Last Sunday, it was a story on Singaporeans’ sloppy sense of dressing style; this week, it’s a story on how Singaporeans hog electrical sockets at fast food chains, the drop in swimming standards among young swimmers and “If Google is making us stupid”. (By Jeremy Au Yong, Straits Times Life section, 12 July 2008. Based on original article by Nicolas Carr.
Put these together, and we sure sound like a bunch of lackadaisical, materialistic, disgruntled and complacent people.
For a country that wants to play host to international events like the F1 and the Youth Olympics, maintain a strong, righteous political reputation and balance the needs of its citizens with that of its macro goals, the fundamentals of its human fabric seems to be lagging far behind.
Excuses are given for the lack of social decorum. The Internet has contributed vastly to media liberalisation, variety programmes on local free-to-air and cable television offer plenty of style and dress tips, yet we have not appropriated such information to our presentation and would rather attribute it to the weather and geographical position of our country. It’s as if if the reason is something bigger and beyond our control, we are much more consoled into justifying our carelessness. (“I can’t help dressing like that because it’s too hot to wear anything else.”)
Hmm..even to the Esplanade Theatre?
It isn’t even about being the most fashionable, or the most glamorous city, because if we are not strong on the basics of dressing appropriately, it is unlikely that we’ll find the Paris or Milan styles localised. Perhaps some might find this rather prejudiced, because my profession enables me to receive expert advice on wardrobe pairings so it is easier said, but I have also seen many young people who make an effort, and have better sense of style than I do.
That is not to encourage willful and hefty spendings on fashion items because I do not advocate meretricious purchases. Beyond the embarrassing and somewhat superficial discussion on dressing, it is fundamentally about respect and social behaviour, not creativity or fashion idealism.
Then there’s the hogging of electrical sockets at public places. I can understand the need for study/discussion space away from office and home, but I am appalled to read that there are patrons who ignore the requests of others to share. Are we breeding citizens with pinhole perspectives who only care about themselves and what is convenient to them? Anything that requires circumvention or sacrifice is slapped with unhappiness, discontent and complaint?
But wait, it is not all that bleak. The idea that there’s a drop in swimming standards seem to suggest that there was a time it was at its peak.
Perhaps the objective of the NASSA test is flawed, because excelling in survival skills in the swimming pool does not equate to swimming proficiency, but excelling in swimming proficiency would mean the basic survival skills (to cope with swimming pool conditions at least) are in place.
After all, you can’t blame the candidates for merely meeting the requirements of the test while neglecting the proficiency aspect, because no one told them right?
And if you’ve actually made it this far with my arbitrary article, I guess there is a fallacy in Nicholas Carr’s argument.