Speaker 0 00:00:03 Welcome to the culture of things with Brendan Rodgers. This is a podcast where we talk culture leadership and teamwork and plus business in spoon.
Speaker 1 00:00:21 Hello everybody. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of the culture things podcast. And this is episode 24. Today. I'm talking with Quain NICU and Craig is a man who values the time he spends with his family. He believes all business owners should be able to spend time with their families or for doing whatever it is. They love being a first generation refugee. He's grown up doing his best to combine the opportunities and social norms that come with living in a Western society while maintaining and preserving the Vietnamese culture that has been passed onto him in wanting to give back to the education sector because of the taught him so much, he decided to be an educator. Within two years of teaching, Craig became an assistant principal and started to bring innovative practices into the classroom. After a conversation with his wife, Kwame decided to pursue his other passions, starting with his love of psychology and human behavior.
Speaker 1 00:01:13 From there, it evolved into what he does now working with business owners so that they can utilize this vehicle to live the life that they had envisioned. When they started the business, Quain works with business owners to provide them with the time space, insight, and strategies to grow their business. Working with him is not about doing everything that everyone else is doing. It's about focusing on the one thing that will make the biggest impact in your business. Creating exclusively charges. His fees are for his clients, achieve their financial targets. In essence, if you do not meet the financial outcome he set with you, he does not get paid his full fee. The focus of our conversation today is how is culture and coming to Australia as a refugee has shaped his leadership experiences. Kwame, welcome to the culture things podcast, buddy, mate, thank you for having me here.
Speaker 1 00:02:02 It's a, as you read that out, I was like, wow, I've done a fair bit in my lifetime. Thanks for coming onto the show today. And thanks for coming to my home to record it. What we want to dive into, again, your experiences as a refugee and immigrant coming to Australia and what that's taught you about life. And there's certain expectations in you coming from a, an Asian Vietnamese family about being the first son. I'd love you to share, just start back at that story back your parents in Vietnam, and then this journey that took them to Australia. Thanks for letting me share this story because as we were just chatting before, I've never really had to had an opportunity to share or get back into it in as much detail as I would now. And to have it in a public forum, which is just strengthens my connection to the story. So my parents from a small town fishing village, East of where, I guess for the, for the English people, that's why hate way the old capital of the country. They grew up in the fishing village. It's known
Speaker 2 00:03:00 As full noon and I'm just, I don't know how to pronounce it in English. I saw I'll just pronounce it with a Vietnamese accent. And so it's a poor village. And my parents being in their families, my dad is, I think comes in number five, five of eight children. The only boy, the only male in his family and my mum is the third child of a family of four. And she was the only girl in her family. So they both experienced the whole Vietnam war situation. My dad told me, you know, one time they were on the beach being efficient village and he was with my granddad. And I'm fortunate that I'm the only sibling in my family to have met my granddad before he passed. And he was telling me how they were just on the village, on the beach one time. And all of a sudden they saw planes flying overhead.
Speaker 2 00:03:54 So they started running, they started running and then they pulled this little shell, which type of boat that they use, put it over their heads and just hid. And my dad would say, he's forever grateful because he said a missile had kind of a shell had landed about a meter away from them, him and his granddad, but didn't explode. So, you know, you can't help, but get goosebumps when you hear stories like that. And I think those moments had planted the seed for him to search better opportunities that Vietnam couldn't provide for them at that moment in time.
Speaker 1 00:04:30 Just that small section of the story is absolutely fascinating. And just that moment in history of the missile, not exploding, if that did happen, then we wouldn't have been talking today.
Speaker 2 00:04:40 Definitely not. It's um, it's a butterfly effect, isn't it, it's a series of key moments that my parents and my grandparents had experienced and fortunate enough to survive that allowed me and my family to be here now, you know, living in Australia and you know, we've the land of abundance essentially, you know, and we're forever grateful that we're here and we're healthy and we're safe. It always comes back to comparison and comparing to how my cousins are in Vietnam. Now it's chalk and cheese and I'm forever grateful that I'm here and able to provide and do what I do now to support my family in the means that I can
Speaker 1 00:05:24 Tell us a bit around how there was that moment and obviously seeking a better life. And you've told me before how your family went from Vietnam to Hong Kong and then eventually to Australia, tell us a little bit more about that journey for you.
