Landing back in Singapore, I felt a sense of relief to be back home. (Vietnam still doesn’t feel like home at all.) Yet at the same time, I also realized why I am a little unhappy about living in Singapore (or South East Asia for that matter).
“Where to invade next” is one of the powerful film for a capitalistic-democracy country, like US and Singapore, where ideologies are built upon. I first heard about it in Porto, Portugal. Then I heard about it again recently and decided to watch them during my plane flights.
Living and traveling in Western Europe, I proud to say that I’m no longer that capitalistic pig that Singapore groomed me to be. Chasing that “American dream”, earning big bucks at the expense of humanity, having personal values eroded for material assets, you name them. (I have countless arguments with Arnout, Vale, Adrien, Leo and more. And I concede defeat. Your European system is great.)
I never understood the importance of equality at all, because growing up Asian, you work hard and reap what you sow. Equality is not a factor in success, all you need is hard work and you’ve got to work pretty much damn fucking hard. And if you don’t succeed in whatever ways you define it, it’s your fault. Boohoo. Go work harder.
But I realized life is a lot bigger than that, having spoken to lots of people in the world.
I didn’t understand why should I work hard to pay for someone’s education and healthcare because whatever situation they’re in, it’s their fault for not working hard. (Flashback to drunk games night arguing with the Swede about our society systems). Then like what the Italian CEO of Lardini said, what’s the point of having so much money, more than you can ever spend? Happy people make happy workers, creating happy societies. In the end, happiness is all that matters.
They also talked about many issues that I agree to, like women rights (made a debate on that one before), legalizing drugs (100% supportive), paid vacations, free education and remembering how a country was built and its history.
I’m extremely fortunate to be working with brilliant minds in a great city. Yet while we only see the successes and accomplishments, we forgot about the dirty hands that made the city. Every morning, I see an old uncle (70+ years old) resting his back against the wall as sitting on a cardboard, sleeping. He’s resting during his break of being a cleaner. Why is he so tired? What time did he start working? What time will he end? Did he have enough sleep? Does he have food to eat? I don’t know. I’ve never asked.
Thus I wonder if Singapore really is a place as good as it seems. (Spent Saturday night talking to a new friend about this.) Turns out, probably definitely no. The education system (though is aiming to be changed), removes creativity and curiosity from individuals. The mix of western wealth with Asian values only strengthens the new found love for material wealth. It’s a great place, don’t get me wrong. But only if these values, opportunities and ideologies are empowering the right mindset.
So if you have the social values of the Europeans, the aggression of the Americans and the hardworking values of the Asians, you’re going to be amazing.
TLDR: watch “Where to Invade Next”. And, make lots and lots and lots of love. According to the French, Germans and Italians, that’s the secret to a happy life.