The Integration Question with Princess Pamela Toyin
The saying that a warrior never gives up what he loves, because he finds love in what he does, perfectly defines Logan Raju. For many years he has been a leading voice for the integration of migrants who were just a handful when he himself first arrived in Ireland 35 years ago.
Today Logan is an influential figure in the national debate on integration, and he professes that his own experience of integration has shaped his life and work in further education, teaching, politics, business, charity and the voluntary sector.
“I personally feel that Ireland is full of welcomes, the people really do care, are generous and are without fail, truly and genuinely loyal friends, something that’s second nature to them,” he says. “We as guests have a major role to play. We must persevere to mix with the host, understand their culture and history.
“Knowing the English language is one of the key elements of integration here in Ireland, as well as the key to ‘adapt and adopt’.”
Coming from Malaysia, a multi-racial country with a richness of ethnicity, culture, history and language in its own right, has greatly influenced Logan’s perception in his view. “I do have a better understanding, tolerance and acceptance of issues and situations and how to deal with problems,” he explains.
When Logan was young, his father had a number of English and Irish work colleagues who fascinated him with their language, history and culture – and the craic, as he puts it. The fascination stuck with him throughout his childhood, and prompted him to set out for this part of the world to pursue further education.
“I truly love [the Irish humour] in enjoying life, he says. “It goes on forever.”
And it extends across social boundaries, something Logan was keen to do in the restaurant business he ran for some 20 years, where he employed ex-prisoners, rape survivors, HIV patients and others shunned by society at large.
“I do not play the racism card,” he says. “I have definitely faced discrimination, not from the Irish but interestingly from ethnic minority groups.”
He admonishes migrants not to ghettoise but to “adapt, adopt, go with the flow, persevere and be part of society. Then they will be socially included.”
His is a remarkably positive attitude to have in light of his current disability since a fall at Dublin’s Mansion House four years ago during a Fashion Against Racism event.
“I’ll always carry on doing charity and voluntary work until my ‘final departure’, whenever that may be,” says Logan, who was a regular columnist for Metro Éireann before his accident.
Logan’s intimate experience of the “mess” of the Irish healthcare system in recent years as the economy fought to recover has fired his passion to motivate change.
“We need better and good governance, transparency and accountability,” he says, adding that Ireland needs to eschew the ‘fame game’ and adopt his principal of ‘FCP’ – or ‘focus, commit and participate’.
“We are well and truly blessed in Ireland,” he believes. “We all have to face the economic crisis, go to cheaper stores, not drive expensive cars, not wear fancy clothes, maintain a thriftier lifestyle, help others, work harder and walk more.”
Logan maintains that Ireland “is the land of the friendly. Ireland is my home. It’s like I’ve been here forever. Destiny brought me here and it looks like fate will make me stay here forever.”
- If you’re an immigrant anywhere in the world and have a story to share, whether on our own behalf or on behalf of someone else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Princess Pamela Toyin is a journalist and author with over 25 years’ experience in various roles, including as an executive PA to company directors, as a public relations executive, reporter, editor and publisher, research consultant and workshop facilitator.