Thank you, Australia.
A beautiful nation of endless opportunities & boundless possibilities.
When I was a young child, my parents felt that in their circumstances they had no other choice but to come to this land, leaving behind their lives in South-East Asia for a better future for their children in Australia. It didn’t dawn on me until much later in life just how much their sacrifice would change the trajectory of my own life.
Today I wake up, blessed to know that I don’t have to make the same difficult choices my parents did. Is there actually anywhere better to go? In many ways that is the beauty of modern day Australia.
So as we deal with and have conversations about the open wounds of this young nation’s past, we should remain proud of what Australia endeavours to represent. Perhaps the greatest tribute to Australia is that it is a home for people from all over the world who have had to at one point or another, seek refuge outside their ancestral homelands in the pursuit of a decent life and happiness.
Although history can be complex, it should not be overlooked when we consider the present and the future. When I look at the history of Australia and then consider my place here, knowing full well the struggles encountered by the traditional custodians of this land, it is hard to reconcile whether I am a guest, invader or Australian. Perhaps I too am a product of history, who knows how my families ancestorial homelands would have fared without centuries of colonialism. Perhaps my parents would never have had to leave for Australia if history had been different.
It is hard to say for sure but knowing all of this I have made a personal choice to look beyond history alone and that is why today I take great pride in contributing to my home, Australia. The sacrifices and suffering of all peoples that have struggled before us on this land and around the world, should push those of us here today to honor their memory by continuing to work together to build a greater Australia that can continue to give hope for a better tomorrow for all Australians.