In Australia, the country of his birth, Thanh Bui learned early on that kids who looked like him faced two possible paths.

On one, traversed by the only other Asian student in his school, the cold sting of isolation and ridicule awaited. On the other, however, came the assimilatory embrace of knowing you were “one of the lads.”

For Bui, youthful, outgoing, and kinetic, it was an easy choice — one that would take him to heights his immigrant parents could never have imagined: first, playground popularity and acceptance, and then, eventually, global celebrity and superstardom.

The only requirement was that he suppress his Vietnamese identity. …

About

Sam Chaltain

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