Speaker 2 00:05:38 The Vietnam war had ended. And, uh, I can't remember the exact date because back then my parents didn't deal with exact dates. The calendar didn't exist for them, but it was sometime after the Vietnam war and my parents, uh, had started seeing each other. And my dad decided, I guess he decided with my mum that they had to leave. They had to leave if they wanted a future, not only for themselves, but for the children that they're planning to have my dad's best mate organized a boat. And they had decided to leave in the middle of the night. And before I'd share with you about the action of them leaving. So because my dad is the only male in his family. So, you know, he's got seven or eight sisters. A lot of the responsibility would have fallen back on him because you know, it's a very hierarchal, patriarchal culture, the Vietnamese culture.
Speaker 2 00:06:34 So there was a lot of expectation on him to continue to provide for the family and my mum being there and your daughter, they wanted to her to marry someone, finds a good husband to look after, make sure that she was fulfilling her duties as a woman. So when they had snuck off, because they were the, both the only boy and girl in their family, the families didn't talk to each other for a while because they blamed each other. You took my only son you made my only son leave. Your son took my only daughter away. So there was a bit of our family tension for a while, but I'm onto that night. They decided to leave at night and I can only share the stories that have been passed on to me from both my uncle and my parents that they left in the middle of the night.
Speaker 2 00:07:18 And as they were running, they were being shot at to get onto this boat. I think they worked out at the time. It would have been like a three, three day, three night journey to Hong Kong, just going off the landmarks that have been shared to them to keep an eye out for they're not sailors. Yes. They grew up in a fishing village, but they hadn't planned to travel or that journey, you know? So they had the, just the basics. Um, and one night, and this is shared by both my uncle and my dad one night, my dad, for whatever reason, had fallen into the ocean in the middle of night, no lights, no nothing. And my mum was hysterical. Her partner lover, falling into the ocean. And there was circling, there was circling for about, about three times and my uncle, he was the captain.
Speaker 2 00:08:06 He was in charge. He said to my mum, I love him too, but my responsibilities to all the people on the boat. And he was about to take off and continue the journey with my, well, my dad's still in the water. And as they were redirecting the ship to go towards Hong Kong, again, my mom just yelled out and there was my dad and they put him on board and as they put them on board, he didn't even say anything. He just collapsed from sheer exhaustion. And then from that moment, I would hope it was smooth sailing for the rest of the time. But they eventually ended up in a refugee camp in Hong Kong where they spent a couple of years and where I was born.
Speaker 3 00:08:47 You've made it to Hong Kong. Well, you haven't made us Hong Kong yet. Not yet. Not yet. Your parents have made it to Hong Kong and were born in Hong Kong, as you said. What do you remember if anything about that time in Hong Kong for you and growing up those early years in a refugee camp?
Speaker 2 00:09:03 Yeah. So my parents were there for a couple of years, I think three or four years up all together. And I don't have any recollections. I just have stories that have been passed on to me. So during that whole time, they have been seeking asylum in different countries. And for them, Australia would, it was like the pinnacle because they heard so much about it. They heard about all the boat, people who had come by boat and cross the treacherous oceans and had made it. So Australia was where they wanted to be, but they would have taken anywhere. So they were applying and friends were getting allocated to countries like Norway, other parts of Europe, my uncle who's, like I mentioned before, my dad's best mate, he got accepted into Canada. And right after he got accepted into Canada, my parents had got accepted into Australia and I was about 10 months at the time.
Speaker 2 00:10:02 And we all wanted to be together to help paint the picture. My parents hadn't been overseas to any other country besides Vietnam once they've been here. Yeah. And I was fortunate enough to go to Canada to finish my last year, my studies there. And when I was there, he was just sharing, everything were made because he was there. He sees me as his own son. And it was like, I was desperate to come to a show where you guys, but I couldn't take the risk of waiting around and not getting anywhere. So he took Canada and he said a beautiful life up for himself in Canada. And I was born in Hong Kong. I was born in an English speaking hospital. I don't have any memories. I have lots of photos. I have a scar on my leg because my mom had accidentally dropped some boiling water on me, you know, as a kid and the stories that they took me to the doctor in the compound, and they had blamed the neighbor upstairs.
Speaker 2 00:10:59 They just thrown, you know, a cup of hot water off the balcony just to avoid, avoid any blame, avoid me, get it taken. But you know, that's, uh, you know, it wasn't all doom and gloom. There were funny moments. And you know, there there's photos of my parents in the eighties wearing flare jeans and flannelette shirts. And me pictures of majors sitting in a stack of hay were just socks on that. I think they were just really grateful that one, that we're on this path to seeking a new opportunity, but they just had to be patient and wait for that opportunity to arrive, which it finally did. And we arrived here when I was 10 months old in Australia. So that was March, 1984.
