Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)Depot)

Socialising in the ‘Afterlife’ (the Recycling Depot)

The clairvoyant who enabled the spirit of my uncle to offer me advice told me, nearly a quarter of a century ago, not to be in a hurry (I was!) ‘to get to the Other Side’; it would not be different from here, he said. I did not like that.

I was, however, promised that I would continue my learning there. As to those I might meet there, all my close relatives who had died a while back would probably have been reincarnated by now. Would I be fortunate in meeting some of the ‘higher beings’ referred to by my uncle? He had explained that they had sent him to me.

It would also be wonderful to be able to talk to some of the learned men and women of recent times. Throughout my life, I have tended to seek out people who are interesting, especially immigrants and (genuine) refugees in Australia offering their diverse experiences. Great insight into the human condition is thus available.

I would also like to meet in the Afterlife some of those religious leaders who had practised control over their ‘flocks,’ including separating them from being contaminated by ‘foreign’ ideologies. In this context, I am reminded of that priest who convinced all 5 of our new neighbours not to have coffee with my wife. They ignored us after that; we were not of ‘the faith.’ What ignorance; what subservience. How un-Australian!

I would ask such priests what they thought they had done for humanity as a whole. I do not, however, expect bigotry and evil thoughts to survive Earthly death. One’s soul should be above Earthly contaminants.

The Afterlife promises to be interesting in another way. Currently I am saddened by those Christians, all regular church-goers, who have indicated to me that they do not know what will happen to them after death (in spite of what the Bible promises), or who are genuinely afraid to die. They are not convinced by my belief that we will all go to a better place. What have their priests done to them? I know them to be good people, surely not conceived or born in ‘sin.’    

I look forward to be able to say to them (and their priests) ‘Isn’t this a good place to be’? I really cannot see why the Afterlife (the Recycling Depot) cannot also be an R&R (rest and recuperation) Way Station!

There we could again re-connect as fellow-travelers, until we move on to our respective personal-destiny pathways once more. It is the journey, the objective of repeated rebirths, which offers valuable learning in the meaning of existence and non-existence!

My 3 votes

What a transition: from having no political rights as a colonial subject, to find myself with 3 votes after becoming an Australian citizen. Voting is compulsory in Australia; this is an improvement over optional voting, both in terms of applied democracy and in limiting the scope for manipulation.

But, am I empowered politically by exercising a vote at federal, state and local government levels? I do not feel so. Why? For the last 5 centuries or so, in the Western world, political parties have been choosing their candidates for election by registered voters; the membership of Party branches can have, in many instances, a great say in this nomination. By and large, we voters have no say as to the individuals who are to represent us in parliament (or in any other appropriate forum). We just vote for the party of our choice. In Australia, the choice is effectively between Tweedledum and Tweedledee (refer Alice through the Looking Glass). In local government, teams tend to replace political parties.

Who decides the policies? The parties, of course. Do voters have any say in the formulation of policies? Do we have any say in when the sun rises? But … … we can replace the government! One tends to seek to do that, especially when one’s party and representative do not reflect our more urgent needs.

How are the candidates chosen? How would we know? On what criteria are they nominated? Yet another mystery. When I spent 10 years (7 as the chairman) on a trade union committee working for merit protection in the Australian federal public service (later receiving a Meritorious Service Award), we ensured that duty statements and selection criteria were accurate and made explicit; and that assessment and appeal procedures were transparent. I have never heard of such an approach by our political parties in selecting candidates for election!

What indeed are their criteria for selection? Whoever seems to offer the best chance of winning, obviously! What determines the field? I can surely guess! In view of the availability of electoral staff to deal with the public, what are the duties of our elected representatives, apart from voting as told?

So, this is Western democracy! Thus when the West requires certain nations of interest (not the others, especially if they have the resources we need) to display greater human rights, what is asked is that each adult should have a vote in electing political leaders. This should replace tribal leadership with political party leadership. While the voters may be no better off, foreign powers (that’s us) may be better enabled to influence certain national policies in these new ‘democratic’ nations.

Is there a lesson to be learnt from those nations which are democratic but which continue to be led by unreplaceable heads of government or unshakeable political parties?

Succour seekers – a parable

Woofer’s faint but excited barks warned of intruders into my extensive plantation. Since two sides were protected by electrified fences, the intruders must be attempting to cross the fast-flowing creek which delineates my property at the farther end. At my urgent request, representatives of the Emergency Services Unit were able to save from drowning 2 persons.

