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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid