‘Destiny Will Out’ – my first memoir

This book was written in response to advice from the spirit world. The advice was ‘You could seek to contribute to building a bridge from where you came to where you are.’ When I realised, about 2 years later, that I was indeed knowledgeable about the issues and policies relating to migrant integration into their nation of choice, I wrote this book. Here are the responses.

“——-a well-written, honest, first-hand account of the trials, the pain, the pleasures, the frustrations, and the ultimate success of an Asian immigrant in Australia——-contains important lessons——-.The story is peppered with keen observations, acerbic comments, strongly expressed opinions and wry humour.——-Totally fascinating and strongly recommended”. —Probus News (Spring 1999)

  • “——-honest, insightful, and marked by a genuine perception of the workings of Australian culture and society——-provides an intelligent and spiritually perceptive man’s views and reflections on how Australia has changed over the past forty years.——-It is the sort of book that should be widely read as an antidote to the blinkered views held by both pro- and anti-multiculturalists, because it offers humanity (and spirituality) in an area too dominated by abstract and barren intellectualising” —Dr Gregory Melleuish, Senior Lecturer (History and Politics), University of Wollongong,, and author of “The Packaging of Australia”
  • “——-a timely book. The author is well qualified to comment on burning issues of ethnicity, tribalism and cultural hegemony, ——-having had personal experience of settlement in Australia over a period of half a century; voluntary involvement in a range of community organisations; and work experience as a senior public servant——-” —Prof Jerzy Zubrzycki, Emeritus Professor; and Member, National Multicultural Advisory Council
  • “A rare blend of experience, reflections, and strong judgements, grounded in keen insight. Arasa knows how vote-seeking parliamentarians and ambitious ‘ethno-politicians’ do not see how their actions work against the life-chances of immigrants, by distorting social justice, democracy and language as power foci of official multiculturalism. A cleansing fire! Highly recommended!” — Dr John Atchison, Senior Lecturer (Classics, History and Religion), University of New England.

 “——-a narrative interspersed with charming homilies and thoughtful commentary about Australian society and its reaction to the substantial contact with people of non-European origins——-” “——-a wealth of empirical material regarding the transformation of Australian society, with particular regard to the sensitive areas of immigration, cultural diversity and race relations.” ——-“He has many salient points to make about the distinction between cultural diversity and State-funded multiculturalism, and the problems of public education and the welfare system—–” “This authentic testament of the migrant experience in the midst of the White Australia policy also offers refreshing perspectives, bereft of bureaucratic jargon and, more importantly, of the sort of predictable rhetoric one has come to expect from some political activists.” –Jason Soon in “Policy” (Spring 1999), organ of The Centre for Independent Studies, Australia.

“The family re-union (immigration) program and structural multiculturalism have come in for their share of criticism and analysis in the 1980s, and Arasa has some pungent insider’s comment on these topics and on the humanitarian (refugee) intake.” –– Dr Katharine Betts, (Senior Lecturer, Swinbourne University of Technology) in “People and Place”, vol. 7, no. 2, 1999

Reader responses

“——-thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well written, informative and slyly witty.” —Noel Purves, Retired school principal, Western Australia

“Raw honesty, with unsettling insight. Read it and reassess multiculturalism.” —Danny Ronis, Planning Manager, South Australia

“…….I found his account of childhood…….fascinating and nostalgic,…….his experiences of emigration to Australia and subsequent struggles to understand and come to terms with the culture are where he affords insight and sympathy with the new immigrant’s plight.” —Philippa Cairns, Co-ordinator, ESOL (English as a Second Other Language) Home Tutor Service (Western Bay of Plenty). New Zealand.

“I must congratulate you on your commendable work in bringing out a worthy publication. I enjoyed your language, particularly your humour and quotes.” —C. Rajadurai,, former Bursar, University Technology; Executive Secretary, Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia; and community leader, Malaysia.

“I recommend that all Australians read this book to understand what immigrants go through” —Maria de Rocco (ex-Italy), Music Tutor, New South Wales.

“……Arasa’s insight into problems that arise, along with suggestions on how to avoid them and live in harmony in a multiculturally enriched society is an intriguing read.” –-Hilary Chaly, Legal Executive, New Zealand

“Arasa’s book is poignant and informative for anyone of adult age. We have lived through enormous cultural/political changes in Australia since World War Two. I have watched the face of the nation change, and read the book with fascination……..” –Maureen Nathan (ex-South Africa), Pharmacist, New South Wales.

