Academic journal article Comparative and International Education

Making Anew My Home: A Memoir

Academic journal article Comparative and International Education

Making Anew My Home: A Memoir

Article excerpt

Mathew Zachariah (2013) Making Anew My Home: A memoir. Victoria, BC: Friesen Press. 226 pp. (ISBN: 978-1-4602-1259-2PM)

Reviewed by Deo H. Poonwassie, Professor Emeritus, University of Manitoba

This book is about identity and belonging. During one's lifetime the question of "worth" is often raised forcing us to examine our lives using criteria that have value for us. We highlight the activities and thoughts that have created critical paths on our journey towards expiration. Zachariah chronicles critical incidents that have shaped his life through episodes from Borneo through India and USA to Canada.

There are nine chapters: a prologue, an index, and with a touch of the scholarly, includes footnotes; the book also has a liberal scattering of poems, photographs and quotations. After some 235 pages, the author leaves us with many themes to ponder and evaluate. Some such themes are inequality, the influence of religion, good citizenship, the importance of family life, discipline in education and schooling, and the influence of one's environment as a determinant of life paths.

Zachariah was fortunate from the start being blessed with caring parents and family. He was not in need of any essentials to success. He had privileged schooling, spoke English, which distinguished him from others in a primarily Indian community and did not have to seek sustenance. He took full advantage of his status by concentrating on being a devoted student and creating the groundwork for a successful life.

This book reminds us that living in the USA or Canada can be very gratifying provided that one has the strength of character and confidence to confront the many challenges that present themselves in immigrant societies. Zachariah was a scholar and proved that he could surmount difficulties and be successful in academe. His amorous sojourn in the USA, which saw him begin a new family taught him several valuable lessons (through marriage and divorce) which would later consolidate a rewarding relationship in a new almost perfect marriage in Canada, his new home.

One of Zachariah's major themes is "My Christian Faith" (Ch. 4). Here he speaks of the Syrian Christian faith and emphasizes particularly the tendency to see others as equals. …

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