Happy Australia Day

Australia Day always leaves me feeling conflicted about what it now represents. I wasn’t born in this country, I don’t swear at every occasion, don’t add an ‘o’ to the end of everyone’s name, I don’t drink beer, I don’t particularly want to spend my day watching the cricket or at a barbie. But I love this country. I love it in a way that I think people who were born here can’t understand. Not saying that people born in Australia don’t love Australia as much as I do, just that we love it in different ways. You can think of it like saying that a straight person understands completely how people who are gay feel. They can’t. Straight people can empathise, but they’ll never really know what it feels like to be gay, going through all the shit that gay people go through.

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House

But I love this country in the way that it’s given my family opportunities to live a life that would not have been possible if my parents had stayed in Chile. It means alot that they would sacrifice their own lives and satisfaction to move my sister and I 12,734 kilometers across the Pacific Ocean to give us a better future. This country has helped my parents learn the language, find housing, income and to ensure that their qualifications were translated to Australian standards. Australia enabled my mother to work as a cleaner, my father in a factory when they first moved here, both earning a wage that, while is low income, would allow them to house and support their family, something that could never have been done if they stayed in Chile.

Chilean Flag

I love this country for the opportunities it has given me. I know to survive I don’t need to bust my ass working like my parents did, but I want to, to give back to this country that has practically raised me since I was 18 months old and to also say thank you to my parents for allowing me this opportunity.

This is why it upsets me to see images of “Fuck off we’re full” from “Australians.” If only they could understand how much people give up to be here. People who risk their family’s wages to send a family member on a leaky boat, to travel to a country miles away, through ocean where there’s every possibility of the boat sinking, of pirates kidnapping or a million other things could go wrong, to come to this county to live a better life. People who will perhaps never see their family members again, who will spend the majority of their lives locked up in a detention center but knowing that it’s still better than being in a war-torn country or being persecuted. People who will be ridiculed, made to feel an outsider for not being able to speak the language or not knowing what our social norms are. It makes me sick in the stomach to think that “Australians” think this sort of behaviour is ok.

That is not what Australia is about. Australia is a multicultural, diverse nation which gives people the opportunity to be safe and live their lives. For the most part, that’s exactly what people do here.

So while there is a downside to Australia Day, I still love this country dearly and will make sure that people around me who are being racist, know that to me, that is not ok. Being proud of your country doesn’t mean exclusion of other nationalities. It also doesn’t mean waving the flag and getting the southern cross tattooed on your person to show your patriotism. To me, Australia Day is about accepting everyone in this great country of ours, regardless of nationality, culture, traditions, gender, age etc. It’s about ensuring that everyone has the best opportunity possible, knowing that where you were born, doesn’t matter.

 

About xxxMissVxxx

I'm Valentina. And I'm pretty awesome!
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4 Responses to Happy Australia Day

  1. sagestylista says:

    Beautiful post, Miss V.

    I can relate on so many levels. I am of Indian heritage, and was born in India, but I have grown up around the world (In order? Melbourne, Saudi Arabia, USA, India for small transitions, Brisbane), and totally understand the kind of love you have for this country, because it’s just like mine.

    I’m not going to be ‘stereotypical’ Aussie- ever. I loathe thongs that are worn anywhere other than the beach/home/to the corner store, don’t really embrace Aussie slang, I don’t even have a particularly Australian accent (I’ve been told my accent is ‘cosmopolitan’… A mix of enunciated Australian and American, apparently), I’m not into the ‘drinking’ culture or anything that one typically associates with Australia.

    Besides being a person of ethnic background, I feel naturally inclined to embrace OTHER cultures in so many ways, my tastes for music, food, dance- everything- swerve from Arabic, French, Italian, Greek, Cuban…- All around the world. I used to struggle a lot of with personal cultural differences, trying to follow my traditional values and still somehow be ‘Australian’, but now I see it as a blessing, because people like you and I, with our bi-cultural can see and embrace the greener grass of both sides, and are more tolerant and accepting people for it… Proof is in your post 🙂 Nice work

    • xxxMissVxxx says:

      Thank you for your response. And I think you’re right. By becoming more multicultural, we do become a more tolerant, accepting society.

      I also get that my accent is cosmopolitan! I think it’s because i enunciate so people don’t think i’m Australian!

  2. sagestylista says:

    Haha, yep… We actually say ‘Australia’ not ‘Straya’, lol!

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