The Challenges for Ireland: Returning Missionary’s View
I continue to see myself as a ‘returning missionary’ although I am back in Ireland for five years. The reason is that I am still trying to come to grips with the immensity of the changes that have occurred in the intervening thirty or so years. Just as I was never fully accepted as an Asian despite spending over half a lifetime there, on returning to Ireland people tell me, ‘You don’t understand,’ because I was not here when the events occurred that marked the depth of the change. However, just as I had to rise to the challenge of trying to appreciate the culture and mind-set of Asia, and be enriched by them, I felt a need to understand how the New Ireland had developed and how I should respond.
The result of my efforts may be seen as those of an outsider but that is a missionary’s fate. Whatever value these views have comes from the fact that they are an ‘outsider’s’, those of an on-looker with a difference and hopefully, fresh, perspective.