This Is My Declaration

I am Australian

Regardless of my

Visual appearance.

I am Australian

Born and bred.

But maybe not

Through and through

The way some perceive.

I am Australian

Who’s short

With olive skin.

Who’s Chinese by blood,

But not necessarily by heart

I am Australian

I only speak English,

At the expense

Of my mother tongue,

For reasons you will probably

Never understand.

I am Australian

Regardless of

What You Say.

If you ask me

‘Where are you from?’

Do you really expect an answer,

Other than, from here?

Don’t look at me,

Up and down,

Don’t examine my cheekbones

And the green veins on my wrist

Don’t presume and assume

With that mono

Homo

Singular minded,

Colonised perception

That is too often present

Behind those innocuously asked

But infuriatingly insensitive

Question of, ‘where are you from?’

Should I ask,

‘Where you are from?’

And then tell you,

No, I mean

WHERE ARE YOU REALLY FROM?

Should I comment on the fact

That the blood of convicts,

Run in your veins

Or that your parents’

Parents’

Parents’

Were migrants too?

Are you offended?

Just like I am

When you ask me

Where are you from?

What makes YOU

More Australian than I?

I am Australian

You have no right

To tell me

That I am anything

But what I am.

Have a care,

For where you tread

With your filthy,

Words,

Rooted in an

Unconscious

Discrimination.

I am Australian.

Born and bred.

This is my birth country.

It is the country I have schooled.

The country I call my own.

Why shouldn’t I call myself,

Australian?

This is Australia,

A country of many bloods

Of arms that sprout,

Reaching upwards,

A tree,

Just beginning

For those of us who have come,

For those who are the fruits,

Of the seeds planted.

How dare you have the gall

To imply

That I Am NOT?

I am Australian

As much as you

As much as those

Whose generations

Have exceeded

Those of my parents.

I am Australian—

Not by blood

But by birthright.

If I am not Australian

Then what the hell am I?

I Am Australian

So don’t tell me I’m not

With those oblivious questions

That do little but leave us

Hovering in the third space,

Defiantly straining against

The old traditions of the former generations

And the new and modern of our host

No.  Of which I have become a host.

We want to be accepted

For what we are,

What WE say we are,

And NOT what you think we are.

We are Australian

And this—

This is my declaration.

[ N.B ] This came out more strongly than I anticipated, but I think, those of us who are Australian born, but aren’t always perceived as Australian should not be afraid to be Australian.  Which, I know, sometimes is very difficult, specially when it seems like everyone is just so determined to go against you, telling you otherwise.  In truth, not everyone cares, so feel free to be yourself.  And while my above poem is well, a very strong declaration, it is all truth, for it has happened, and I have felt all those things, but the reality–not everyone is treated as such.  As we grow older, we learn to freeze out the irrelevant people, and focus on the world, one that is MUCH, MUCH bigger than the world of the school.  And out there, we are not alone.  And even though we aren’t, and we might meet people who are from all different backgrounds, this ‘where are you from’ question might become even harder to answer, but well, stick to what you know!  That is–who you are.  YOU are what you say you are, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

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4 thoughts on “This Is My Declaration

  1. Great declaration… Your words really resonated with me and I guess they could also apply to other circumstances and nationalities….
    you are right our world is big, so much bigger and morecomplex that you could have thought… But I also believe that diversity is one of its main strengths … and it should be considered and valued in that sense…
    Sending best wishes. Aquileana ☀️

    • Thanks! And yes, so very true! Even though mine is very limited to a situation with I’m familiar with, I can imagine that across the world, in different places with others of different lives, the feelings are similar. And these feelings, once shared will hopefully help us all understand each other a little more, because indeed, the local and global is becoming more and more diverse, and it is definitely something that should be valued considerably! Thank you for commenting 🙂

    • Thank you for the support! They are the words of how I feel in the past, sometimes in the present, and most likely in the future. But I hope it will never get me down, because I quite like being the Australian Born Chinese that I am 🙂

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