Comedian and fifth-generation Australian, Michael Hing, is back on the road for season three of WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM? and looking to flip the script on the question that has stalked Australian migrant families for generations.
The series unlocks the family stories of four migrant communities that have fundamentally changed the towns and cities that they call home. Over four episodes, Michael learns why these families came, why they stayed, what they’ve learnt and contributed and how they answer that big question.
“The thing about a question like ‘Where Are You Really From?’ – if we ask it the right way, it gives us a chance to celebrate who we are and how we got here.” – Michael Hing
Playful but poignant, this season takes in everything from Kung Fu battles and crocodile encounters to confronting stories of extraordinary hardship and sacrifice.
Michael starts his journey in Brisbane, home to one of the largest Vietnamese communities in the country, who survived the trauma of the Vietnam war to thrive in the city’s south western suburbs. Their exodus from Vietnam may have coined the term ‘boat people’, but more than 40 years later they’ve reclaimed it as a reminder of their strength, resilience and gratitude to a country that took them in when they had nowhere else to go.
As My-Linh Do, who fled Vietnam as an unaccompanied 12-year-old girl, puts it, “This is me, this is home. I’m an Australian boat person and I’m actually proud of it”.
In episode two, Michael learns the 100-year Greek history of Darwin, a community that was wiped out by economic ruin and devastating natural disasters, only to rebuild stronger and more dedicated to a city that became a part of their identity. In the words of the Greek Crocodile Dundee George Haritos, “I don’t feel Greek … I’m not a ‘Territorian’ … I am Darwin!”
In Wollongong, New South Wales, Michael unearths the Serbian history of a steel city. Generations of migrants from the former Yugoslavia have made a home in this picturesque seaside destination. From steel working priests to Balkans war survivors, this is a community constantly striving to balance its complicated cultural history with their Australian future.
Zeljka Cankovic, a former refugee who came to Wollongong as a teenager, tells Michael, “My kids know who they are. Even at the times when it was not easy to say who you are, we were still not hiding who we were. I’m proud of being both Australian and Serbian”.
The journey ends in Shepparton, a city with four mosques, 30 different nationalities and an Islamic history that stretches back over a century. What makes this Victorian city a cosmopolitan hub is summed up by Dinny Adem, the son of an Albanian Muslim migrant who went on to become Mayor of Shepparton, “You shouldn’t tolerate your neighbour, you should celebrate them”.
These stories remind us of the richness of Australia’s regional and suburban communities and the strength and fortitude of the people that now call them home.
The series will also be subtitled in Simplified Chinese and will be added to the subtitled collection on SBS On Demand, available immediately following its premiere on SBS, along with Season 1 & 2. The Chinese and Arabic collections on SBS On Demand feature a range of dramas, documentaries and current affairs programs to enable growing multicultural communities in Australia to engage with local and international stories in their first language.
WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM? (season three; four episodes) premieres 9:30pm on Tuesday June 23 on SBS and On Demand.
The series is produced by The Feed, the award-winning SBS current affairs program.