Speaker 3 00:11:43 What sort of qualities did you on reflection see in your dad is from a leadership perspective. He was the leader of the family and making some pretty significant sacrifices to raise
Speaker 2 00:11:54 A bit of life for this family that they were growing. Yeah, mate, that's a really great reflection question there. I mean, first and foremost, you need to be really to have kahunas. And I say that because in the Vietnamese culture is very hierarchal and respectful of elders. And in the fishing village, it's very like a village hierarchy. So my dad's family had ranked high in that hierarchy. And so to hear, even paint a picture. Now, when I go back to Vietnam and into my village, there will be people who are men who are like 60, 70 years old calling me big brother, you know, and that's just how that particular village worked. So for my dad to go against everything that had been instilled in him, that, you know, this is how we do it. This is your role, not only in his family, but also in the village to say, no, I actually want something different.
Speaker 2 00:12:54 I actually want better opportunities. I want a better life for my future family. And to not only go against the grain of the village and the culture of the country, but to also risk his own life and not just his own life, but to take responsibility for the life of my mum, essentially as well. You need to have kahunas, you need to be brave and it'd be tough to make that decision and run with it, to then also have the patients and not give up the resilience to wait for that opportunity. I can't even imagine what it'd be like to be in a refugee camp. We hear about the conditions that they go through. We hear about the conditions at like, you know, Villa would detention center and all these other camps around to have a newborn and to kind of have your hands tied and knowing that everything that's waiting for you is in the hands of others, it would just take so much restraint to not one, not blow that opportunity, but to just to hold tight and be tough for myself, the newborn at the time, my mum, who was no doubt, probably missing her mum.
Speaker 2 00:14:04 So the support that you have with a newborn, but also for the other friendships that he's created in that time, especially with how people look up to him because of that status. So to have that toughness, the resilience, the shortness that, you know, you need to do this, especially in that time where you couldn't like, now, if we need something, we can Google it. We can add this, have an understanding of how to do something, how to find something, how to get to somewhere. But to do that blindly to jump on a boat in the middle of the night, know that you're going to get shot at blindly travel through the ocean, not knowing the currents, not knowing, um, knowing that you could potentially run a ground somewhere, run to pirates, all those things. It's a whole different level of bravery that I personally can't comprehend because we have a good life here. And that is something on for a grateful for what are you
Speaker 3 00:15:03 Think of these characters? You as the, kind of say the leader in your family again, and we're not saying that, you know, because you're male, you have to be the leader, but there is a cultural significance in Vietnam and the Asian culture where you are the first born son. And then you're the leader of your own family as well. What has really rubbed off and resonated with you about your parents and particularly your dad and what you've just explained and how you live as a man in your family
Speaker 2 00:15:28 Upon reflection. It's all of those traits that I've articulated there about my father. So in the Vietnamese culture, the male figure is the breadwinner, the decision maker, all of those things that we take for granted, for me, I'm the oldest of five siblings. So the onus was on me to one would help look after my siblings, but to help support my parents whenever I could. And ultimately as time progressed, it would have been my responsibility to look after, I mean, in our age. So I know we're moving away from the question a little bit, but the leadership traits that I've learned from my family there, uh, that things just need to get done at the end of the day. It was a, I guess, an enforced leadership on me, but I've learned so much that it just needs to get done. So in regards to getting my siblings to school, you know, I had to make their lunches, get them dressed, gather them up.
Speaker 2 00:16:29 We all walk together, gather them up and make sure that we're all together waiting at the gate so we can walk home ensure that they were fed because that's the responsibility that was bestowed on me. And it was accepted. I didn't argue it. I didn't, it's just all I knew. And then I would help out with, uh, my parents at the fruit shop as well. And then our things like that. And then as we, me and my siblings all grew older, I was able to help delegate some of the responsibilities. I would say to my sister, can you help get the youngest one ready? Or she needs to have a nappy change or whatever it is. So leadership in getting tasks done and looking after supervising, but also being able to learn how to delegate appropriately as well. I think they've been a key component, but just communication. I think from an early age, I learned how to communicate in a way that allowed me to manipulate the wrong word, but to justify my request for the actions taken or justified the delegation of work so that we could share the workload because I also learnt it's tough doing everything yourself. So in a family of five, if we can share some of the workload, it'll make it a lot easier. And I guess being in that situation has allowed me to learn leadership from a very young age queen. You mentioned that you were
Speaker 1 00:17:50 10 months when you came to Australia. I don't imagine you remember a lot about at that 10 month timeframe and arriving into Australia, but what are your first memories of coming to this new country?
