Chapter 81 – Life Story Summary


How to summarise the events, ideas, and conclusions from a 65 year long career spanning five continents, five jobs and five languages, but focussed largely on China, Russia and Japan?

In the wings, so to speak, were experiences of the diplomatic mistakes behind atrocities of East Timor, Vietnam, Kosovo-Serbia and Ukraine.

From the beginning.

1.1936:  Born Cambridge UK, to British parents, Marjorie and the economist Colin Clark

2. 1938: with premonitions of coming war in Europe father (and family) moved to Australia, first for his lecturing position in Perth and then to Brisbane as economic adviser to Qld. Government.

1941-42:  fears of Japanese bombing attacks cause children in the family to be evacuated to Toowoomba, a mountain resort close to Brisbane.

1949:  ideas of healthy living lead to family buying and moving to small pig farm outside Brisbane 

Education:  Brisbane Catholic schools to graduation age 16. 

Main interests: science and languages (Latin and French). Strong anti-communist family and school environment. 

Hobbies: time spent working on family farm and exploring rural environment on horseback.  

3. 1953-6: Father’s Oxford appointment means a family move the UK and a four month gap in schooling schedules. Gap filled by a four month 1952 ‘jackeroo’ experience on remote western Queensland sheep staton.

1953. Entered Brasenose College, Oxford.  

Education:  M.A. Geography (including Europe Postwar History, Surveying, Geology, Economic Geography). 

Hobbies: hitchhiking through Europe with bi-lingual girl friend gives exposure to Swiss/central European culture. Post-graduate three months travel in Croatian Adriatic resort gives exposure to Slav culture and history. 

4. 1956-58: Oxford graduation leads to London interview and acceptance by Canberra, Department of External Affairs.

1956:  Begin in-department work training. 

Decide to take first year Russian (year of Sputnik). Also one year economics under Heinz Arndt, Canberra University College. 

Department call for volunteers for one year intensive Chinese study followed by one year Hong Kong posting finds me as the only candidate.

5. 1959:  Nine months intensive, but deficient, Chinese language study at Pt. Cook, Melbourne. 

6.  1959-61: posted to Hong Kong.  Continued Chinese study, University of Hong Kong.  Part-time work in Australian Consulate. 

7.  1961-62: Canberra. Department of External Affairs, East Asia section, China desk.  See closeup Western mendacity over 1962 China-India border dispute and war

One year ‘live’ Chinese study with Taiwan Embassy friend, Duan-mu Ch’ien-min, provides much-needed fluency. 

Receive strong offers from both John Crawford (ANU) and Bruce Miller (ANU International Relations department) to set up China studies units. I ask to postpone since am likely to receive Moscow posting and will be more valuable as Sino-Soviet specialist.

Also receive strong offer from Modelski to join ANU as China researcher.

8.  1963-5: posted to Moscow, USSR. Second (later First) Secretary. 

Interests: Soviet politics, extensive travel in Soviet Union, Russian ‘live’ study in nearby Moscow University student restaurants. 

Offer of posting as Australian delegate to UN Disarmament Commission to follow Michael Cook.

Late 1964. Suffer KGB attacks using student friends. 

Am witness to ridiculous Hasluck effort in the Kremlin to recruit Kosygin and Gromyko to join the West in Vietnam War.

Decide to decline UN posting offer and get study leave from EA. Also plan to protest Australian involvement in Vietnam War.

9. 1965:  Return to Canberra.  Decide not to follow up on earlier Crawford or Miller offers because of their now obvious anti-China, pro-Vietnam War bias.

Foolish generosity leads me to pass Modelski offer to Stephen Fitzgerald.

Posted to East Asia section, China desk. Prepare to request two-three year study leave from Department “till Vietnam thing is over”.

Receive three year PhD scholarship from Australian National University, Economics Department (ANU) plus one year for Japanese study.

Incompetent ASIO stunts which EA refuses to investigate or protest lead to a decision to end study leave and resign formally from External Affairs. 

10. 1965-6: Canberra, Australian National University, Begin PhD level economics studies and Japanese language study. One year of contacts with anti-war groups around Australia.

Seek and receive one year leave from studies to write book ‘In Fear of China’ with crucial help from Ms.Ronnie Baldwin.

