KOTA KINABALU, June 29 (Bernama) — Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong has described her balik kampung trip to Kota Kinabalu as more than an act of homecoming.
She said the two-day trip starting today is an act of hope, respect and affection.
“Act of hope that my story and my family story can contribute to the relationship between the nation of my birth and nation to which I belong. The story can bring human and personal relations to strenghten the relationship between our nations.
“It is an act of respect to the place and the people, my family to have enabled me to be who I am to stand here this evening for you as Menteri Luar Negeri Australia,” she said here tonight.
She was speaking at a reception with prominent Sabahans in a hotel tonight, attended by Sabah Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun, and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr Justin Lee.
Wong said it is an act of respect for her grandmother Lai Fung Shim whose courage inspired all, and her father Francis Wong whose determination and ambition had provided her so many opportunities.
“It is also an act of affection for this place, for its people and its rhythms for Sabahan childhood Tanjung Aru Beach, Pulau Mamutik, Gunung Kinabalu, Bridge of Tamparuli, River of Tambunan, Poh-Poh (grandmother) mushroom chicken, and dad buys fresh fish and prawn for lunch,” she said.
All these memories and so many more live in her heart.
Wong said her story is a Malaysian story as well as an Australian story, the experience of migration so many Australians shared where they had been born overseas and have parents born overseas.
“When you walk down the street in an Australian city you see and hear this story, and I say to you this is modern Australia, this is today Australia, an Australia that understands that our prosperity, our security and our future is shared with yours,” she said.
Wong will continue her balik kampung trip tomorrow morning with a visit to her former school Kinabalu International School, and a walking tour to Luyang Chinatown here.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency