Words of Chung “Charlie” Tran. “Long ago older brother, sister, mum and dad and me are having dinner. Everyday was a good meal. Steam rice, river spinach, pork fry, clear soup and tea. Dad joked around, teasing mum. I was happy in paradise. Then, a door knock – dad got it. It was officials from the regime. They gave dad a paper and handcuff him and put him in the van. My mum wail and scream and bashed van door but listen to official after taking her to other room in house – she cryed long time there. I still remember dad in van window sobbing. His brown eyes kind behind his glasses. He say to mum for us to leave. I seen him never again. We cry until we had no tear left but we also run away to my cousin house in the capital.
I remember mum talking to aunty about how people much want to leave Kampuchea. They buying boat ticket to Australia – some made it before. I didn’t know where Australia is! In the capital herbalist give us medicine to stopping us from feel sick on boat journey before we leave but give me liquid stool instead! It was long dirty boat journey and we eat rice and oil and small fish. We come into Darwin in ‘78 to land of smiling Aussie. I so relived. We come with nothing but I save working cooking in restaurant and cleaning school night times. I save cash money to buy corner store. Every day I open shop and placing money plant outside. My culture it bring good luck and prosperity. I am freedom to put up different sign and colours my window in pictures and word. Dad would be happy. I can working everday, selling all newspaper and no regime to tell us to what to do. It took me again long time finding paradise.”
*fictional interpretation of image.