Int US 154 Folder Collection
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America has the biggest immigration population in the world
The country has long attracted people in search of a better life
Among them are Cambodian migrants...
...who fled war and genocide at home...
...and have found an unlikely route to prosperity...
...donuts
It's 4.40am...
...and most people in the city are still fast asleep
And here we are
But when Los Angeles wakes up...
...Teresa Ngo needs to be ready
She's the co-owner of Blinkie's Donut Emporium
As soon as I get in I throw all my stuff aside...
...and I start packing up boxes
I feel like it's a contest every day
I'm just trying to beat myself
So every day is very different
There's days when we sell a few hundred...
...there's days when we sell a few hundred boxes...
...there's days when we sell thousands of donuts
Teresa and her dad Hugh bought Blinkie's...
...in 2003
Dad is very delicate with his donuts...
...he treats them like they are his babies
I don't think that he was that gentle with me growing up...
...but he definitely puts a lot of TLC in his donuts
Working with my dad, there's pros and cons...
...I mean he's going to be my boss regardless...
...even though I think I'm the boss...
...he still thinks he's the boss
But we do have a great relationship...
...and I'm blessed to be able to work with my dad every day
You like working with me?
No comment
Making donuts is a long way from where Hugh started out his life
So my parents escaped Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge...
...in 1979, early 1980s
It was a genocide, it was a total genocide...
...where we lost a lot of family members
They were lucky enough to be able to emigrate to France...
...and they were there for 20 years
But in a cruel twist of fate...
...Teresa's family were subjected to a violent attack
We had to leave unfortunately because...
...my parents were again victims of an attack...
...where we were robbed at gunpoint and my parents were beaten
They didn't feel safe living in France anymore...
...so they moved to LA
Arriving in the USA...
...was another huge change for the Ngo family
LA was the third new start for my parents...
...that was the third country in their life...
...and for me it was my second one
It was so different, we didn't speak the language...
...we didn't know how to drive here...
...so everything was new
Between 1975 and 1994...
...nearly 160,000 Cambodians were admitted to America...
...as refugees
One of them was Ted Ngoy...
...who became known as the “Donut King”
The entrepreneur made his fortune through a chain of stores
By the mid 90s, inspired by Mr Ngoy's success...
...there were as many as 2,400 Cambodian-owned donut shops...
...in southern California
LA was everything, California was everything...
...so it was just like a dream come true...
...just to be able to be here
So I never thought I would be owning a donut shop...
...and I thought it was just going to be a stepping stone for me...
...but because of the connection we've made with our customers...
...and the community, now it just makes it home
Really? –Yeah
Oh you're so sweet
I love that it's a total neighbourhood-community donut shop
I know the owners, the owners know my kids
Los Angeles has a reputation for healthy eating...
...but that hasn't slowed the steady stream of patrons at Blinkie's
Donuts are bulletproof
They are what makes you happy...
...they're the little go-to snack...
...that you, you know, can have on cheat day
We have a lot of bodybuilders that come in
We have a lot of mums that are super healthy...
...but they still bring their kids for that little touch of sugar
It doesn't matter how healthy the craze is...
...you're still going to want a donut at the end of the day
Thank you
Blinkie's is now one of the top-rated donut shops...
...in Los Angeles
For me Blinkie's is everything about the American dream...
...it's not a big dream, I'm not...
...you know, driving Rolls-Royces or anything like that...
...but I'm living the dream. I'm here, I'm safe
I'm selling an American product, I'm making an American product...
...for the Americans
Thank you doc
So yeah it's a blessing...
...it's a privilege for me
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How donuts have benefitted America's immigrants | The Economist

154 Folder Collection
April Lu published on July 30, 2019
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