Speaker 2 00:18:03 My first memories were just walking around with my parents, playing with my neighbors. That was a key memory of mine. And the funny thing is upon reflection. I didn't learn the language. I need to learn English until I start at school. So I was playing with my neighbors even before I started school. But for me, my memories really kick in when school started. And I think that probably learning the language probably helped me make sense of the world a lot more learning the language was also important for my parents and I skill for me to have for my parents because they saw me as the bridge between them as a society. Because at that time in the early eighties adult education wasn't available or what was available was very limited in what they learned. So they learned the basics, but they didn't learn the lingo.
Speaker 2 00:18:54 You know what I mean? So for me, learning the language was really key. So they pushed me, they pushed me to study really hard. They pushed me to read a lot, write a lot. They really wanted me to understand what was going on. I'll share a funny story of how my lack of language got me sent home from school one day. So at the time we were buying our clothes from the markets because you know, that's what you do. And if you remember the eighties, you could get really cool matching bottoms and matching top fleecy track pants, track suits. So, and the kindergarten I went to, we didn't have a school uniform. It was just a free for one time. I turned up to school and my jumper, I was rocking her brand new track suit. Nice top, nice bottom, my jump. I said, and this shows how far we've progressed since the eighties, my jumper said, I'm the boss and I don't take shit from anyone. So I was like, Oh, my teacher wanted me to take my jumper off. I was like, yeah. Okay. I still no comprehension of why I took my jumper off. And my shirt said the same thing.
Speaker 1 00:19:59 So three piece matching suit.
Speaker 2 00:20:02 And from there, like, you know, you can't, you can't take your shirt off. So my parents got caught up and I had to go home from school because the head of offensive school uniform on,
Speaker 1 00:20:12 That's a great story. Right. Isn't it funny how, when we're learning languages that I think one of the things that people always want to learn first is a couple of swear words or something just to throw in. Is it, you did that without even knowing, is that right? That's it, that's it,
Speaker 2 00:20:28 That's probably what attracted my, my dad to the shirt,
Speaker 1 00:20:32 I guess thinking about that moment. And I know education's a really important thing for you, and I'd love you to share some linkage or what you perceive as the linkage in that upbringing and education, your parents challenging you and pushing you to learn. And then you
Speaker 3 00:20:48 Took that you eventually became a teacher and an assistant principal. Tell us a little bit around that journey and why that was really important to you. You felt like you wanted to give back to the education system, which is part of that journey you took.
Speaker 2 00:21:00 Yeah, most definitely. I mean, I wouldn't be sitting here now communicating with you or anyone else because I didn't have the skills back then, but it was through my educational journey and I'm forever appreciative that I went to school here in Australia because they took the time to help me learn the language. When I say learn the language, not just raid, right. But to also develop key language skills like public speaking, communicating with adults, the different forms of speaking and writing, and we will pour. So having access to the school library at any time to, to be able to borrow books and read all those things, hadn't helped me develop my capacity to do what I do now. And even a quick story on that. Like the teachers that I worked with at the time had left a great impression on me that so much so that when, when I started teaching, um, and I was talking to them about, you know, where I went to school and all that kind of stuff.
Speaker 2 00:22:11 And there's one teacher who we mentioned that we'd come across and kind of pinpointed that perhaps more likely than not that she probably would have been teaching me English at that time in you wanting you to, which was, which kind of blew my mind, being in the education system here, being in school here, they talk about, you know, you need to learn this so you can do this. So you can have this opportunity to do that opportunity. And so it kind of started to filter through my mind that, Hey, I can do many things. If I wanted to, I could be a teacher being Asian. My parents pushed me to pay a doctor or a lawyer, you know, a few of the Asian prophecy. Um, but you know, um, I was really keen for, for a little while to, to be an astronaut, but to see all those things, those opportunities be presented in front of you was very eyeopening.
Speaker 2 00:23:03 So that's the Western society component. You know, we, you can do anything you want provided that you learn what you need to learn. And then on the flip side of that, my parents had kind of wanted to keep and preserve the, the Vietnamese heritage within us, because it was really their only link back to their Homeland back in the 1980s, for them to communicate with their families back home, it was mail, which took weeks. There weren't many event amaz shops or the population one was a big, it wasn't as big as it is now. So whatever traditions and customs they had kept in their mind, they wanted to push onto us. So I went to school, but also went to Vietnamese school to learn the language, to become familiar with the language, to speak a properly, to learn, to ride it. So I can communicate with my family back home, that Vietnamese language, if you ever tried to learn it, it's so hard.
