Archive for April 23rd, 2008

China-Bashing Season Has Begun

By Farish A. Noor

While the simplistic thesis put forward by Samuel Huntington in his work ‘The Clash of Civilisations’ reads like a paltry script from a bad movie, it has to be said that bad scripts are often the most believable and effective. It was Huntington who predicted that in the wake of the Cold War a new sort of conflict would arise, namely one configured along cultural-civilisational differences between the developed Western world and the mysterious, exotic and threatening East.

The two cultural blocs that were said to be the future adversaries to the West were the Muslim world and China, respectively. In the case of the former, it was opined by Huntington that with the demise of Communism the potential threat of Islam would be realised sooner or later for the simple reason that Islam and the West shared ‘bloody frontiers’ that were marked by centuries of conflict. This thesis, however, is patently false to anyone who has even the slightest idea of the history of Islam and the non-Muslim world, for the fact is that the frontiers of the Muslim world are not marked by violence nor stained by blood, but rather remain porous horizons marked by the eclectic culture of Islamic mysticism or Sufism: From Southeast Asia to China, from Africa to Europe, the furthest frontiers of the Muslim world are precisely where mysticism and the Muslim practice of inter-cultural dialogue and cultural cross-fertilisation flourished the most.

Related to Huntington’s fear of Islam was his fear of China, dubbed the ‘sleeping giant’ by Napoleon more than a century ago and which till today has yet to truly realise and demonstrate its full economic potential. Huntington’s crude thesis argued that in time the West would have to realise that non-negotiable cultural differences exist between the Western world and the Orient, and that these cultural differences would ultimately serve as the catalyst for an all-out confrontation between the West and China. Read the rest of this entry »


Passing of a great Malaysian patriot

Shocked this morning to hear of the passing away of a great Malaysian patriot, Rustam A. Sani, 63, academician, scholar and political activist suddenly at about 2.30am at his home in Gombak.

Deepest condolences to his wife, Rohani, his children Azrani and Ariani and grandaughter, Arissa.

Together with Fong Kui Lun, DAP National Treasurer and MP for Bukit Bintang, I paid my last respects to Rustam at his Gombak home.

Rustam is one of the great Malaysian sons and daughters who have made incomparable contributions to Malaysian nation-building but who have not been given proper national recognition and yet who continued to give his best for the betterment of the country through his writings and ideas till his last breath.

Rustam’s passing is an irreparable loss to Malaysia.