Friday, February 3, 2012

The Happiest Refugee

Source of picture:
"There are only two times in life: there's now and there's too late."
I've once again found myself reading the "learned" comments on Facebook about new immigrants to Australia. Those who are close to me know that I hold this issue very close to my heart and become very quick tempered to those who strongly disagree with me. I don't care for the pointless ill-informed debates that appear on my News Feed. Instead, I choose to read about true accounts of those that have fled hardship first-hand and try to understand what it is like to live an unfortunate life - although I do admit it would have to take more than simply reading to fully immerse oneself to the horrors in this world.

A couple of weeks ago, I read The Happiest Refugee written by a well known Vietnamese-born Australian comedian, Anh Do. And yes, it was a heartbreaking heartwarming story. His story has the power to be inspiring not only to refugees but the human spirit as well. And I'm sure that many of those who pick up this book will feel Anh's accomplishment just the same. What I found particularly interesting about The Happiest Refugee was not so much the focus on the journey to Australia, but rather a family's personal struggle when arriving to Australia. Anh tells his story of growing up with an unfortunate childhood - an abusive father, a mum raising her children by herself as a result, as well as tremendous sacrifices that every family member made for everyone's behalf.

I once read that every one of our stories - no matter who we are or what we have experienced - are the same, just simply told from different perspectives. Regardless of our race, religion or background, we all have similar stories about trepidations and heartbreak; albeit to varying degrees. So the idea that people have difficulty (for whatever reason) in understanding others plights, still baffles me to a great extent.

But I suppose there's always hope in changing people's perspectives. It is difficult but not impossible.  And it is something that charities and organisations work on every single day. We should all muster the effort and responsibility to understand each other - to have and show compassion to those who deserve and need it the most.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! One of my best friends in Cali, her family's story when they fled Vietnam in the 70s brings tears to my eyes. I can't wait to read this book...Thank you for sharing.