The 26th January is Australia Day. On this day, citizenship ceremonies have traditionally been held all around Australia as part of the program of events where new Australia citizens feel very happy and proud to become an Australian.
Since the day I have set foot on Australian soil and became an Australia citizen, I've discovered that “Our land abounds in nature's gifts, Of beauty, rich and rare”, and very, very proud and identified with the notion of “With courage let us all combine, To advance Australia fair”, especially the Australian values that have been stated on the Affirmation –
As an Australian citizen,
I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect,
and whose laws I uphold and obey.
Since then, I have been proud to participate, to join in Australia Day, ANZAC Day, Vietnam Veterans Day (Long Tan Day), events and celebrations, … proud to stand under the Australian flag and sing the Australian anthem, and proud to call Australia home.
And proud going abroad holding the Australian passport, which is, according to the Henley Passport Index , the ninth most powerful passport in the world in 2020 as it can get me into 183 countries with visa-free.
Then, shockingly, my pride has been shattered by the weak, little or almost no-reaction of the government of Australia when being called “a dog of United States” .
Looking back, now I realise that Australian government has been very soft, if not trying to avoid at all costs mentioning the human rights violation and other related issues when talking to the hostile and rogue regimes through the so-called “dialogue” even though Australia is in a stronger position and has the upper hand over them.
Back then I had kept trying to convince myself that was Australia being diplomatic. But what have been exposed recently can no longer be justified.
It’s so devastatingly shameful of the inertia of various tiers of government when Australia is being threatened of economic coercion and being called “a dog” over the suggestion of an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
It’s so frustrating and disappointing of the dodgy personal protective equipment (PPE) products worth $1.2 million from China , then our Royal Australian Air Force aircraft carrying Australian aid to Vanuatu was blocked by a Chinese plane , and other similar deceptive and bullying incidents. Much more frustrating and disappointing to learn that such blatant conducts have been warily ignored by Canberra - quiet as a mouse, being afraid of offending China.
It’s a reflection of the Australian government inability to be a world leader as they continue to stay silent and not appropriately address such offensive behaviour and obscene language, which are only used by thugs and gangsters.
It’s so absurd and ridiculous that a student of the University of Queensland is facing expulsion over his criticising China's authoritarian regime , whereas everyone in Australia is free to criticise the Australian government of all levels (ie. the right to freedom of expression and opinion).
More to the point, I question – Is this Australia or China? Is Australia part of China? Does Australia belong to China? Or has Australia been taken over by China?
The Australia governments should learn from The Daily Telegraph  on how to deal with thugs and gangsters – “Pay China back in the same coin”, and to look up to the people of Hong Kong for their courage though they have nothing as leverage on China except their strong voice, resilience, determination and their spirit of solidarity in action.
Should we consider it a blight on Australia's values when Wagga Wagga council frantically reverses the decision to cut ties with a Chinese sister city over communism then issues right afterward an apology .
Once more, why the Australian governments of all levels have shown such weakness?
Then things have got catastrophically worse – the Victoria government is pushing ahead to sign the Australian life away putting our head in a noose of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, a strategic agenda of China, a dangerous compromise, regardless the critics and opposition from the Federal Government , and the lessons of “debt-trap diplomacy” from other countries such as Sri Lanka, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Kenya, or being influenced/controlled, totally or partly, by China over the political, economic, media, education/academic systems and other aspects as in Tibet, Mongolia, Uyghur, Vietnam, and now Hong Kong.
Such an irresponsible and reckless decision will not only put Victoria but the whole Australia in danger. Victoria has become a “Trojan horse” or as a coronavirus hot spot, which will eventually infect the whole nation from within. If it is not the case then it can be seen that Victoria government is helping China to divide Australia to conquer. Either way, China will get the same desirable result. So the decision of shaking hands with foes and turning your back on your friends is no more or no less than a betrayal.
Facts - The West Gate Tunnel Project has been stated that 92 per cent local material must be used in construction, now it turns out that Chinese steel will take a significant part of supplied materials , and then the Victoria government’s lack of transparency in refusing to answer about Chinese links to $24.5B loan plan  have clearly and evidently proved that China has gradually and visibly stepped up their influence. The justification of signing the “Belt and Road” deal is to create “jobs” but debt has been created instead, so the next step is, obviously, to fall straight into the debt-trap.
On top of that, it’s deeply disturbing, troubling and alarming due to the fact that China has been gobbling strategic assets of Australia from farms, mines, airports, harbours to water supplies, land, vital infrastructure and companies in order to exert greater influence and control over Australia .
Beside the huge mistake of putting Australia in a position of being too dependent on China, it appears also that, to some leaders of all levels of government, money and self-interests are their top priorities, they don’t care about the national interests, the Australian values and Australia pride.
Where are their courage, commitments and responsibilities in standing up to protect this country, “To advance Australia fair”?
No doubt, China has been very successful in spreading its soft power using the classic tools – sex and money (bribery and blackmail), which has been demonstrated efficiently and effectively.
No doubt, national sovereignty, national interests, national commitments and national pride have been disappeared in the dictionary, in the mind of those corrupt individuals, where their own interests, their own agenda have taken place.
No doubt, those individuals who are Australian by status but non-Australian by nature will no longer call Australia home and do not deserve the sacrifice of those who fell for this country.
No doubt, quite a number of local, state and federal officials including those in the private and academic sectors have been so corrupted that they have acted, made decisions and taken side with the evil (tweeting “China is our future” ) disregarding the advice, the warning from the experts (such as ASIO)  putting the national security in danger.
Lately, the leadership of this proud country has showed its incompetence, its non-patriotism and its corruption to such a level that they shiveringly and submissively bow down to the evil.
From now on, no longer I feel proud to be an Australian like I was before.
To me, the Pride of Australia has gone.
Phan Trâm Anh
Vietnamese Version: Niềm Kiêu Hãnh của nước Úc đã mất