Necessary New Mindset: Globalization

In light of the challenges of globalization and the NWO, it is important that we identify and prioritize the new mindset which the Malaysian Muslims must possess if they arc to survive through the 21s1 century. These are the mindsets of:

  1. Competitiveness, to replace complacency and mediocrity.
  2. Global mindedness, to replace the kampong mentality and worldview.
  3. Ummatic unity, to replace partisan political rivalry, fanatism and hatred.
  4. Civilizational thinking, to replace utopian political idealism and simplistic thinking.
  5. Quality consciousness, to replace quantity orientation and mediocrity culture.
  6. Patriotism, to replace the lack of love for the nation and lack of knowledge of the history of the modem nationstate.
  7. Love of knowledge and wisdom, to replace love of pop culture and entertainment.
  8. Valuing time, to replace abuse of time or low regard for punctuality.
  9. Celebrating the truly great, to replace the cult of hero- worshipping popular media celebrities.
  10. Trustworthy and responsible vicegerency (khilafah), to replace feudalistic attitudes.
  11. Obligation to be strong comprehensively, to replace the culture of being contented with mediocre standards or achievements.
  12. Caring and protecting the environment as a God-given trust, to replace the exploitative and utilitarian mindset or the ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude.
  13. God-consciousness (taqwa) in all actions, to replace materialistic, utilitarian and egocentric tendencies.
  14. Holistic growth and development, to replace the fragmented secularistic mindset.
  15. Seriousness, discipline and high sense of urgency, to replace the lackadaisical attitude, lack of discipline and lack of sense of urgency in worldly matters.

To make these mindsets an integral part of the Muslims’ new culture, all social, economic, political and educational forces in the nation have to foster them systematically and consistently as new strategies of social engineering and nation-building. The educational institutions have a great responsibility to transform the new generation of Muslim Malaysians. They themselves have to undergo a transformation process to be better equipped to face the promises and perils of the New World Order.40 But their efforts will not bear fruits if other agencies of non-formal education, such as the media, the family, the entertainment industry and political parties were to project values or perspectives which contradict or cancel out the efforts of holistic education and the instilling of ethical and spiritual perspectives in all aspects of national development.

Among other things, the print and electronic media should feel morally responsible to promote the new mindset of holistic strength and reduce the amount of trivia and superficialities as they are poisons of the mind and soul of the younger generation. Parents, therefore, have to be more responsible to inculcate moral discipline, love of knowledge, respect for nature and peoples of all races and religions, accountability to God and the culture of comprehensive excellence. Malaysian business and industry should send the message that success in the economy comes through the combination of hard work, application of relevant knowledge and ethical norms, not through short cuts, patronage corruption or immoral exploitation or manipulation. On their part they have to accept that legitimate profit has to be complemented with social responsibility and a sense of moral obligation to society to ensure a clean and safe environment when they promote development and industrialization. The entertainment industry in Malaysia must be sensitive to the dangers of cultural imperialism by not importing or imitating the decadent and sensate forms of entertainment from other parts of the world. The promoters of cultural entertainment have to be innovative and responsible enough to integrate moral values with healthy and decent entertainment.

Political parties need to instill the spirit of patriotism, national unity and a united stand against the prospect of neo-imperialism, rather than playing into the hands of the agents of world hegemonic power. A new political culture that can withstand the threats of materialistic and predatory globalization in the 21st century is one which places a high value on the qualities of knowledge, integrity, selflessness, God-consciousness, people-oriented personality that is concerned with alleviating the pains and sufferings of the poor and have-nots, rather than opportunistic personality types who know how to manipulate power and wealth to further one’s own interest or the interests of one’s clan, family or cronies. Political power, if it is not to be manipulated by the global forces of the NWO, must be infused with high moral purpose, the love of the nation, social justice and a real understanding of the real politick of globalization or the political economy of the NWO.

The fall of many aspiring political leaders in the world and the corruption of money politics happen because of the moral weaknesses within the individual, the group or the party. As Malaysia marches forward in the face of globalization, she will continue to need more political leaders of great vision, transparency, integrity, tolerance, public accountability, cour-age, capability, incorruptibility, wisdom and maturity.

The schools and the universities arc under great pressure to produce the right kind of human resources for the nation. They need to develop pedagogical approaches that lead to holistic and balanced growth of individuals in which the physical, the mental, the spiritual, the emotional and social needs of the students are harmoniously blended to produce rounded personalities. The integration of professional knowledge including science and technology with moral-ethical values, or of reason, revelation and I.C.T. should become the hallmark of the new educational endeavour in the 21s1 century. The Muslim religious teacher needs to understand and embrace science and technology as ‘signs of God’ in the universe just as the teacher of worldly sciences need to incorporate an ethical and metaphysical perspective in teaching and learning. The method of teaching Islamic religion has to be changed to ensure the relevance and applicability of spiritual and moral perspectives, values and norms to contemporary life, the new economy, I.C.T., S & T, R & D, new environmental issues, human rights discourse, the problems of plural societies, the necessity of dialogue of cultures, religions and civilizations and international issues involving futuristic issues, scarcity of food, water, energy, intellectual property issues and complex management issues.

Setting the requisite mindset of the Malaysian Muslim community is certainly not an easy task as it requires a coordinated, unified and comprehensive agenda by all the agents of social change for a truly comprehensive transformation of the people. We have to bear in mind that the Malays are a largely tolerant but eustom-bound people with the behaviour pattern of the ‘nature’s gentleman’ who were exposed in the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries to an Islamic heritage which carried a strong emphasis on tasawwuf as well as elementary filth of al-Shqfiseparated from the more scientifically and technologically rich Andalusian legacy of the once holistic Islamic civilization. The task of changing the Malay mindset is daunting but not insurmountable. People do wake up from their slumber of complacency and will want to break away from their self- imposed prison of political myopia when calamities or disasters descend upon them as was the case with post-World War II Germany and Japan. (First published in IPS journal. Policy Perspectives, Vol. 2. No. 1, 2005)

M. Kamal Hassan


Source: Essays on Muslims and the Challenges of Globalisation, Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad. Republished with permission.
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