The Missing “Think” in our Tank

Ravi Veloo wrote in an article in Weekend Today, questioning the dearth of intellectuals in Singapore, and the resulting trickle of fresh, big, challenging (and probably hairy) ideas in our social scape. He worries about having enough brainy opiniated people to match our robust economy and to lead our nation across the stormy seas of the future. Acknowledging the lack of an environment free from possible persecution, Ravi nevertheless issues a call to our intellectuals to stand up and be counted, and figure out ways around our limitations to spread and share their wisdom with the crowds.

Having said that, Singaporeans are a nation of complain kings and queens. When asked why things are the way they are, our people start by blaming the establishment, and end by whining about pretty much everything else under the sun. My hunch – such a behaviour is the result of the never-ending social engineering that our people are subjected to. If lab rats could talk, i’m sure they’ll raise 4 ‘lil paws in agreement at that! That is why I agree in principle with your argument, but disagree in substance.

We need more intellectual discourse to be had between like-minded people. The Internet has already catalysed the process for us. Do nothing else and the intellectuals will still probably continue to thrive in Singapore anyway. That is the way things have been throughout history – through oppression by kings, religions, etc. These intellectuals are hardy types that survive even the harshest of all nuclear winters and continue to seek out each other and change the world. We should not expect them in vast numbers too – woe is me (and for Singapore) should we become a nation of thinkers.

I say to let sleeping dogs lie – you Ravi old boy, should spend your time talking to me instead. 😉

About James Chan

James Chan is an entrepreneur, investor, geek, photographer and husband/father based out of Singapore. Apart from frequent travels to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia for work, James can also be found online via his trusty 15" Retina MacBook Pro or iPhone 6+.