Monday, November 26, 2012

Are we an emotionless society?

I read in our papers the locals aren't happy with the Gallup poll on our emotional ambivalence. I didn't know CNN thought it amusing to report it this way. My take? The locals confuse relatives with absolutes. We aren't emotionless but we are much less so than most other societies. Just like a sun spot is actually extremely bright except that its surrounding is even brighter.

So should we show more emotion? Forget it. What we should have is more passion and find more meaning in our work then the emotion bit will take care of itself. When we were poor, we naturally wanted to be rich and not be hungry. But once we have achieved that we don't know what is the next goal to shoot for except to become richer. We found it less satisfying or in economic terms we are on the curve of diminishing returns. The man in the street don't care that much that we have the highest density of millionaires here except what it had done to real estate prices and cost of living. He or she is quite emotional about such matters.

Singapore need a goal where the whole society can cohere to or we risk becoming more than just the blue and red the PM had warned us about recently. I don't know what that goal is when what I mostly notice is diversity and people pulling in different directions. We better understand intimately our trade-offs. There will be losers and winners when it used to be mostly winners. Is the middle ground shrinking? Without a large middle ground the PAP cannot successfully win enough votes to form the government. LHL will never face this problem but his successor might not be so lucky. The younger leaders must always ask if their seniors will leave them a country that is impossible to run when they take over. The present top leaders must wonder the trade offs they must make between the benefits to be got now which will make future challenges harder to overcome. The government must always consider if they are getting less than what they are putting in to get the results we want. That's the early sign of paradigm exhaustion.

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