Tuen's Blog

Infrequent diary of a procrastinator

Citizens!

Written By: Tuen - May• 11•08

The rest of us finally got our citizenship on Thursday 24th May.  We attended a citizenship ceremony at Knox City council presided over by the Mayor and his councillors.  We had a message from a representative of the aborigines, welcoming us to the traditional aboriginal homeland.  We then went up in groups to make our pledges and each of us received a certificate, a native plant and a small stuffed koala bear from the mayor and his staff.  Refreshments were served after the ceremony, and we managed to take a photo with the mayor.  All in all it was a very interesting experience.

So, now that I’m a citizen, do I feel any different?  It’s hard to say.  Definitely, there is a sense of relief, in that I am now not just a visitor or guest of Australia, but I’m a full member of the Australian family, and this land now belongs to me as much as it belongs to the next Australian, whatever his or her origins or colour might be.  That’s quite a thought, considering that the only sense of ownership I previously had was of a tiny island without any natural resources of its own and surrounded by hostile neighbours jealous of its apparent financial success.  In fact, even though I’ve been a citizen of Australia for less than a month, I already feel that I have much more influence and say in the affairs of Australia than I ever felt I had in Singapore.  Singapore belongs to the PAP and the Lee family, and everybody else will always be servants or tenants in their service, and our freedom is ultimately at their discretion.  There are no recognised human rights (it’s a fact that Singapore is not a party to the UN convention of human rights).  Whereas in Australia, I feel the equal, as a person, of even the prime minister, and I have no fear of criticising him or his policies.

Yes, when I sit down and think about it, I really do feel quite different now!

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