David Vu for Izmzmag
Photos by Lily Austin @liltushenko
Edited by Olivia Suleimon
Q: When was the last time you felt most scared:
" I think it was a couple of months ago, I had to go into hospital with my mum, just for translating purposes and and there was a series of questions that I needed to translate and I didn't realise this but my mum has a lot of health issues that I didn't know about, she never tells me… She's getting surgery and I'm freaking out, it just all hit me, I hardly hang out with her, I don’t know much about what’s happening, and thats scary."
Q: Can you tell me what it’s like translating for your mum? Or having a parent that doesn't speak great english?
"Translating for my mum can be frustrating sometimes, because I’m like really mum you’ve been here for 21 years and you haven't learnt that much english? It gets annoying but people keep telling me she's grown up in Vietnam and if you grow up in Vietnam all you know is Vietnamese and you get to a certain age where you don't really take in a lot of english after that many years.
She’s also content not learning english and she has two kids that can translate for her so I think she's a bit complacent, it’s frustrating for me though and then she get’s frustrated at me feeling frustrated, she says,
“You're my son, you're suppose to do everything for me.”
But I’m getting to an age where i’m just thinking about other stuff: parties, friends, but I really should just go out of my way and hang out with my mum whenever theres a chance."
Do Vietnamese have a strong sense of family?
"There is but in a traditional Vietnamese way, it’s not like white people where they say I love you to each other all the time, it’s a tough love. They never say it but they show you through discipline and whenever you’re in trouble that’s when they really show it."
Q: What do you want to do in life?
"Oh god, I hate it when people ask me this question. I actually don't know. I'm currently studying at Uni, Urban planning, not loving it, don’t see my future in it. I feel like that’s what your twenties are for, discovering what you love to do, but I haven't discovered that yet and I think a big thing will be moving out and being independent and I still have to do that, I really want to do it this year.
Living at home, especially in Newtown, is awesome but I am very dependant and I don't want to be, I want to grow up a bit and move out of home. I guess i'm so complacent right now and I’m too comfortable and that doesn't encourage me to go out and get stuff done."
"My parents still want me to live at home until I get a family or get a “wife” or whatever. But they don’t believe in me because the way I'm living at home is just like are you really going to live like this? You cant cook, you hardly clean blah blah… you don't help around the house, but I think I’ll learn along the way and I think that’s apart of growing up."
Q: It sounds like you want to grow up… that’s what you want to do?
"Yeah, I want to be independent, get some struggles and some character building."
Q: You don't think you’ve had any struggles?
"With family life no...I think the only thing i’ve struggled with is sexuality and that whole vietnamese way of life and having kids and getting a wife and moving out and having a career etc. etc.
I feel like living at home, I’m not really myself because I have to hide who I really am and tip toe around."
"I've already come out to my mum and my sister but my dad is yet to know, and it does feel like a dirty secret that no one wants to talk about. Ever since I came out to mum she hasn't brought it up or anything but she always asks,
“David, do you have a girlfriend yet?”
And its really annoying. She doesn't get that this is a thing that you can’t change."
Q: What do you want for yourself David?
" I want to be happy, everyone says it and it's cliche but I guess that's it and I want my parents to be happy with me regardless of who I am."