Complacency in Modernity

I’ve just read Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China (TIME article) and although it talks about America in particular, I suspect that much of it applies to many other developed countries, including Singapore.

(Whether or not Singapore qualifies as a developed country is another topic altogether, but suffice to say that it possesses many of the characteristics of one.)

The article seemed to attribute much of the differences in attitudes to the different Eastern/Western mentalities and cultures, and I do find Singapore to be an interesting case study to determine the veracity of this hypothesis. With a predominantly Chinese population, would the average Singaporean mentality not reflect that of China’s, with its can-do attitude? Unfortunately, I think that would have been accurate a generation or two ago, but no longer.

Some would accuse our youth of being poisoned by Western media and culture, of watching too much Friends and assimilating the idea that young adults need their independence from their parents, that we should enjoy our childhoods rather than study all day, that we should enjoy our lives rather than work all day. Some of these attitudes probably hold some merit to them, but the fact remains that our society has changed and that it has probably made us less competitive as compared to rising nations today.

Personally, I think it’s all to do with complacency, rather than any cultural differences. Our youth (my generation included) are growing up in an increasingly comfortable and protected environment, and much of the motivation to improve their own lives seems to have vanished across the years. People are quite content to merely maintain their current standards of living, and at the same time seem less willing to put in the effort required to do so.

Assuming this is the case, will China eventually fall victim to the same phenomenon? Time will tell, but I’m guessing it’s a cycle all rising nations will go through. Only in this case, with a population of 1 billion to satisfy, it might take some time for the effect to start surfacing.

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Posted on November 20, 2009, in My Singapore/My Home. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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