I am one of his sons, and I will be typing his answers on his behalf.

Back in 1960-1970, in Cambodia, there's a dictator who claims himself as the "king of Cambodia." His name was Pol Pot. His plan was to execute, kill, and get rid of all of the highly intelligent people in Cambodia. So basically, if you had an elementary school level education, you'd be executed on the spot. He did this because he didn't want any of the smart people to rebel against him. Obviously, many people wanted to escape from Cambodia and move to the states, or any other country. This is where my grandma came in play. Her job was to deliver rice, crossing borders of Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. This gave her a high advantage of escaping. So, one day, instead of loading her 16-wheeler with rice bags, she told her kids, who are now my uncles and aunts, to get into the truck, and instead of delivering rice, she went to nearest airport to fly off to the states, specifically Michigan, starting off with $20 that was found on the ground and welfare money.

From that day on, my aunts, uncles, and my dad got a job, so the whole family was working. My dad got a job as a busboy, which, if you've ever been in a restaurant, and there's always someone who cleans up after you eat? Yeah, my dad did that. Eventually, all of the money that my family earned and saved went to specifically my dad, who used that money to pay the expenses of attending the GIA Institution, which is the Gemological Institute of America. He graduated, receiving a job from Tiffany & Co., working for them for eight years.

After the eight years, he met my mom and opened up his own shop, now called JAJ & Associates. Had kids, and opened up two more stores for them, now called The Goldsmith and Pleasantry Jewelers.

PROOF: http://imgur.com/7TdvglU

EDIT1: My dad went out to get some bean sprouts for dinner, so we'll be right back to answering questions after! :)

EDIT2: And we're back!

EDIT3: Alright guys! It's getting late here! On behalf of my father, I'd like to thank you guys for taking your time out and asking questions! Hopefully, we can do something like this again in the future. :)

EDIT4: Why, hello there front page! I'll try to get my dad to answer a few more, he's full after eating pho from last night!

EDIT5: Some of you have PMed me on my interest. Well, I play video games, develop websites, and stream! (www.twitch.tv/ayshinematt) Now, let the questions keep rolling in, I'll answer them at a different time. :)

Comments: 768 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

OuchLOLcom218 karma

After your 6th kid what made you go hmph, I think we need another!

AyshineMatt378 karma

To be honest, it was an accident!

onnoj817163 karma

is the accidental child the one typing for you? talk about awkward...

AyshineMatt292 karma

Below is a response from the person typing, not a response from my father:

Haha, no, this isn't the accidental child mentioned. However, I do think I am an accident... Haha! I am 10 years apart from the previous sibling, so... xD

funkarama167 karma

Do you know how grandma was able to get onto a plane to the US? How were your family able to get a visa to the US?

If you have any more reliable stories/information about the Pol Pot era, please write it.

AyshineMatt297 karma

The US governement, at the time, allowed a certain amount of refugees to come to the US, distributing visa's to them, which I'm certainly grateful for.

Walstiber127 karma

whats the markup on loose diamonds?

AyshineMatt148 karma

2% to 5%

TheTurnbull114 karma

What keeps you motivated? I want to go out and do things with myself, but I generally forget to do them and wind up sitting around all day being unproductive. Also, what made you choose owning jewelry stores over another kind of business?

AyshineMatt136 karma

Set a goal and stick with it, self-motivating yourself till the task is completed. That's what I did, and still continuing, hoping my children will do the same.

Uhmerikan95 karma

Why is this always the generic response? It's akin to sports star interviews after the game. Obviously you have to stick to your goals or you will never succeed. I believe some people just don't have that drive or desire to succeed.

AyshineMatt88 karma

Spot on.

groggboy66 karma

Is the American dream dying?

AyshineMatt150 karma

No, I do not think the American dream is dying. As long as you work hard, put 110% effort, it'll pay off.

AyshineMatt49 karma

Be right back everyone! My dad went to the supermarket for some bean sprouts!

gdaman2239 karma

Do you/do you ever ever plan to go back to Cambodia? At least to visit?

AyshineMatt91 karma

At the time, no I did not, of course. However, present time, I did visit during the summer of 2011 - not very much changed, still corruption and poverty.

WilhemtheGreat39 karma

What did you do in times of doubt?

AyshineMatt75 karma

I took a deep breath and gave second thoughts to myself. In the end, it resolved to just keep working harder and it'll pay off. It definitely did :)

Collective8237 karma

Why do you think this countries poor remain that way? You seem to have done well yet so many others do not. What do you attribute your good fortune to?

AyshineMatt67 karma

I believe that Cambodia and other countries around it remain poor and corrupted because of the society. All of the Asian countries are corrupted. If you were stopped by a government official, for say speeding, you can give them $10, and they'd let you free.

Collective8213 karma

This country as in the USA not Cambodia though.

AyshineMatt56 karma

I'm sorry, I read the question wrong to him. Here's his response:

The US has less corruption, but in a legal way. In Cambodia, as I previously stated, is of course, illegal to excuse someone in exchange for cash. In America, we call the legal exchange of money a "donation". In Cambodia, it's called bribery.

AlexWhite36 karma

How long did it take to learn English once you got to the states and do your children speak Khmer?

If your children don't speak Khmer, what were your reasons for not teaching them?

