By Melissa Lim

"The world suffers a lot. Not because of the violence of bad people, but because of the silence of good people!"
Napoleon Bonaparte
I can normally remain dispassionate about touchy feely subjects and go about my daily life in oblivion and glee, but after I read this article, I cannot resist but speak up because these aren't abstract political issues to which I can pretend are background noise swishing around on TV, but first-hand experiences which impacted my peers and I, evoking a strong emotional response in me, since I experienced the stark contrast of living in oppressive societies/Southern states that stifle your growth and creativity (without you even knowing it) and then from living in liberal progressive West Coast states (then your eyes are open that the former way of living is not a norm), then you get heartbroken coz you feel like you're cheated to believe otherwise for over two decades by places that you love(d) and call(ed) home/went to school at.
Here's the thing. If you let a businessman like Mitt Rob-Me, who has been rolling in money for too long, run your country, it might very well just turn out just like Singapore – an inhumane corporation with a zero-tolerance policy for mediocrity and for people who cannot help themselves. Dear America, use Singapore as your case study if you wanna have a taste of how a country focused only on the bottom-line dollars and cents looks like. OOPSIE DOOSIE, THERE, I SAID IT.
"The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency."
I once agreed and held on to that belief for a very long while (that is what 2 decades of conversative indoctrination does to you), but then I realize that is just a deluded and oversimplified view of the world.
What David Brooks say is right.

"People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.

But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. "
There is a reason why Silicon Valley keeps producing adolescent CEOs, because they value competency and relevant skill-sets more than age, gender, race and all the other fluff that a bunch of self-important people created to "put you in your place and pay your dues" and to honor protocols that do not enable progress, but bottlenecks. Protocols that are not just there to keep you in check, but back in chains. There is a reason why places with more risk-tolerance are pioneering the new future. Quirky, started by a 25-year-old just raised 68 million to change manufacturing and possibly make factories obsolete (gasp, the jobs!). China, you hear that? Step up your game or we don't need you anymore because the third industrial revolution is upon us. 3D printing is taking on the conversative healthcare industry by allow you to use cells instead of ink to print out kidneys. Amazon has already revolutionized the publishing/retail bookstore industry and will continue to do so as authors turn down half-a-million dollars advanced offers from traditional publishing. How Crowdfunding is disrupting traditional funding models and leveling the playing field for young upstarts. How can you not get excited by the boundless energy and opportunities? The Obama administration amplifies the whole start-up culture more than any other administration in history. His economic team devoted a full chapter to the startup topic in the 2011 Economic Report of the President, his economic team devoted a full chapter to analyzing the importance of startups, the first ever.
So the problem isn't with me not appreciating what I've got anymore now is it? Ask me to work within the system? Sure, I suck it up and did it. But what if you work harder and harder only to find yourself standing still, not because you suck (even though some misguided people would feed you with such outdated poisonous world-views, and if you stay long enough you might very well believe them), but because the system works against you and you cannot single-handledly fight against it. They keep you so busy trying to feed yourself and your family that you don't even time to realize that you're on a sinking ship. How many of my well-educated friends are taking up menial jobs for insulting pay and then go on to grad school, raking up even more debt, for an outdated business curriculum, taught by second-rate Professors without real world experience because they are confined within the safety wombs of academia? A curriculum that finds it increasingly hard to keep up with the ever-fluctuating business world?
YOU ARE A HUMAN BEING WHO DESERVES MORE THAN BEING A MODERN SLAVE IN CHAINS DEPRIVED OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS, unless, of course, you actually like masochism or/and they are golden handcuffs, to which, maybe even I can consider that coz they are golden handcuffs are very gorgeous and i do it out of vanity. This is not to say I'm not grateful for the employers and headhunters who graciously offered me jobs, taking a huge gamble on a young punk like me by giving me high-visibility roles which allowed me to manage people of similar ages or older than me and to work on interesting fast-growth projects that accelerated my learning curve and career trajectory in the industries that I wanted to be a part of. That, I cannot be more grateful for. But the issue here isn't with the corporations. Corporations focused on profits, justifiably so, and would reduce costs by giving our jobs to foreigners. The issue here is with the government for not enforcing the rules that is best for their citizens. Sure, Obama didn't deliver results as he had promised in rhetoric due to many other factors like an extremely depressed economy and political gridlock, but his intentions are there. He fights for the little guys and is quick to regulate the big boys.

"The president may see a complex American system that is designed to produce successful businessmen as the means to broader prosperity, while business leaders may instead focus on their role as the creators of prosperity."

Sure, PAY YOUR DUES, but what if you never stop paying your dues for an elusive retirement plan that you never get to enjoy, and all these, through no fault of your own but a system that is inherently flawed. You trust that if you work hard (and smart), you'll get ahead – but this only happens if the system has a leveled-playing field in the first place and recognizes that "talent" comes in many different forms.
People who have a high awareness of these circumstances will find it very hard to keep silent because you feel the injustice. I'm not a complainer, I'm just bring up these issues for healthy intellectual discourse. I tempted to envy people who can remain apathetic and never wonder how it would feel to have been born to a less privileged family and refuse to hear the sufferings of other people who do not touch them personally but like J.K Rowling said in her timeless commencement speech to Harvard students, these people suffer from their own type of agoraphohia and they see more monsters in their sleep. True wisdom isn't derived from the 4 walls of your library, but by understanding others do you derive true wisdom.

"Those who choose not to empathise enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it, through our own apathy."

People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.
Benjamin Franklin
TOC thanks the author for her contribution. She is a college graduate who was born and raised in Singapore.
Photo Courtesy: Bohemian Cinema, Charlie Chaplin 1940


You May Also Like

Singapore’s Speak Mandarin Campaign clown show moment

by Vernon Chan A funny thing happened on the launch of the…

30% increase in water prices: No mention of revenue and cost for justification but tells you how much rebates are given

I refer to the Budget speech that was delivered in Parliament on…

What MSM reported wrongly about case involving the death of 14-year-old student

On the morning of 26 January, Benjamin Lim, a secondary three student…