“A definite inside story reflecting prejudice and his success against mountainous odds due to his colour……..Excellent reading.” —Dr. Zyg Atlas (immigrant), medical practitioner, and author of “Just One Life”. Victoria

“It is the detail about your personal history and about your experiences in Australia that are particularly rewarding for the reader ……….Full marks for the penetration and perspicacity of your observations, the lucidity of your English, and the wealth of detail”. – –Robert Purves, barrister-at-law, UK and Australia.


RAJA – YouTube No. 3

Rear-vision mirror observations

The indomitable octogenarian author Raja Arasa Ratnam has more to tell us. He had published 3 books to meet his obligation to his spirit uncle and to the higher beings who had sent his uncle to counsel him about his spiritual progress.

To those who keep telling him what Jesus had allegedly said about dealing with spirits, his response is this. No sensible person can deny a real experience. And one should not assume that spirits – who are only former human beings – are evil. Cross the road with due care, he advises!

Having passed his use-by date, he wrote 2 books which he describes as rear-vision mirror observations. The first is a memoir. The other represents his conclusions about his country of adoption – or was it exile?

This memoir, ‘The Dance of Destiny,’ covers the life of his extended family, immigrants from Ceylon, in British Malaya; then life under a Japanese military occupation; and, most interestingly, life in colonial Singapore with his Anglo-Australian wife. The rare opportunity for the Indian community to socialise with a European woman enabled Raja and wife to enjoy a rich social life, and to acquire a couple of close friends.

The rest of the book covers his life as a settler in Australia. Step by step, he recounts his prodigious efforts to find a career. He qualified as a psychologist, and then as an economist, by studying at night, with minimum sleep. His first wife left him, as foretold by a number of palmists. His second marriage was a success, with 2 offspring in financial security.

When that marriage finally broke up, he realised where the trajectory of his personal destiny was heading. So, he included in his memoir his understanding of how one crafts one’s destiny through reincarnation.  The book ends on a high spiritual note. He now realises that, throughout his life, he had been paddling steadily in his frail sampan as his river of destiny had taken him where it had to.

Drawing upon his experiences, he then wrote ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ It is a hard-hitting but fair assessment of Australian society, from the perspective of a bicultural Asian-Australian. When a senior academic said ‘There is wisdom here,’ he had it published.

The book covers religion and the Cosmos, the hegemonic US empire, national identity, racism and tribalism (Raja has suffered from both), the folly of multiculturalism policy which erroneously stressed the retention of imported cultures, the myth of Western democracy, the breakdown of family and its consequences for society, and so on.

In articles published elsewhere, Raja warns against those new immigrant arrivals who want Australia to change to suit what he refers to as a desert culture. It is the immigrant who has to adapt, he insists.

This octogenarian author is indeed fearless. He tells it as he sees it.

Post-colonialism: Expatriate advisers

When the Board of the Central Bank in a small recently-decolonised Asian nation sought input from an appropriate international agency about an appropriate policy for the future, it was to convince an inexperienced government. The government was more likely to accept a suggested plan from an expatriate authorised adviser than one developed from within the Bank.

I was told the following story by a friend from that nation. The international expert sat down with each of the ‘Young Turks’ (overseas-trained, fast-rising, young economists). Obtaining their ideas about an appropriate development plan, he packaged into his report to the Board a consolidated version. Everyone was happy. The expert went home with a fat cheque.

Believing that what a European can do could surely also be done by an Asian, one of the Young Turks took off to advise one of the African nations for 3 years. It was lucrative.

He was not the first from that nation to become an expatriate consultant – on expatriate European levels of remuneration – to advise an African nation. As another friend of mine from that nation wrote to me, from his post as an expatriate consultant, the Africans were paying ‘white man’ fees to black consultants.

By the 1960s, there were quite a few economists from that nation in one or more international agencies. Perhaps appointments to such agencies did not involve the intangible, sub-surface, and allegedly flexible processes which were said to apply in nations in the developing world. Personal contacts and relative influence seem to have been disproportionately prevalent in these nations.

However, could even the most sensible, pragmatic, development plans devised by expatriate consultants overcome the stranglehold by the neo-colonial nations over the economies of developing nations? Then, there is the competition provided in the international market-place by developed nations such as Australia establishing themselves as growers of rice, tea, coffee, and tropical fruits, and thus damaging the much-needed export markets of the under-developed nations all over the world. As well, there is the confluence of the greed of some national leaders and the rapacity of the neo-colonial nations.

