The Unity of the Family of Man

My 5 non-fiction books, 4 of which were recommended by the US Review of Books, represent a sliver of Australia’s post-war history. So said a professor of history. My writing reflects my experiences, both as a settler over more than 6 decades, and as a government official responsible for policy on all aspects of immigrant integration for many years. That is, my writing represents the perceptions of an ‘insider’ (a settler in Australia) who is also an ‘outsider’ (a product of Asian communalism). This judgement was offered by senior academics in diverse disciplines.

Without their pre-publication endorsements, I would not have published ‘The Karma of Culture,’ ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity,’ ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ and ‘Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society.’ My book of fiction, ‘Pithy Perspectives,’ was written and published for fun. Just for the record, all my books received favourable reviews post-publication. Refer Amazon Kindle.

My policy experience covers ethnic affairs & multiculturalism; citizenship & national identity; refugee & humanitarian entry; and official settlement assistance.

My first book, ‘Destiny Will Out,’ was written in response to advice from the spirit world (refer that I could ‘contribute to building a bridge from you came to where you are’! It is my first memoir, ‘The Dance of Destiny’ being the second.

Since arriving in Australia during the White Australia era (in 1948), I have observed Australia mature into a cosmopolitan multi-ethnic nation. Once both host peoples (Anglo-Australians) and post-war immigrants (the ‘wogs’ from Europe) got over their initial bilateral culture shocks – I too can testify to these culture shocks; but also to the racism and the sectoral religious divide between Roman Catholics and the rest) – everyone got along with one another with increasing tolerance and understanding (the unavoidable yobbo the exception).

In spite of a handful of ‘desert’ people claiming an unwarranted and untenable religio-cultural superiority, we Australians will work together to achieve that Family of Man. The cosmic tide is with us!

A history of the world in puns – Socrates

It didn’t end too well for SOCRATES, the man credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. The Greek philosopher was sentenced to death by drinking a hemlock-based liquid

• Who was Socrates’ worst student? Mediocrities

• Who was Socrates’ busiest student? The one with a lot on his Plato

• What do you call a flirtatious philosopher: A Socratease

• What relative did Socrates need after his trial? An Aunty dote

(From The Telegraph 23 Sept 2015 on the Internet)

The threat to cultural cohesion

Traditionally, families have tended to keep themselves ‘pure’; no foreigners to join the family through marriage. In Australia in the post-war years, ‘foreign muck’ was deplored (food, that is). Religion-based tribes sought to keep their people attached to the umbilical cord of ‘tradition’ (based often on a Good Book, which also suggests destroying unbelievers). Cultural isolation remains the driver in a number of ethno-religious communities, even today.

Yet, ’fusion cuisine,’ shared clothing styles, shared lifestyle values and practices, and inter-ethnic marriage are breaking tribal barriers. A shared education enabled by humanistic teachers, habituation in social and sporting contacts, and a rising awareness that we are more similar than different, helps to limit the constraints of tribalism in a multi-ethnic, multicultural nation.

My memoirs, ‘Destiny Will Out,’ and ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ supported by ‘The Karma of Culture’ and ‘The Hidden Footprints of Unity’ which deal with the integration of immigrants into the nation in which they chose to live (available as ebooks with Amazon Kindle at $US 2.99 each) highlight my hope of a universal Family of Man – in recognition of our co-creation from that Ocean of Consciousness, and to which we will return.

Australians, as a nation, were well on the way to this worthwhile state. However, the establishment of ethnic residential enclaves has enabled, not only political representation, but also commercial corruption. Worse still, a minority of immigrants now seek to avoid integration into the national ethos in Australia, through the establishment of a parallel system of law (sharia), and the separation of their peoples from the evolving mainstream of a unified Australian people. Transferring a desert culture into a Western welfare state – what an ambition!

How foolish is it to bite the hand which feeds you?

