0069 – navigate by excitement

This is an immediate followup to what I was writing earlier (yeah, I’m running straight through it). I was talking about how small Singapore really is in the grand scheme of things, and how important I think it is for us to have something to be really excited about. Singapore’s just not very exciting these days.

Maybe there ARE exciting things, and I just don’t know about them. I think that’s still a problem- I think I’m reasonably well-connected, and I get to hear about things before most people do (I’ve wasted a lot of my life figuring out how to do this…). So if I’m not excited about Singapore- and I try my best to be- I’m guessing the average person is more apathetic than me. Or maybe excited about minion toys. There are many different Singapores, and it’s very hard for any of us to speak on behalf of those living in another.

This can’t be good news for anybody, especially now we’re living in a world where we need people to be passionate and excited about their work. Even if we take the pragmatic singaporeans-are-economic-digits perspective, it still stands to reason that happy and motivated economic digits perform better. This is the collision of ideas (pragmatism and idealism) that I think will yield the most interesting phase of Singapore’s growth yet- we’re either going to have to figure out how to make life exciting and interesting and worth living, or we’re going to slowly decline into insignificance and become just an international piss-stop (if we haven’t already.)

I refuse to be a cynic. I used to be very passionate about our local music scene, and by extension our local arts scene. There were some really beautiful moments to be had and shared, and I think many of us developed a passion and love for the music and for each other. Some of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had have been participating in local music. But the scene always seems to be on-the-verge-of-growth. I disengaged from it during NS, and I haven’t kept in touch too much so I don’t know who’s who anymore. I hear a little more local music on the radio now, which is great, but I think there’s still phenomenal room for growth that isn’t being tapped. There are a whole bunch of possible reasons for this… I’m almost too tired to have this discussion all over again but let’s try. We don’t have a proper eco-system.

The simple answer is that rents are simply too high everywhere- in music venues and in bars. I think Jeremy Monteiro wrote something about this recently- and I wrote a vomit about this a while ago, too. The old models of distribution are shit and people who try to use them are pretty much screwed. The only way seems to be a free-first-pay-for-specialized-content-later model, where you make lots of good stuff for free and distribute it for free and build an audience, then charge after that. It makes some old-guard people uncomfortable, but those who are experimenting with this are seeing it pay off, and I think that’s how the YouTube stars are doing it now.

Maybe the scene is growing and I’m disengaged and can’t talk accurately about it. But I think people aren’t working hard enough. There’s a chicken/egg problem. People aren’t reaching out in the right way…

does anybody really want to hear me talk about this, am I even interested in writing about this for myself? No, not really.

I’m a writer, blogger, keyboard warrior. I think Poached Mag is turning out to be an interesting space with a cool audience- the folks have managed to create something that attracts writers. That said, I’ve always been rather meh and unimpressed with Singaporean writing (my own included. I think all my writing is shit and I don’t know why anybody bothers to read it. But I keep writing because I want to and I feel like I have to, and maybe 900 vomits from now I’ll have clearer and better thoughts that are articulated in a more useful way.) Is Singaporean writing something to be excited about? I don’t know. Does anybody have anything worth saying? I don’t know. Is it worth trying to figure out? That one also I don’t know. (I’m not being very helpful here, am I.)

I’ve been working in a tech startup (ReferralCandy) since February- so that’s like 6 months now, and it’s been very interesting and exciting. It’s especially cool to witness the entire eco-system- something I had little to no idea about before. We share an office with Burpple. I went for their product launch a while ago, and it was all fun and exciting- to see their progression and growth as a product an organization. I like to think about this at multiple scales- the growth of an individual, of the organization /startup around her as a super-structure that also facilitates individual growth- and then the broader ecosystem that supplies that, the multiple companies/startups within a single block, and how all of this kind of comes together to transform physical spaces- I geek out when we head to Fusionopolis for lunch and we see hundreds of people having hundreds of interesting conversations about whatever it is they might be working on, whatever it is that they’re excited about- it’s a cosmopolitan crowd. I’d happily sit around and eavesdrop all day if I didn’t have to do work myself.

What was the point of all of this? Possibly nothing. It’s a fucking word vomit, I’m just rambling. I wanted to somehow segue from this general rumination/meditation about the growth of various scenes/ecosystems and the symbiotic relationship that has with the growth of individuals, and the roles of individuals of that…

I find myself returning to “big problems” and “big questions”, or “abstract” problems if you will. We need more thoughtful, intelligent people working on big problems. I have no evidence for this, this is just something that my brain obsesses about. This is the stuff I think about when I’ve been divorced from Facebook and current affairs. I’m not doing this to impress anybody- this is genuinely what I care about. It influences the conversations I have, the books I choose to read, the videos I choose to watch.

I’ve been off Facebook since the end of June or the beginning of July. It’s been over a month. It’s been interesting. I sometimes ask my wife to update me on what I might’ve been missing- is there anything important or interesting going on? Typically, nothing much. It all starts to look really petty. And I know what I sound like here- it’s like a preachy ex-smoker talking about how amazing it is to finally be free and clear and fresh, and it’s just annoying. But fuck it, I’m going to be that annoying guy. I miss little to none of it. I’m not experiencing the loss I thought I’d be experiencing, in fact I’m finding my thoughts to be more lucid. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I don’t really care about people nearly as much as I thought I did, or I pretended I did, or hoped I did.

Does this make me an asshole? I don’t care anymore. If you want to unfriend me, please, go ahead. Do what works best for you. I think I’m wrecking some of my personal relationships in the process of this general swan-dive I’ve taken away from people and talk and social media and even meeting or talking to people in person… but I don’t really care. The world is too infinite to worry about petty losses like these.

reaching 1300 words. 3 word vomits in a row? why the fuck not

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