For the exception of a few lucky ones, I believe most of us got out
of Vietnam via the South China Sea route. For those who departed from South Vietnam, they likely arrived at Philippines, Thailand,
Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia. For those who
departed from Central Vietnam, they likely arrived at Hong
Kong. Regardless, the journey we took was definitely a
dangerous one. We were on tiny, overloaded wooden boats with minimum
safety equipments, limited food, water and fuel. I have a casual
discussion with some of my friends about our journey recently.
Interestingly enough, most of us think the trip was way too dangerous and
if we have to make the decision again, we probably wouldn’t take it. Of
course, we say that because we look at it from the mind of a 50+ years
old people. Back then, we were young and energetic teenagers. The only
focus in our mind was getting out with no room for anything else.
Fortunately, we survived against an incredible odd.
Believe it or not, we were all “brave” people. The
desperate situation in our home country at the time left us no choice but
leaving. We were “brave” because we had to in order to survive. I got on
my boat at midnight and didn’t have a good assessment of its size due to
darkness but I believed it was a decent boat for 160+ people on board.
One week later, our boat arrived at Hong Kong Harbor.
We stayed at the open sea for another week while Hong
Kong government made arrangement for our landing. During
that time, I took turn going to a bigger vessel served as fresh water
station to get water. Looking at our boat from the vessel, I was shock to
realize how small it was. It looked like a toy boat and I was on it for a
full week on open sea battling rough water and weather! I looked up, put
my hands together and thanked God for leading me to Hong
During my early days in the USA, that small boat image
was still in my mind. I literally bet my life for my freedom so I better
make the most of it. I particularly love the last lyric of the America
National Anthem: “...for the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
To me, this is definitely the land of the free and also the land of
opportunity. I received public assistance when I first go there; I was
given an opportunity to establish myself and find my direction in a new
environment. I received financial aid during my 4 years studying at UCLA; I was given
an opportunity to earn my college degree despite my financial and
language disadvantages. And then my biggest opportunity: trading in the US,
one of the world’s largest and most liquid market.
When I talk with my friends who are also immigrants from their own
countries, they all told me the same story. The relatives back home
somehow think we don’t have to work in America because money is
everywhere on the street. We simply go there to scoop it up! Well, in a
sense, they are right. Money may not be on Main Street, but it is definitely
there on Wall Street. One of the world’s largest and most liquid market
is there for everybody to trade. Making money or not is another story.
Most people know only one way to trade the market which is buy low and
sell high. However, when emotion kicks in, they do just the opposite and
never trade again citing the stock market is too dangerous for amateurs.
They expect a smooth ride and when obstacle appears, they don’t know how
to handle it. They get frustrated, scare and give up. Common sense tells
me if making money from trading is so easy, then why we still see a lot
of 9 to 5 workers out there? There must be a catch! Understand the catch
will help us to be a good trader. People with vision see the future with
both their eyes and their mind. What it is today may not be the same
tomorrow and vice versa. Wayne Gretzky, a former NHL player in the
80’s and 90’s nick named “The Great” once said: “I skate not to where the
puck is but to where the puck is going to be!”. I
believe that was the main reason makes him one of the greatest NHL
players to ever play the game.
To collect money on the street, we need the right knowledge, the
right tool and most importantly, the right attitude. Lacking any of those
skills, money on the street will be a trick, not a treat.