Surviving to contribute: age no barrier
Who would not be interested in a 87-year old whose mind is as sharp as a tack, and who writes in an interesting and clear style? Yet, he began to write only after a significant psychic experience after retirement.
“You could contribute to building a bridge from where you came to where you are” suggested the spirit of his uncle just before he de-materialised. Earlier, the clairvoyant involved had told Raja, a bicultural Asian-Australian, that the spirit world had experienced difficulty in getting him to Australia. ‘Why me?’ was his plaintive thought, in the light of his difficult life, over 6 decades, in his country of adoption.
Raja knows a lot about migrant settlement, both from his settlement experiences and his work as a director of policy on ethnic affairs & multiculturalism, citizenship & national identity, as well as refugee & humanitarian entry.
His settlement experiences included a woman shouting at him in a public place. She said, “Why don’t you go back home, you black bastard?” He happens to be light tan in skin colour.
Although qualified as a psychologist, he was denied a job because he was ‘too black.’ When he then qualified as an economist, he was told that the Australian worker in the private sector ‘is not yet ready for a foreign executive.’ This was White Australia, after all.
It was the public sector which promoted him rapidly. Yet, he was somewhat dishonestly denied permanent promotion in the Senior Executive Service. He obtained proof of that 2 years later.
To compensate, he channelled his surplus energy into civil society, where he made a substantial contribution in his spare time. He was chairman of a school board, the national president of an organisation akin to Toastmasters, the founder of a public speaking competition for primary school students, and a recipient of a meritorious service award from his union for his work on merit protection.
He achieved all this while the wheels of his life-chances cart fell off from time to time; and he kept falling into holes which were not there. Obviously, he does not give up!
Between 69 and 84 he published 6 books; 2 memoirs, 2 on migrant settlement, 1 on Australian society, and 1 on fiction. 4 of his non-fiction books were recommended by the US Review of Books. All the books received favourable reviews. Quite an achievement!
He then wrote 44 thought-provoking articles for ezinearticles.com. He has now completed about 1,000 daily posts on his WordPress blog, rajarasablog.wordpress.com, titled ‘An octogenarian’s final thoughts’ : a mind-exploring smorgasbord!
This octogenarian author is Raja Arasa Ratnam. I commend him to you as a most unusual person who, in spite of his travails, claims to be at peace mentally and spiritually. “At my age, I should be”, he says. “My wings await me.”