The Story of Pang Dai Muoi
童年 Early years
Pang Dai Muoi (née Chui Dai Muoi) was born in Hong Kong in 1930. She later moved to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, along with her family just before the Second World War. She grew up in Vietnam and was educated in local Chinese schools. Her schooling was interrupted during the war period and when the war ended, she worked in a relative‘s restaurant as a cashier to support herself and her family.
婚姻生活 Married life
At age twenty, Dai Muoi married her husband Pang Yuk Ming, whom she met through a close friend. Ming was a young merchant with a large family of siblings. Dai Muoi quickly adjusted from life as a single young woman to becoming a wife.
Life in Saigon during the 1950s was difficult due to ongoing political changes. During these social upheavals, Dai Muoi gave birth to three sons and two daughters; the eldest son was born in 1952 and the family was complete with the youngest son’s birth in1961.
Dai Muoi looked after her five children and her in-laws. Pragmatic and hardworking, she handmade custom clothing for all her five children. Life was not easy for her during this time period.
It was not until much later, when her in-laws had married and her children grew older, that her life became more relaxed. She spent her leisure time reading books and eventually learnt how to cook, bake and do flower arrangements.
When her three eldest children, Roger, Ken and Jenny, left Saigon for schooling abroad between 1969 and 1972, her family’s finances also began to prosper. Dai Muoi started learning English and began sightseeing around Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore with her husband.
從越南到加拿大 From Vietnam to Canada
1975 年，當西貢淪陷迫在眉睫時，美好的時光也隨之消失了。1975 年 4 月 30 日凌晨，她與兩個年幼的子女敏儀和嘉杰乘坐著美國空軍的 C130 飛機逃離了西貢，而大妹的丈夫因為要照顧母親，留在了越南。
他們降落的第一站是馬尼拉，隨後因為要等待加拿大移民文件的辦理，他們去到了威克島。三週後，大妹和她的兩個孩子敏儀和嘉杰，終於抵達了加拿大的蒙特利爾 (Montreal) 開始了新移民的生活。
在1975 年 5 月的下旬，抵達蒙特利爾的大妹數天後搬到多倫多以西一百多公里的滑鉄路市，因她的三兜子在那裏就讀大學。大妹亦逐漸開始適應加國新的生活節奏。同年 8 月，她終於收到了丈夫逃難倖存下來並安全抵達香港的好消息。
數月之後，大妹想起當時在蒙城聖約瑟大教堂為丈夫的代禱——祈求他能夠早日安全離開越南早日抵達香港。她也因此開始來到滑鐵盧 (Waterloo) 當地的華人基督教會參與週曰敬拜。
These prosperous times vanished quickly when the ‘Fall of Saigon’ became imminent in 1975. While her husband stayed behind, Dai Muoi together with the two youngest children, Minyi and Jim, fled from Saigon via a USAF‘s C130 aircraft. They fled Saigon early in the morning of April 30th, 1975.
The first stop was Manila, followed by a three weeks’ stay on Wake Island to await the processing of their immigration papers to Canada. Dai Muoi, and her two children Minyi and Jim, eventually made it to Montreal, Canada to start a new life.
Arriving in Montreal in late May 1975, everything was new. Dai Muoi, now in her mid-forties, had to adjust to a totally new lifestyle as a refugee immigrant in Canada. Thankfully by August, she received the news that her husband had survived and had arrived in Hong Kong safely.
For many years after, she reflected on her prayers for her husband that had come true, at the Saint Joseph Cathedral of Montreal. She started attending the local Christian church service in Waterloo until she eventually left for Hong Kong in 1979.
After attending English classes for new immigrants in the fall of 1975, she started working as a seamstress in a local factory of Arrow Shirt. By Christmas, her husband Yuk Ming was able to reunite with the family in Waterloo for a couple of weeks.
After his visit, Dai Muoi in early 1976 decided to visit her husband in Hong Kong for a few months. During the visit, she decided to return to Canada until she had obtained her Canadian citizenship.
Upon her return to Waterloo, she went to work at the Forsyth Shirt Company Factory. Her colleagues liked her a lot and helped her along the way. While she worked at Forsyth for almost three years, she never complained once despite the fact she mainly did night shifts.
Dai Muoi had the humility to forget her past, learn new things and adjust herself to a new environment. She made numerous friends at work and church. Her life motto was to “befriend all peoples regardless of age, or cultural differences”. Dai Muoi was always able to forgive others, and never held grudges.
回流香港澳門 Move to Macau
1977 年春天，大妹的兒子嘉恒因為畢業後而要搬到多倫多工作，她決定留在滑鐵盧跟最年幼的兒子嘉杰一起生活。1979 年 5 月，她獲得了加拿大公民身份，隨即她離開了滑鐵盧前往香港與丈夫永久團聚。
After her son, Ken, had graduated university and left to work in Toronto in 1977, Dai Muoi decided to live with her younger son, Jim, in Waterloo. She lived happily in Waterloo until she received her Canadian citizenship in May 1979. She then decided to leave for Hong Kong to join her husband permanently.
In September 1979, Dai Muoi and her husband moved to Macau for her husband’s work. They bought their flat at Hang Cheong, near the Macau Governor Office. This would be home that she resided for the next 42 years until she passed away.
In Macau, Dai Muoi lived a peaceful life. Macau was relatively quiet, compared to the hectic pace of Hong Kong and the demanding household chores in Canada. Once again, she made friends with all kinds of people.
晚年 Later years
大妹一生好學。八十多歲的她決定入讀澳門理工學院的長者學院。在長者學院，大妹學習了包括英語、計算機和中文書法等課程。 八十八歲的大妹，也練出了不錯的書法。在大妹的畢業班裏，她是所有長者學生中年紀最大的一位。 大妹在學校深受同學和老師的喜愛， 活出了 “活到老學到老“ 的精神。
從2019年秋天開始，大妹逐漸成為了澳門山頂醫院的常客。在 2022 年 2 月 1 日，也就是農曆新年的那一天，她與全家人進行了最後一次視頻通話。
In her twilight years, Dai Muoi visited many cities in China and around the world. She went to LA and Houston to visit her eldest daughter, revisited Montreal to see her younger daughter and enjoyed Toronto when staying with her youngest son.
As Dai Muoi and her husband lived in Macau, grandchildren from all around the world also came to visit them, some staying with them for weeks.
Starting her eighties, Dai Muoi stopped traveling long distances though she still traveled to Singapore on occasion to see her great grandchildren. In addition she started attending Seniors College at the Macau Polytechnic Institute.
A life long learner, Dai Muoi learnt English, computer IT and Chinese calligraphy. Her Chinese calligraphy skills became quite good, even at the age of 88. In her classes, Dai Muoi was the eldest student amongst all the senior students, and was well-liked by her peers and teachers.
After Dai Muoi fell ill in the fall of 2019, she became a frequent visitor to the Macau Hill Top Hospital. On Chinese New Year Day on 1 February 2022, she was able to summon the energy to talk a few minutes with her family on a video call.
In the early morning of February 5th, 2022, after going to the washroom, Dai Muoi fell unconscious in the arms of her domestic helper. She was rushed to the hospital, but sadly she had been called to heaven. Dai Muoi had passed away.
Over the next few hours, all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren came to know of the passing of this wonderful woman and an incredible era that had passed. Her time on earth has ended, but her loving memory as a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, and friend will continue to live on.