Penny Wong’s crushing grief as her father dies surrounded by his family as she writes a heartbreaking tribute to her migrant father
- Ms. Wong’s father passed away on Tuesday
- He migrated to Australia from Malaysia
Penny Wong has paid a heartfelt tribute to her father after he passed away on Tuesday.
The foreign minister announced the death of her father Francis Wong Yit Shing late Tuesday night, saying he had “died peacefully.”
“In his final days, he was surrounded by his loving family,” she said.
“We will all miss him. We are grateful for his full life, for the strength of his love for all of us, for the opportunities he gave us and for the values he instilled.
The foreign minister announced the death of her father Francis Wong Yit Shing late Tuesday night, saying he had ‘died peacefully’
“We greatly appreciate the staff at The Alfred, who have shown us such compassion.
“We are comforted by the many friends and colleagues who have reached out with sincere messages of support.”
Ms Wong told last year how her father left his hometown of Sandakan in Malaysia and migrated Down Under after most of her grandmother’s family died during the Second World War.
She said the Australian Colombo Plan scholarship enabled her father to migrate to Australia and study architecture at the University of Adelaide, saying the opportunity defined his life.
Ms Wong told last year how her father left his hometown of Sandakan in Malaysia and migrated Down Under, after most of her grandmother’s family died during World War II
“It meant he could climb out of the poverty he experienced as a child,” she said.
“It meant opening doors that would otherwise be firmly shut.
“It meant he could come to Australia – a very different Australia than what we know now.”
After meeting his Australian wife, Ms. Wong’s father went back to work in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, where Ms. Wong was born.
In the past, Ms Wong has spoken openly about the racism she experienced when she first moved to Australia as a child in 1976.
Ms Wong liked to praise Australia’s education system, citing the country’s university opportunities as the reason her family had emerged from poverty.
‘The value of that education has never left him. He used to tell me, “They can take everything from you, but they can’t take your education,” she said.
Ms. Wong (pictured right) with father Francis Wong (pictured center left) and family in Malaysia, Ms. Wong still has a strong emotional connection to her father’s homeland