I’ve been slightly troubled lately about a personal issue. After some considerations, I’ve decided to share it with you here.
At the dawn of new year, I’ve begun to seriously wonder if I should become a British citizen, after living in England for nearly 16 years.
Many people who have known me are surprised that I’m still not British. I’m a proud Malaysian and I was born and bred there, until I went abroad to study at the university. I’ve now spent many more years abroad than the time I had spent in Malaysia.
To many, to gain a western passport is a glory, an achievement in itself. I’ve never thought that way, however. I stubbornly feel that your passport is the statement of your identity, representing your root, your past, and, your dreams. It’s never crossed my mind that I need to ‘upgrade’ myself to become British.
I’m also a proud resident here in the UK. I have a respectable job as an academic, I pay tax, I drink English tea and I can describe the English rain using different words, such as spitting, drizzle, chucking it down, pelting down, bucketing down, spot of rain, soft rain, hard rain, shower, deluge …….
I’ve tried to be logical in my analysis. Are there any obvious advantages of becoming a British citizen for me? As a Commonwealth citizen, I have the right to vote at the UK general elections. Without being a British citizen, I have already voted a few times in both general and local elections.
In early 2011, I was surprised to be called by Her Majesty to perform the jury service. In spring 2011, I performed my 2-week duty in a distinguished Crown Court as a juror. I remember vividly I spent a whole week gazing adoringly at the young, dashing attorney who spoke posh upper-class English. Even his wig looked cute. And his client won of course. It was a tremendous honour and I would say my jury service was definitely the highlight of my life in this country. I wouldn’t mind being called again.
Without being a British citizen, I can vote, become a jury, have equal rights at work. Why change?
First, my dread of passport renewal. Every five years once my passport is due for renewal, I have to either travel far to the Malaysian Immigration Department in London, or fly back to Malaysia to get it done. It’s extremely troublesome and I would spare you the boring details. I had renewed my passport a few times; it was costly (plus travel fees to London — peak time travel cost) and the experiences were never pleasant.
Second, what if I want to travel to Israel, to see The Dome of the Rock, the Jerusalem zoo, or to feel the warmth of the Dead Sea? You can see on page 2 of my passport, as a Malaysian citizen, I’m not allowed to travel to Israel. “This passport is valid for all countries except: ISRAEL.”
This restriction saddens me more than it infuriates me. I may never visit Israel, as I haven’t even visited nearer places such as Glasgow, Newcastle, Dundee, Birmingham, Ireland, Spain…yet. However, with a Malaysian passport, my right to visit Jerusalem has been taken away from me.
Like the temptation from the forbidden fruit, I may visit Israel one day, to appreciate its beauties, its unique charm, its depth in culture and history, and to prove that I’m a person with a free will. To achieve that, having a British passport would be handy.
Third, am I still connected to Malaysia? Emotionally, certainly, some of my most precious memories are there. But, is emotional attachment sufficient enough to keep me hinged on the citizenship? Our old house had long gone, friends scattered, sweet love lost. In 20 years’ time, am I likely to ‘return’ home, like some people do to retire after a lifetime abroad? No. I love the English weather so much that I have no intention to leave.
However, to apply for British citizenship, I must pass the Life in the UK test. I’ll need to study hard for 2 weeks to cram all facts in. Am I going to succeed?
These are some of the questions for the Life in the UK test. Will you pass the test? Be honest. It’s the New Year.
- Is this statement TRUE or FALSE: in the 1980s, the largest immigrant groups were from the West Indies, Ireland, India and Pakistan
- How many parliamentary constituencies are there?
- Which of these statements is correct?
- Education at state schools in the UK is free and this includes the cost of school uniform and sports wear
- Education at state schools in the UK is free but parents have to pay for school uniform and sports wear
- Why were recruitment centres set up in the West Indies in the 1950s?
- To recruit workers for textile factories
- To recruit workers to build canals
- To recruit workers to build railways
- To recruit workers to drive buses
- Many job applications will require a covering letter and
- a document showing proof of identity
- your National Insurance number
- a curriculum vitae
- a signed photograph
- Ulster Scots is a dialect which is spoken in Northern Ireland
- In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband?
- Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE: adults who have been unemployed for six months are usually required to join New Deal if they wish to continue receiving benefit
- The number of children and young people up to the age of 19 in the UK is
- 13 million
- 14 million
- 15 million
- 16 million
- The percentage of people in the UK in 2001 who said they were Muslims was
- A quango is
- a government body
- a non-departmental public body
- an arm of the judiciary
- an educational establishment
- Is the statement below TRUE or FALSE: you can attend a hospital without a GP’s letter only in the case of an emergency
- Which of the following statements is correct?
- Information in the census is immediately available for the public to search
- Information in the census is kept secret for 100 years
- Schools must be open
- 150 days a year
- 170 days a year
- 190 days a year
- 200 days a year
- The official report of the proceedings of Parliament is called
- the Speaker’s notes
- electoral register
- the constitution
- Which of these statements is correct?
- For cars and motorcycles the speed limit on single carriageways is 60mph
- For cars and motorcycles the speed limit on single carriageways is 70mph
- A byelection is held
- halfway through the life of a parliament
- every two years
- when an MP dies or resigns
- when the prime minister decides to call one
- Which of these statements is correct?
- Children aged 13-16 cannot work for more than 12 hours in any school week
- Children aged 13-16 cannot work for more than 10 hours in any school week
- Which of the following statements is true?
- The governing body of the EU is the Council of the European Union
- The governing body of the EU is the Council of Europe
- When was the census first carried out in the United Kingdom?
- Who is the monarch not allowed to marry?
- Anyone who is not of royal blood
- Anyone who is not a Protestant
- Anyone who is under the age of 25
- Anyone who was born outside the UK
- What type of constitution does the UK have?
- A legal constitution
- A written constitution
- An amended constitution
- An unwritten constitution
- How might you stop young people playing tricks on you at Halloween?
- Call the police
- Give them some money
- Give them sweets or chocolate
- Hide from them
- What is the difference in the average hourly pay rate for men and women?
- 5% lower for women
- 10% lower for women
- 20% lower for women
- No difference
Source for the above test
My Related Posts:
- Test yourself on the new British Immigration exam
- Where are you really from?
- Magnificent display at Buckingham Palace
- Fiddler on the Roof: a treasure
- Christmas in China: from karaoke to saxophone
- Christmas in the eyes of a foreigner in England
- Shall we lie to kids about santa?
- My Apple experience
- What’s in a Dragon?
- Why ‘Opium Den’ is an offensive name
- 5 changes of a Chinese wife in England: on Language
- 5 changes of a Chinese wife in England: on Culture
- 5 changes of a Chinese wife in England: on Food
- Farewell 2012 — Raise your glasses
- Christmas vs Chinese New Year
- Love me love my dog?
- Love me love my dog ? Part 2
- Walking in the wood – Part 1
- Walking in the wood – Part 2
- British English accent training video 19: “rain” in British English
- Life in the UK test
- The Dead Sea (by ShimonZ: The Human Picture)
- Help from Heaven (by ShimonZ: The Human Picture)