On a wave of hope

16 December 2019

War. Secret escapes. Stranded at sea. Pirates and eye patches. It’s a story of survival almost too wild to believe, and it’s inspiring a UQ student to want to change the lives of vision-impaired people.

Son Ngo could no longer feel his legs. The heat and musty air inside the hull of the rickety wooden boat made it hard to breathe, but he wouldn’t dare move a muscle or make a sound.

Wedged between 10 other desperate South Vietnamese asylum seekers and piles of coconuts, 10-year-old Son and his mother were finally escaping Saigon.

Son (Bachelor of Engineering ’96) was just two years old when his father – a high-ranking South Vietnamese military officer – was killed 15 days before the war ended in 1975.

He and his mother were forced to live with his maternal grandparents, who had managed to bribe communist officials to leave the family alone. But when their connection to the old regime began to resurface in 1982, Son’s grandfather organised a boat for their escape.

Read full story on UQ Contact Magazine