In the Conversations with difference: Essays from Tempo magazine (2002), Goenawan describes the West as
People by those who once colonized us, with a power that placed us formerly at their feet, that humiliated us, and that now remains something in which we can see our own reflection. We scrutinize ourselves before this mirror: are we smaller than they, larger then they? (2002:p.27)
Under Demystifying the West: Selected Discourses, Professor also explained how Tun Dr Mahathir had always been cynical towards the United States that he always gave bold statements which no other leaders in the South East Asia had acted as bold as he in criticising the world power or voicing out their statements.
A quote on Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Chechnya in Enhancing the Understanding of Islam for the Media (2000) where in these countries the Muslims
are oppressed. The story needs to be told. The killings in Srebrenica needs to be told. The arrest, torture and killings need to be told. While terrorists of Muslim faith are called Muslim terrorists, no one talks of Muslims who have been oppressed, massacred, and expelled from their homelands as Muslim victims (p. 67)
Koo Boo Teik, a historian who had written "The paradoxes of Mahathirism" said that Tun is more towards making an example of the Eastern countries in competing with the Western countries.
For that reason, he had introduced the Look East Policy by making example of Japan, the best success story of Asia.
He also rejected the loan from IMF when Malaysia faces the economic crises of 1997 which wants the country to take up the loan with IMF and not many understand the drastic move.
Anwar Ibrahim had been too excited to take up the easy way out, which is to take up the IMF loan. That's now a surprise since he was the Chairman of the IMF.
He also introduced "Buy British Last" policy as a way to push the people out of the colonialisation of the British and to loosen the Western grip on the Asean economy.
Vision 2020 was introduced by Tun Dr Mahathir that stated 9 challenges that have to be overcome to make Malaysia a developed nation by year 2020 not by following others but in our own unique way.
In the speech delivered at the Meeting with Muslim Intellectuals and Businessman in Doha, Qatar on 11th November 2000 titled "Islam and Globalization", Tun Dr Mahathir said
We, along with other Islamic countries, have missed and are not part of the industrial Revolution and the Industrial Age. We lag behind in the acquisition of knowledge, which is a catalyst in the industrialization process. The question is whether we would also miss the information Technology Age, which will radically change human lives, including us Malays in Malaysia. (Ibid.,17)
We can also see many times, Tun Dr Mahathir citing from the Spaniard philospher and thinker George Santayana (1863-1952): "But those who do not learn from history will be tormented by repeating their mistakes."
Therefore, we must be more like Tun Dr Mahathir who learns about history and understand it so that we will not be doomed to repeat it again and once again allow ourselves to be enslaved by the colonizers who are looking for new ways to colonize us again.