A Vietnamese man’s Facebook post on his experience of arriving in the UK as a refugee has been liked and shared by tens of thousands of people, amid the current debate about Europe’s migrant crisis.
Tat Wa Lay’s post talks about how he was one of thousands of “boat people” who fled during and after the Vietnam War to escape persecution and poverty – his family was rescued from a rickety boat by a British Navy ship and sent to Hong Kong, before they were settled in the UK.
It’s 1984 and my mother arrives in the UK with 89 other Vietnamese refugees known as the “boat people”. With just the cloths on her back and her four children, she’s confronted with the local people of a council estate. Unable to speak English, she expects hostility and racism.
And then this happens.
A young scruffy looking man steps up, takes off his coat and handed it to the freezing cold refugees. A gesture so touching, that everybody later followed.
People then went home to fetch clothes they didn’t need and handed it to the refugees and ensured they were all fed and watered.
My mother has never forgot that moment, when she was able to use a coat to wrap her boys so they could stop shivering. My brother can still remember the warmth that coat gave him and it stays in his heart to this day.
It’s these things that British people do, that make make them truly British.
My family has never forgotten what England has done for them.
And because you allowed us in, we were able to give so much back to your country.
You gave us free healthcare. My family gave you 3 doctors. One has recently started working at Southmead hospital.
We never stole your jobs, we created our own and gave some to you.
In my family, there are 10 nails shops, 3 restaurants and 14 Chinese takeaways. We did this to give you amazing food and so we could support ourselves.
Please take a moment to think about all the Syrian refugees and think to yourself,
what makes you British?