‘A history of the world in puns’ – dinosaurs

DINOSAURS supposedly ruled the earth for about 135 million years and continue to fascinate (eg Jurassic World) the humans who followed (above, the ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ exhibition at the O2 in 2009) and they are a rich source of puns:

• What do you call it when a dinosaur is involved in a car accident? Tyrannasaurus wreck

• What do you call a dinosaur with a extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus

• What do you call a blind dinosaur? Adoyouthinkhesaurus

• What do you get if you cross a pig with a dinosaur? Jurassic Pork

(From The Telegraph 23 Sept 2015 – on the Internet)

The futility of cultural superiority

We are not born equal – excerpt perhaps identical twins. Twin eggs may produce similar children, apparently. But, from personal experience, I know that 2 minutes’ difference in birth produced 2 children from the same womb who were almost diametrically different in temperament. Perhaps subconscious past-life memories can affect attitudes and behaviour in the first few years.

Having grown up in ethnic diversity, that is, in a close relationship with people of diverse national or tribal or ethno-cultural origins, I can say with total confidence that, in the normality of life, all human beings react to the circumstances of life in almost identical ways. We all pray for a more secure or better life, although the place of prayer and the associated rituals may not be uniform. All the requirements of life are met by us in comparable ways, presumably because we all have the same kind of brain. Only clothing styles, culinary tastes and cuisines reflect a non-competitive diversity of cultural traditions.

Angry people behave in comparable ways. Nice people are alike. In a retirement residential district, the aged can display an exaggerated form of their true nature; they may remain as they were in an earlier time, but only more so. For example, some ‘feather dusters’ may tend to pretend to be the roosters they had once been, or should have been. However, all ‘feather dusters’ are equal; we have all been de-feathered through retirement. In a comparable manner, some widows may tend subconsciously to control every man they meet, in order to maintain their skill.

Since I was brought up to believe that age begets wisdom, I am seriously discomfited. Interestingly, I detect no impact of cultural differences in human behaviour, religious superiority excepted.

The reality of the co-creation of human beings may take a few more civilisational disasters to be accepted fully by the superior ones. The closer reality of only one door being available from the merging of a range of cultural pathways will soon be accepted by many of us. Where that door will take us is, of course, a great mystery.

A history of the world in funny puns

“For many of us, it’s a punderful life (pun: a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words which sound alike but have different meanings) and here we present a history of the world in puns.

So here goes. Once a pun a time . . . it all started with THE BIG BANG, a theory which describes how the Universe began in a rapid expansion about 13.7 billion years ago. It is thought that all of space was created in this first moment. Expert and scientist Stephen Hawking (and who can put down his book about anti-gravity?) has even appeared in a cameo for American sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Here are some space puns:

• How does the Solar System hold up its trousers? With an asteroid belt
• What kinds of music do planets sing? Neptunes
• An astronaut broke the law of gravity and earned a suspended sentence
• That was a poor joke about infinity – it didn’t have an ending”

Gallery compiled by Martin Chilton
From ‘The Telegraph’ 23 Sept. 2015 (on the Internet)

The falsity of racial superiority

The term race is a misnomer. It is both meaningless and misplaced. It reflects merely that claimed superiority of the ‘white’ colonial Christian, who had a fun-time ‘lording’ it over the ‘natives’ all over the world for a few centuries. The claim of a white person being innately superior to all others was asserted, even by European academics, during the 18th century, the white people becoming a ‘race.’ All other races, especially the subjugated ones, were thereby coloured. The white races of East Asia became ‘yellow.’

Most of the people on Earth are coloured – about 85%. This ratio is expected to rise to 90% in the near future. Where did white people come from? There is an Internet site which claims that they are derived from albinos, who tend to have red hair and blue eyes.

Against that, I have read that a major irradiation of Earth from space about 40,000 years ago resulted in the eventual de-pigmentation of a band of the global population. This ranged from (east to west) the Japanese, through Tibet and the Himalayan region, to Central Asia, to Europe. There is an increasing tinge of colour, also going from east to west, the European colour being slightly coppery. This was recently claimed to be the assessed colour of Neanderthal Man.

The result of the cosmic de-pigmentation was apparently settled after about 2,000 years or about 71 generations (of about 30 years apart).

