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My Dad the People Smuggler, 2013

by Phuong Thai Hoang Ngo

Finalist, Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award 2013
Single channel HD video

My Dad the People Smuggler, 2013 by Phuong Thai Hoang Ngo
Video: 34 minutes

In 1981 my father sailed his boat into the bay of Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia. From there my father, mother and brother were transferred to Pulau Bidong where they lived for several months before being accepted into Australia. This video portrait of my father combines his experiences with mine. It presents a journey to Pulau Bidong to reconcile my inherited memory with the memories of my father in the places where they were formed. It is his story as a people smuggler and a refugee and my story as a second generation Vietnamese Australian trying to define my identity. By hijacking the term ‘people smuggler’ and giving it a personal and familial dimension I want to offer the viewer a counterpoint to the one-dimensional image of the people smuggler portrayed in the media and in contemporary debates.

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