Apart from their clothing, they had nothing on them. They claimed to be escapees from a distant plantation where they had been brutalised.  Any injuries incurred not being visible, the trauma they claimed had to be psychological.

For my protection, and since it was now night, I locked them in a distant corner of the plantation, which provided comfortable lodging, food and other necessary facilities. Did the escapees know about this facility for my workers? Is this why they had sought to enter my plantation? The Protective Services Unit would be called in the morning.

At the crack of dawn, there appeared instead a delegation of 3 from the Succour Seeker Supporters. They criticised my action. As escapees from brutality, the 2 escapees had a right not to be locked up, they declared fiercely; these desperate people had a right to be housed and fed in a humane fashion within my house with the back door left open at all times, until the authorities decided their future. All this was a requirement laid down on a tablet which had come down to them from on-high during pre-history.

The lawyer in the group said that he would take me to court for not allowing free movement to the escapees within my home and property, and for displaying inadequate care. The politician explained that the convention required me to provide succour, no matter what financial costs and family disruption resulted. The third member said that it was the Christian thing to do, especially as there only 2 to look after.

When I asked how these succour seekers would live, after they had left my property, and until they learned that freedom equalled responsibility to house and feed themselves, the joint response from the Supporters was ‘Its God’s Will.’ In the meantime, while we awaited God’s guidance to the heathens (for that is what the escapees are), our courts would require me to house and feed them to a standard they had aspired to after watching our t.v. – thanks to CNN and Al Jazeera. So mought it be!

Western democracy vs. tribalism

When Britain was forced to leave Hong Kong after a century of colonialism, its departing governor expressed regret that Britain had not had enough time to teach democracy to the locals. What twaddle! Democracy is very important to the former colonial ‘powers,’ but only as a tool for eliminating tribal leadership (except when this leadership owns any oil fields or other valuable natural resources).

In Australia, democracy is a farce, as we all know. (It is a great disappointment for those of us who had lived under colonialism.) We voters do not select our representatives – who are therefore not answerable to anyone except their political party leaders (the new tribal leaders). I write from some in-depth experience of the three levels of government in Australia. My votes mean little. Why should I prefer Tweedledum to Tweedledee (see ‘Alice in the Looking Glass’)?  As a communitarian small-l liberal (thereby a political orphan), I was once able to state publicly that my elected representatives were useless in terms of our needs, but were otherwise nice, amiable people. (One must be grateful for small mercies).

The issues relating to Asian-Australian relations in such matters as Western democracy (vs. other forms of governance), and the probable benefits of Asian spiritualism against the individualism of the immigrant-created Western nations are covered in the ‘Karma of Culture’ and in ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ (which is about Australian society).

I am not arguing in favour of tribal leadership. But I reject neo-colonialism with its demands that every adult in every country of eco-political interest to the West should have a vote. This is generally claimed as a human rights issue. Having a vote without the necessary societal changes is meaningless to the voter. It puts his nation at risk; the neo-colonial re-organiser of the national leadership of other nations can easily achieve control of the surrogate tribal leadership, the leaders of the political parties.

Open-door immigration and open minds

In the mid-1970s a radical Australian government formally ended the White Australia policy (with its racism). This was sensible. A white-man outpost set in coloured waters and surrounded by foreign faiths in the burgeoning independent nations of Asia was clearly not politically sustainable. Yet, the entry door was not fully opened to the darker peoples of the Indian sub-continent until after the 1980s, as indicated by Census data (see Census 2001).

The reigning antipathy to the Aborigine may have coloured the perceptions of some individuals, also influenced (perhaps) by the religions of the region. Australia had already suffered from a bitter sectarian religious divide, which contrasted with my experience of tolerance in British Malaya.

Had this divide now become subterranean? It seems so, as the chasm created historically seems to be unbridgeable. The open immigration door, with its assumed influx of foreign faiths, has certainly not broadened the nation’s ideological values. For example, unlike most developed Western nations, Australia does not have a statute of liberty (while it lectures Asian nations about human rights). See Geoffrey Robertson’s ‘The Statute of Liberty.’

Further, although a vast majority of Australians seek voluntary (repeat, voluntary) euthanasia, a religious minority successfully denies compassionate relief to those who cannot be made pain-free, both pharmaceutically and through palliative care. See my 3 ezine articles on ‘The will of the people.’ (Refer Raja A Ratnam)