My mother is Filipino and my father is from Sri Lanka.
They were legal immigrants to Australia over three decades ago. Both came from poor villages. My father’s hut was as small as my bedroom and the whole family lived in it.
My parents married in Melbourne. Mum’s wedding dress cost her $30 from a second hand shop. There were ten people at their wedding, and it was bring your own dish for a pot luck dinner. My uncle was their photographer, and the guests ate on the floor of their unfurnished rental.
My parents are endlessly grateful to be in Australia.
They worked tirelessly and relentlessly. They made the most of every opportunity and counted their blessings every day that they could be in such an incredible country with access to health care, education, and resources.
My mother worked as a nurse, and my dad set up his own business mowing lawns. At night after work they would work a second job cleaning. Soon they had enough money to put a deposit on a house.
Australia, the land of opportunity, was of constant wonder to my parents. It never got old to them. As children we were always reminded how blessed we were to have access to the best health, education and resources “in the world.” My parents were the opposite of entitled and they encouraged each of us to work hard, be grateful and make the most of every opportunity and everything Australia had to offer us. We were taught to honour and respect our leaders, be grateful for our government and systems and the order and resources they brought.
Today my oldest brother is a Podiatrist, a wonderful father and a great person. My oldest sister is a fantastic Emergency Doctor, who is one of the best Doctors I have ever worked with. Kind, intelligent and incredibly competent. She could run the country one day in my opinion. My little brother completed a law degree and than decided to be a Policeman. He has grown into a man of quiet wisdom and the utmost integrity.
Australia’s education systems have enabled me with the opportunity to study nursing and then medicine, and now I have a job as a doctor. The kind I used to only dream about as a child. In this rich land of opportunity, and great promise where my dreams and those of my family have come true.
So much of the values and hard work instilled in us came from watching our parents. However make no mistake:
Living in Australia has completely and utterly transformed our lives and we are endlessly grateful to be a part of this great nation.
We are proud to be here. We are proud to be Australians. We love our country and are grateful for our land.
So today on Australia Day, we are un-apologetically patriotic. We are brown Australians and proud and grateful.
Happy Australia Day Every One!
On this day I celebrate a great nation.
You are deeply loved and richly cherished,
Dr Christine Greenwood
Own Your Health
Changing the way you think, eat and live
I spent 5 years in the Territory and a lot of that time working rural as a doctor. Some of our best friends are Indigenous. I am not blind to the plight of the Indigenous who I love dearly, nor the origins of our nation. Regardless, change the date or leave it the same, I am still freaking proud to be Australian. And on Australia Day, wherever we land date wise, I celebrate this great nation.
We have a colourful history, and a very bright future!
P.S. Have you read Connection – in a Starved Culture?