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Travel

Malaysia

 

 

In February 2011 we travelled to Malaysia.  I was surprised to see modern housing estates in substantial numbers during our first cab ride from the Airport to Kuala Lumpur.  It seemed more reminiscent of the United Arab Emirates than of the poorer Middle East or of other developing countries in SE Asia.  Our hotel was similarly well appointed.

 

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Fiction, Recollections & News

Merry Christmas

[Turn on your sound...]

 

 

What!   Don't I mean happy festive season? 

No I don't. 

I'm more than content with Christmas this uniquely Australian blend of cultural traditions celebrated in the heat of summer.  I'm happy for school kids to perform in nativity plays.  I'm happy to go to Church with friends and family.  And I'm happy to play Christmas Carols at home and sometimes sing them with others in a park or around a table. 

Like many Australians I'm an immigrant. When I arrived in 1948 with my parents I had no choice in the matter. But since then I've tried living overseas and now I'm free to leave at any time I like. Yet I choose to live in Australia because I have come to like and be a part of our way of life.  Celebrating Christmas as we do is uniquely Australian.

So I'm inclined to say to new arrivals or to local killjoys who object:

"Try embracing our chosen country's rather unique traditions and ways. You may come to love them as I have.  Celebrating Christmas doesn't stop us holding our own religious beliefs or from remembering and integrating our previous cultural traditions as well."

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Opinions and Philosophy

Science, Magic and Religion

 

(UCLA History 2D Lectures 1 & 2)

 

Professor Courtenay Raia lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time; starting in pre-history. She goes on to examine the pre-1700 mind-set when science encompassed elements of magic; how Western cosmologies became 'disenchanted'; and how magical traditions have been transformed into modern mysticisms.

The lectures raise a lot of interesting issues.  For example in Lecture 1, dealing with pre-history, it is convincingly argued that 'The Secret', promoted by Oprah, is not a secret at all, but is the natural primitive human belief position: that it is fundamentally an appeal to magic; the primitive 'default' position. 

But magic is suppressed by both religion and science.  So in our modern secular culture traditional magic has itself been transmogrified, magically transformed, into mysticism.

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