I just got back from an awesome Friday night out with a bunch of really smart people at the Wine Company@Evans. Meng Weng had graciously invited us to enjoy the company of his good self, each other, and futurist Peter Schwartz. I think there were 13 of us, which made it a Last Supper of sorts, except that there wasn’t any predication of the perfidious sort. Instead, in spite of our diverse backgrounds, we were all united by a common thread that is Singapore.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
-Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, 1600:
There were newcomers who recently arrived at sunny Singapore, drawn by its women and the promise of a clean, efficient city, a land of opportunities; foreign talent who’ve since made Singapore their home or are considering to grow deeper roots; homegrown born-again Singaporeans and heartlanders firmly in the middle class – all actors in what’s arguably the largest social engineering experiment in the world.
No one held back, and for the next 3 hours, our corner was filled with talk of a bloated risk-averse bureaucracy and cowed populace, the need for greater human touch from the establishment, intrapreneurship, talent retention, an utopian Singapore, sociology, history- and trends-based scenario planning techniques, entrepreneurship and the ecosystem, climate change, translational research, trust models in China vs the rest of the world, Star Trek, Star Wreck, Iron Sky and Gilligan’s Island, the future of the human race, Obama, the evils of the US automobile industry and lobby groups, and the possible demise of the land of the free, and god knows what else I missed out on.
Truly mind-boggling stuff, and fitting topics for our night-long session of brain farts.
My heartfelt thanks to Meng, Peter, and the rest of the group for making this Friday my most special night in a long while.