Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday, 12 May 2004

Some good news from Australia

I had a letter to day from a former colleague (my driver whilst I was in Vietnam) who, along with his son and daughter, emigrated just under two months ago from Vietnam to the Brisbane area of Australia. His life since April 1975 has been radically different from the prosperous and privileged life he might have had otherwise (his family background closed off many options to him under the new regime), but he has remained quietly optimistic for the future and had built a happy (if frugal) life with his family. His wife has remained in Vietnam for the present, as she is able to provide limited financial assistance to her husband and children (she is a dentist) until the father's status in Australia allows him to take paid employment - they are currently refugees. Of course their situation is precarious, legally and financially, until his immigration status improves. Whilst he writes of his anxiety for the future, he also takes the stoic attitude I remember so well in him when he writes, in part (in somewhat allegoric French): "There you have it, the life of a new immigrant. It is a little sad, but that is not important. You know there are people who have been in situations more disastrous that we, but who have been able to surmount their difficulties. Why not us."

Although I am planning to send him small regular amounts to make their lives somewhat less difficult in their early days in Australia, I have no doubt at all that he and his children, and eventually his wife, will be able to be reunited in Australia and be happy together in a free country. That is the good news - and the hope for the future.

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