11. 1967: Tokyo. One year field studies in Japan for PhD topic: Japanese direct investment overseas. Helped greatly by Yasuko Tanno of Institute of Developing Economies (IDE).

12. 1968: Return to Canberra. Australian National University. Upset by unthinking pro-Vietnam War consensus. 

Suffer severe below from ANU Press refusal to publish ‘In Fear of China’ manuscript (described as pro-communist propaganda by ANU International Affairs Department).  Fortunately published by Lansdowne Press, and translated to Japanese by IDE as Kokusai Seiji to Chugoku.. 

Decide to postpone ANU PhD studies since it is obvious I have no future in hostile, ASIO-infiltrated International Affairs departments in ANU and elsewhere.

Invitation from John Menadue via Eric Walsh to join The Australian as Tokyo correspondent.

13.  1969:  Sydney, News Corp Offices. Preparing as correspondent to work in Tokyo.

14. 1969-74: Tokyo, Bureau Chief, The Australian. Dramatic reporting years. 

1971 extraordinary events lead to organizing pingpong diplomacy for Australia, rebuffing Canberra blocking moves, and leading to eventual Australian recognition of China. 

1972-3 extensive travel in Cultural Revolution, China.

Invited by Simul Press to write book about China, Japan.  

Relationship with Yasuko formalised.  First son, Dan, is born

15. 1974: Invitation from John Menadue to join Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Department, Canberra, as consultant, Assistant Secretary level, Policy Coordination Unit.

16.  1975: Canberra. PM&C Department, Policy Coordination Unit handling domestic and foreign problems. Confront government negativism over looming East Timor disaster and Vietnam cables affair.

17.  1976: Change of government in Canberra, return to Tokyo with family. Part-time lecturer, Faculty of Comparative Culture, Sophia University.

Second son, Ron, is born.

18. 1977 – 95: Successful publicity by self and Simul Press for publication of Japanese translation of earlier requested China,Japan book which they entitle  ’The Japanese Tribe – Origins of a Nation’s Uniqueness.’ Leads to many years of academic positions, a never-ending lecture circuit, and appointment to many committees. 

Also leads to Aust Embassy, Tokyo, blacklisting.

1977-. Appointed to Tokyo, Sophia University, Professor (kentan) in both Faculties of Economics (1977) and Comparative Culture.  

Invited to publish books  ‘Gokai sareru Nihonjin’(The Misunderstood Japanese, Kodansha), Understanding the Japanese (Kinsiedo), 

Hobby: Kiwi fruits farming and land development for outdoor training center in Nakadaki, Boso Peninsula, near Tokyo.

19. 1995-2001: Tokyo, invited to be President, Tama University. Difficulties in reforming Tama lead me to publish book in Japanese ‘Why Japan’s Education System will not Change’. 

20.  2002:  Member, Founding Committee, experimental all English language Akita International University (AIU).

21. 2003-2010:  Visiting Professor, AIU. 

Nakadaki sold (too big to manage).  Development work to create smaller community at Ohara ocean-front site nearby. 

22.  2010-: Honorary Select Professor, AIU, now well-ranked and much-imitated university in Japan.

23. 2015 -: Friendship with Carolina from Peru (a stay-over in the Boso area from the Bubble era when Japan sought and received workers from revolution tormented Peru) leads me to discovery of Peru, purchase of seafront real estate there, serious study of Spanish language, and early marriage.  Enjoy integration into Carolina’s extended Peru family and insights to Latino culture.
24. 2019:  Failure of operation to cure childhood backbone injury causes rare CIDP nerve injury which makes future obscure.
Receive valuable post-operation help from Carolina.

2. Lessons Learned

It was a career filled with many twists and turns, many created by pure chance. In total, more than a twenty it seems.  What did I learn from all that?:

1.  Hang loose. Opportunities come when you least expect them. Be ready to meet them and take them by giving yourself as wide an education and experience as possible. But expect attacks from unexpected quarters.

2.  Realise there are no limits to the mendacity of our foreign affairs agencies in their cooperation with our military agencies seeking to create the enemies they need to justify their existence.

3.  Learn languages as quickly and firmly as you can, and when you can.