Ka Fue Lay
“My name is Ka Fue Lay. Originally my family came from China but my parents immigrated to North Viet Nam a long time ago. In 1954, they moved to the South where I was born and brought up. So I can say that I am originally from Viet Nam, a country that I escaped by boat in 1979 with 294 other Vietnamese.
I left because life was hard to live for many reasons at the time. I still miss the village where I spent my childhood, and the people – most of my friends still live there.
Due to the moving about, it has not always been easy for me to define what and who I am in terms of nationality. When I was living in Viet Nam and going back to visit it, the Vietnamese regard me as Chinese. When I travel in China, the Chinese think of me as Vietnamese. Now having lived in the UK for much of my life, I have decided to be... Chinese-Vietnamese-Irish –British!
My family has moved countries a few times. I myself have moved twice. Both times I have received nothing but kindness, warm welcome and friendship. The move to Northern Ireland was an interesting one as it was in some way similar to Viet Nam during the war! The communities were however extremely hospitable.
I have never forgotten the generous help and support friends gave me when I settled there and this has had an influence on my life, still today. I still keep in touch with the friends and go back to see them every so often after nearly 40 years!
I am pleased that I made the moves; without these I would not have fully realized my potential and achieved a fulfilling life.”
Read Ka Fue Lay's full story here.