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English11 - The Happiest Refugee [Do]: About Anh Do

Year 11 General

Brief Biography: Anh Do

After Anh Do and his family arrived as refugees in Sydney, he had one aim in life. Having survived two pirate attacks on their boat from Vietnam, then several months in a Malaysian refugee camp, he was determined to help lift his family from poverty.

They left in 1980, after two of his uncles - who fought for the losing South Vietnamese/US side - escaped from a communist concentration camp. Forty people crammed on to a nine-metre fishing boat, which lost most of its food and water after a storm on the second day.  Pirates took what was left, including the engine, but one young pirate threw the group a gallon of water as his boat sailed away. It kept all but one of them alive for five days, until they were rescued by a German merchant ship.

His father had left the family when Do was 13 and his mother earned just $6.80 an hour in a clothing sweatshop. At 14, he started a small business breeding tropical fish, after learning that $15 spent on adult fish could spawn 500 babies. As a first-year university student at UTS, studying law and business, he ran a market stall selling American Indian artefacts to capitalise on the Dances with Wolves craze. Just six months from finishing his five-year degree, Do turned down law firm job offers to focus on stand-up comedy, figuring that was a faster way to earn money.

Despite more than a decade as a successful comedian, and writing a best-selling autobiography, Do confesses that he is ''the least funny guy in my family''. It was a coping mechanism for all of them to deal with the horrors of the boat trip with humour.

SOURCE: Schmidt, Lucinda. (Feb 2, 2011) Profile Anh Do. Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper. URL:


Anh Do: Keynote address

SOURCE: iHarmonics (2010), posted on YouTube, [4:42 mins] URL:

This episode of 'Talking Heads' interviews comedian and author Anh Do. Students will discover his confronting journey from Vietnam to Australia, learn about his life in Australia as a migrant child, and how his past has influenced the way he lives today.

SOURCE: ClickView. Talking Heads, SBS, Rated PG [5:03 min]

Vietnamese Refugee Khoa Do (brother of Anh)

From A Century in Pictures The Age.

SOURCE: Gezza1967 (2012), posted on YouTube, [2:59 mins] URL:

Aussie Jokers: Anh Do

Anh Do - This nine episode series explores the relationship between ethnicity and humour in the work of nine great Australian comedians.

SOURCE: SBS (2018), posted on ClickView, Rated: PG, [25:59 mins], URL: