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Vi Tu Banh

In early 1980, Dr. Banh & his family were Vietnamese boat people, rescued by generous citizens of Uxbridge, Ontario after spending nine months on a deserted island called Air Raya in Indonesia. His escape from war-torn Vietnam, his arrival in Canada as a refugee, and the benevolence of those who welcomed and nurtured him are the driving forces behind Twelve Elephants and a Dragon,  his first book.

Vi Tu Banh

Dr. Vi Tu Banh is an optometrist specializing in vision therapy techniques. His arrival in Canada as a refugee from Vietnam, and the benevolence of those who welcomed and nurtured him as he arrived, drives Dr. Banh to give back to his neighbours and the country he now calls home. Twelve Elephants and a Dragon is his first book.

12 ELEPHANTS 3D BOOK COVER

Twelve Elephants and a Dragon

A Memoir of Survival and the Kindness of Strangers

By Vi Tu Banh
With Marie Beswick Arthur


Fleeing Vietnam in a perilous ocean voyage, a young Vi Tu Banh and his family endured starvation, threats of violence, and wilderness survival on Air Raya in Indonesia and a refugee camp on Galang Island. But their story isn't one of despair; it's a testament to resilience and the kindness of strangers.

Settling in snowy Uxbridge, Ontario, Vi Tu Banh and his family rebuilt their lives, showcasing the transformative power of charity and goodwill.

From Vietnamese refugee to proud Canadian, Dr. Vi Tu Banh embodies the spirit of resilience, gratitude, and giving back.

Today, Dr. Vi Tu Banh serves as an optometrist, offering vital eye care to Uxbridge and beyond. His journey reminds us of the hope that endures even in the darkest times and the profound impact of extending a helping hand.

12 Elephants and a Dragon is more than a historical account—it's a gripping narrative shedding light on the resilience of ordinary people in the face of overwhelming adversity.

In Twelve Elephants and a Dragon (excerpt)

On my first day inside the shop, I’d seen a group of small, carved elephants in the window. Twelve of them.

Each day, as I passed the shop’s window, they called to me. Why, when I’m not a souvenir kind of guy?

But something came over me. A landslide of an idea.

“I’ll take them all,” I said to the clerk.

“All the elephants?”

“All the elephants,” I replied.

“Twelve elephants,” said a dragon. I looked around; there was no one there but me and the salesperson.

About Vi Tu Banh

Dr. Vi Tu Banh is a living, breathing part of the diversity of Canada. He graciously serves patients in his Uxbridge, Ontario optometry clinic where he has become renowned for healing balance issues, stabilizing the effects of concussion, and addresses learning challenges by using state of the art technology and current vision therapy techniques. 

In early 1980, Dr. Banh & his family were Vietnamese boat people, rescued by generous citizens of Uxbridge, Ontario after spending nine months on a deserted island called Air Raya in Indonesia.
When Vi Tu's father found a job in Toronto a year later, the family moved but the support from the community followed them. 

In 2001, Dr. Banh returned to Uxbridge to open an optometry practice to provide the best eye care possible for the people of Uxbridge, as a way of giving back & paying it forward. 


Dr. Banh has a special interest in dry eye, neuro-visual optometry, and pediatric vision care. Since 2016, Dr. Banh has successfully treated hundreds of patients with concussion-like symptoms, using his innovative & unique V2 method of concussion treatment.


He lives near Uxbridge with his soulmate, Mamie. Invested in exploring higher consciousness, he is a philanthropist who enjoys an active physical life. Twelve Elephants and a Dragon is his first book.

Writing Credits


12 Elephants and a Dragon has been co-created by Dr. Vi Tu Banh and Marie Beswick Arthur.

About Marie Beswick Arthur

Marie writes to change the world. Her imagination changes ideas into art, and her ability to understand the voices of others allows her to help bring their stories to life.

Marie brings a unique aspect to the projects she master-crafts. In the beginning, Marie wrote over 200 Lifebooks for Children’s Services in Alberta, Canada. These truthful accounts in story form helped children in the system understand why they were removed from their biological parents.

Over the next three decades, Marie has collaborated on more than fifty published books, some of which are award-winning. Of her solo work: she has received awards for poetry and a short story. Her debut novel, Listen For Water, published by Ingenium Books in 2022, received the 2022 Titan Literary Gold award. Future works are forthcoming. She mentors and writes from her heart which is flexibly and lovingly attached to Mexico, Canada, and the UK.

About Marie Beswick Arthur

Marie writes to change the world. Her imagination changes ideas into art, and her ability to understand the voices of others allows her to help bring their stories to life.

Marie brings a unique aspect to the projects she master-crafts. In the beginning, Marie wrote over 200 Lifebooks for Children’s Services in Alberta, Canada. These truthful accounts in story form helped children in the system understand why they were removed from their biological parents.

Over the next three decades, Marie has collaborated on more than fifty published books, some of which are award-winning. Of her solo work: she has received awards for poetry and a short story. Her debut novel, Listen For Water, published by Ingenium Books in 2022, received the 2022 Titan Literary Gold award. Future works are forthcoming. She mentors and writes from her heart which is flexibly and lovingly attached to Mexico, Canada, and the UK.

12 ELEPHANTS 3D BOOK COVER

Releasing late 2024 in ebook and paperback

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