The Happiest Refugee

by

Anh Do

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Happiest Refugee can help.
Younger brother to Anh, older brother to Tram, and son of Anh’s mother and Tam. Born in Vietnam, Khoa was a baby when the family made the dangerous escape from the country on a fishing boat. During the journey, he almost lost his life when one of the pirates who attacks the family’s fishing boat dangles him over the edge, threatening to throw him in the water. Like his siblings and mother, Khoa suffers greatly from the family’s abandonment by his father soon after they arrive in Australia. He is so enraged at Tam that when Anh implores Khoa to make up with him years later, Khoa refuses. Eventually, however, he reconciles with his father. Khoa is notable for his charitable and creative qualities. He has a talent for filmmaking, and his charity work with at-risk children utilizing film leads him to be recognized as Young Australian of the Year—an important award that marks a high point in Khoa’s life, as well as the family’s.

Khoa Quotes in The Happiest Refugee

The The Happiest Refugee quotes below are all either spoken by Khoa or refer to Khoa. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Allen & Unwin edition of The Happiest Refugee published in 2010.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Back on our boat one of the pirates grabbed hold of the smallest child. He lifted up the baby and ripped open the child’s nappy. A tiny slice of gold fell out. The pirate picked up the metal and wantonly dangled the baby over the side of the boat, threatening to throw the infant in. My father screamed at the top of his lungs, “We must save the child! We will fight to the death to SAVE THE CHILD!”

Related Characters: Anh Do (speaker), Anh’s Mother, Tam / Anh’s Father, Khoa, Pirates
Related Symbols: The Journey
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

The school had two mottos. First: “Men for Others”—done deal as far as Mum was concerned. Here was a school that was going to teach her boys to look after others and, if she hadn’t drummed it into us enough at home, we’d get another dose at school. The other motto was: “Born for Greater Things.” Boom! Dad’s happy.

Related Characters: Anh Do (speaker), Anh’s Mother, Tam / Anh’s Father, Khoa, Uncle Huy
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

There were a bunch of speeches and then the prime minister stepped up to the microphone.

“The 2005 Young Australian of the Year is . . . Khoa Do!”

Jesus Christ! Khoa’s done it. My brother just won Young Australian of the Year.

Khoa, the baby dangled over the side of the boat by the pirates, the toddler that Mum dressed in little girls’ dresses, the fat kid who thought the homeless woman was going to eat him… had just won Young Australian of the Year.

Mum was bawling tears of happiness.

Related Characters: Anh Do (speaker), Anh’s Mother, Khoa
Related Symbols: The Journey
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Happiest Refugee LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Happiest Refugee PDF

Khoa Character Timeline in The Happiest Refugee

The timeline below shows where the character Khoa appears in The Happiest Refugee. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...boat. On the day of his departure, he kisses his wife and children, Anh and Khoa, good-bye. His brothers, Uncles Five and Seven, have already died trying to escape Vietnam. (full context)
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...the pirate boat—where she will clearly be raped. Another pirate picks up Anh’s baby brother Khoa and dangles him over the edge of the boat. When the baby’s life is threatened,... (full context)
Chapter 3
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...machine, with which she hopes to earn an income as she looks after Anh and Khoa’s newborn sister Tram. Anh’s father soon quits his factory job, and he and Anh’s mother... (full context)
Chapter 4
Family and Community Theme Icon
Anh’s father goes to Melbourne on a work trip. Anh and Khoa accompany Uncle Six on a visit to their father there. After the trip to Melbourne,... (full context)
Chapter 5
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...though, and the family is unsure if they can afford it. Anh and his brother Khoa sit for a scholarship exam, and manage to win partial scholarships. Even though they have... (full context)
Chapter 7
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Betrayal and Forgiveness Theme Icon
At their St. Aloysius school, Anh and his brother Khoa struggle to keep up with their wealthier schoolmates. They are terribly poor, living on their... (full context)
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
However, Anh doesn’t give up on making money. With his brother Khoa, he begins breeding fish, which they then sell for a profit. Unable to afford fish... (full context)
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...the interview. He’s rejected, however, on account of his asthma. His mother, who discovers from Khoa that he had gone for the interview without her consent, tells him that war has... (full context)
Chapter 8
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...They use most of the money to buy a computer, which Anh and his brother Khoa use to type up their school work and essays with. (full context)
Chapter 9
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Betrayal and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...has a brain tumor. He also tells him that he wants to meet Anh’s siblings, Khoa and Tram, to tell them that he loves them. But when Anh talks to Khoa... (full context)
Chapter 11
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Anh and his brother Khoa also undertake charity work. The two brothers volunteer with at-risk kids, and Khoa comes up... (full context)
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Impressed by Khoa’s devotion and work with the at-risk children, Anh nominates him for the Young Australian of... (full context)
Chapter 12
Migration and Luck Theme Icon
Poverty and Hardship Theme Icon
Courage and Perseverance Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...1998. After saving up, he goes there on vacation with his mother and his siblings Khoa and Tram. His mother is delighted to be back. She always gives money to the... (full context)
Family and Community Theme Icon
Betrayal and Forgiveness Theme Icon
When Tam falls quite ill again with the brain tumor, Anh finally convinces his siblings Khoa and Tram to meet him. Anh feels that the reconciliation is good for everyone: his... (full context)