When I was a little girl, I would hear my mother tell the same story over and over to her friends. They would be sitting at a round table enjoying dinner, rehashing the experience of being a Vietnamese Refugee. I remember it like it was yesterday. Her story was about how she saved my life in the Kuala Lumpur refugee camp back in 1994.
“That winter was a cold one,” she would say, flicking her long brown hair out of her pale freckled cheeks. “Linh had a fever for over a day and I didn’t know what to do. There was no such thing as calling an ambulance or having access to a doctor. Her father had gone to Australia and I was alone. She was screaming and crying all the time. So I asked around in the camp for help and someone told me to use Chinese medicine. I would pinch her nose and pour the medicine down her throat.” My mothers eyes would water at this moment. She would continue, “Her screams and crying were heartbreaking but I didn’t have a choice. I made her drink it all. Thats probably why she’s such a strong girl, she survived all of that.”
Little did we know, years later, it would influence one of the most important decisions I would make in my life. One day, while staring at a university pamphlet, the Bachelor of Health Science and Masters in Chinese Medicine seemed to jump out of the page. Suddenly, my career choice became very clear, and enticing. I could spend the rest of my life discovering this wonderful art that, perhaps, had given me a second chance of being alive.
The summer of 1997 was when we landed in Australia. I am reminded everyday, the gift of being alive. It is a blessing to grow up in such a wonderful country and to enjoy experiences neither of my parents had. Yet they dreamt it for me.
My endeavours in the Chinese Medicine field is a small gift to support and empower my family and the people in our communities. Thank you, for reading my story.
Linh is a Chinese Medicine practitioner and acupuncturist at Health Space Burwood. Call 9745 3700 to make a booking.