For the most part Australia is a safe place for migrants from Asia, however there are some rare unfortunate incidents of racial violence and attacks.
Vietnamese international student Minh Doung was unfortunate to be a victim of a brutal racial attack in 2012 in Melbourne where he was studying.
The attack almost left him dead. However his long road to recover has been aided by a piano teacher who heard his story and offered to teach him music.
Asia Calling’s Jarni Blakkarly brings us this story from Melbourne.
Minh Doung moved to Australia as an international student in high school and then went on to study accounting at university.
However in 2012 he was brutally attacked on his way home from work by a group of neo-Nazi’s. He was kicked, stabbed, and a brick was dropped on his head.
Two of the men were later sentenced to long jail terms for the attack.
“It took about six months to recover all my injuries in the hospital. However, I don’t have front teeth because of the attack,” Minh said.
It took Minh almost three years to get compensation to pay for his teeth to be repaired.
However shortly after the attack a local piano teacher, Adrian de Luca reached out to Minh wanting to help.
“I was watching TV and Minh’s story came on the news. And this happened so close to where I work I thought maybe I could be involved to help him. I thought I got to let him know that Australia can not be represented by people like this,” de Luca recalls.
The two formed a close friendship and Adrian began teaching Minh piano, in the hope that it would help him express himself and heal from the trauma of the attack.
“Minh had never touched a piano in the past, never touched an instrument in the past. Maybe because he is an accountant he thinks of music like a mathematical equation and in the beginning everything was very static,” de Luca told me.
“Me being Italian and I exaggerate all my emotions, and slowly, slowly Minh started showing his emotions as well. The mathematics started fading out and the soul of the music started shinning through.”
Minh remembers how it felt for him to discover music:
“I love it because I like challenge, I want to try, I always want to try something new because your life is limited and you need to get up and try something new until you pass away I want to experience all kinds of things I never tried, that’s why I feel interest when Adrian offered me music.”
Now four years on from the attack, Minh has graduated from his degree and is applying his visa to permanently live in Australia.
He has performed with Adrian on stage and, and while his dream is to still be an accountant, he doesn’t want to stop playing music.
“You don’t need to talk and you just use music to tell your story and it is very special way. I feel very special. Audience listen to my story but I don’t need to tell them I just play the music and the audience just feel and understand my story,” said Minh.
“Yes, I feel like I will keep playing until I can not survive anymore,” Minh told me.