Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Thursday, May 12, 2005


The Dominican Volunteers' handbook has a rather apt reflection that re-entry into one's home culture may be more gruelling than initial culture-shock when venturing abroad as a volunteer. I have, to some degree, found that to be the case.

Returning to England, having been away for 16 months, has been rather fascinating as I discover anew and re-integrate myself among the English. Thankfully, there are aids for people like me who have an ever curious mind and who wish to understand things from an 'academic' perspective. I have long been a 'fan' of anthropology and I recently discovered a wonderful book called "Watching the English" by Kate Fox. The writer is a professional ethnographer as well as English and she writes with panache and wit on the topic of English-ness.

She also insightfully comments on how English-ness (and indeed any other cultural mores) can be adopted by foreigners with great success and she also comments on how one may pick up bits of American-ness, French-ness etc as one travels and lives in different countries; one then adopts and drops these cultural traits at will. Coming from my rather global perspective and diverse background and experience, I totally identify with that.

It also helps me understand why a friend in University, commented over a glass of sherry on a Sunday afternoon, that I was more English than he, a Somerset lad. Indeed, Ms Fox notes that her most 'English' friends are 1st generation immigrants from India and Poland.

This book is an engaging read and is in any case, a worthwhile diversion on my more 'heavy' reading on Christianity and world religions!!


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