Monday, April 7, 2008

Globalization Costs/ Consumer Culture

Dear everyone,

As you must know food prices are rising very high. I would like to point out that activism has done its fair share of protecting the environment but at the cost of how it's going it has at the same time ruined those whom it intended to protect, namely poor people. The greener environment is always an issue that most Muslims shrug and push away, they intend that because they believe the end of the world is near that there need not be anymore responsibilities on their behalf concerning the environment. Remember, Muhammad s.a.w once said that even if Qiamat was drawing near and a seed of life is in your hands, plant it. We have an obligation towards God and the earth, God has mentioned in the Koran that he has made earth in all its splendour, do not think you can destroy it freely. We are among the luckier ones and have lived on this part of a planet called Brunei with only less than 300,000 people with a large part being foreigners who work here. We are blessed and yet we are the worst inhabitants on earth. We ahve decided to rape the earth for all it's worth and ignore everything else that God has given us. In the face of such calamity of shortages of water, fuel and food we blaspheme by talking about others, worrying about people and our social context forgetting our own. I hope khutbahs from now on will mention the destruction that is being done in the name of extreme capitalism and extreme consumer culture. It is nice to purchase things and that provides growth in our economy but at the same time it produces a double sided edge whereby our actions also pushes us to pervert the system. We are being fooled by wealth, we are being fooled by prestige and markers of prestige and most of all, we are greedy and full of desire. We worship the new God called money, forgetting the real God of love and compassion. We change cars repeatedly to gain the prestige of our peers but forgetting that their awe is lost in a second of envy.
The price of rice is gaining momentum as droughts appear on earth, previously before the price of wheat and flour had skyrocketed affecting flour based products such as cakes and chappatis, bread and noodles. The next generation shall live, we may say they may not but who are we to say what happens when? If we even ever leave this earth let it be that we have left it in all of the Supreme Being's splendour. We abuse water by washing our cars daily, for what? It is a sign of prestige in our society, not a sign of cleanliness. Signs of cleanliness show when we start using our toilets responsibly, when our parents have started to tell us to wash after ourselves cleanly and to leave toilets behind us, for other people to use. Our complete disregard for letting toilets become dirty has become an analogy of our behaviour towards our next generation, we do not want the best for our children. We will let them ravel around their dirt and dirtiness. Companies MUST participate. We MUST start thinking environmentally even if at a smaller scale. It IS do-able. We can start pooling cars, everyday we see tens and thousands of Bruneians going home from work with only them in ONE car. Imagine if we pooled those who lived nearby each other and by rote the drivers change daily, and if we fear aurat, isn't it as simple as pooling women workers with women workers and men workers with men? Teenagers and young adults do it all the time, they pick up their friends one by one thereby saving energy. W shouldn't focus on the small things only, we should focus on the big things as well. Once we live in a world with more understanding, less prejudice and ignorance, more multiculturalism and compassion I believe that all the lesser problems touted such as the breakdown of the family can be amended. The world is no longer globalizing, It IS Global.

I have always disliked the haute couture industry although once inawhile I let myself be drawn into the smaller things. But lately I have been kicking myself for even allowing such things to happen. My sister have fallen victim to the desire of wanting to be like everyone else and thus abusing herself as well as those around her with her whining. We are victimes of the consumer culture whether we like t or not, I wouldn't mind if the consumer culture was involved in the helping of poor countries or struggling countries. What with the hypocrisy of AID organizations and their so-called expensive administrative costs that only leave blankets in the middle of Ethiopia. But that is not the case, haute couture is not ethically responsible for the plight of others, every other MAJOR CORPORATION in the world is DEFINITELY EXPLOITING LABOUR. It pressures people into believing in obesity, it pressures people in to believing in health, it pressures people into believing that products can make your LIFE better, when it cannot.

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