The author spent a year travelling through Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and the Philippines visiting villages where he spoke to the headmen and villagers and spent time in universities where he talked at length with academics. He had discussions with politicians on future plans and elders on how things were in the past and how customs and communities are being threatened. Wherever he went he took many photographs and this book is filled with scenes of life and the environment.
Nadarajah’s 32 meditations link the destructive forces created by urbanisation and sustainable development that has pushed back the forests and destroyed the habitat of many small communities and endangered many of the native animals.
In meditation 21 the author expands on the topic of sustainable development from a western capitalist view point;
- it’s a human centred worldview,
- the emphasis is on growth from a capitalist market approach,
- demonstrates a relative ignorance of the need for radical change in peoples’ demands on the earth,
- it perpetuates the view that nature is merely a collective of natural resources that can be exploited by human beings, and
- a faith that all environmental problems can eventually be solved by technology.
This is directly followed by a dissertation on the key differences between the Western way of life and the Asian way and how Western lifestyles and beliefs threatens Asian values. He focuses on the way spiritualisation impacts local communities and how they live in harmony with the environment. They live in integrated family systems where there is respect for the elderly and where consumption is not king.
M. Nadarajah has spent his life working on the interconnected
issues of communication, process development and
management, culture, spirituality and sustainability. He has
written several books on these issues: Another Malaysia is
Possible and Other Essays: Writings on Culture and Politics for
a Sustainable World (2004) and his co-edited book Urban Crisis:
Culture and the Sustainability of Cities (2007) are noteworthy
contributions. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Jawaharlal
Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, in 1993.