Proud to be an Aussie

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I’m partly Australian – don’t ask me to explain what I mean by that :) But I have to say I’ve never been exactly proud to be an Aussie and have never really felt like one since I’ve spent most of my years in Singapore.

Because John Howard was Prime Minister during most of my grown up years, that kind of made it even harder for me to identify with being an Australian. But living in Australia last year changed my thinking quite a bit. One of my happiest days last year was when Kevin Rudd thoroughly defeated Howard and the conservative Liberal-National Party coalition. Good riddance to them. And today, as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd issued an apology to Australia’s Stolen Generation, I feel proud once again.

I feel proud that the leader of Australia did the right thing. That was the compassionate thing to do. I guess it says a lot that it took so long. And I do know that many Australians are not in agreement with Kevin Rudd on this – which is really sad. And yes, I think there’s a lot more that needs to be done than merely this apology. But I’ll savour the moment anyway.

I don’t think I’ll ever feel totally like an Australian. Socially, I’m more at home in Singapore. Having lived most of my life here, there’s that great connection that I can’t deny. However, politics means a lot to me because it’s about how the government (and people) treat other people – especially the least of them. It’s reflects one’s values and what you view as important. That speaks a lot to me. My heart will always have a place for Singapore, but I can’t identify with the political culture (or party?) that prefers pragmatism rather than standing up for what’s right. As someone said, society is judged by how we treat the least among us.

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