Being Australian and not Malaysian

April 17, 2007 8:34 PM

How do I feel about being Australian? To be honest, I don’t feel any different. Mostly because I think I had settled and assimilated very quickly since arrival and I wholeheartedly embrace the lifestyle and culture. If you leave out the footy, fishing and surfing. 😉

As cavalier as this may sound, after being in Australia for close to 19 years the citizenship process was merely a formality. Though I can now vote which I’m quite excited about, and I will travel with an Australian passport which is a big deal to me.

Why is it a big deal to me?

After enduring the unnecessarily slow and cumbersome process of renewing my Malaysian passport whilst in Australia a few times, I just don’t have faith that the Malaysian diplomatic service will help me if I needed it outside of Malaysia. Lazy consulars who are not in when they are suppose to be in, for the ONE day of the week, and inept staff who cannot communicate the rules and requirements clearly when you’d imagine that it would be one of the major responsibilities of any consular or embassy staff, shit me to tears.

Although I wouldn’t know about renewing an Australian passport outside of Australia, at least I don’t have to worry about becoming stateless in Australia anymore. The fear of losing my Malaysian passport here and having to deal with incompetent people who couldn’t or wouldn’t grasp the urgency was always a real one – my parents even kept theirs in a safety deposit box.

Credit must go to the Immigration Department in Malaysia though because renewing my passport there was a breeze as it should be. However, their overseas counterparts leave a lot to be desired.

And so besides being able to vote, one of the other privileges of Australian citizenship of being able to seek Australian diplomatic assistance whilst overseas is one that I am very happy to have. Plus, getting or renewing a passport in Australia wouldn’t be such a pain anymore.

Australia is now my home proper because I feel secure, even if I’m away from it.

p.s. It took me 19 years because it was not an easy decision, mmkay?

8 thoughts on “Being Australian and not Malaysian

  1. sourrain

    i think it’s time enough:)

    What you said re: Malaysian embassies are so true. First, the email address and telephone is mysteriously hidden on the official website – only an address is available.I rang the embassy in London continuously for 3 weeks, and sent countless emails (wanted to register myself with the embassy in case of emergencies and also to register the wedding) – and in the typical Malaysia really Boleh style, NO ANSWER on either phone or email.

    So officially, I am still single in Malaysia as I was unable to register myself.Who wanna marry me?:)

    When I was tasked in renewing my boss’ english passport in Malaysia. It took 2 phone calls, a personal visit to submit, and a personal visit to collect – all in the space of TWO DAYS.

    what you said makes so much sense – I will keep it in mind when the time comes.

  2. mooiness Post author

    You know at first I thought it was because Perth was a smaller place, but I’ve heard the same about Melbourne and Sydney as well. And now you tell me that it’s the same in London. So we are not exaggerating – the whole lot of them are like that!

    And yes, the inadequacies are even more stark when you compare with how efficient other countries can be.

    It sounds silly to base a big part of taking up foreign citizenship on the basis of passports, but a passport is an important document. I feel more confident to have matters pertaining to it handled by people who are more up to it. 😉

  3. sourrain

    its not only passport man,what happened if we were to somehow end up having diplomatic problems i.e. get thrown into a foreign jail ect. whilst travelling? Only the Malaysia really Boleh embassy can rescue us – and if we actually wait for them to even pick up the phone….haha,what phone?

    I think for the diplomats its more of a long holiday assignment than doing any actual work.I had personally dealt with the UK & France embassy, and their efficiency is scary compared to the Bolehbassies.And whilst other embassies have various phonelines to deal with different things (i.e. passport renewal, visa issuance ect) our Bolehbassies hide their email addresses and phone numbers.

  4. mooiness Post author

    Yes, exactly. I have no confidence that we will get assistance. Plus we are not Malay – can’t blame us for suspecting bias when the racial shit is played out in Parliament every day.

    And I do get the feeling that the consulars/ambassadors treat it like a paid vacation.

  5. Tomy

    Your story about renewing passport is the complete opposite when compared to Indonesia. To renew or get a new passport in Indonesia was always such a big hassle, had to bribe here, bribe there, then wait again for a few days, only to find out you forgot to bribe one more official in the immigration office. I found out later that it’s much better and easier to renew passport in the Indonesian consulate in Perth.
    Anyway, I’m also an Aussie citizen now, it didn’t take me that long to switch, 2 years on PR and I switched right away. I guess all the extra ‘security attention’ when I was travelling around Europe really gave me the shits. Much better off now with Aus passport, no need for any visas to go to most places in Europe. But now I need to get a visa to enter Indonesia instead. Oh the irony.

  6. Tomy

    Btw, never got around to congratulate you on becoming an Aussie. So all the best being an Aussie citizen and make Johnnie howard proud, don’t vote for him in the election! 🙂

  7. steph

    Of course it’s not an easy decision, but as long as you’re comfortable with your choice, that’s the main thing.

    Now go buy a wife beater singlet, some thongs, and get magotted with a carton of beer. That’s the mark of a true Aussie!

  8. mooiness Post author

    Tomy: haha so the Indonesian condition is the exact reverse?! shiet. As for voting, I’m leaning towards Labor but I’m gonna wait and see their policies first.

    steph: hahaha! nice one. although, out of the three, I’ve done all except for the singlet. 😛


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