After horror of civil war, life in Australia 'the best'
HE HAS escaped the horrors of civil war and imprisonment for political reasons.
So becoming a citizen of the "most peaceful country in the world" was the best day of Simon Saya's life.
The refugee was of 110 new countrymen and women were presented their Australian citizenship certificates on Friday night.
Mr Saya, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said he became an Australian citizen to be free.
He served in the national army in Congo but was imprisoned after refusing to go to battle in the country's civil war.
"I didn't want to fight against my people, was imprisoned and when I was released I became a refugee," he said.
"I applied to come to Australia and I waited for two years and was eventually allowed to come to the country."
"It's the most peaceful country in the world."
"There's no terrorism, no civil war.
"Becoming a citizen was the best day of my life."
Malkeet Singh, from Punjab, said it was a long process to become a citizen.
He said he became a citizen because the future for the next generation was very bright.
"I want my son Manjasdeep to have a good future.
"He can study here and there are so many opportunities," the taxi driver said.
"I hope he can grow up to become a doctor."
Manjasdeep's mother Bhupinder Kaur, who works in aged care, said she had learnt many things about the Australian culture since coming to the country.
The whole family was decked out in traditional Sikh clothing, with Malkeet Singh wearing a turban and Mrs Kaur in a salwar and comiche.
Manjasdeep, 9, goes to school at Toowoomba Preparatory School.
"Everyone here is so polite to each other," he said.
Mrs Kaur said the family would hold on to their culture while embracing the Australian culture.
"We might cook some traditional foods for our new Australian brothers but they need to watch out because it can be very hot."