A veteran journalist's take on such diverse subjects as religion and religious violence, democracy, freedom of expression, sociology, journalism, criticism, travel, philosophy, Southeast Asia, politics,economics, and even parenthood, the supernatural, film criticism, and cooking. Please don't hesitate to participate by starting a comment thread if you have an interest in any of these subjects...or anything else, for that matter...


My name is Patrick Guntensperger and it’s easy to reach me at ; just click there, or cut and paste the address into the To: line on your mailer.

This page is here to give anybody who took the trouble to find their way here from the posting page a more comprehensive background picture than the blurb under my thumbnail.

I write, I teach, I speak. I speak a lot. Sometimes I do it professionally.

I was an Air Force brat, brought up in Europe during the Cold War where my father was an officer in the RCAF stationed at radar bases on the French German border. After that I went to a whole selection of elementary and high schools in Ontario and Quebec. University for me was first of all Brock University in St. Catharines Ontario, and then graduate school in philosophy at York University north of Toronto.

Before, during, and since university I worked at all kinds of jobs, many that I just made up for myself, but one thing I always did was write. I credit my parents for whatever facility I have with the English language, because they read to me from such an early age that my mother is on record that I could read words at 18 months.

I was fortunate enough to be able to go pretty much anywhere in the world where there was a big enough English speaking population and quickly find a job working for whatever English language publications were there, or signing up as a faculty member at a local university. If things got tough, I could always teach English until I could get something published. Using that as an MO, I lived and worked in Mexico, the West Indies, South and Central America, several countries in Europe and, longest of all, Southeast Asia.

As for me personally, I am an unreconstructed lefty who cut my political teeth in the 60’s and still hold most of the values I did then. I still believe that to call someone a liberal is a compliment, not least for the simple reason that liberals tend to focus on human beings and human rights while conservatives, in contrast, focus on property and property rights. I believe in reason, discussion, and logic, so naturally I am an atheist and have written extensively on the subject of religion.

My tastes, like much else in my life are somewhat eclectic: music, everything from classic rock to Vivaldi; from swing and the big bands to hip-hop, and I was brought up on opera by my mother, bagpipe music by my father and Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones by myself. I watch all sorts of movies, have worked on some, appeared in a few, and I even have a degree in film. I have no favourite books (or a lot of them) other than whatever I am reading at any given moment and I read all the time. I read mostly history, social/political commentary, biography, and occasionally I read best-selling beach trash so I can feel all superior when I disdainfully toss it aside.

I cook and have both taken courses on cooking and written a cookbook. I love to learn to cook the local foods wherever I go. I am an avid SCUBA diver, I used to skydive, and I am a walker; the first thing I do when I get to an unfamiliar city is take its pulse by walking around it as much as I can. Well, except Jakarta. Singapore is great, though.

I am passionate about environmental issues, human rights, freedom of expression, socio-politcal rationality, and a whole selection of liberal causes. I would have to agree with Christopher Hitchens that the word, “antitheism” needs to be popularised.

At the moment, I divide my time between my home in Parksville, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and another home outside of the city of Manado, on North Sulawesi in Indonesia. I have a beautiful wife, Yolanda, who is Indonesian and a young son called JJ.

While I am always open to other projects (I can always use the money), I am currently writing a book on the influence of religion today.

My little family when JJ was tiny
The loves of my life
Daddy hard at work, supervised by JJ


Me with Yolanda and some of my teachers in Javanese formal wear

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