identifiable as his. Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber. This is my own speculation, but it seemed like he had come to some peace with his dad and childhood. The second time Ted came back to California, Chet took all this time off of work, took him to his timeshare in Oceanside and drove his dad around all over Southern California. "[1] In 1977, the Ngoys took a trip to Las Vegas where Ted saw Elvis Presley. EN - English; ES - Español Also Jerry Brown, who we’ve seen in California as our beacon of hope and morality, in 1975 was actually the opposite. 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. 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