Coffee Kings Queen of Vietnam on Forbes Asia magazine 3

Those days in Sydney may have been the most painful of my life, but they were also the most revealing. I finally saw clearly something that had always been inside me. There’s a famous Vietnamese axiom that goes, “when the water rises, the boat rises too”. My boat may have run aground before, but it was now bounding on the crest of a tidal surge.

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By following my own path I had flourished, and my way forward was not to accept erasure, but to step out from the shadows. I needed to challenge the masculine dominance that held sway over my firm and stand up for the female entrepreneurial talent that I knew was not only critical to my path, but a feminine force that was emerging within my country.

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By the time the rains had subsided, a mantra had formed within me. It went, “I am my own woman, Le Hoang Diep Thao, self-directed and self-made, and like the water I will rise and flow, but I will not accept defeat”. Rising from my core, this mantra gave me strength. As I repeated it I came to see that my call to devotion as Vu’s wife had come at an unacceptable price, one that I was no longer willing to pay. Even though I am a traditional woman, I am not weak. I could never allow myself to become a pawn in a man’s game, to be sacrificed on a whim. It was time to demonstrate the might of my femininity. The queen on a chessboard may be placed there to protect the king, but she’s also the most powerful piece in play.

-Le Hoang Diep Thao, The Queen of King Coffee”

The English digital edition of The Queen of King Coffee is now available for preorder on Amazon at

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