Ho Le-Dinh Life and Times

The Life and Times of Ho Le-Dinh

(1952-2018)

His most admired people: Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Lao Tzu, Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso… and DONALD TRUMP.

His most loved quotes: Albert Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. – William Shakespeare: “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once”. – Lenin: “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”.

His most prophetic words: “For sure, not deathbed, I will be more popular with my death”. – Ho Le-Dinh

Mr. Le Dinh Chiem, father of Ho

Ho Le-Dinh was born on 7 May 1952 in the village of Bo Ban, Quang Tri province. He was the third child of Le Dinh Chiem and Tran Thi Ky; in total, he had 6 brothers and 3 sisters. He attended Bo De secondary school and Nguyen Hoang High School in Quang Tri Province.

In 1974 he enrolled in the of the Bachelor of Laws Programme, majoring in Public Law at the University of Saigon’s Faculty of Law. Whilst there he was the President of Quang Tri Tertiary Students College.

In early 1975, he commenced training at the Infantry Officer’s Training School at Long Thanh. Later that year, in August 1975 he was arrested for political dissidents and sent to Chi Hoa Prison in Saigon’s District 3, Thu Duc prison and then re-education camp at Z.30D Ham Tan, Thuan Hai.

He was finally released on 28 January 1978, and in April he married Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung. They had three children.

On February 1981, he and his eldest brother Le Dinh Bot fled Vietnam by boat for Malaysia. After four days, they arrived at the refugee camp on Pilau Bidong. Four months later on 28 June 1981, he was resettled in Australia, an event for which he has always been grateful. 

In Australia, he sought to start his life again. For a time, he lived in Queensland first working at the Gold Circle factory. He learned English. Later he moved to Sydney and worked part-time as a taxi driver, and then as a translator at what was then known as the East Sydney Technical College.

In March 1984, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung and his first child were able to join him under the Australian government’s humanitarian programme aimed at family reunification. In Australia, he renewed his interest in politics and was awarded, in 1989, a Master of Arts (with Honors) at the School of Political Science at the University of New South Wales. His thesis was titled “The Superpowers of South-East Asia Since the Collapse of South Vietnam”. He also authored “The Cambodian Problem: Time for a Political Solution” in 1991. 

He then embarked on a number of business enterprises including conveyancing, a Vietnamese restaurant in Glebe, starting and writing the Vietnamese language newspaper Cong Luan. He was also for a short time an actor, appearing in commercials and a feature-length film about Cambodian refugees from the Killing Fields called “Which Way Home”.

Ho Le-Dinh at the launch of his first book: Dictionary of Political Analysis and International Relations

In the early 1990s, he also began writing the first of his English-Vietnamese bi-lingual dictionaries, the Dictionary of Political Analysis and International Relations, which was released in 1995. This work was over 700-pages long with a foreword written by Rear Admiral (retired) Earl. P. Yates of the United States Navy (the first Commander of the USS John F. Kennedy). The introduction was written by the then head of SBS Radio Mr. Luu Tuong Quang. Former executive director of the CIA, William E. Colby wrote the back cover endorsement.

Ho Le-Dinh at the launch of his second book: Vietnamese-English, English-Vietnamese Dictionary of Law

In 1997 he enrolled in the graduate law programme at the University of New South Wales, and in his first year won the Tress Cocks Maddox scholarship.

When he graduated, he worked first at the firm Costas & Co in Bankstown. At the same time, he began work on the even more ambitious Vietnamese-English, English-Vietnamese Dictionary of Law. This work was completed in 2004 and was 1881-pages long. It was introduced by Senator John McCain, endorsed by former US Ambassador to Vietnam, Douglas Peterson, head of SBS Radio Mr Luu Tuong Quang, the Reverend Nguyen Huu Le, writer and journalist Phan Nhat Nam including many others.

Ho Le-Dinh - Saigon Times.jpg

From right: Ho Le-Dinh, Phuong Pham, and Huu Nguyen

In the early 2000s he opened Ledinh Lawyers where he was principal, sharing an office with the Saigon Times as well as a Legal Advisor for the newspaper till death.

He practiced law in Bankstown on a range of matters including criminal law until his recent death. He is survived by his six children including his three children with his partner of several years NTTH.

His most admired people: Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Lao Tzu, Mark Twain, Pablo Picasso… and DONALD TRUMP.

His most loved quotes: Albert Einstein: “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it”. – William Shakespeare: “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once”. – Lenin: “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves”.

His most prophetic words: “For sure, not deathbed, I will be more popular with my death”. – Ho Le-Dinh

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