Hmmm! Deep thought! Hee (plagerism?)

13 07 2005

Culture is the by-product of a human race with too much time on its hands. Not required to have to spend all its time contending with survival, the human race devotes time to perfecting craft beyond the requirements for basic existence. Art and culture forms as a result of this ‘dallying’. In the same manner, efficiency has the same effect as the need to survive; in the human race’s pursuit of speed and economy, time-wasting activities are cast aside in the name of ruthless efficiency. The arts and the culture thus become de-emphasised and people lose sight of the finer things in life.

In countries such as Singapore and Japan where clockwork efficiency is the norm in all aspects of life, every second counts and it becomes unacceptable to waste even 20 seconds on something deemed as non-productive. The subway trains arrive with clockwork efficiency at 3 minute intervals, and in Japan a late freight of train warrants every commuter a letter of apology issued by the train operator. Taking a break from work gets frowned upon; day in and day out life is an endless rat race, each trying to out do the other by finding the swiftest and most succinct way to complete a task. Life becomes an endless cycle of rushing to wait and waiting to rush.

The human mind is a flexible and free entity, and this cycle of efficiency becomes a restrictive cage which the mind tries to break out of. Being late for non-essential functions become a fashion; punctuality and being early is seen as wasting time while one waits for others to arrive. It has become an ingrained part of the society’s culture that one accepts it as part and parcel of life and think little about it. Personal time is cherished, chores are shunned and all semblance of regularity is avoided in one’s free time. Commuting and living in such a city and environment becomes stressful, and the direct cause is the efficiency.




12 responses

15 07 2005

why so much “gan chu”???

16 07 2005

*ding ding ding ding ding!!*

wah plagiarism! haha i’m committing plagiarism for studio…

16 07 2005

oh yes… i think tt’s why architects are wierd. including myself.

19 07 2005

heh. need intellectual stimuli. haha. been running around like an idiot after started working. going crazy. just had time to rest and it’s already 3.20am. still have work later at 8.30. Oh man..

9 08 2005

hey man, efficieny is part of the jap lifestyle, no doubt. But they have a certian routine and way of manging their time such that life is not that overbearing. They are still able to find time for recreation, which they take equally seriously. Whilst this may stand true for singapore, (as we are not as effiecient as japan) it is perhaps not the case for japan. They can afford to give out apology letters everytime they are late only because it is an anomaly. How can what is culture, intrinsically and innately part of you be the very factor causing stress? whaddaya suppose?

9 08 2005

Are you sure they don’t find life overbearing? Culture, in a way, reflects the current social state: escapism and a return to the feudal states of the pre-meiji era feature heavily in anime; TV soaps often have workplace conflicts and relationships as a common theme. Is this a baseless selection of thematic concepts?

The whole basis of having to give out letters when they are late, however much an anomaly it is, is flawed in its very basis. That it actually happens is proof that as a society effeciency is seen almost as a cardinal virtue.

Essentially, the argument is that culture does not cause stress. Efficiency does. As a result of efficiency, culture gets eradicated as people place less and less emphasis on it.

9 08 2005

In response to your question: How can what is culture, intrinsically and innately part of you be the very factor causing stress?, my reply is that it does not cause stress. The issue of culture as a stress-factor is never part of the thesis: in reference to the first paragraph of my entry, I have noted that [c]ulture is the by-product of a human race with too much time on its hands… and in the concluding statement of that paragraph I have observed that time-wasting activities are cast aside in the name of ruthless efficiency. Thus, efficiency and culture are diametric opposites; they cannot co-exist (in their absolute states), although there can and should be a balance.

9 08 2005

In bring this further, I suppose the confusion has risen in the statement in the last paragraph where I said that [culture] has become an ingrained part of the society’s culture that one accepts it as part and parcel of life and think little about it… And I apologise for the equivocation of the word culture in this context.

What I had meant at this juncture of the argument was that somehow a balance has occured at this stage between culture and efficiency, although I would say it is mightly skewed towards efficiency, if you get my drift. And it had become so enmeshed with culture that we do not see them as a seperate entity anymore, and that is the entire sadness of it all.

As Italo Calvino has put it so wonderfully, the struggle of literature is in fact a struggle to escape from the confines of language; it stretches out from the utmost limits of what can be said; what stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary.

My apologies for my poor language.

10 08 2005

. . . . . . !

11 08 2005

my intent of posting was not to in any way fault you for your language. Sorry if i suggested that in anyway. Perhaps, a definition of efficiency waould clear things up. Effieciency is a good thing when practised, not when imposed. I can want to be efficient, and if am able to keep my discipline, and the routine becomes a way of life, i am able to do things, many things as i have been able to manage my time. Hence, punctuality is something that is a part of my system rather than something i push myself to achieve. Hence, haveing perhaps explained my perspective, you would be able to understand the point i am trying to make. In this case, efficiency in fact reduces stress rather than to be the cause. My humble opinion. Feel free to comment.

11 08 2005

I agree to a certain extent. Effeciency does certainly alleviate stress when it is managed within reasonable limits. But has some things gone beyond that limit? When things become so efficient we expect ourselves to conform to that standard, it places stress upon us does it not? One can argue that all you have to do is ignore it, but when society conforms to such a notion of efficiency, ignorance will alienate you.

I’m not persercuting efficiency per-se; it is some forms of efficiency, especially in the context of Singapore and Japan where it has been blown out of proportion. There is virtue in a laid-back way of life — is everything in life about efficiency?

12 08 2005

And i am not ompletely advocating an overdose of efficiency either. Just was offering an alternative response to ur entry. The sporadicity of life, the absence of a rigid system and indulging oneself in the art of doing nothing are things definitely not to be missed. 🙂

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