Speaker 2 00:23:55 I would say growing up English was my second language. I would say now Vietnamese is my second language, because like most things, if you don't use it, you lose it. So there was starting to become this kind of, um, tear in me in trying to fit into Western society, Australian culture, but also try to preserve my traditional Vietnamese traditions and customs, because we get told here, you can do anything you want, you can be what you want. And then there's my parents. And I understand that now, but they're like, Nope, you study, you do this because we sacrifice our lives to come here. So you can have a better opportunity. So you can be a doctor. My understanding of it now is because my parents didn't go to school. My mom left school and you six, my dad left school like year three to help bring whatever income they can into their family.
Speaker 2 00:24:47 So these opportunities that they missed, that they want us to take. So, so much so that it's kind of being forced upon you, which then kind of tears at you because you want to do your best to you. Like you guys have been opened saying, Oh yep. Oh man, I would love to be an astronaut. I would love to be the beer bar pilot, but my parents are forcing me to do this. So there's kind of that dilemma that most, I would say most, a lot of refugee children who are growing up here kind of get torn between Eastern and Western. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:25:23 Imagine that would be quite a challenge and talking around challenges as a, an Asian boy growing up in the eighties and nineties and going to school. What were some of those challenges that you had
Speaker 2 00:25:37 First and foremost was just the language you would always get picked on because you couldn't speak. So because you couldn't speak, you, you will enjoy in socially or those kinds of things. And so my earliest memory is from about year two to year three, I started having friends beyond Asian people because I could communicate with them before that it was just one or two, either. It was an Asian person or two or someone else who was learning the language, talking myself because we were doing it together. But in saying that if you were good at something, a particular sport a game, then, then you kind of issue in. But if things go wrong, it always come back to your race. I'm glad to say I haven't experienced that kind of racism in a long time. My last bit of racism that I clearly remember experiencing was when you finish your 12, you go on a school, this trip.
Speaker 2 00:26:29 I mean, my mates drove up to Queensland Noosa, you know, and we had airport car park waiting to pick a friend up cause he flew and we pulled into a parking spot. We legitimately found at first and this car just drove past and he goes, that's my spot. You nip. And so what's that 2000, but so that's the last bit of racism that I've personally experienced. But at the time, you know, that's definitely one of those things that you, if you were from an ethnic minority, that you would have experienced it in a, in a lot of ways, there's also the poverty factor. So, you know, just wearing clothes that were old or being boys, you would run around and wear them out and put holes in them. But then, you know, getting picked on because of that, but also the is a funny place going for like, you know, those leadership positions, like the SRC and whatnot, but people were saying, nah, don't go for it because you can't speak properly.
Speaker 2 00:27:24 Little things like that kind of impact, you know, impact your confidence to apply for other things moving forward. It was kind of like I was living two lives. So there was a school persona. I was able to run around, play aspire to do things, learn about cool things like how airplanes work, how helicopters work. And then there's my home life where go home oldest son had on again, we have the, my siblings helped my parents. If they needed me, otherwise I would be just, they would just be getting me to read, write, study, do maths. It's funny, it's stereotypical, I guess, home life for an, for an immigrant, if you wanted to say that. So I was kind of like living two lives and I wasn't sure, I kind of felt drawn towards the school life because I was free. I was able to express myself more. I was becoming more confident. I was wanting to pursue other things just beyond the mundane push towards just study, study study. And that's the conflict between the Western society, but also the precious from your parents who have sacrificed so much. And they wanted to make sure that you take these opportunities. So the only way they know is to make you sit in a room to do textbook the textbook and read book after book, until you can do no more and get Jack of it. Can you,
Speaker 3 00:28:49 You share the positive side of you looking different culturally different in an Australian school where you actually felt like maybe somebody or a group of friends have actually seen the cultural diversity and really embrace that and love the differences
Speaker 2 00:29:06 In it. Mate, definitely. And there's a couple of key things here. One because I was forced to study at home. Everyone knew me as, as a clever mass kid. So a smart Asian math kid
Speaker 3 00:29:21 Tick.
Speaker 2 00:29:23 So when you do group work, they would want to be with you because you're able to carry them along. The food food was a big thing where we grew up was very multicultural. It got more multicultural as, as I progress through primary school. And so food was a key. We had multicultural days and as you know, food ties people to their tradition, but it's also a great way to share traditions because a lot of cultural food is shared food shared meals. So whenever our school had a cold multicultural day, the parents from all cultures will be cooking all night to come and share their food, share their traditions. It was only in about you five. I remember I was wearing a traditional Vietnamese outfit for the first time. Actually I felt quite proud to wear it because they had, I guess the processes started early, but to embrace everyone and their culture and their background and not just limit them to just being a student who is learning the language or who looks a bit different.
