Y-Dang Troeung, Hong Kong

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 Our recently ousted Prime Minister, Tony Abbot, who has been replaced by another PM with exactly the same policy, boasted about his success of turning away Asylum Seekers in his final speech.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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About Mary Tang

An urban orchardist everyday, a volunteer regularly, a poet sometimes and a blogger since March 2015. I travel when I can. Food is a constant.
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8 Responses to Y-Dang Troeung, Hong Kong

  1. arlingwoman says:

    This is sad. It seems we never learn.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mary Tang says:

    Australians want to believe lies so that they can feel right about doing wrong. They want to believe that turning away boats help save refugees from drowning – after all, if we turn them away and they drown outside of Australian waters, that’s not our fault then, is it? If we give them a hard time in refugee camps then it’ll teach others not to come near us, right? And if we had to admit they’re genuine asylum seekers, then if we make the paper work difficult for them to complete they may make a mistake on the form and we can have legitimate reasons to refuse them! And if we had to give them a ‘safe haven’ then limiting it to five years means we get another chance to get rid of them. What’s more, let’s keep them out of our cities where the jobs and services for them may exist, let’s put in a clause that they if they get a ‘safe haven’ visa, they are not equal to other citizens – they must live at least 200 (or should we say 300) kilometres from any major cities. We must not let our citizens have too much contact with them. Are we not a lucky country full of clever people?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mattb325 says:

      It’s like we’ve taken steps backwards towards some quasi White Australia Policy. To think that at one point from the 1970s – 1990s we were so much more generous and open. I don’t understand how we became so insular. It is wretched for a nation which has everything to do so little…but then again, we are one of the few nations on earth who spends proportionately more on defence and policing (from what, I don’t know) than education, health and welfare. Pretty stupid if you ask me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Tang says:

        Nothing quasi about it: it is the return of the White Australia Policy Plus Plus Plus of the extreme right wing. They’ve been dumbing down education so yes, people are stupid enough to be led. Tony Abbott taking his clothes off to get the bimbo vote was not enough so now they’re trotting out the super smooth salesman Malcolm Turnbull to do the spin.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. mattb325 says:

    The state of our politics saddens me to the core. I sickens me that failure of leadership seeks the easy route; dehumanising those without a voice via shrill, manufactured hyperbole, fear and outrage so that the focus is taken off their inability to perform the fundamental tasks of governing.
    It beggars belief that Australians have actually fallen for this “either or logic”, on this and so many other hyperbole: ‘if you don’t support us stopping the boats, then clearly you support the people smugglers’, ‘if you don’t support the rescinding of environmental protection laws, then you are against jobs’, ‘if you don’t support loss of civil liberties, then you support terror’, and so on.
    This glib line has been used to justify atrocious behaviour. Typing it sounds stupid, but it has happened. Australia might be lucky country, but we have lucked out on intelligence and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

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