Thank you, Y-Dang,
Though Canada said ‘So many and no more’, at least the Canadians don’t treat Asylum Seekers as criminals and lock them up in a hostile environment off shore. Australians make it as hard as possible for them to seek safety here – their ‘Safe Haven’ visa application form has 39 pages, applicants must account for their occupation for the last 30 years, i.e. everyday in 30 years without a gap and the few successful applicants are then granted a visa for 5 years only, in case they get too comfortable. We try to be as cruel and hostile as possible to turn off anyone’s desire to seek shelter here. The government (its a “Liberal” government who are in fact conservatives; even their name is a lie) might as well hire planes to spray messages across the sky, “GO AWAY, WE DON’T WANT YOU”. If you think Canadians lack compassion; Australians are inhumane. Their slogan at election was “Stop the Boats” and the majority of Australians supported it. You may accuse me of being unAustralian, but I voted against it. Our recently ousted Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, who has been replaced by another PM with exactly the same policy, boasted about his success of turning away Asylum Seekers in his final speech. The current PM Turnbull was quick to say that he won’t rock the boat, or he should say, he won’t sink it unless it’s full of asylum seekers.
“Never a Last Refugee”
My parents named me after camp Khao I-Dang, the refugee camp where I was born. They did so to remember their survival, and those international aid workers who cared for them after an improbable escape from the labor camps in Cambodia, across the landmine-riddled jungle, to the border of Thailand. As difficult and confusion-inducing as my name is, I wonder now how my life would have turned out, had they had named me “Goderich” after the small Canadian town where a kind group of sponsors first pooled their resources to bring us to Canada. Or if they had named me “Trudeau,” after the man who held me as an infant when my family first arrived in Canada, the man who is the centerpiece of my family’s postcard-perfect photograph commemorating our arrival.
I think of this picture often. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau welcoming my family to Canada…
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