Marianne Thuy Nguyen
Marianne Thuy Nguyen is a Toronto-based design consultant. She came to Canada as a Vietnamese refugee in 1975.
Before my brother was wheeled into a surgery that would attempt to remove a brain tumor he had been diagnosed with at age 28, my parents asked him a question: Did he owe anyone any money? This might sound like an insensitive thing to ask someone on his way into brain surgery, but it was meant kindly. They wanted him to be at ease; they would see to his duties no matter what happened. (It is hard to overstate the seriousness with which duty was treated in our family.)
My brother said he had only one debt: his student loans. He was part-way through his residency, and he had some years to go before paying off his medical school tuition. My parents gasped; they said they would pay it immediately. Any debt was serious, but a debt to Canada, the country that had taken us all in as refugees and given us loans for our education? This was a duty that verged on the sacred. We would repay it as many times over as we possibly could.
Canadians will give thanks for many things this weekend. As someone who boarded a boat at age 12 and travelled from a war zone into a life of safety and possibility, my Thanksgiving list is probably longer than most...
Read the full article in The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Oct. 10, 2015