Speaker 2 00:30:29 I remember that was a proud moment because I was able to wear my outfit. People would ask me questions. My mum had made an excuse. My language had made a shitload of spring rolls this year. Um, and everyone loves spring rolls. So I was like handing them out like, like a hundred dollar bills. So food was the key component in breaking down barriers. Once that barrier's kind of broken, people become more accepting of you because they see you for not just the stereotypical, you know, Asian that's being portrayed in the media. They see you as a person, which is cool. And the only difference was you just ate different food or you may have a different accent. I mean, my accent hard to believe at the time was a bit Asiany if that's a word and that's what we all want to experience, we all want to be treated as an individual, as a person, not just your skin color, not just because of your food, not because you dress a particular way or your parents or from a particular place. Ultimately when I had it to be treated like a person and individual, like it just made me more receptive of everyone else as well.
Speaker 1 00:31:38 I think this one is the million dollar question you went to school in Australia and I saw we're really good at nicknames. People call me Brenda, or I've got some other nicknames, which probably I won't share on this episode. What was your nickname?
Speaker 2 00:31:55 My nickname, ah, here we go here in Australia. We always extend the nickname. So it's not, you know, you don't make it shorter. So in primary school it was Queenie. So come over your cranky, pass the ball here, clingy. And then as, as time progressed, we learned that nickname should be shorter. So now everyone calls me Q I think probably because if you say my name in Vietnamese, it doesn't actually translate to how it's written down in English. So my name in Vietnamese, if you say it's actually pronounced Guam, that was the struggle of my primary school life, because I only ever heard my parents say it. So they will go Kwame Quang. I'm like, wow. And so eventually it settled on Kwong for awhile in primary school. And then in high school it converted to Quain and then prime school was <inaudible>. And then later on, towards the end of high school uni, it was cue just to make it easier for everyone.
Speaker 1 00:32:59 Well, I know you when we first met, pretty sure you mentioned just call me Q I had these visions of quango actually, cause we seem to put this over on the end of everything. So you didn't mention that one, but clingy queue. What do you like to be called?
Speaker 2 00:33:15 I would like to be called by my full Vietnamese name. Thank you very much. Please buy five names now I'm just kidding. Uh, so now Q Q is just easy. It's what I go by now is all my high school mates call me that. That's how I'm just known to the world. Now, part of the reason for that was when I was traveling, but the Australian accent didn't do my name will in other countries. So they just, they couldn't wrap their head around it. So just cue cue was easiest,
Speaker 1 00:33:44 But I want to go back to the educational side of things. Cause it was a, I know from past conversations, a big part of your life, how do you think that shaped your own leadership style leadership experience in that stage of being an assistant principal and even now in your own business, because you're a leader of people you're coaching people in business in your own style around that.
Speaker 2 00:34:05 I wanted to get, get into education because I, when I had left high school, I'd realized that I needed to pursue something for myself and my parents had pushed me down that path. And I think I chosen to do computer science, but at the time I'd also wanted to do teaching because I kind of had an epiphany moment. My dad said, no, just go into computer science because there's more money to be made. So naturally you listen to parents, you show that respect to your elders, but it wasn't for me. So, uh, in that time away, I did some volunteer youth work or that kind of stuff. And it made me realize that school had a massive influence on me because it taught me so much. And I wanted to give back then to help others who probably in similar situations growing up, whether they're refugee status or not, or reward those socio economic status, people who were just doing it tough to show that, Hey, I had a similar experience and you know, if you do make the effort to learn, these opportunities will be there, but you've just got to be ready to take them.
Speaker 2 00:35:09 So I got into education for that reason. And I had made it a note of mine to work in underprivileged areas because those schools like just the simple gesture of a teacher making a sandwich for me because I couldn't have lunch one day that really like stayed with me, that someone, a teacher who was there to teach me, looked after me beyond the classroom for a kid eight, nine, who was starving. It just leaves a great impression on you. So I wanted to do that and I'd purely gone into teaching just for the idea of teaching, helping my kids in the classroom, nothing more than that. And I was fortunate enough to have some great principals that I worked under, who were, had a great presence in the community first and foremost did what was best for the kids. And it was only after two years where I got appointed a school and principal tapped me on the shoulder and said, Hey, what do you think about stepping up to be an AP?
