Tracy Vo was a most delightful Guest Speaker at the Rotary Club of Attadale meeting at Tompkins on Swan last Monday night. Tracy is a familiar face on Perth TV working with Ch9 but behind the face of being that professional newsreader Tracy has quite a story to tell. Tracy's parents escaped Vietnam on a boat in 1978. It was a period when everyone wanted to leave as life had become dangerous in the years following the war. Her Father's family had all been involved in the war in some capacity, in the air force or the army. Tracy told us that her Dad was one of 24 kids and he was training for the air force. They had a lot of tough times during that period, but even after the war ended it was still very hard for them, they were living sparsely, the government kept changing over the currency and they had no money. After two attempts to escape by boat had fallen through, Uncle number 5, they were all known by their position in the large family, decided to take matters into his own hands and he sought out a boat himself. They, along with other aunties and uncles left in the middle of the night to travel to Malaysia who were one of the countries to have set up an immigration desk.
Because her parents got on that boat, Tracy and her brother Trevor were given the freedom to enjoy the life they could never have experienced in Vietnam. They grew up as the only Asians on the street in Perth's northern suburbs. Her parents integrated quite quickly. Her brother befriended the neighbourhood kids and they had lots of fun growing up together. At primary school though things changed for Tracy as she was told she looked different to other children which did cause a lot of hurt. Things improved at High School which she enjoyed and still has many friends from those days.
Tracy and her family's story is told in more detail in 'SMALL BAMBOO' a book she was encouraged to write back in 2014. It is available online through Amazon or can be ordered through some bookstores. Can't wait to read it! After having worked as a Journalist for many years in Sydney and also as a political reporter in Canberra where she grabbed the opportunity to work with veteran political editor Laurie Oakes, Tracy eventually decided to come back home to Perth to be closer to her parents who were beginning to suffer ill health. Tracy will always have wonderful memories of her days working with Laurie Oakes and also the experiences gained from working alongside Peter Oveton and the late Peter Harvey.
Since returning home Tracy has covered some of the biggest stories in Australia and Overseas. Currently Tracy hosts Today Perth News from 7am each weekdays and will also be once again hosting on ABC Radio early on Saturday mornings.
Tracy was happy to answer questions from members and the Club looks forward to having her visit again sometime in the future.
Pictured enjoying the evening were Giovanna McKay and Greg James, Ian Pittaway, Alan Morecombe and Jacquie Pittaway, Jeff Spickett with Sally Rowlands, Tom Slater and Robin Hamilton and Guest Speaker Tracy Vo with Martin Houchin and Carole Maxwell.