April 29th, 2007 at 3:28 pm
I am a former Malaysian who has lived half my life in Australia. I feel that it is incumbent on me to lay bare the cupboard as it were so that people can gain an accurate insight of what real life is like for an Asian migrant in a country like Australia.
Like the many tens of thousands who saw no future for our children in the land of our birth that we deeply loved, we came to Australia with trepidation and heavy hearts in the days following the dismantling of the shameful and odious race-discriminating White Australia policy.
Apart from free speech and the right to express one’s views without fear of any backlash, one of the first things we found was that race and religion have no place whatsoever in Australian society.
After determining for ourselves in real life that there was no racial group that was regarded as being superior to any other group and that we had precisely the same rights as any other Australian, we determined to be even more productive citizens.
The rewards soon arrived. Owing to their comparatively good results in the Higher School Certificate examinations, our children were in the envious position of picking and choosing the universities and the courses they wished to attend - and all for free.
In return, Australia has benefited greatly from the high income taxes that our children are now paying in their chosen professions.
In this regard, will be disappointed to learn that I do not own a business, let alone a prosperous one to hand down to my children. My children have to make their way in mainstream Australian life like everyone else - and so they should.
It would be comforting for most people to know that in Australia it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone on sex, religion, race or color. Equal rights for all means precisely that - no ifs, no buts about it. Hence it is possible for anyone of any faith who so desires and is good enough to become prime minister of Australia.
A large amount of the high taxes we pay goes towards the upkeep of the unemployed, the disabled, the needy and the pensioners. There are no freebies or special concessions for anyone else.
As freedom is speech is recognised as a basic right of every citizen, migrants have no problems expressing their complaints or views of self-serving or corrupt or incompetent politicians or bureaucrats in the open media. An impartial judicial system exists for all to take matters further.
Citizens have the right to preserve whatever cultural heritage, customs and language they are comfortable with and there are organisations set up to address whatever complaints and problems they may encounter in the pursuit of their traditional way of life.
Pensions and other forms of welfare payment are issued strictly on a means-tested basis. If anything, the system has been accused of being far too fair and generous. Malaysian retirees and others who have not worked or paid any taxes in Australia have been known to receive pensions in Australia after satisfying the means and residential criteria.
As race is such a non-issue in this country, nobody cares or bothers to pay any attention to the financial success or failure of any particular race in the community. To do so is to invite ridicule and scorn. After all, we are all Australians together.
The same benchmark that is set with respect to professional and educational standards, opportunities, job promotions, asset acquisitions and so forth applies to everyone bar none.
Given the special privileges accorded, apparently in perpetuity, malays in Malaysia will clearly find Australia a turn off. On the other hand, minority non-malays who are not as fortunate may have a different viewpoint.