Trinh Hoi was born in 1970 in Saigon. At the age of 15, he left Vietnam and came to Australia as a refugee. Trinh Hoi was admitted into Melbourne University Law School from which he graduated with combined degrees of BA and LLB. At the age of 29, he served as an associate to Justice Susan Kenny on the Federal Court of Australia. After receiving the 1999 Young Australian Lawyer of the Year award, he was then chosen for the Chevening-Oxford Australia Scholarship that allowed him to complete his Master of Studies on International Refugee Laws and Policies at Oxford in 2002.
Trinh Hoi has written numerous publications in law journals and articles for newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register. However, it is his volunteer work with the Vietnamese boat people in Southeast Asia that he has earned him international recognition. With his law experience, he assisted boat people in Hong Kong with resettlement. Recognizing his community work the Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee chose him to carry the Olympic flame in its final stretches to the 2000 Games.
Currently, Trinh Hoi is working in Manila, the Philippines assisting some 2,000 stateless Vietnamese refugees with resettlement. The Vietnamese boat people have been left stateless in the Philippines after the United Nations High Commission for Refugees halted its refugee programs in Southeast Asia in 1996.
First, we need to ask who is a Vietnamese and qualified as a professional? Second, what are the roles? Who should define such a role and whether the role is of a public nature or a private one?
All that can be offered is a personal take on the issue with the cause of remaining 2000 stateless Vietnamese in the Philippines forming the background.
Ultimately, the role will be a matter of personal undertaking. It is a responsibility as well a privilege to be a Vietnamese professional. And global or otherwise, it requires the self-fulfilled role to come from the heart.