21 October 2010

The Happiest Refugee

by Anh Do

Allen and Unwin. Australian, Autobiographical. Paperback rrp $32.99

Guest Reviewer – Ian Brown

You may have seen Anh Do on television. He’s a popular guest doing stand-up comedy on programs such as The Footy Show, Rove and Matty Johns Show.

Do arrived in Australia via Malaysia on a boat when he was just a young kid. It was 1980, only a few years after the Vietnam War and Anh Do’s extended family had pooled all their money to buy a boat and make the dangerous open sea voyage to Australia.

After an amazing and tragic journey, they were lucky to still be alive when they arrived in Sydney with nothing. Here the family found a life of struggle. In addition to the hard work and hard living conditions, his father leaves the family when Do was 13. The photos in the book show a strong sense of family. Although mother and children had to work hard, they always seemed happy and the departure of Do’s father, made Do more determined to ensure his family would survive.

After finishing university, Do was sitting in the final interview for a high powered job, when he asked the interviewer how many hours a week did he work. That same night he was at a comedy club and asked a comedian the same question. The answers guided Do into choosing a life which has seen our lives enriched with laughter and made Do a very happy and successful man.

Told with wit and humour, this heart-warming story is a classic tale of ‘boy makes good’. Anh Doh is someone who begins with nothing but dreams, and succeeds beyond the wildest of those.


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