Monday, September 29, 2014

SQ and Changi couldn't do this yet

8 million views in six days and counting. This is a touch your heart wonderful message put out by KLM-Schipol airport.

This post exists because I also happened to have read Margaret Heffrman article, The Limits of Ideology: Lessons from Singapore.

Why can't SQ or Changi Airport to something equivalent. Easiest for me to quote a segment from Hefferman.

Poetry or Money?
I have a Singaporean friend who has spent substantial periods away from her country, working in the U.S. and Europe. What, I asked her, did she miss when she went away? "The fact that everything works," was her reply. Why did she keep leaving? "Because that's not enough."
The clean streets, high levels of service and safety that characterize Singapore are all efficient - but efficiency is fundamentally a negative virtue: an absence of friction rather than a richness of experience. And efficiency, Low and Vadaketh argue, masks an emptiness. All that order is bought: with fines for transgression. The emphasis on monetary sanctions has produced a populace that is compliant and submissive - but not socially engaged. The competitive emphasis on individualism coupled with obedience and conformity may make things work but it doesn't make them meaningful. Where is the rich skein of dependencies, shared triumphs and victories, rights and responsibilities that lie at the heart of every dynamic society?
Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore, once insisted that "poetry is a luxury we cannot afford" but few still believe that that is still true. More recently, concert halls and art schools have sprung up but they rarely feature indigenous art or art forms and Singaporeans are hard pressed to define their shared cultural values. It may be that poetry is just what Singaporeans need now to understand who they are and why they care.
Viktor Frankl, Man Search for Meaning, the title of the book opens the door to how important meaning in life is.

We have done very well but that's hardly enough. Too many people thought in a rich country they could have more or less settled the butter and bread issues but in our political culture and system no government would welcome that day because that is the day we fail. For society to pursue meaning is a scary thing. Arriving as a developed country in a hurry we didn't realize that we might have to wait for a very long time to become ready to make the next leap toward meaning.

Meanwhile we keep getting better at defining our problems but not its solutions. For now people should just find meaning in life at the personal and family level. Use the economic substrate created by this place to help make it happen for you. But most people will have to keep spinning the wheel of the rat race even as the hour glass put the government on notice that time must eventually run out.

No comments:

Post a Comment