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The Asian Century
“...this is my confession: I am a white Australian, and I have absolutely no idea who I am.”
John Saunders is instinctively repulsed by the cultural nothingness of white settler society in small-town Australia and flees to Asia in search of substance, vibrancy and beautiful, gentle-hearted women.
His attempts to reinvent himself in Cambodia, India and China, however, are continually frustrated by the inescapable reality of his white skin, and all of the associations that follow in its train.
Failing to find a place to anchor his ailing identity, John finally returns to Australia, resolved to bury himself in white Australian culture. But when his father moves in with a young and sensual woman from Thailand, his quest for certainty is thwarted.
The Asian Century wrestles with the issues of identity and tribalism in the modern age of globalisation. It analyses the mixed feelings of desire and repulsion regarding Asia and multiculturalism in Australia, and delves into the tensions that lie in our ambiguous future on the fringes of the emerging region.