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?