“We lost a lot, but we also kept some things,” said their daughter Monica.
More than 240 homes were flooded in Maribyrnong on Friday. Many victims decided to move out temporarily during the cleanup, but Sue and Hong refused to leave their home of nearly 40 years. They continue to sleep on the second level, where most of the living quarters are.
Their children said they are worried about living in the damaged property, but they understand why they stayed.
“We offered to transport them because it’s dirty, stinky and they don’t have hot water, but they don’t want to go,” Monica said. “This is their home. You have to respect what they want. Now their first priority is to rebuild their home.”
Their son Mark added: “It’s emotional but mum and dad are safe, that’s the main thing and they’ve decided to stay here.”
Cleaning up a flood-ravaged home is a mammoth task at any age, let alone when you’re 83 and 85, but it’s totally in Hon and Sue’s character to work so hard to clean up.
Monica said that despite widespread support, her parents “don’t know how not to work”. They ran restaurants and a few years ago worked as a laundromat.
“For as long as they can remember, they have been working. They worked in childhood and through adulthood,” said Monica.
“So, although it’s not a very smart thing to do at their age, it’s almost impossible to get them to rest.
“They are very resilient people, they have lived through wars, they have experienced hardship throughout their lives, and they came to the country without being able to speak the language.”
Mark agreed. “It’s just mom and dad. That’s what they do, they can’t sit still for a second, even though they’re in their 80s. It’s just in their nature.”
If they are in physical pain, you don’t know it. Sue and Hong are not ones to complain.
However, this latest tragedy has just come on the heels of being isolated from COVID-19 and grieving the death of close friends and family.
“We are saddened and worried about what will happen next,” said Sue.
If The era visited, an ice cream truck stopped by offering free treats. Sue said she was grateful for the help she and Hon were getting.
“They are very good. People continue to bring food and drink,” she said.
Pat Ardino, who lives in a pristine part of Maribyrnong, didn’t know Louie until Saturday, but since then he has been at their home every day to help them. For him, steam is deeply inspiring.
“Their attitude is very positive,” Ardino said. “At their age, they could just sit there and do nothing, but here they are, slowly persevering and getting the job done.”
Monica was beaming with pride.
“They never want anything for themselves and are always very grateful to anyone who does anything for them,” she said.
“Not many 80-year-olds could do all that. I think my parents are wonderful people.”
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