Add to that the foreign loans which have to be repaid; and the private charity monies which are reportedly deflected into non-development accounts in the receiving nation. In the 1960s, it was reported that, within 9 months, monies lent or given to certain Latin American nations would be back in U.S. bank accounts.

Expatriate advisers can only point the way forward.

Thoughts for the day – NOT (Part 2)

  • How does Moses make tea? Hebrews it.
    • Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
    • A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy.
    • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
    • Haunted French pancakes give me the crêpes.
    • England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
    • I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
    • They told me I had type-A blood, but it was a Typo.
    • I changed my iPod’s name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.

(Time to run for cover?)

A personal identity

“Is there a single personal identity for each individual? In British Malaya, the land of my birth, we were classi­fied according to the territory from which we had come. I was therefore Ceylonese. In post-war White Australia, I was initially described as a black man, occasionally black bastard. Later, I was an Asian student, with Immigration authori­ties ensuring that we did not become over-stayers. Then I became an Indian, because everyone brown in colour, other than the indigene, was Indian; although I was occasionally asked when my Afghan ancestors had arrived in Australia.

Later, much later, like everyone else, I was defined by my work, with passing reference to my origins. Occupation and status were standard delineations of identity. However, when my wife and I mixed with middle-range diplomats, I was assumed to be a foreign diplomat; brown-skinned Asian Australians were a missing species. I guess we scrubbed up well too, and spoke ‘proper like.’ Among the academics, I was assumed to be one of them; my tendency to speak in jargon from the social sciences may have misled them all. I was a mere public servant. In this arena, one’s social contacts were obliquely, yet inevitably, set by one’s position in the pecking order!

When I retired, to live alone in a small fibro-and-tin house in a low-income district, and drove an old Corolla, initially I seemed to be viewed as a blackfellow. That is, many of the local whites looked askance at me, reminding me of the White Australia era. Even when I was dressed relatively expensively, some locals looked at me, as in earlier times, as if I might suddenly bite them; they had that wary look. The local Aborigines would not, of course, accept me as a ‘black­fella.’ I was, to them, a ‘whitefella.’” … …

“But then … … what have the various perceptions of me by others to do with what I am? Do I not have a core per­sonality? If so, what is it? How is it to be discovered, and by whom? To confuse matters, could I be a multi-layered entity? If so, could I intuitively seek to strip away layers of myself to ascertain what might be a core that is an invariant me?

Peeling away the persona I present to the public (including my colleagues at work and in civil society), then the persona I present to the (extended) family, can I then divest myself of the image I have created for myself (if I dare!), and expose that long-buried skeleton of my innate personality or iden­tity? Would it be a frail courage or a disarming folly to go that far?”

These are extracts from my book ‘Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society,’ Chapter 8, ‘On national identity.’

Th/e ‘black arm-band’ view of Australian history

The deplorable record of the invasion of Australia by the British is undeniable. However, certain influential Australians would prefer to have no mention of this record in the public domain or in our schools.

They insist that the ‘black armband’ view of Australia’s history should be dispensed with. Educators and the media are to refer with reverence to the wonder of multiculturalism having risen from successful settlement.

There you have it. The past should not live in the present, contrary to genetics, psychology; and subconscious tribal memories. I doubt if the Australian Aborigine will agree with this devout attempt to whitewash the past.

The extract below is from Chapter 3 ‘To have a dream’ in my book ‘Hidden Footprints of Unity.’ The thrust of the book is to seek the Australian Family of Man arising from the recently achieved cultural diversity. Yet what was done to the Australian indigene cannot be ignored.

“A few years after the initial ‘discovery’ of Australia by Lieutenant Cook, it was apparently known that the indigenes not only occupied the land and used it with economic purpose, but also (according to the highly respected Dr.Coombs) “… lived in clan or tribal groups, that each group had a homeland with known boundaries, and that they took their name from their district, and rarely moved outside it”. It was also known that they had, and applied, firm rules about trespass, kinship ties, marriage, child rearing and other matters, the hallmarks of an organised society; that they had a “habit of obedience” to their rulers and leaders, a hallmark of a political society; and that they had an ordered ceremonial life, reflecting the sharing of a spiritual vision, a hallmark of a civilisation.

Apparently, they also had their own zodiac, which guided their activities. Their artistic records are also well known and respected.

It has now been accepted that the indigenes did not cede any of their land. As the famous poet Oodjaroo Noonuccal said, “We are but custodians of the land”. Whilst the settlers saw themselves at war, and killed to acquire land, officialdom (later supported by local jurists) preferred occupation to conquest. Occupation follows discovery, of a presumed empty land. How were the natives to establish ownership without a Titles Office?

Because the morally political Australian rejected the idea of an invasion, a Senate Committee came up, in the early 1980s, with prescription. This apparently applies when there is no clear title to sovereignty by way of treaty, occupation or conquest. An extended occupation, and an exercise of sovereignty were apparently enough to vest title in the Crown.

But, prescription requires a show of authority on the one side, and acquiescence on the other (says Prof. Reynolds, the renowned contributor to the nation’s enlightenment on this black subject). Since the natives never acquiesced to anything, voluntary abandonment was claimed. The Senate’s clever semantic exercise seemed to accept that being killed or driven away is tantamount to voluntary abandonment!

A prominent white Australian sociologist reminded me that cities such as Melbourne and Sydney represented the most effective sites of ethnic cleansing; and that every fence in Australia encloses land that was once the soul, or the shared possession of a particular group of Aborigines.”

Comment: Why should all this be hidden? To ease the conscience of white supremacists?







Faith healing observed by sceptical medicos

In my Thirties, my Chinese-Australian medico and family friend told me about a small team of local doctors who had gone to the Philippines to observe a faith healer at work. The video they had made there confirmed, on their return, what they had seen. As my friend said to me, “What we observed is impossible; yet it happened.” As we agreed, a real experience cannot be denied.

Then, a Polish immigrant friend of mine took his Israeli wife to a Filipino faith healer. The healer provided a cure beyond the hitherto capacity of her doctors. This friend, also a medico, could not also believe what he had seen the healer do. He went back later to have his ‘tennis elbow’ cured successfully.

Both the Chinese and Polish doctors observed the identical procedure. This involved removing some whitish substance from within the body. A woman I knew in my district had a comparable experience with a visiting Filipino ‘thumbnail’ healer.

However, in my reading about such ‘faith’ (psychic) healers, I came across a report of a noodle being removed from the inside of a Swiss client. All such procedures involved a brief prayer by the healer. Little or no blood was lost. And the patient suffered no pain.

In another case I read about, somewhere in South America (Argentina?), a healer with a great local reputation opened up a patient’s middle. Instead of some whitish substance being removed, a stream of fiery red ants was seen to climb out of the open body, walk down a leg of the bed, cross the floor, and march out of the door in single file into the open.

While infallible professional sceptics might have a ‘fun time’ about the noodle and the ants, are these more improbable than other repeatedly reported acts of healing by those commonly referred to as ‘thumbnail’ surgeons?

Is healing by faith any more than the extreme end of the spectrum of healing, beginning with pills and potions, progressing through self-cure by positive thinking and visualisation, and finally to intervention by spirit healers?

An alternative view of Reality

David Bohm, physicist, as stated at the end of my previous post, offers another view of Reality from that of current scientific thinking.

“Reality, Bohm’s work suggests, has a more subtle nature than that which can be defined by linear human thinking … Within the fabric of reality, Bohm found not just the wave/particle duality phenomenon … but also an inter-connectedness, a Non-Space or Non-Local reality where only the appearance of waves also being particles exists. He saw, perhaps intuitively, that it is ultimately meaningless to see the universe as composed of parts, or disconnected, as everything is joined, space and time being composed of the same essence as matter.”

Semantically, at this high level of abstraction – so it seems to me – I admit to being adrift. A ‘Non-Space’ or a ‘Non-Local’ reality? As David Lewis says in this article from which I am quoting, ‘The physicist as mystic’ (in ‘Forbidden history’ edited by Douglas Kenyon), “Reality, then, is not material … it is something far more ineffable … Mystics call it ‘oneness.’”

More from Lewis: “Bohm evolved a yet more profound understanding, that of an interconnected whole with a conscious essence, where all matter and events interact with one another, because time, space, and distance are an illusion relative to perspective. He developed, in fact, a holographic model of the universe, in which the whole can be found in the most minute part – in a blade of grass or an atom – and where matter, circumstance, and dimension result from holographic projections of subtle but powerful conscious energy.”

I think that I need 2 things. First, someone to translate the above in operational terms; then an explanation as to how I, and everything else of substance like me, exist in space. Having once seen a holographic image of a tiny human performing on the stage in space (that is, he was there and yet not there), I can only remain in conceptual wonderment. I also remember reading that my elbow contains more space than substance; yet ‘tennis elbow’ was most painful for months. That is, I (assuming I am a projection) did hurt.

