Interview: hiMe printed the book of her story as a Refugee

Summer is light and joyful, but many things can happen under the sun. Some are less light, but are also essential to know, essential to History and Memory. It might take a while, but things do get lighter and sunnier when you begin to write them down.

hiMe, from the blog A Refugee’s Journey, shares all that with you today: Her journey, her blog, her blook.


First, tell us about yourself : You, your passions, your hobbies, your projects…
I was a refugee and resettled in Melbourne, Australia in 1984 after ​ spending four years trying to escape the communist regime in Vietnam​ . While trying to flee, I experienced ​ being hunted, shot at​,imprisoned and one of the many witnesses to the rape of my female defectors​.

I love ​ singing​, ​ acting​ and ​ writing​.



Before the Fall of Saigon in 1975, I was voted the Head of Press, in charge of the production of my class’ wall newspaper every semester in high school.

In the 1990s, I used to write satire poems for a Vietnamese newspaper in Sydney for years before I got married.

I joined Vietnamese and Australian community choirs as well as theatre groups.

My other hobby is to translate English songs and novels into Vietnamese.


What is your blog about and why did you want to address this subject when starting it?
I was encouraged to turn my attention to writing because of its emotional therapeutic effect.

‘A Refugee’s Journey’, a blook waiting to be read!


From what I encountered since arriving in Australia as a lonely, young and naive refugee and was ​ “taken into care” by the Church​, I have a need to tell my story to the public.

There was also a heavy past with life under the communist regime as well as ​ my escape ​ and the refugee camp​ that I want to document.

Not to forget are memories of ​ my life before the Communist took over​ and situations I faced in my new life in Australia: ​ living with the enemy​, ​ unjust age discrimination at work, ​ being coached to make fraudulent claim in the workplace​, ​ sexual harassment​…

I desire to ​ express my gratitude to my new country – Australia –​ as well as ​ the Australian soldiers who fell during the Vietnam war​.

I would like to have a say about what I find as ​ unacceptable​ or ​unfair in the Vietnamese culture​ comparing to the Australian one and I wish there will be a change in the Vietnamese culture. The ​discrimination I come into contact with in Australia​ made me recount what ​ the Chinese in Vietnam being discriminated against​.

I want the memories, the history to be written down for my children and the younger generations of Vietnamese, Australian and the others to read for years to come when I will no longer be on earth.



After printing the first part of my blog, I want to continue blogging for the upcoming second book which will include topics about: global economic downturn, terrorism, mass immigration and capitalised communist countries (including Vietnam) that has changed Australia and the world’s view about refugees in general and the Vietnamese boat people in particular.

My future project also includes creating a twin blog which will be a translation into Vietnamese of my current blog A Refugee Journey – Vietnam to Australia.

What contents (articles, illustrations) are you the most proud of?
I love writing small poems to accompany each of my stories. I feel excited at the challenge to write poems in different styles. Until now, I have written 61 different forms of poems.

I collect ​ facts, pictures and videos​ to support my stories. Below are some of the illustrations in that category.

AP and the news of Chinese business man Tạ Vinh executed in 1966.


Delegate interviewed refugees with the aid of Vietnamese interpreters
The path from zone C to zone D on Pulau Bidong island


Political prisoners in a “re-education camp”
Punishment for prisoners who tried to escape


A labour dayto build canals in 1978 for high school students at the barren land of Lê Minh
Xuân, at the outskirts of Saigon.
A North Vietnamese soldier cutting men’s anti-cultural long hair.


Saigon before the Communists took over
The CBC music band


Daughter of the Vietnamese Communist Prime Minister – Nguyen Thanh Phuong – married
to Henry Nguyen Bao Hoang – an American citizen.
Henry Nguyen Bao Hoang brought McDonald to Vietnam in 2014.


Mrs Khuc Minh Tho who advocated for the release of political prisoners and assist them in reuniting with their families and loved ones in the United States or in other countries.
President Ronald Reagan and Mrs Khuc Minh Tho


Vietnamese Vice Prime Minister bought this house on 3/6/2005 at $790,000 USD (in 2014 estimated to worth over 1 million) at 636 South Halliday street, Anaheim, CA 92804.
Miss Cao Thi Nhip who led the first North Vietnamese Communist tank into the South Vietnam Presidential Palace in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war now lives in America.


Thai pirates attacked a Vietnamese refugee boat in the 70s
Boat people hid in caves on deserted island to avoid rape, murder…


What moment of your blogger life was the most memorable for you so far?
When SBS Insight (Australia’s leading forum for debate and powerful first person stories) contacted me in regard to my “Foot Voting” story. The survivor guilt mentioned in my account was the theme they wanted to research for a TV broadcast.

Why did you want to turn your blog into a book?
I want to have all my writings on a long-lasting, Internet-independent, computer-independent media that can be kept for years and readily to be read.



