Businessman Johnathan Hanh Nguyen: 40 years accompanying the country

Thu, 29 Feb 2024 15:21:00  |  Print  |  Email   Share:

Johnathan Hanh Nguyen considers love for the country sacred. Moreover, with the desire to contribute to joint development, his life has always paralleled each difficult time and each transformation step of the nation during the past 40 years.

Doanh nhân Việt kiều Johnathan Hạnh Nguyễn có nhiều đóng góp lớn vào phát triển quan hệ Việt Nam-Philippines.
Mr. Johnathan Hạnh Nguyen's significant contribution to the development of Vietnam - the Philippines relationship.

Once one of the pioneers, contributing to the country's journey of breaking the embargo and the present success of the Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) built and run by him, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen's imprint still retains its profound human values, the typical business style of this overseas Vietnamese businessman.

In the 1980s, the country struggled amid many difficulties. There were many reasons, among which the US embargo was the harshest challenge for the poor Vietnamese society at that time, caught up in two brutal wars right after escaping the prolonged war. At that time, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen was a financial inspector for Boeing Subcontractor with a good job and a peaceful family life abroad. As fate would have it, he suddenly was called by his hometown and then voluntarily joined the country's struggle to break the embargo, escape isolation, and open up to the world. The nation placed a significant responsibility on his shoulders: opening a flight route from Viet Nam to the Philippines. Perhaps the two sacred words “Viet Nam” helped him overcome all fears, separations, and doubts and have enough bravery, alertness, and courage to express his love and aspirations and to dedicate himself to the Fatherland.

Right on Tet holiday 40 years ago, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen returned to his homeland for the first time after many years of living abroad. It can be said that that return was the decisive moment that created Johnathan Hanh Nguyen today.

Born in 1951 in Nha Trang, at 23, Johnathan Hanh moved to settle in the Philippines and then studied in the US. In 1984, when he returned to his homeland and was entrusted by the country's leaders with opening a Viet Nam - Philippines route, he was the Philippine Airlines representative in Asia-Pacific then. Even when he remembered it later, he still saw it as a great and very challenging responsibility.

Mr. Tran Tien Vinh, former Counselor of the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines from 1984-1987, still mentioned the event he called “Going to the Palace to get the President's signature”. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of opening the Viet Nam-Philippines flight (1985-2015), he reiterated: It can be said that the event on the evening of September 4, 1985, was the most evident proof of Johnathan Hanh Nguyen's good qualities - a patriot overseas Vietnamese. His deep love for the homeland motivated him to take such brave action and sacrifice for the country. To soon open the Viet Nam - Philippines flight route, Hanh was willing to accept the risk of imprisonment or severe punishment by President Marcos. Mr. Marcos issued a ban on raising the proposal to open the flight route again (after the President twice rejected this proposal), ready to imprison and severely punish those who disobey the order. At that historic moment, Mr. Tran Tien Vinh hugged Hanh Nguyen, exclaiming: “Hanh, you are a national hero!”

Chủ tịch IPPG Johnathan Hạnh Nguyễn (thứ hai từ phải) nhận Huân chương Lao động hạng Hai, tháng 6/2019.
IPPG Chairman Johnathan Hạnh Nguyễn (the 2nd from right) received the Second Class Labor Medal, in June 2019.

On the evening of September 4, 1985, Johnathan Hanh Nguyen fulfilled the responsibility directly assigned by Prime Minister Pham Van Dong: obtaining the President's approval signature of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos to allow the opening of flights between the two countries. He recounted, “Seeing the approval signature, he wanted to bow his knees and not be able to lift his legs. It only took a few steps from the President's desk to the door, but it felt like a thousand kilometres! He burst into tears at the airport when he saw the national flag from the Viet Nam Airlines plane's window taxiing on the Malina airport runway at 9 am on September 9, 1985. “The most honoured, happy and proud moment of my life,” Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen recalled fondly. Mr. Tran Tien Vinh considered the event to be the beginning of the success of patriotic overseas Vietnamese businessman Johnathan Hanh Nguyen in his homeland!

The dam blocking the flow of the “River” Viet Nam to the world's seas began to be removed from one of those beginnings. In 1986, the 6th National Party Congress decided on strategic innovation issues and opening up the country. In 1994, the United States announced a complete lifting of the embargo against Viet Nam. Today, Viet Nam is a friend of all countries in the world. In the aviation sector alone, Viet Nam has five commercial airlines, 72 international airlines and four domestic airlines operating more than 200 international routes.

As for Johnathan Hanh Nguyen, from his initial contribution, his enthusiasm and desire for the country were opeenergizednergized and gradually transformed into specific activities. In 1985, he founded the IPPG Company in the HCM city and, up to now, it has paid trillions of dollars in taxes to the state budget each year. By opening production industries that benefit society, attracting many workers, and actively doing charity, IPPG is typical of a foreign-invested enterprise whose goal is to go hand in hand with the country's development.

General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong once said, “Our country has never had such fortune, potential international position and prestige as it does today”. The country will never forget the difficult years and recognise silent contributions, including overseas Vietnamese like Johnathan Hanh Nguyen.

By: The World & Vietnam



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