Speaker 2 00:36:10 I said, Oh man, I haven't really thought about it. He said, look, first and foremost, I wouldn't speak to you if I didn't think you could do it second. The kids love you. They respect every word that comes out of your mouth. And the staff respect you because you do the hard work. You're not a guy who comes in just teachers and then goes home. You're there, you're planning. You're having that conversation with them to ensure that they can incorporate some of the cool stuff that I was doing into their teaching programs. So without that shove, I wouldn't have been here. So the education fostered my desire to give back the leadership skills. I kind of portrayed anyway from my early age and which I naturally brought into the classroom. And then from there, the one thing that the department of education does really well.
Speaker 2 00:37:01 And this is just my opinion is they do provide some good training in that role. I was able to go to a lot of good training on not just teaching practices and teaching pedagogy, but also leadership practices and leadership pedagogy. From there, I was able to lead a team of teachers as well as all the Judas under the supervision, but I wasn't doing it on my own. And that's one thing I learned. I wanted to make it a real team effort because we all had to be wrong in the same direction. And the thing is, each classroom has their own set of kids. And the kids in each classroom are not only different to each classroom, but the different switchover for me to ensure that I was doing the best job, I would have to rely on the teachers to know their kids, to trust their kids, to give me the appropriate and the most accurate feedback so that we could make the best decision. It purely was a collaborative effort because I was relying on them to give me the best insight into their classrooms, the school on their side, to ensure that we were rolling in the same direction. We thought
Speaker 3 00:38:11 This experience you've shared today. What legacy do you want to leave for your family, your immediate family, your kids, but also your siblings being the first born child and thrown into the leadership side of family.
Speaker 2 00:38:27 Legacy is a question that I've been toying around with because we all know that we all are working towards a purpose, a bigger picture. And so my legacy now, because it's changed, it's changed over time and it's changed because the context of how I'm living my life has changed. My legacy. Now we've, as you mentioned were more, my young family, our two young boys would be to help my kids for fuel their opportunities. Part of that is one, making sure they grow up to be decent human beings. Cause first and foremost, they're people, they're humans. And as a father, I see that right now, the most pressing role is me being a father and me being a husband. And my legacy for them is for them to know that they're loved by me period. So for them first and foremost, to be loved, feel loved all the time and then is for them to fulfill and take the options that they want to take.
Speaker 2 00:39:34 Part of that is helping them see what's required and instilling those traits in them. So one hard work always wins. So I want them to be hard workers. It doesn't mean they're gonna be hard workers forever, but to achieve something, there's a amount of work that needs to be put in there. And I want them to just be grateful. And I don't want to say that as like, I grew up with nothing. They've got everything here. They need to be grateful for what they have. I want them to come to their own under standing of gratefulness and appreciation because they have to see it themselves, but I can help show them what it takes to be grateful. And I can model that to them, myself, with my, I guess my family, that we will always respect our traditions in our culture. It's who we are.
Speaker 2 00:40:27 That's a part of us. There's no getting around that. I mean, first and foremost, our skin tone is there. You can't hide it. But living here in Western society, we can successfully live here and take advantage of all the opportunities that we are exposed to without feeling any angst or any resentment towards our culture. We can respect it. We can acknowledge it, but we can also use it to push us towards our lifestyle here, which is great. It's cause my siblings, they all, it's funny. We all got pushed into wards study, study study, but they're all business owners. Now they're either business owners or they're subcontractors. We're all highly educated. We're articulate. We're doing well financially. And what we've done is we haven't disregarded our culture. We're still there. We respect our parents. We respect our culture. We ate culturally appropriate foods when we need to. We, you know, we pay our respects that the temples, because that's who we are, but it doesn't stop us from pursuing. We want to achieve in this society.
Speaker 1 00:41:36 I want to finish by taking you back to your parents. And this moment, this opportunity they've given you, which has enabled you to give the opportunity to others in your family. What's the greatest thing that your parents has given you to enable you to do what you do today?
Speaker 2 00:41:53 There's no one thing. There will never be just the one thing, because it's a series of different things. First and foremost, to bring me to life, the chance as we know, like the chance of conceiving and giving birth is minimal. Um, so just to have life is awesome so that, but then for them to take the risk that they did sacrificing everything, they literally sacrificed everything and they were prepared to sacrifice themselves as well, because they didn't know they were going to get off that boat safely. At the end, they didn't know what was going to happen once they reached the other end to sacrifice all of that and make that decision in hope. I'm forever grateful that they've decided to act out of a hope and last but not least is Vietnamese. People show love very fleetingly. It's just a culture thing. But I know that my parents loved me because they showed it in their way and they showed it in their way through the hard work they did and through their words of encouragement.
