Four years ago, I received a sad news about a person I know for some years. Prof. Vin D’Cruz, who passed away on 24 November 2008. The last time we met was in 2007 when I visited him and stayed at his house in Melbourne for a couple of days after my conference in Canberra.
He joined UKM as a visiting scholar for three months in 1996, and later, as an adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Language Studies UKM from1999 to 2001. While he was at UKM, he managed to help 10 of our teaching staff to publish their books. He joined me, together with Assoc. Prof. Dr Noreiny Maarof, to train 90 English teachers in FELDA Jengka Pahang for 3 weeks. A year before he passed away, he told me (when I visited him in 2007) that he agreed to donate more than 800+ books which he left in my office to the Tun Sri Lanang UK M Library. The 800+ book were left under my care as he was thinking to come back to UKM soonest and to spend the rest of his life in a place where he was born, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. It was his initiatives to bring two of my former students Marlia Puteh dan Jowaty Juhary to pursue their Ph.D. at Monash Asia Institute, Monash University. Assoc Prof Dr Marlia Puteh from UTM KL and Assoc Prof Dr. Jowati from UPNM were Ph.D. students at MAI and supervised by Prof Marika Vicziany, Director, Monash Asia Institute.
Here is a page of recognition from TSL UKM Library for his generous donation of 800+ books to UKM. All his donated books carry such acknowledgment.
D’Cruz invited me to write a review of a book, “Beyond Humanity: Cyberrevolution and Future Minds”, while he was at UKM. After reading the book he suggested, I passed the review to him to be put together with his comments, and finally, the following review was published in the New Straits Times.
(Joseph) Vin D’Cruz 21 May 1933–24 November 2008
21 May 1933–24 November 2008
Vin was appointed an Adjunct Professor of the Monash Asia Institute in 2001 and was one of our most delightful and productive members. He had an enormous passion for research as demonstrated by his large book Australia’s Ambivalence Towards Asia: Politics, Neo/Post-colonialism, and Fact/Fiction (co-authored with William Steele) published by the Monash Asia Institute Press. In that book he grappled with his love for Australia and its people and the disappointing performance of the Australian government and press in their failure to engage with Asia in a more positive and creative manner. His critique was something that we could all agree with especially during the shameful events surrounding the Tampa and related incidents.
Ambivalence was not only a big book but also one which was a long time in production owing to Vin’s attention to detail and his insistence on updating it as often as possible even while it was in production. It was difficult to reject his pleadings, but in the end the book was stronger because Vin insisted on doing everything possible to make his judgments fair and balanced. He confided in me two years ago that in the 2nd edition, he wanted to write a new chapter commenting on the improvement in Australia-Malaysia relations since the end of the Keating era. I am very sorry that the project for bringing out that second edition cannot now be realized.
Vin also had a special relationship with postgraduate students both in Australian and abroad,especially in Malaysia. Thanks to Vin’s searching eye, the Monash Asia Institute was lucky enough to attract a number of doctoral students from Malaysia who came to Melbourne and worked with us.
This reflected not only Vin’s determination to expose all students to challenging intellectual environments but also his commitment to Malaysian development—he saw international travel and education as important mechanisms for generating cultural tolerance and a better world.
Like many of us, Vin was a migrant. He arrived in Australia in 1954. He married Joan, an Australian. Together they brought out Vin’s parents and siblings. Vin is survived by his son John; the youngest member of his family today is a great-grand-daughter, Emily, aged three.
He will be greatly missed by us all and as a mark of our respect we will observe a minute’s silence at our postgraduate seminar on Friday 28th November.
Marika Vicziany, Director, Monash Asia Institute
In 2001, Professor J.V. D’Cruz returned from a four-year research and teaching assignment at the National University of Malaysia. He began his university career in 1971, part-time and simultaneously,at Monash University in the Faculty of Education and at the University of Melbourne in the Department of Political Science. He was to become the foundation head of Philosophy at the then State College of Victoria, Mercy Campus, from 1972–1976.
From 1976 to 1996 he taught at the Graduate School of Education, LaTrobe University, where he was at different times Chair of the Centre for International and Comparative Education and the Centre for Innovation in Education. He has been a senior advisor to the Victorian Ministry of Education on a number of issues over the years, with two Government reports named after him (The D’Cruz Report 1989 on Adult Basic Education and The D’Cruz Report 1990 on Technology in Education); and he has been a Victorian Government Trustee on the Telematics Course Development Trust Fund between 1991 and 1999.
He has been a visiting professor at universities in South and Southeast Asian countries. More recently, in March 2006, he was Visiting Professor at the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Social Justice, Southern Cross University (NSW), and was Director of the Institute for International Education.
Professor D’Cruz researched and published widely in a number of areas, as series editor of multi-volume publications in the areas of Education and in the areas of Language, Linguistics and Literature; with some 16 authored and edited volumes to his credit in areas such as politics, philosophy, education and culture, and some 16 chapters in books.