THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

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Archive for January 25th, 2007

The Great Divide – Hopes and Fears in a Brave New World.

Posted by inspir3d on January 25, 2007

The great divide in my life isn’t about whether computers are going to take over the world, or whether globalization is going to dumb us all down into faceless nuts and bolts. It’s about my relationship with my 20-year-old TV.

Manufactured at an age when TV’s still had the courtesy to pretend to be furniture, it’s encased in real wood veneer and shutters which slide shut and lock with a tiny brass key. Quaint, you may say, only because you never had to hold a coat hanger in one hand and a co-axial cable in another while massaging them furiously to figure out the final score on a football match into the 60th minute – that’s the only way to get a picture from my TV when she goes on the blink. She lives by her own rules, she has a mind of her own.

Recently I have been toying with the illicit idea of getting a new TV – you know, one of those sexy ultra thin ones that don’t even see the need to pass off as furniture because through the years, they have sashayed their way into the privacy of our living rooms and claimed their right to intrude upon our lives. That, at least, is what the technocrats keep telling me, “you can’t stand in the way of progress,” even though anthrax, bird flu, SARS and Polonium didn’t look much like progress when you got real close to them. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Culture, Economics | 6 Comments »

The Great Experiment Called City Living

Posted by inspir3d on January 25, 2007

If you are wondering why the word “Urban” doesn’t sound English, it’s because it has everything to do with an ancient city called Ur. Located in Southern Mesopotamia, present day Iraq – at its zenith 4,000 years ago, over 30,000 people clumped together to work, live and play in Ur.

Today Ur is universally recognized as the first urban experiment in city living and very successful was Urland. Ever since then, our species has continually defined cultural, economic, political and technology diversity through their cities. Think Paris – the image of the impressionists and the fin-de-siecle which fills the senses with evocative smells of freshly baked baguettes – and you will get an idea of what I am trying to convey. It’s a linchpin – a peg – a capstone of how we make sense of who we are in relation to an ever changing world.

Cities have always fascinated me – I remember with fondness during my university days, building 1/142 scale model skyscrapers out of card board and subjecting them to wind tunnel tests to simulate the effects of 100 mph tornadoes. It was part of my thesis on wind dynamics; the whole idea of lower Manhattan spreading out on my table jostling for real estate next to my half eaten pizza simply blew my mind away. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in B'hood, Culture | 1 Comment »

 
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