Comedian and former refugee Anh Do exemplifies the ambition and drive that characterises many refugees now living in Australia.
He and his family travelled on a leaky fishing boat with forty other Vietnamese refugees. They lost most of their food and water in a storm and were later attacked by pirates, who stole the boat’s engine. Five days later, they were rescued by a German merchant ship.
In his 2010 autobiography, The Happiest Refugee, Anh Do openly discussed the voyage, as well as his determination to succeed and help his family.
He went on to earn a double degree in law and business at the University of Technology, Sydney but chose to pursue comedy because it was an easier way to make money. His honesty, charisma, and down to earth personality have made him so successful that in 2000, he was able to buy his mum a house in the western suburbs of Sydney.
It is important not to give in to rhetoric that demonises refugees because, for all we know, they could be the next Anh Do.
BA (UNSW), LLB (Macquarie University) – Student at law