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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs