My musings are drawn from my life in pre-independence Malaya and in post-war Australia. I arrived in Australia at age 19 during the White Australia policy era, long before its people joined the Family of Man. My exposure to a range of policies at work, my extensive involvement in civil society, and the racism and tribalism I experienced in my career provide depth to my conclusions.
From age 13, when my boyhood was truncated by the arrival of the Japanese, my life has been a series of inexplicable disasters. These were interspersed by periods of great joy and some peace. Then I would find myself falling into holes which clearly were not there! That is the only way I can describe what happened to me. Since I am certain that I did not initiate any of the major disasters, I have assumed that I was to learn something from such destabilising (but not debilitating) experiences.
I like to believe that I have indeed learned; learned enough to understand some complex matters. This understanding will be reflected in my musings below. Isn’t it a truism that the more one learns, the less one knows? Yet, can one not then begin to understand that which is normally only opaquely comprehensible and, occasionally, what had hitherto been incomprehensible?
All my life I have sought to know; later to understand. I analyse anything and everything. I then speculate, seeking possible patterns.
About to ‘collect my wings,’ I now offer to share my latest and well-considered thoughts with those who care. A prime objective is to cross the cultural boundaries between the individualism of the Western world and the communalism of Asian societies; as well as to highlight the egalitarianism of Australia to our near neighbours. It is this ethos which has led to the less viable of my fellow-Australians to be uniquely offered adequate succour. Am I not thereby a true bicultural Asian-Australian?
(The above extract from the chapter ‘On biculturalism’ in ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ sets the stage for an in-depth look at what seem to me to be the salient features of a fast-improving nation. On the global stage, this nation may seem to be like that stoppered bottle floating on rough seas which cannot thereby sink into oblivion.
Yet, there are uplifting forces within the nation which offer hope for a people who will straddle both the East and the West.)