Monday, January 31, 2011

Clothes maketh a man; humanity maketh a society

Where in the past families were poorer, hand-me-down clothes were treasured possessions fought for by siblings; in these modern days where new and fancy clothes are easily affordable, second-hand clothes are looked upon with disdain and to be quickly discarded.

I wonder if this speaks true only in better-to-do economies. What about under developed countries where basic necessities are still lacking?

It's so easy to replace convenience with economic wastage.

Or perhaps it's not economical to transport old clothes to under developed countries.

So why are we fixated with having everything new? Why the fixation with gloss and shine? Why do aesthetics appeal so much to the human eyes?

Our practices are a culmination of our cultural environment. Singapore, a small nation run on human resources and break neck speed progress, fixes her gaze at only one thing - to get ahead of all competition and be nothing but the best. It's people, regardless of citizens or foreign workers of the economy; are likewise, conditioned to be single minded in the pursuit for greatness; in the process of which, it is inevitable that secondary things get sidelined. Secondary things which are often values that make us human; values that are found only in the species called man. Values like compassion, humanity and kindred spirit.

Consider China. In its desperate attempt to grow exponentially to make up for the years of closed economy and catch up with the superpowers of the world today, how often do we read of unscrupulous acts of officials and businesses that strove for economic gains at the expense of general health, safety and compassion? To picture this graphically, imagine a sprinter that rudely shoves off his screaming and adoring fans lined at the side of the track, within touching distance of him, who clamors and tries to get a hold of him; the sprinter doesn't look back once. He surges on ahead and even if he has to trample on a member of the crowd that has fallen into his track, he will not stop, but continues sprinting forward - he cannot stop, because time will not stop for him. Such is China, India, and dare I say, our nation, if we lose sight and emphasis of our humanity.

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