(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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