Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Climbing Maslow's Hierarchy.

What it takes to have a thriving creative scene in Singapore ...

The blog entry above got me thinking...


Friends often describe me as wallowing only on the lowest level of Maslow's hierarchy.

For people who know me, they are consistently commenting that I seem predominently focused on the most basic of physiological needs and neglect the 'finer things in life'. Which I view mostly as more of status/ego purchases than real luxury purchases. My everyday speech does nothing to refute this image. I often measure money in terms of number of servings of comfort food or in pints of premium icecream. For example I often say things like "that car is worth XX McDonalds meals" or "the interest on the debt is worth XX pints of Haagen Dazs a month".

One of the things on my relatively short to-do list in life - I'm not very ambitious - is to get my A-licence. Anybody can go for a tandem jump if they can afford the US$250 or so for the ride. It is a good way to taste skydiving but it is not the real thing. You are just cargo strapped to the tandem master. Just a pale watered-down taste of the real fear that the AFF student would have to face. Even as a recovering adrenaline junkie, it scares the shit out of me just even thinking of it now. I cannot afford it (financially) at present. And I am not sure if I would be too afraid to discover the truth when I may be able to afford the AFF course later down the road. It is about leaping right to the top of Maslow's hierarchy when you voluntarily take that step out the open door of a moving plane at 12,000 feet or so.

I am not sure the Singapore government understands this. That not everything is about the tourist dollar, not everything is about carefully controlled performances, and not everything is about economics. There are some people who do perfectly unreasonable (in your opinion!) stuff because it calls to their deepest innermost beings. How do you legislate, regulate and indoctrinate people on the callings of their soul?

The irony of it all that the same Singapore Tourism Board that sanctioned BASE jumping off the Swissotel in the middle of an built-up urban zone - one of the most risky skydiving activities! - would need to keep spectators cordoned off at least 200 metres away from the landing area. And specially written new Singapore-specific regulations required mininum of 100 jumps and 5 landings within a 10-metre circle, in order to qualify to participate. Oh. And they oversold the number of tandem parachute ride tickets resulting in unhappy cancellations.

Newsflash for the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board:
You cannot carefully and meticulously orchestrate and plan every tiny detail to create a culturally vibrant city by government edicts.

Relax... and go jump out of an aeroplane.


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