Ai Minh and Tien Nguyen - Vietnamese refugees

Ai Minh and Tien Nguyen - Vietnamese refugees
Mike Walsh AM, OBE Hayden Productions
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Mike Walsh interviews Ai Minh and Dr Tien Nguyen who arrived in Malaysia by boat as refugees from the Vietnam war in 1980 and were resettled in Australia.

Tien Nguyen talks about being drafted into the army in Vietnam and becoming a prisoner of war. The couple talk about their love story.

As they talk about their treacherous journey from Vietnam by boat and being attacked by pirates (seven times) we see news footage of emaciated Vietnamese refugees on a crowded boat, being towed by a larger boat. The images of the hungry, exhausted passengers seems incongruous with the two healthy, vibrant people talking about their experiences. It is hard to imagine what they have been through, and why they left their homes with no guarantee of safety, without both hearing and seeing their story, which is probably why this footage has been included.

Tien tells how he arrived in Malaysia wearing only a pair of pants - pirates had even taken his glasses.

Both the Nguyens have studied in Australia - Tien has just qualified to be a doctor and is working at Wollongong Hospital. Ai Minh is studying at the Conservatorium of Music.

The Mike Walsh Show featured the biggest name stars from stage, screen and cultural and political life, but the show also had segments about 'ordinary people' like this one.

Episode 4006 of The Mike Walsh Show was broadcast on 20 February 1984.

Notes by Beth Taylor