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Grandpa's Life as a Vietnamese Refugee

This essay explores how my grandpa, as a Vietnam war refugee, fled the Vietnam war (1954 - 1975) and how he survived in Canada. This essay will explain how Vietnam warfare refugees departed right after the battle by describing how my grandpa escaped. My grandpa attempted to escape numerous times in his early 20s. Leading to my grandpa attempting twice and getting arrested twice until he fled in 1987. To begin with, grandpa fled Vietnam. Then, he arrived in a refugee camp and made it to Canada. Finally, he sponsored mom and grandma to Canada and moved to Calgary. When my grandpa escaped, the communists discovered his boat and started shooting at them to cease the boat from fleeing. Then, the communist police shot and killed the captain, leaving the 24 people (including my grandpa) on board with no captain to navigate the boat. This led to my grandpa’s uncle having to take over the ship, with no knowledge of navigation or sailing a boat. Thankfully, that day the communists only shot the captain and no one else on board. When my grandpa left the shore, he realized he could have died, stave, or even gotten found by pirates, but thankfully that did not happen. While sailing around, my grandpa refused to lose hope despite numerous people becoming seasick, tired and starved. A nearby Malaysian fisherman boat found my grandpa's boat and rescued them to a Malaysian refugee camp. At the camp, the United Nations helped fund the Malaysian refugee camp (located in Pulan, Bidong) with necessities such as clothes, food, water, and shelter. However, they prevented everyone (including my grandpa) from leaving the camp by fencing them in. When the Vietnamese refugees wanted something different from what the Malaysian government gave them, they would go up to the fence and trade with the locals nearby. During this time, my grandpa caught a lung disease and began battling it for six months until the Canadian government helped to cure it. This is because the Canadian government wanted to accept him into Canada. My grandpa moved to Saskatoon, Canada, three years after living in the Malaysian refugee camp. There, my grandpa had to work and take English classes simultaneously because he did not know English. After living in Saskatoon for two years, he finally moved to Calgary and sponsored my mom and grandma. My grandpa had to rent a room for three people to live in, and this led to my grandpa having to work two jobs. During the day, he was a factory worker, overnight; he was a cleaner. For three years, he could not secure a stable job, so he could not afford a house for himself, my mother, and my grandma. In summary, my grandpa was a Vietnam war refugee who tried to escape the Vietnam war, which led to him successfully escaping Vietnam. A Malaysian fisherman boat found the Vietnamese refugees, including my grandpa, and took them to a Malaysian refugee camp. There at the camp, he fought a severe lung disease, till he got sponsored to Canada after staying at the refugee camp for three years. He lived in Saskatoon for two years and then sponsored my mom and grandma. That is how my grandpa, as a refugee, came to Canada. I am very grateful for my grandpa's sacrifices so I can live here today.


Grade 5

Calgary, Alberta

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