AyshineMatt72 karma

It took about 3-4 months to learn English, forcing myself. Only three out of the seven kids understand Khmer, but none of them can speak it fluently. However, they all understand and speak English, Teochew, and bits of Mandarin.

kinghill1635 karma

What were some of the obstacles you had to go through to become the person you are today?

AyshineMatt44 karma

Very hard work. Of course, as a kid, hated to do anything that required the littlest of strength. But, in the situation that my family was in, we all had to pull through and take the hits that life gave us.

mneaton4333 karma

What was the first thing the starting $20 was used for?

AyshineMatt91 karma

Nothing, we didn't spend it at all. As a matter of fact, I believe my sister still has the $20. Hopefully, she still has it. If she does, I'll let my son post a picture!

Akchemist18732 karma

What do you drive?

AyshineMatt44 karma

Depends on the occasion. For example, family road trips, we use our Mercedes Sprinter.

Akchemist18722 karma

What do you drive everyday?

AyshineMatt54 karma

A Lexus or Prius for commute.

Stout624 karma

I'm getting ready to open my own retail business. Can you give me advice on establishing relationships with new vendors. Supply seems to be the industry's biggest secret. Also, any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

AyshineMatt85 karma

Before paying your bills, check if everything is correctly added. Yes, literally do the math. From experience, some bills were miscalculated by over $50, so be careful!

vinipoars24 karma

How do you treat your employees?

AyshineMatt98 karma

With over 15 employees, we treat every single one of them like family, the majority of them have been with us since the start. For example, our secretary; he's very close to my family, so whenever we go on vacations, like New York, we bring him with us! :)

clauderamey20 karma

No question, this is just inspiring. Truly amazing

AyshineMatt40 karma

Below is a response from the person typing, not a response from my father:

When I first heard this story, I thought: Now this is starting from the bottom - now we're here.

Cryo11518 karma

What is it like raising that many kids?

AyshineMatt64 karma

It's like a yo-yo, it has its ups-and-downs.

Bmwe9218 karma

How much money do you generally make?

AyshineMatt70 karma

Unfortunately, I will not be releasing an answer for this question, I apologize!

I_CAPE_RUNTS17 karma

How were you able to trust your employees? I did 1.5m in revenue last year and my hands are way too full with tasks....so I need to hand over the reigns and delegate, but I am worried about giving up so much responsibility. My business is my baby, and just as I'd be worried handing over my baby to a stranger, I'd be worried handing over the keys to the business. how do I overcome this conundrum?

AyshineMatt41 karma

Treat your employees like how you want to be treated - like family. If you were in their shoes, you would want to have a relationship where you can trust each other. And without trust, your business won't expand.

dak0tah12 karma

Best business advice you've built your empire upon?

AyshineMatt70 karma

Build a long-term relationship with customers, especially with honesty.

If you're honest, the customers would accept and respect you as a person and business man/woman, therefore coming back to you, not the competitors.

c301412 karma

What major burdens or obstacles were you faced with when initially starting your business and how did you overcome them?

AyshineMatt40 karma

This doesn't quite answer your question, but, my job is to type up his answers, so here you go:

If I couldn't overcome obstacles, I asked for help. From family, to friends, ask for help. Don't be ashamed to ask for help.

Lord-Lieutenant11 karma

How hard was it for your family to adjust to the different culture of the US?

AyshineMatt33 karma

Very hard. New language, new food, new weather - new everything. Nothing like Cambodia.

Phenomenon1016 karma

Was this something you KNEW you wanted to do as a career? Did ever say like "meh, I don't like this I want to do something else with my life?" Was money (and I don't mean to say this in a greedy way) the motivation to graduate from the GIA?

One more, if you could go back and do one thing different what would that be?

AyshineMatt38 karma

Yes, that was something that I knew I wanted to do as a career. As I stated previously, set goals and stick with it.

And, no, money was not the motivation to graduate from the GIA. It was simply a dream/hobby. I heard this quote when I was a child:

"Do what you love. And get paid for it."

gecko15015 karma

Hey OP, first off, right on. Do you think this kind of opportunity still exists in America? Or is our (what seems to me) alien fear starting to really get in the way?

AyshineMatt15 karma

The American dream - it will always be here. I stated this many times - but as long as you work hard, put 110% effort, it'll pay off. It will.

AutoModerator-11 karma

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AyshineMatt8 karma

I apologize, proof has been added!

ConsultMePlease-16 karma

Why did you have seven children? That seems wildly irresponsible.

AyshineMatt14 karma

Key word being "seems."

Customers have asked me if I regretted that choice. My response: no. Not one bit. Seeing seven children growing and learning on the career path they want, honestly, is beautiful. For example, the one typing for me, he has an interest in computer science. Another child of mine, she has an interest in being a doctor. Seeing them grow, to predicting what they'll be in the future, is amazing, and I'll always support them through the way, financially and emotionally.

gnualmafuerte-55 karma

Thank you for polluting the earth with seven motherfucking brats. As if overpopulation weren't bad enough, you went ahead and had 7.

AyshineMatt37 karma

My dad read this and said,"I thought Reddit was nice?"

I replied,"Dad, this is the Internet."

"Oh, forgot!"