Speaker 2 00:43:04 And so I am forever grateful that they showed me the love that helped me putting the efforts and make the decisions that are needed to be here. Now, sitting in this chair, it's monumental. It's like I said, it's not just the one thing. Then it would be too simplistic to put it down to one thing, but a multitude of those things, starting four with what I've said there. And I'm sure as I leave now, um, there'll be other things that are popping into my mind that cause yeah, like I'm grateful for that as well. And I really appreciate it that they did this. And I remember the time that they did this and just being as a family first, they showed what the family unit is when we all work together and we all respect each other. And that's something that I definitely take into my household as well.
Speaker 1 00:43:56 Thank you for sharing my, and I'd love you to share just the name of your parents. We've talked about them a bit today and they sound like fascinating and fantastic people. And I agree with you, the sacrifice that your parents have made, what are your parents' names and what are they doing today?
Speaker 2 00:44:10 So my mum is a, in Vietnamese, you say guy, which literally translates to girl and my dad's name is yum. They're still living out in Southwest Sydney. They're just in a, what's considered a hotspot. So they're just taking the necessary precautions, still working part time. But you know, they've just got to have a face on and not go out as much, which is a shame because my mum is the one who is funny because they love their grandkids. They love seeing my boys, but my mom's the one who's being extra cautious in saying, no, we're not hotspot. You look after yourself, we'll see you soon. So that's lovely.
Speaker 1 00:44:48 I'm pretty lucky. I've known you for a while and I can get hold of you anytime. I think you take my calls most of the time other people will want to get hold of you. How can I say guys,
Speaker 2 00:44:58 If you reach out to me via email, so it's, Quane Q U a N [email protected]
. Otherwise you can find me on social media is on that with the handle at QN coach or QN coaching and guys, please touch base. If there's anything that you would like me to share with you even more elaborate on with my story, more than happy to,
Speaker 1 00:45:24 I would love to honestly sit here and say that you are the most famous Vietnamese person, but we've got to give that mantle to Armando, I suppose, but you're definitely a close second in my book late. I can't tell you how much I appreciate you coming on the show, the vulnerability and the ability for you to share that story is fantastic. I'm really surprised that you said off here that you haven't really shared or taken the opportunity to share this sort of stuff. I think it's fascinating. I think it's part of who you are. And to me it just creates another level of trust and relationship and strength of relationship around who you are, what you are, how you help your clients. So I'm absolutely honored to have you on today. Mike, thank you very much for sharing. Thanks for being a fantastic guest on the cultural things podcast.
Speaker 2 00:46:10 Thank you for thinking that my story is worthy of sharing on your platform. I really appreciate it, right?
Speaker 1 00:46:26 Mom and dad sacrificed everything to make a better life for their future family. They risked their life. And from what Q shared, they could have easily paid the ultimate price. I know most parents would do anything for their children. I'm just thankful that we live in a time where many parents don't need to consider sacrificing their life. But also unfortunately there is still too many that do listening to Q's story was quite emotional for me. It brought back wonderful memories of a childhood friend I had in primary school. His name was limb Trin. I was too young to know or even understand his family story back then, but so much of what Q shared resonated, because I also saw these responsibilities play out with my friend Lim. I'm sure limb will have grown into a fine leader and a decent human being just like cue.
Speaker 1 00:47:22 These were my three key takeaways from my conversation with Q my first key takeaway laters Mike sacrifices. This means putting other people's interests ahead of your own cues. Parents and uncle was shining examples of this. Remember when Q's uncle made the decision to leave his brother behind, he did this because he was the captain and was responsible for everyone on the boat. How many leaders do you know who make sacrifices for the people they lead by second key takeaway leaders create opportunity. They create opportunity for the people they lead now and they create opportunity for people. They will lead in the future. A leader's ultimate responsibility is to create the opportunity for themselves to grow. And for the people they lead to grow, focus on creating these opportunities and nothing can limit you or your team. My third key takeaway leaders take responsibility for their decisions. They have the guts to make the tough decisions in order to help the people they lead and they don't shy away. When it gets tough, they have the strength of their convictions to see their decisions through taking this responsibility builds trust, which is a solid foundation for performance. So in summary, my three key takeaways were leaders. Mike sacrifices leaders create opportunity and leaders take responsibility for their decisions. If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a [email protected]
. Thank you for listening. Stay safe until next time.
Speaker 0 00:49:20 Thank you for listening to the cultural things podcast with Brendan Rogers, please visit Brendan rogers.com to access the show notes. If you love the culture things podcast, please subscribe, rate, and give a review on Apple podcast and remember healthy culture is your competitive advantage.