Plot Outline- Chp. 12
By Nabeel M - 10D
Back in 1998, Anh’s mum had always wanted to show him and his siblings Vietnam, she wanted to show them “where [they] all came from”. Anh works overtime at the cake shop and he sorted mail until his “fingers were numb”. Even his Mum and siblings worked hard to save up enough to go to Vietnam. Not too long after, they had saved up enough for four tickets back to “where this crazy, wonderful journey all began”. Do mentions how for the first time his Mum had dreamt about something else, other than getting her kids through those “long, difficult years”. When they get to Vietnam, Anh starts experiencing “this weird déjà vu”, even though he had left Vietnam when he was only two. When walking around, the locals can tell that the Do family are tourists, even though they can speak the language. And thinks that it’s his “jeans, Blundstones and NRL footy jumpers” that make them stand out, so, he goes to a second-hand clothes shop and buys some used clothes. Everywhere they went, Anh “saw deep poverty”, and whenever his Mum gave someone money, they would thank her like they had just won “Deal or No Deal”. During their trip, Anh meets a skinny, young boy who reminds him of himself, and then he realises that if he didn’t make it out of Vietnam he “could’ve easily ended up selling trinkets at a temple”. The Do family make it to a place called Mekong Delta, which is very close to the place where “[they] left Vietnam on [their] boat”. On the way back though, their bus is stuck on one side of the river, so Anh pays a truck driver to tow them across, which gets him praise from the passengers on the bus. This is also when Anh’s mum paints his Father in a positive light when mentioning “he is very good at these things, just like his father”.
Anh’s mum stopped working and spends her days looking after Anh’s kids. She learns English after so many years and can now understand what Anh’s jokes actually mean. Anh take his Mum inside the Opera House to watch one of his shows. After the show is done, he mentions that she is in the crowd, and she gets a standing ovation. She starts crying and starts weeping as well.
Anh and his Mum travel around Australia for a company, doing a duo show. Anh does his comedy and his Mum cooks on the show as well. Anh gets his mum $4000 total for the show, and she is considered “fantastic”. While in Adelaide, his Mum visits Uncle Dai (a baker) and takes 300 pasties to take back to Sydney for Leon’s christening. On the show, Anh’s mum teaches the audience how to do a Peking Duck, and she is a “big hit”. Back in the hotel, they both have to clear out their mini-bars to fit the pasties inside them. When back in Sydney, Anh’s mum has the benefit if bragging about how easy it was to much that much money. When Anh’s mum walks into her English class, they are shocked to see her at the end of a movie they are watching about Anh, and she is given the nickname ‘Action!”.
Anh sees his Uncle Two on TV inside a mental hospital due to some trauma from the war he was in. Anh remembers how one time his uncle was left alone at his Dad’s house for three weeks and had fathered a nest of baby birds because he had got lonely. Anh describes the smell of bird poo as “the indescribable smell of loneliness”. Anh’s cousin Joe gets married, but Anh’s father has to give the speech at the wedding since Joe’s father is in the mental hospital. It is at the wedding that Anh’s father admits to him that Anh’s mother is still “the most beautiful woman in the world” and that he “still [loves] her”.
Anh tries to convince his siblings to go and visit their father since his “health problems were so severe”. Anh even takes it as far as telling his brother “if you don’t [go] I’m gonna smash you and drag you to see him”, but that doesn’t work. Anh then decides to be sneaky and tells his brother to go and show his Dad “how irrelevant he is”. Khoa goes to see his father and so does Tram. Six months later, when Anh goes to visit his Dad, he finds out that he has been cured of his tumour. Anh also tells his Dad how his newborn son is named after him. Anh’s mum still thinks that Anh’s father is a bad person and calls him a “bastard”.
The book ends with Anh describing a trip to “Bobbin Head National Park”. Anh hires a boat for him, his wife, three kids and Mum so that they can enjoy the “warm, but not too hot” weather. Anh realises that many years ago, it’s because of his parents setting out on a boat trip that he has the life he has today.
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