What are you and where are you from?


What am I? This was a question posed in relation to my nationality by a discussion I had with some friends recently. But it was a question that is not all that easy to answer.

The discussion came up as a bunch of us that live here in Australia but were all born in England were away together and we started talking about our sense of ‘nationality’. The conversation was prompted by the fact that a few in the group have taken up Australian citizenship.  One member of the group was adamant that as we were born in England and our parents are English we are “English” and should always see ourselves as such. But is being born in a county really what makes you a member of that land?

I was born in England, but spent some of my early years living in Africa, I have a Scottish surname, my grandfather on my farther side was very much a Scott but I live in Australia and am about to apply for my Australian citizenship – so what will that make me? Oh and my sister was born in Zambia so what does that make her?

Who should I cheer for in international sporting events like the Word Cup? I get that there is a sense of pride in ‘where you come from’ but surely this is not the be all and end all of how you define yourself in terms of ones nationality. I have chosen to live in Australia and am now looking to become an Australian, many people I know back home bemoan the fact that people emigrate to the UK but don’t ‘become English’, surely those same rules should apply to me then, now that I have emigrated to Australia I should ‘become Australian’?

Maybe I should just become a “citizen of the world”, wanky I know but maybe if we thought of ourselves in those terms rather than ‘us’ and ‘others’ we would not be messing the place up so much and would take more collective control of preserving the planet rather than waiting to see what others do, but that is another topic altogether….

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4 Responses to “What are you and where are you from?”

  1. Lord Norton Says:

    Who are you? Rather reminds me of the story about Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister and visiting an old people’s home. She fussed around the residents and when one didn’t look too impressed, said: ‘Do you know who I am?’ To which she received the reply: ‘No dear, but if you ask Matron I’m sure she will be able to tell you who you are.’

    On your question, you are English. Oh yes.

  2. Hikaru Says:

    Those are always tricky questions, even moreso in heavily regionalised countries like the UK and US. For example, in the US, I’m a native-born Midwesterner with Southern parents and an accent that sounds “foreign.” (Hey, I assimilate well.) In Australia, however, I’m “American.” Well, after I start speaking.

    That said, I pretty much support Australia on the international stage, and consider myself Australian, even if I’m not a citizen yet.

    I reckon you’re Australian too…mate.

  3. macarthursmutterings Says:

    Well i am one step closer to becoming an Australian, I have the date for my citizenship test….

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