(Part 3 of 4) Pam and Harry – HARRY
I was nearly 10 when the Vietnam war started. We saw dead people every day and we had to move around every day to stay safe. 8 years later, after the war finished, my family were no longer able to stay because of our Chinese background, so we made a decision to leave by boat. There were 14 people in the boat, just our family. Luckily, our journey only took about 5 days. Our family had a bit of a background in fishing so we knew how to use a boat and about the local weather, and halfway there, a Thai fishing boat picked us up and took us all the way to the shore of Thailand.
We lived in a refugee camp there. There was nothing to do – every day we just studied English and waited for people to bring us food. But we knew we were coming to Australia, so we were happy.
In Brisbane, I finished high school and then started my trade as a mechanic. Later, I became a mechanical engineer and worked for a company for almost 16 years. But then I felt my job was getting boring, and that I wanted to spend more time with my wife and children. So we bought this fish and chips shop at Nudgee Beach, almost 16 years ago now. We enjoy it, it’s up and down like the weather, and we just go with the flow. The locals here are very nice people and the visitors are very nice too. They come here to relax so it makes us relaxed too.
We have never stopped working since we came to Australia. We have a holiday two weeks a year. But we enjoy our life. We still feel we are luckier than other people. We got a chance to live a better life.
We are originally refugees, but we are grateful to Australia, who welcomed us with open arms. So we try our best to make a contribution to the community.
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#storiesnotstereotypes #inspiration #perspective #refugees #migrants #Australia #Australianmigration #Vietnam
Edwina Dowling Bryans
Love these stories.
We’re lucky to have families like yours here Harry! My Jewish grandfather and Dutch grandmother came here after the holocaust and I feel lucky too 🙂
Great outcome to sad start!
Thank you for sharing your story
Refugees. Hope. It’s all they need. How lucky Australia is to have wonderful hard working people like Harry and his family
Great success story! People with your attitude are welcome no matter what colour their skin or where they came from. Well done!
Lovely man and very nice food ????
My sister in law and her sister have a similar story to this. My sister in law was born in Vietnam and her sister was born in the refugee camp. They then made it Australia where they have been working hard ever since. They now own a small business and employ me and others, and I’m a 4th generation white Anglo. So this current myth that all refugees are dole bludgers really grinds my gears!!
We are so lucky to have you!
The difference in these stories is that were processed UNHR centres rather than free for all happening over last decade.
Stacey Gilpin read all 4 of these posts. Do it in order (part 1 to part 4) without peeking ahead.
I wish you a fulfilling rest of your life in Australia, Harry.
Jonathan! Remember that day our battery went flat? Amazing people and nice food.
Who is it that said that refugees don’t contribute, we all want to better our lives.
Natalie Benjamin this is part of a 4-part story and it made me cry…maybe you’ll like reading it. And then maybe you can have a day trip on a weekend to ride your bikes out to Nudgee Beach (there’s a bike track from the golf course I think) and get fish and chips and Pam and Harry’s shop, and tell them you read their story.