The Jewel of Singapore - My last stop before leaving the cleanly financial island, I took a stop over at Jewel. It’s a new mall extension that connects to Singapore’s constantly award-winning Changi airport. Another big investment from Singapore to make sure that it stays on the map as the top airport in the world. Singapore makes these very pragmatic and strategic investments in its infrastructure and brand to maintain itself in the consciousness of the world. Another reason why Singapore is so impressive as a city.
TV - This Is Us: Season 3 - One of my favorite shows recently is This Is Us. It’s one of the few shows I’ve actually sobbed to. Season 3 hums along slowly, not at the thrilling and curvy pace of the previous two seasons. It may not capture viewership like the previous two seasons, now that most of the big reveals are finished, but I think the format of oscillating between past and future, making simultaneous cliffhangers related to the past and present of the characters an effective and powerful storytelling tool.
Movie - Edge of Tomorrow - I am still catching up on a ton of scifi material I feel I should have read or watched and Tom Cruise’s Edge of Tomorrow was one of them. He really does a good job of picking good scifi premises. Unfortunately, the film didn’t really deliver on its ambitious idea. I think this is partly because it’s too convoluted. A quarter of the films side plots and scenic landscapes could have been cut out to make for a more accessible and incisive middle and ending.
Video Game - Township - I play a lot of games, but recently, I’ve been obsessed with Township. The best economic game I could find online that has sufficient complexity and expansion to keep me interested over months. One of my friends introduced me to the idea that types of video games supplant the level of complexity in life. If you are having a lot of complicated logistical work at the office, you might play FPS games. If you’re having more blocking and tackling type work, than you might end up playing more economic-related games. Does that mean my life lately hasn’t been sufficiently challenging?
Singapore, The Protective Society - Having lived in Singapore for the last four years, I feel I have sufficient information to have a more nuanced perspective on how the city works. I would never claim to be an expert on Singapore though. But I think, at its core, Singapore is a protective society. From the top to the bottom, the people behave in a way that exemplifies “bird in hand, two in the bush.” At the top, Singaporeans behave like old men, trying to make sure they build their legacy, batting down or realpoliticking newcomers that might rise to their position one day. Thus, it breeds a culture of people around them who can only survive and get promoted if they are loyal to the old man agenda. From the ground up, Singaporeans play a more safe game. Because they are aware of the power-structure-that-be, they protect what they have, don’t make overt moves or contradictory statements, thereby preserving job security in a country with scarce jobs and a competitive market. This permeates into the country as a whole. It’s a country that wants to protect itself from what it could lose: a legacy built on the backs of the philosophy of a political genius. A prosperity so hard fought and delicate has united Singaporeans, but also spoiled them. The question is, how does this mentality translate into a country that feels even more anxiety everyday about its position in the world. A country so desperate to stay on top that it will spend a billion dollars to make sure its airport keeps ranking internationally. A country surrounded by rising economic powerhouses like Indonesia, and sandwiched by America and China as allies. I’ll be watching closely as the years roll by.