Thursday, July 20, 2017

Singapore practice "Winning at All Cost"

Recently, I've started playing Pokemon go in Singapore. I believe Singapore is probably the only country where people will pay others to play for them. You know -- because walking is too hard.

After playing the game in Japan, Taiwan and the US, the first thing I notice when I am playing the game in Singapore are the hoards of Spoofers. Spoofing is one of the ways to "trick" the GPS of your phone to think that you are walking and it allows you to fly from location to location.

This allows you to get to rare Pokemons which spawns in far away places, attack / defend gyms which are far away from you, and of course, take part in the new Raids with rare Pokemons. I guess, Maybe Singapores are more "Kiasu" - Afraid of Losing, or simply want to win at all cost. Talking to some of these people (age ranging from teenagers to uncles and aunties in their 60's) Many of them have multiple accounts and multiple phones to play the game.

In the current version of the game, you are supposed to be more social and play the game with a friend which makes raiding a gym a lot easier, but by having multiple phones and accounts, you don't need to be social. With software hacks or "cheats" you don't need to walk to places to capture Pokemon, and all you need to do is to use the "spoofing" software and "fly" to where you want to go.

This type of behavior of winning at all cost is very common. It can be seen when parents want to get their kids into a primary school, and will relocate, volunteer and do whatever it takes. However, when I see people behaving like this for a "free to play game" with absolutely no real returns, it just reflects on how many Singaporeans are conditioned to see that everything is scarce.

At Supermarkets, I've seen people double bagging everything, including bags of potato chips. YES-- Potato Chips. Just because -- plastic bags are free.

When driving, people will speed up when you signal your intention to get into another lane. Others will tailgate closely so that people cannot cut into the lanes. I've seen people driving aggressively and sometimes overtaking dangerously, all during the stop and go traffic during peak hours.

Winning at all cost also makes people obsessive about rankings. School rankings, having the best airport, busiest port, etc. seemed very important, and there is often a lot of unnecessary funds spent to be #1. However, after all the money dumped into making it up the rankings, quality of service and productivity is rarely improved.

I've seen a lot of money spent on infrastructure in schools, building nice facades and having state of the art equipment, however, quality of education is still the same.

Being competitive is good in some ways, but when some are too obsessive just to "win", you often miss the plot. It can be seen by looking at the school rankings and PISA test scores for Singaporeans. If you can measure it, Singapore can easily find it way to the top, however, this does not mean Singaporean students or graduates are better or smarter. Most of the time, it simply means they are better at taking standardized exams.

The desire to win at all cost also means putting the pressure on kids, workers and other stakeholders to perform. Singapore's office workers also have one of the lowest productivity in the world. So, how did the best students and PISA scores lead to worst productivity?

With one of the highest population density in the world, and one of the highest cost of living, will the attitude of being competitive and constantly comparing with others simply create more stress?

It said that more than two young people aged 10 to 19 committed suicide in every month in 2015, and something has got to give. Do you need to win in everything in your life? Do you need to own that car to show your status? Is it important that you live in a Condo?"

It is sad that Singaporeans still chase the 5"C"s like what they were doing when Singapore was a developing country, and today, they are increasingly hard to obtain. ("Five Cs of Singapore" – namely, [C]ash, [C]ar, [C]redit card, , [C]ondominium and [C]ountry club membership)

Will having all of that give you happiness?

-- Iron Bowl