During the summer break, I spent two weeks in Malaysia and Singapore. Going back home tends to make time lose meaning for me – no school drop offs, no rush hour – just long, lazy conversations, catching up on a whole year’s worth of family news and gossip, but each time I went onto Facebook or turned on the TV, I was inundated with news of the terrorist attacks in France.
Violence seemed to be spreading globally, not just in war zones, but also in unpredictable pockets such as cities – London, Paris, Sydney – once thought to be safe places, lending weight to the argument for stricter border controls. But it’s not just who you let into your city that changes its face; it is also how you relate to one another within the city.
This belief, coupled with my fascination with the stories of people who have fled wars, endured arduous journeys and rebuilt their lives, has led me to write a manuscript titled Island of Refuge. It is a collection stories of those who have found a place of refuge in Australia since the Vietnam War and I’ll be posting updates on the project here.