Identity matters: 'Where you come from is part of your DNA' - Nick Kaldas

Mr Kaldas (right) credits his mother (left) and father's decision to move to Australia as "incredibly brave".

Nick Kaldas was one of Australia's highest ranked cops and 'probably as Australian as the next guy,' but he says identifying with his Egyptian heritage is still as important as ever.

Former top cop Nick Kaldas is known for many things from his distinguished policing career but one thing he's sure helped shape the person he is today is his Egyptian roots.

Mr Kaldas moved to Australia from Egypt as a boy and found it easy to settle in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, where many migrant families were also living.

"I think my heritage, my culture, my upbringing, have all had an enormous effect on who I am, what I am and what I think about the world, my aspirations, my thoughts," Mr Kaldas told SBS. 

"There's no denying that where you're brought up and where you come from is part of your DNA.

"It really is and I see it as a positive thing - I don't see it as a bad thing."

Mr Kaldas said he and his family were never alone and were welcomed by Lebanese neighbours who spoke the same language and cooked him dinner every night before his parents came home from work. 

"There's a certain sense of community I think existed in the inner city in the late '60s and early '70s in terms of migrants saying, 'We're all here in this beautiful new country. Let's try and help each other out'".

But he said adapting to the sporting culture was tough at times.

"I'm not fond of cricket, and I struggle to watch it for any longer than half an hour, and I know people will frown at that, but it's just one of those things," he said.

"By the time you get to twelve, if you've never heard of cricket, it's very difficult to pick it up at that age."

Mr Kaldas said he has tried to help his children know about where they've come from as well.

"I think it's is important and it's grounding - particularly for kids who are children of parents from some other part of the world - to have a good knowledge of where they come from to have an understanding and empathy with what we've been through to get here."

Source SBS News

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