Perhaps I should just follow Hinduism’s Upanishads and seek to apprehend Reality through deep meditation (even if I cannot talk about that experience). But, by what path would a follower of Bohm perceive Reality?

This is a serious question.

Planetary amnesia – another myth?

When Velikovsky shattered the fragile glass bowl of uniformitarianism (that all change on, or affecting, Earth are gradual in occurrence), self-selected protectors of this bowl apparently went ballistic. Defending reigning scientific ‘theology’ is understandable; but how explain the ferocity of the personal attacks?

To recapitulate: allegedly, in the 1800s, agreement had been reached that Earth and its passengers had never been exposed to catastrophes. ‘In the case of the “Velikovsky affair,” the organised frantic defence of entrenched belief produced one of the most pathological episodes in the history of science. Had Immanuel Velikovsky penetrated the veil of “planetary amnesia”?’ (Steve Parsons in The perils of planetary amnesia in Forbidden history, edited by Douglas Kenyon.

Velikovsky, a qualified psychoanalyst, in his Mankind in Amnesia, claimed that ‘the ancient sages exhibited a frightened state of mind, haunted by a particular fear based on terrible events their ancestors had experienced when their world had been ripped apart by monstrous natural forces.  He described the means by which this deepest of collective trauma was gradually buried and forgotten over the years, but not eliminated.’ (Parsons). But had he relied on more than Jewish writings?

Like Carl Jung’s collective unconscious, a collective amnesia, affecting all mankind, for all time, is now offered to explain the behaviour of humanity. Thus, Velikovsky’s planetary amnesia is now being claimed to explain human violence. However, does our tendency to violence merely reflect our origins – part animal (refer ‘the Adam’ created by extraterrestrials, thus injecting the 223 foreign genes not found in the animal kingdom – so says Sitchin), or as a wholly terrestrial being (evolved, without external interference, from a faunal predecessor).

Parsons says that ‘Velikovsky understood our tendency to suppress trauma but also to express and repeat trauma in peculiar ways. … we barely recognise our own violence, and certainly don’t associate it with ancient roots.’ Certainly not!

How credible is all this? Should we blame our foreign genes (if Sitchin is acceptable); or our own ‘animal’ genes; or our own moral immaturity; or an unpredictable imbalance in our limbic (emotional) responses?

As for planetary amnesia, while everything in existence in the Universe is seemingly linked to everything else, and in an etheric manner; and if some of us have difficulty in overcoming personal trauma; why assume that it is an inheritable propensity? Perhaps ‘planetary amnesia’ is just another myth.

And not all myths have relevance for understanding the human psyche, while some history may be explicable through a sensible interpretation of folklore.

Allowing ancient civilisations to tell their tales

The lamentation by an Egyptian sage about the disaster which befell his country, recorded in the Papyrus Ipuwer, matched those in the Book of Exodus. So said Velikovsky, referring to the fall of stones (hail) and ‘burning pitch.’ He also noted in the Book of Joshua that a shower of meteorites preceded the Sun’s ‘standing still.’ That would imply that the rotation of Earth had been suspended. What does it take to have that effect?

I recall reading many years ago about an ancient Chinese claim that the sun did not set for days; and that, in Central America (on the opposite side of the globe), the sun had not risen for days. Why shouldn’t these reports be regarded as credible? Another recollection of mine is that a Chinese emperor had sent someone (Yu?) to locate the cardinal points, because the extended period of darkness (another catastrophe?) which had overtaken the land had thereby denied the sighting of the sun (where is the east?).

Then there is the issue of Venus. Against the standard view of Venus as planet, Velikovsky claimed that it had been a comet. That was because of ‘what ancient people actually said about Venus. They said that Venus was a comet. They called Venus the long-haired star, the bearded star, and the witch star. They said Venus … was a fierce dragon who attacked the world.’ (Steve Parsons in The perils of planetary amnesia in Forbidden history, edited by Douglas Kenyon.) If Venus had always been a planet, what had dislodged it?

Parsons also states ‘… the traditional theory cannot account for the invisible remnant of a comet-like tail extending forty-five million kilometres into space. The Venusian tail was detected by the Earth-orbiting SOHO satellite and reported in the 1997 issue of New Scientist. So, the ancients were not wrong!

Wallace Thornhill, a physicist, states (quoted by Parsons) ‘You have to observe what nature actually does, not what you think it should do.’ Thornhill’s approach does allow ancient human testimony to count as credible evidence. As Parson says ‘Fables, legends and myths don’t prove Thornhill’s ideas, but they provide ideas.’