How did you find out about BlookUp?
I am glad that BlookUp followed my blog and that was how I found out about it.

What are the positive and negative points of the making of your blook?
With BlookUp, it was very easy to make my book. I had many trials in making my book with different publishing web sites. I found the publishing softwares those sites provided were complicated to use and rejected some of my pictures for not of high resolution. Unlike
BlookUp, the other publishing websites made the price of the book high.

I would love if BlookUp can offer more color choices as well as designs for the book cover. It would be nice if there are more different internal format for the book.



Do you enjoy the final result? What does your family and friends think about your blook?
I am very happy with the final result. The pictures are sharp, the colorsilk are lively and the texts are clear and crisp. My family and friends really appreciate the book.

Would you recommend BlookUp?
I certainly will highly recommend BlookUp to other bloggers.


Thank you hiMe for taking the time to answer our questions with such details, for your documented work and precious testimony!

Also follow hiMe on: 

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Our favorite travel blog : “the children of the ocean” by Fany and her family !

Today we have decided to tell you about our little travel blog crush… It’s the story of Fany, her husband and their two children who sailed away from the Mediterranean to see what it was like across the world… In French Polynesia! 2 years of a beautiful trip, printed in very nice blooks. Books and adventures : that’s what dreams are made of!

  • Introduce yourself in a few words:

Time of departure : August 2013. We are a family, couple (45 abd 39 years old) with two little children. Manoa, a 6 years old boy and Louna our 3 and a half years old daughter. Purchase of the sailing boat summer 2011. Preparation of the two next years, as initially planned. We’ve left our jobs, 1 year before departure for Fany, and 3 months before for Guy.


  • What’s your blog about?

A 2 years family trip, on a sailing boat. Destination : French Polynesia, from the mediterranean coasts. 2 years of  budget. A year to reach the Pacific ocean through the Panama Canal, and another year to enjoy the polynesian archipelago. The name “MOANA” means “ocean” in tahitian language. Our destination is directly linked to the name of the sailing boat.

Itinerary: Balearics and Spanish Coast, Strait of Gibraltar, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, transatlantic liner, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Grenadines, Grenade, Bonaire, San Blas, Panama, Galapagos, Polynesia : Marquesas Islands, Tuamotu archipelago, Society Islands.

Port of call only in islands, few visits to the land, the point being to discover unreachable places and meet with isolated populations. Report of the life on board, happiness and troubles. Mechanic problems, weather troubles. School for the kids. Discoveries and walks, encounters, snorkeling… Resale of the boat in Tahiti, flight back to France, as initially planned.

  • Why did you decide to go on this adventure? 

A dream for Fany for about 15 years. Follow the trade winds, look at the stars, sail at the rythme of the wind, be under the Tropics. Discover other worlds, other people, other ways of life everyday, with the sun and the essential. Explore the islands. Be in harmony with the nature, show the beauties of this planet to the kids, so they can admire and protect it, be sensitive to the animals and their natural environment. Step away from the consumption european society, be aware of the resources, to drinkable water, to the food… To the pollution.

  • Why print your blog?

The blog was a heavy work all through the journey, because of bad (or inexistant) internet connexions. Beside the fact to be a great communication and sharing tool, this blog represents our photo album. It would have been impossible to sort the photos and write our adventure once we get home. The printing of those books, step by step of the journey, allow the kids to keep a material track of it.


  • How did you know BlookUp? 

Through a friend, who saw our blog and the work to keep it updated and advised me to print it when I’d be back. She gave me the name of BlookUp.

  • What are the positive sides of the platform? 

Very easy to use, nice presentation and clear explanations.

  • What are the downsides?

For a blog as big as ours, the problem is to import the blog every time we want to make a new book. The other downside is the size of the book. For us, 200 pages is not enough ! Lower the prices… But thankfully you make offers regularly and granted me discount as a “good customer”.

  • What do you think of the organization and making of your blook?

The tools are very easy to use, fast, and effective. I’ve chose the same design of each blog, but I would have appreciated a few more choices regarding the colors…

  • How do you find the final result?

Very good! But not excellent, because sometimes texts and photos are a little out of sync. I often have a comment on a page and the photo related on the other but I spend a lot of time modifying my posts on Blogspot.

  • What are the opinions of your family?

They think it’s a very good idea to print the book of your blog! They enjoy reading them although they followed our adventures from day to day thanks to the blog.

  • Would you recommend BlookUp? 

The printing quality is exceptional and I’m very pleased with the photo, even under water, the colors are perfect. Yes, I recommend BlookUp because I have seen other websites, more expensive and less beautiful regarding the quality of the photos. It’s a nice way for our kids to remembers those times because they’re still little and have already forgot some things!

Thank you a lot Fany for your testimony, and we leave you to dreams with a few pictures of paradise… It makes us want to go on a journey ourselves!