Tuesday, September 30, 2008

LETTERS: Some tendentious feedback ...

A reader named Jim and located in Japan sent this e-mail to the wonderful folk at that magnificent website Online Opinion, who then kindly forwarded it to me ...
I can't find (being mostly computer illiterate) how to directly contact the blog sites.

Brilliant, funny, very human - an amazing talent that makes me happy to be able to think of myself as Australian - even though I'd prefer to think I am a citizen of our world. Nevertheless it is my Australian Passport which permits me to travel to the world! I am concerned that there is too much us and them in the world and I think that Irfan's huge talent is to make us smile at the absurdities of bigotry and prejudice - to know how very human we all are despite cultural (including religious) upbringings! Bravo, mate!

I was born in Sydney - ancestry is from England and Scotland - but uncles, aunts and cousins to the nth degree bring in most parts of the known world and a wide range of complexions and perspectives - including those I find difficult to understand. It pleases me that I have German, Chinese, Thai, French, Indigenmous Australian, NZ Maori, Japanese, et al links - but it may not necessarily please all of them... that seems to be the way of it all. I've lived nearly half of my adult life outside of Australia and can truly state that I have been treated with amazing kindness and generosity. My mother, who has never been outside of eastern Australia could tell you the same thing but of her neighbours - from the Philippines, from the Netherlands, of Indigenous and English and Scottish and Chinese ethnicities as well as Catholic and Protestant and agnostic backgrounds...

It is a great world - and Irfan helps us see that - while pricking the pomposities of those ethno-centric souls who wish to look down upon others.

A hero of mine from mid-19th century Japan, YOSHIDA Shoin (1830-1859) believed in equality of peoples, was opposed to the rigid class system of the time, advocated education for women, took up the cudgels, as it were, on behalf of the untouchables of that time - stressed co-operative learning arrangements, encouraged his students by writing private letters, gave no tests, in fact, in his school! Yet his students went on to lead the modernisation of the country - some a little too much influenced by their foreign mentors I might contend - nevertheless two became Prime inisters, one the first Foreign Minister, another the father of Japan Rail, another the father of Japanese technical education, leading diplomats and bureaucrats! Go abroad. Learn about the world and come back were the kinds of things he advocated.

It seems Irfan is playing something of a similar role for Australia! Again, Bravo, I say!
My response? Jim, mate, thank you for your kind words. And the cheque's in the mail!

UPDATE I: Some anonymous comment seems to suggest that I defended the role of Japan in the Second World War. S/he obviously hasn't read what I've written here or here or even here.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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Steven Noble said...

You could use Anonomi to put an email contact box on your blog without fear of spam.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the japanese culture wonderful. It never invaded China or murdered millions including the Australians at Changi and the Burma Railway which never happened. If you love the multi cult world so much why aren't people like you living in muslim countries? If the rest of the world is so great and you are welcome everywhere why not stay overseas and refrain from commenting on what you think Australia should become. Why aren't you insisting that Japan become a totally non-japanese multi cult country?