Sri Avinash really enjoyed his primary school years where he made many friends from various ethnic backgrounds. He also loved playing sports such as cricket and football and playing Atari computer games at his friend’s house.
His family lived in shared houses in Sydney’s inner west with other Vietnamese families, which was the only way they could afford to pay the rent. In winter there was no heating in the houses and the skin on Sri Avinash’s knuckles and lips used to crack and bleed from the cold. Most of the clothes they wore were donated by charities.
In his first year of high school he asked his father if he could cook for the family, to relieve his father from the daily cooking duties. His father was surprised because Sri Avinash was so young and had little experience in cooking, but his father said, “Have a try and see how you go.”
His cooking was only basic, but it was good enough to score the fulltime job. With this development, his time playing with friends after school came to an end because he had to catch the bus home quickly each afternoon to start cooking.
After moving from shared house to shared house, Sri Avinash’s father was granted a government housing commission home in North Ryde in 1989. By this time two of his sisters had migrated to Australia from Vietnam to join the family. Sri Avinash and his family couldn’t believe how lucky they were to be able to live in a brand new town-house with four bedrooms, after so many years of living together in one bedroom in old and cold houses.
In North Ryde he struggled to meet new friends that he was close with like the friends from his previous school. Combined with the fact that he found high school much more serious than primary school, this marked the beginning of his life struggles and suffering.