News / Asia

Vietnamese Refugee Wins Top Australian Literary Award

Phil Mercer

Vietnamese Refugee Wins Top Australian Literary Award
Vietnamese Refugee Wins Top Australian Literary Award

A Vietnamese man who first came to Australia more than 30 years ago as a refugee has been recognized at Australia's premier literary awards. Anh Do, a comedian and author, won three awards for his book, The Happiest Refugee. It tells the story of a refugee family’s perilous escape from the war in Vietnam in the late 1970s.

Attacked by pirates during their escape from repression in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Anh Do and his family were rescued by a German merchant ship and taken to a refugee camp in Malaysia.

His uncles had fought alongside Australian soldiers in the conflict, making the family possible targets for retribution.

They were eventually granted permission to resettle in Australia and Do was two when his family arrived to start a new life in 1980.

The story is told in his autobiography The Happiest Refugee, which has been honored at the Australian Book Industry Awards in Melbourne where it was chosen as the nation’s Book of the Year.

Do says it details his family’s perilous escape from Vietnam.

“Basically my uncles fought alongside Aussie soldiers in the Vietnam War," he said. "So after the war finished my family were persecuted and they were in danger.  One of my uncles was actually a sapper who cleared land mines for Anzacs, Australian soldiers, and we had to flee Vietnam. There were 40 of us on a 9-meter fishing boat.  We were at sea for five days, a very perilous journey.  We were attacked by pirates twice.”   

Do, who is also a successful stand-up comedian, plans to turn the Happy Refugee into a movie.

Between 1975 and 1994, more than 110,000 Vietnamese refugees were allowed to settle in Australia. Thousands more have been granted visas as part of family reunion programs. Vietnamese Australians are often highly represented in universities and many professions and are generally regarded as part of Australia’s multicultural success story.

However, Do says that over the years his adopted home has become less welcoming to outsiders.

“The attitude has probably changed slightly," said Do. "I think with the Vietnam War and all the graphic images of the Vietnam War being beamed, you know, into homes during the Vietnam War, I think Australians were a bit more welcoming of the Vietnamese refugees than the refugees then the refugees who are turning up today.”

The Australian government grants visas to about 13,000 refugees, annually, under various international treaties. This week Canberra signed a controversial deal to send hundreds of asylum seekers to Malaysia in exchange for 4,000 long-term refugees. It is part of a scheme that aims to combat human traffickers that are responsible for a steady flow of unauthorized migrants arriving by boat in Australia’s remote northern waters.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid