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Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 32: My Parents were Boat People

Note: This is going to be one of my poems for this year's poetry slam competition.

My parents were boat people
Like a simple label could categorise all the pain, the loss
Why can’t they be treated as equals?
When we can’t even endure half of what they went through.
Water shortage, starvation, boat cramped thrice its capacity.
Having to shit over the railing, these examples are just a few.

Terrorists, job thieves, invaders.
Apparently, they’re out to destroy our lives.
Half-starved, half-desperate: what invaders?
They just want rooves that don’t leak and walls without bullet holes.
A new country as their new home.
A country’s whose flag they can hang proudly on flagpoles.

Instead, we give them Darwin, Christmas Island and Villawood.
Where children try to overdose on their mother’s sleeping pills.
Why are we ruining a nine-year old’s childhood?
I thought we’re supposed to be a multicultural society?
Yet we have human rights abuse and poor living standards.
We’re sending people into high states of anxiety.

My parents were boat people.
People who were also born of flesh and blood.
Yet somehow, they’re still unequal.
They have sick mothers to feed and daughters hidden from prostitution
And all they want is a fresh start, a chance for survival
Instead, we give them criticism and exclusion.

We forget boat people are people too.
Just because we might not have the space or the money,
Doesn’t mean we can scream or bellow, “Fuck you!”
It doesn’t mean they’re any less human.
And don’t even dare to label them as flora and fauna
Because the question is: Are you human?

Our politicians are all for long speeches that answers everything:
Off-shore detention centres, improvement in facilities, new refugee camps;
The sky, the earth, everything and yet nothing.
Because, we are not the solution.
We are the continuation of their problems.
It’s their country, with all the wars is the complication. 

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