The journey ‘from tragedy to comedy’

Posted by: Naz Laila

I was surprised to see him reading so late at night. I asked my husband what was he reading. He was so engrossed he didn’t even reply. When I asked him again he replied, “oh this book is so good, once you start you can’t put it off”. Once I started to read I realized he was right about this book  ‘The Happiest Refugee: My journey from tragedy to comedy’ by Anh Do (named Australian Book of the Year).

The story is about the incredible journey of Anh Do from escaping Vietnam on a leaky boat with his family at the age of two to become one of the most popular stand-up comedian and a popular figure on stage and small screen in Australia.

It depicts the struggle and sacrifice of a refugee family to build a better future with hard work and more importantly  strong determination.

There are raw emotions, humour as well as shear honesty.

It brought back the memory of my wonderful times with my extended family from my childhood.

So much of the book describes the courage and determination of Anh’s mum and I saw the reflection of my mum’s journey in that as well. She never boarded a leaky boat to come to a foreign land but she came to a big new unknown city with two very young children and little money. I felt enormously grateful for all the sacrifices my parents have made over the years.

The story reinforced my belief that everything happens for a reason when Anh described that they could not believe how bad was their luck when Thai pirates attacked them for the second time within a few hours after the first attack in the sea. But that second pirate attack actually saved their lives as the pirates gave them some water to survive for a few days.

The story of Anh’s brother getting the “Young Australian of the year” award is not only inspiring but also shows that enormous thing can happen when we dare to care and we don’t have to wait for the big thing to happen, we can start small.

Anh showed his courage and determination to create a big life with big dream when he walked away from a corporate job to pursue his dream to become a comedian.

This uplifting story proves again, “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” – Ella Fitzgerald

But the main wisdom I take away from this book comes from Anh’s dad

“ There is only two times in life, there is now,  and  there’s too late”

So what are you waiting for? Start your journey now.

Please share your story about any book that has inspired you or what journey are you embarking on .

With love and gratitude


This post is part of a blog circle about Books that we are inspiring us and now please hop on to the next  blog from wonderful Kirsten



  • Kristen Fairgrieve

    great post! that book sounds inspiring, and emotional! but mostly inspiring 🙂

    • Naz Laila

      Thanks Kristen. You are right , this book is very inspiring but it also has so many other aspects, humour, adventure, heartbreak and wisdom and many different perspectives of life. So glad to share this book with all of you.

  • Lisa Rivas

    Naz you are a ray of bright light out of nowhere right into my life. As I must have said before you eloquence and depth always astounds me, that is why i keep coming back to read your posts.
    I am now very curious about this story of Anh, will try to find it at my local public library and also place it in my wish list at Amazon.
    I can tell this is a most likely “an Ah Ha” book!
    Thank you for sharing it, and have a great week

    • Naz Laila

      Lisa, you are an amazing creative and generous soul. I am so grateful for this connection. You are righ,t this book is full of “aha moments” with humour, inspiration and courage. Hope you will enjoy the book.

  • Amy Riddle

    Amazing. I do believe everything does happen for a reason!

  • Karrlin Bain

    This is a great post… Ahn’s dads quote is fantastic! Thank you for sharing!

  • Vickie Martin

    Thank you so much for sharing this – I have put it on my list of books to read. Your insights into the book are wonderful.

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