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The Dance of Destiny Paperback – August 18, 2009
'Raja Ratnam's 'The Dance of Destiny' can be read in a number of ways. The most approachable for a Westerner is as memoir and history. ... Australia (very like the USA) is a land of immigrants and 'The Dance of Destiny' is as much a coming-of-age story for Australia as it is Ratnam's. We follow the nation from political and cultural adolescence after WWII as reflected in its unconscious assumption that White is, quite naturally, the superior skin colour and Christianity, quite supernaturally, the only way to God. Ratnam's social and professional experiences are one long litany of injustices, but by the end of his career in government he records major advances in immigration and ethnic policies and develops a true affection for his chosen country. "Thus" he writes, "In terms of humanity, and a very necessary ethnic diversity, I saw the beginnings of a new Australia."
So, this a very interesting and thought provoking book and made even more so where the narrative is interspersed with the author's metaphysical meditations. Ratnam has read deeply and written at length about religion and spirituality. Such contemplation has made him more able to accept what he calls his wheels-falling-off experiences as mere "manifestations of human will-power and folly, in a universe whose external and internal trajectories are symbolically signified by the flight of dragons," ... Believing as he does in reincarnation and the role of Destiny in his life, there is no closure to his story. One thinks, rightly so.'
Dr. Greg Melleuish, Associate Professor, School of History and Politics, University of Wollongong, Australia, and author " ... an extraordinary piece of work. ... it is unique because not only does it evoke in a rich fashion a life that has been extraordinary ... but is also deeply reflective about what it means to be human. ... an account of a journey of a soul, an account that enriches us as we continue on our individual pilgrimages through life."
From the Inside Flap
"A detailed exploration of a personal journey through varying cultures and countries. ... Ratnam has a rare view of spiritual destiny, colonial politics and cultural identity. This memoir traces his childhood ... to his move to Australia ... creating a diverse array of cross-cultural situations. From the arrogance of British colonials disparaging the Asian cultures in '40s-era Malaysia, to the fight for immigrant equality in present-day Australia, the author examines racial and cultural divisions. He also speculates on the role that destiny places on life's journey.
... his difficult time in Australia enabled the author to write three books related to migrant settlement and sociological issues, fulfilling his destiny in bridging Eastern and Western cultures. Ratnam writes with convincing authority, and his details of Malaysian and Australian society reveal a sharp eye for cultural nuances."
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