Dateline tonight profiles Joe Le, who appeared in the series Once Upon a Time in Cabramatta, born in a refugee camp and now searching for his father 32 years later.
Joe Le was born in a Malaysian refugee camp after his mother fled Vietnam in 1983. She was just one out of around 1.3 million people that made it to foreign shores by boat between 1975 and 1995.
War tore his family apart and Joe grew up in Sydney’s Cabramatta without his father feeling displaced and angry. At fifteen he moved out of home, got mixed up in gangs and drugs which led to prison in 2002. After hitting rock bottom, he got clean and started to see the importance of family and identity.
He tells Dateline: I’m 32 now I don’t want to live for however long without knowing who my dad is.”
Like many war-torn families the hunt to find each other has taken decades. Armed with few clues, Joe’s not even sure if the name of his father on his birth certificate is exactly right.
He says: ““The biggest obstacle in finding my Dad is my mum, because she’s been hiding him from me for so long”
Will Joe find his father? Can he uncover the truths hidden by war? On this week’s Dateline, Journalist Catherine Scott follows Joe’s journey to Vietnam as he learns how war changed his fate and discovers a country’s history he has never really known.
Tuesday, 28 April at 9.30pm on SBS ONE.