Nearly 40 years ago my folks escaped South Vietnam on a boat, leaving behind loved ones, bloody memories and an oppressive regime intent on hurting those who fought against it. My Ba, who is my best mate and hero, wasted his youth in a long, senseless war that he wishes to, but can never forget. He won’t ever talk about the war in detail but I have been able to get a sense of what he went though, by reading his early poetry.
I get why it’s hard for many people to empathise with randoms who rock up to our pristine shores in a shitty boat – but there are genuine and compelling reasons why people choose (or have no choice but to) leave everything and risk their lives for an uncertain future in a foreign land where they don’t know anyone, can’t speak the language and don’t always feel welcome.
The Boat is an awesome piece of storytelling, although not the easiest to watch. You can check out other content SBS has put up as well, to mark 40 years since the fall of Saigon.
Click here to check out The Boat, an interactive graphic novel by Nam Le and Matt Huynh: http://www.sbs.com.au/theboat/