Forever Bo Ngau

Do Trong was born in the year of the ox, thus he was nicknamed Ngau in Cantonese. Somehow everyone in our class called him Bo Ngau. In fact, he was better known to the Tho Nhon community as Bo Ngau rather than his legal name. In contrast to his name, resembling a bully, his picturesque smiles and amiable personality will remain with us as a charming memory.

Many of our classmates have known Bo Ngau ever since elementary school. Some even shared the same classroom with him every school day. As kids, we biked to My Khe beach together on many weekends. Often on return trips from the beach, we took the ferry across the Bach Dang River. Regularly midway through, the boys would leave the bikes with the girls and dived overboard into the deep water. Bo Ngau was among us and he rarely missed those show-off occasions.

The fond days of our youth did not last very long, though. In the midst of the wave of Boat People, many of us got out and settled down in countries all over the world. Bo Ngau and a few classmates stayed behind in Da Nang. Nevertheless, for almost 30 years we have stayed in touch. A few years ago, Bo Ngau finally caught up with us in Los Angeles. Since then, we held numerous class-reunion-gatherings in celebration, and he was always there. Soon after, we learned that Ann and Bo Ngau held hands, and that was icing on the cake! In the end, the moment Ann and Trong tied the knot was arguably the cheeriest for our class.

It was merely a few weeks ago when we had gathered again, and that happened to be Bo Ngauís last connection with us. The vivid images of his shining smiles in that evening make it far more difficult for us to accept the fact that he was gone. At his funeral, someone mentioned that ďBo Ngau very much loves Ann, that when he had to leave, he left quickly. He did not want Ann to suffer at his bedside.Ē Obviously, we know Bo Ngauís passionate love for Ann as well as his dutiful love for his mother. Which leave us to wonder where he is now when he fails to serve Ann coffee toward the end of each day; where he is now when he no longer comes by to see mom twice a day?

Ann is the youngest sibling in her family. Undoubtedly she will be well cared for. Likewise, Bo Ngauís elderly mother is under the good care of her other children. With this mindset, we want Bo Ngau to know, that his loved ones are in good hands, that he can rest in peace. If there were life beyond death, it simply infers, from Da Nang to Los Angeles and to the next life, this turn Bo Ngau is one step ahead of us.

Written in honoring a dear classmate, September 2012


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