The re-colouring of Europe, begun recently through its coloured colonial chickens ‘coming home to roost,’ devalues the concept of race.

We are all superior

This post reflects my limited experience. It does not offer generalisations about any of the issues I touch upon. My experiences are necessarily historical – the consequence of being ancient.

As a schoolboy, I heard some senior members of the Ceylon Tamil community in British Malaya assert that we were, by virtue of education in English, superior to all other tribal communities present. The Indians there then were predominantly rubber tappers and shopkeepers. The Chinese were market gardeners, tin miners, and shopkeepers. The Malays were kampong people. The Europeans? Beyond the pale! (My interpretation and terminology). They were not liked. Mutual tolerance did prevail amongst the Asians; we were inter-dependent.

The Ceylon Tamils did monopolise the public sector; administrative competence seemed to be innate (as evident to the majority Singhalese in Colombo). Focusing on education (sensibly), they were not particularly impressed by the visible wealth of a few Chinese and Indian businessmen; or the power of the British, or the pomp of the Malay ruling class. If anyone displayed their sense of superiority, it was only the British. The only display of caste I observed was when a Christian Ceylonese doctor had his Hindu Indian servant-boy sit on the floor of his car! I was disgusted.

Among our multi-ethnic peoples, socialisation was then within each tribal culture; but ethnic festivals began to include friends from other cultures. My close friends included Eurasians. Since I owned the soccer ball, from age 7 to age 13 (when the Japanese military arrived), I was everyone’s friend. I earned a bigger ball each year from my favourite uncle (the one whose spirit manifested to offer advice for my spiritual progress after my retirement) by topping my class at school. My point is that, in spite of education or wealth distinctions, a multicultural nation was evolving.

In any new nation being created by immigrants, there is little scope for any claim of superiority to find fertile ground. Australia has demonstrated this. We can all be as superior as we like, but who is listening?

The mirror of imagined social superiority was shattered in what is now Malaysia by the (reluctant) withdrawal of the British; as well as by the (later) presence of sandal-wearing Indians, said to be British-trained lawyers, in the prestigious Selangor Club in Malaysia’s capital. This is the club which, once, had a sign stating ‘No Chinamen or dogs’!

The shallowness of superiority

The following snapshots provide some intimations of the futility of claiming superiority. Looking for work as a school teacher, I rang the education office in Singapore. A languid English voice told me to come back in a year’s time. When I rang a senior teacher, a friend of the family, he told me to report to a particular school the following day; it needed a teacher immediately.

Within the same period, I met an English administrator in a social situation who had a Chinese wife. While he held his position, his English colleagues ostracised the couple socially.

A young woman, whom I suspected worked for Australia’s security agency, spent a little time with some senior British administrators in Malaya. She told me that she did not find the colonial community to her liking because of their values and behaviour.

A few years later, in Australia, a diplomat friend came back from a posting in Malaya with a most peculiar accent. He had not realised that he had copied the speech sounds of the British colonial class.

However, in the 1980s I worked briefly with a most charming and erudite English academic who had held a very senior position in British Africa. That changed my views about the colonial British. I had previously been influenced by my elders and their use of the term ‘upstarts.’

I then met 2 retired British colonial officials, who were employed in the federal public service. I found them and their wives to be nice people. Any sense of superiority they may have had was not perceivable. We socialised successfully with some warmth. This was a most useful lesson for me.

More recently I met an English fellow-retiree whose family had been colonial officials. He became upset when, in a casual conversation, I told him how we colonial subjects had viewed our unwanted rulers from Britain. He accused me of being prejudiced! When I sought to find out what it had been like to be colonial rulers, he avoided further contact. That was in spite of being told that we anti-colonials are not anti-British.

Another contact, through church attendance, told me how the Africans he had helped to rule had thanked the British as they left. I could not tell him that the thanks may have been for leaving!

Since no one likes to be ruled by interlopers, I remain prejudiced. I have no sympathy for those of our former rulers who may have felt discomfited by being de-throned, with a loss of a claimed superiority.