the same old story.
nation isn't built on stars, scholars & socialites
label the young a self-centred, apathetic lot.
answer back, fault the system's hypocrisy or ask for some
like a bad re-run. Or am I missing the plot?
Eyeballers Fiona Voon and Gail Aw wrote in response to Prime
Minister Goh Chok Tong's call for the young to step out
and contribute, they attracted a flurry of sympathetic postings
any challenged the view that our system is materialistic,
soulless, even oppressive.
though, for such passionate views to come from the products
of a society that's supposedly undergone a spiritual lobotomy.
it's hardly the spiel of ''mere passengers'' in national
affairs. Backseat drivers, at worst.
evident idealism is cause for optimism. But clearly, some
deep-seated cultural stereotypes are at work.
de riguer for the seniors to lament that ''they don't make
'em like they used to'', as if the ''good old days'' were
anything but sitcom nostalgia.
young feeling disempowered? That's ancient history. Heck,
it's practically a definition of pre-adulthood, isn't it
- the time before you learn to take control?
a myth is the notion that nothing can change.
see it all the time in the arts. Young writers gripe about
the publishing mafia. Artists bitch over conservative censors.
that the issues don't matter. But it's so easy to forget
how far we've come, and the hard work already put in by
those who labour without official blessings.
in this generation have shown it's possible to buck the
system - actors who quit their day jobs, lawyers starting
up bakeries, accountants becoming teachers.
too have made a difference - and on their own terms.
it's time to celebrate these little pioneers, not the big
names - whether in business, the community or the arts.
a Singaporean soul is to be found, it's in the lives of
everyday heroes who brave major changes - retrenchment,
divorce, streaming - without the safety net of wealth, position
all, a nation isn't built on stars, scholars and socialites
Artists & writers help pass down the stories that
really tell a people who they are.
search for identity is as timeless a theme as art itself
(along with sex, greed, ambition and pride - none of which
a motif worthy of that Great Singaporean novel Gail hopes
to write some day.
what's stopping her?
the arts might seem more ''personal interest'' than community
work at first glance. But writers and artists have always
confronted the spirit of their age - be it national survival
or moral crisis.
help pass down the stories that really tell a people who
they are - not history books nor hip videos. As Fiona pointed
out in her column, every generation has its own stories
we spin tales to our progeny about the rise of the Net or
the Human Genome Project?
just getting started.
first generation of Singaporeans bought our nation's survival.
The second brought it wealth. I'd like to tell my grandchildren
that we gave Singapore its soul.