The full title of this book is ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity: beyond tribalism and towards a new Australian identity.’ The book has two platforms: the relationships between immigrant communities; and the shared search for God (the Universal Creator) by one and all, but along diverse paths.
Implicit in this narrative is the folly of mutual antipathy (through divisive dogma) by institutional religion. It is my considered view that there are only 2 core beliefs within the major religions, irrespective of whether the religions were of desert or forest origins, and that these are shared by most of them. The core beliefs are: that there is a Creator of all that is; and that, as co-created, we humans are bonded to one another. Regrettably dogma, intended to bond adherents, has become instrumental in unwarranted competition between religions. The paths are indeed diverse, but surely lead to the single end-point!
As for inter-ethnic relations, I stress the importance of immigrant communities understanding, if not knowing, other immigrant cultures; and to tolerate differences in the mode and direction of prayer, and the associated tribo-cultural practices. It is, of course, expected that immigrant communities accept the institutions of Australia and its social mores, and not expect the nation they chose to enter to change to suit imported cultures which are incompatible with prevailing mainstreaming culture. Naturally, a national culture will evolve in time.
Inter-cultural marriage, fusion cuisine, teachers guiding successive generations to a shared citizenship, and (as I believe) a natural tendency for humans to reach out to one another, have resulted in a modern cosmopolitan Australia.
The wisdom of the Upanishads and that of a few wise souls is offered in the book as a means of recognising the co-creation of all humanity, viz. the Family of Man, my ideal for mankind.
This is a well-written book and recommended for anyone studying comparative religion, sociology, Australian history, civil rights, and ethnic cultures of Australia. It would be appropriate for high school and college students, civil rights and religious leaders, and historians. The author uses a quote from Hippocrates made 2,500 years ago to make his point. “There is one common flow, one common breathing. All things are in sympathy.”
Recommended by Cynthia Collins for the US Review of Books
“This book portraits the author’s skilful narration on relationships between migrant communities and the shared search for God (the universal creator). I am filled with admiration for the author who pens with so much conviction and confidence. It is partly an octogenarian’s memoir of his youth in Singapore and Malaya (Malaysia) and life then onwards, 6 decades, in Australia.
The book has been cleverly written with much passion and personal experiences and observations. His early confrontations with the white Australian policies and their superiority attitude and how with the coming of the new arrivals into this totally white nation, gradually taking another turn. He writes frankly, with no prejudices, with the ultimate aim of creating an Australian Man !!
In dealing with race and colour issues, he also deals with the aborigines of Australia who were originally stripped off their rights. Their stance is being legally looked into and that is something ongoing.
It is a great read for foreign students, people seeking refuge, historians, religious leaders and travellers abroad and both governmental and non- governmental organizations. Gives an insight and background of present day well organized Australia.
He is emphasizing the need for multicultural understanding and inter-ethnic tolerance in order to foster a sense of unity in a country that started off as an all-white country with one religion, Christianity. Once again, all this with the aim of creating an Australian Man !! Special emphasis is given to the situation of the Aborigines and their plight for their rights which were originally stripped off them.
He strives to achieve an Australian Man and the creation of all humanity by offering and quoting words from wise men and the Upanishads. A recommended read for any newcomer to Australia.
S. den Drijver, The Netherlands.