I brought to you this theme on "Materialism" as it is a subject of varied forms which will become one of the dominant impulses in the 21st Century, not just as being materialistic but as in materialization- as the world gets more networked, open, globalised and democratic with the coming of the internet era that every individual manifest themselves in materiality.

My Photo
Location: Singapore

OUT OF WORK, NO RESOURCES, NO SUPPORT. HANDICAPPED- His Whereabouts, Actions, Privacy, are easily known to other people; even worst his enemies from other religions. His old Geocities and Adlandpro passwords were erased after he had painstakingly built his FRIENDSHIPS and his personal site to Earn Money from Network Marketing. He TALKS with VOICE from his HEART (which other people can hear)about all the STUPIDITY, IDIOCITY of people, IDOLISING just about anything- be animate or inanimate. He HAS ONLY feelings of LOVE, SEXUAL URGES and ORGASMS that can be felt by other women especially at work and his closest neighbours, usually in the night. People who knew just did not OFFER HELP; instead rather Wait and See if he is a TRUE GOOD SUPER BEING, hoping maybe that he will be a leader who will rule and give them MORE MATERIAL WEALTHS. PEOPLE ARE SO STUPID!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Materialism and Democracy
It has always been said that more economic progress will lead to democracy.This may not be necessarily be so.In fact, too much concentration on materialism could actually retard the maturity of democracy.

Democracy is not just about winning in large number of votes in general elections.Voting in once in every five years with apathy in between is hardly an attitude that will help an individual to influence the direction of his future and make a contribution to the country.

If citizens are not prepared to debate and discuss; and to take decisions based on the weight of arguments but instead face with reversal threats, then that is not true democracy.

As a society, we will always face plenty of conflicts, frictions and problems in our personal and social issues.

This is the reality of being in this world, only a Mirage-Miramar world epic film production featuring a huge cast of international actors and actresses in a story of heralding the arrival of Star Wars Advance Party Fleet that will never happen in the near future.

Following behind the first group are the Battlestar Colonial Fleet of Immigrants.The third group,the Stargate Command Fleet which are the last group, consists of ambitious leaders, competitive leaders and far-sighted leaders who will signed and stamped all the MOUs, FTAs to lead the immigrants.

Once all the three fleets are docked and merged together one after another, people will see an awesome shape of a huge Cock-Spaceship with labels at both side- 'You Talk Cock Only'.Many people already saw the copy version in the film 'Austin Powers'.If people look in another manner, the combination of the fleets will shaped like the Discovery Space Shuttle.

The reality of this world too, that it is very suitable as a happy world for dirty smelly rubbish people, only happy to do all the dirty smelly rubbish work, in every places in their cities, their workplaces and their homes.Even their fashion senses wearing less clothings, body tattoos and piercings which are first worn by the jungle people, have become the style that they are proud to show off.Big beads around the neck, wrists and ankles worn by hermits also are not spared to use as costume wears.

And the fitting finale can only be so dynamic, so cinematic, so catastrophic event of Their Own Doom!!

There are bound to be moral and ethical issues that need to be solved using moral principles as guides.With such thorny issues, we need to debate and discuss in order to help us resolve the problems.Even when we ultimately intriduce laws to deal with the problems, such laws would merely be to reinforce the moral obligations that have come to light during the discussions.

A pre-occupation with materialism does not help us understand human dilemmas and problems.This is because such a selfish focus would not motivate a person to bother with larger social and political problems.

It is only a sense of moral obligation and community that would prompt us to ponder over the ethical dilemma of political and social issues.

A sense of moral obligation will help us to emphatise, to think, to search for the truth and promote justice.We would then be able to see the destructive aspect of social and economic behaviour on society.

It is only with a sense of community that we will be able to see and minimise the inhumanity of justice and the inequality of men that are bound to exist in any society left unbridaled to competition for materialism.

In short, it is the free market of ideas and not the free market of commodities that will enhance the democratic climate to allow the freedom to criticize the moral erosion, injustice and inequality in society.Such a climate will also allow the people to scrutinise the ideology, the motivations and the methods of policies in a sensible and rational way.

In the final analysis, strong moral beliefs will help us see the emptiness, the hypocrisy, the conformity the despair of a materialistic madonna of a society and help us work towards a better society with a heart.

The Citizen's non-material Role

Participation in the life of the community, as opposed to selfish materialism is an attempt through collective effort to better the lives of our fellowmen.There are many people in Singapore who can think.Unfortunately however, many of these people choose to become grumblers about society's problems because they feel they have more to lose and nothing to gain if they act as opinion leaders.

A person, who can think but only grumbles privately, is as materialistic as the person who thinks only of food, shelter and displaying extravagants.Like the latter, he cannot be a sensitive, moral and aspiring citizen.

If the majority of our citizens become indifferent and apathetic or selfishly caring only for their immediate needs of food, shelter and their extravagants display, then we have to live under the tyranny of materialistically,democratically-farced government.

As Professor Ernest Barker said,"When a single philosophy climbs the throne, and clutches the crown, men put their necks under a tyranny of conformity".Even if that single philosophy is materialism!

The cohesiveness and spiritual quality of a society depends on the stage of morality of its people.

At the low end is the person who does things because he is motivated by fear or desire to obtain some benefits for himself.

Obsession with materialism keeps people and society at a very low stage of moral development.In such a society, a paternalistic government and a subservient citizens are needed to keep the order.

At the other end of the spectrum, is the person whose mind is free to search and explore beyond his basic physical and social needs.

When a person frees his mind to think beyond materialism, he will be able to question and distinguish between 'Rubbish' and the 'Truth'.He will be able to see what are his moral rights and obligations.To him there will be meaning in such concepts as justice, equality and respect for dignity, life and freedom of a good human being.

Materialism, therefore, is not Happiness!!
When basic physical and social needs are met, a person becomes like a caged bird, yearning psychologically to be free.More materialism merely adds stronger escape-protection bars to the cage.There will be unhappiness in the individual because he is like a spiritually-held prisoner.Such a prisoner cannot be a good citizen as inside of him only boils extremist characters of badness.There will be unhappiness in the society as all the bad citizens will get all their right of ways disregarding responsibilities.

What is there to gain to be a good citizen?
Firstly, a swift passage across the bridge of Hell into Heaven's gate.Secondly, a temporary solace after death, in pure peace,calmness with delightful shining light, a very spacious and comfortable temporary place-of-stay in the after-world, free from hunger and thirst.All from the Blessings of the True God of Heaven.Amen.

According to Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese poet and philosopher, it is to acknowledge the other person's rights before asserting your own, but always to be conscious of your own.It is to create the useful and the beautiful with your own hands, and to admire what others have created in love and with faith.It is to produce by labour and only by labour; and to spend less than what you have produced that your children may not be dependent upon the state of support when you have passed on.

Happiness cannot be achieved by turning people into pure economic cyborgs.

When people search for the "Truth","Justice" and "Equality", what they are really trying to do is to look for what is good for the community so that they can increase the chance of happiness and the survival of their good society.

A country of economic cyborgs is just a country of digits, numbers and figures without Souls! Unlike warm and creative people, these cold and selfish digits-minded people cannot share a common feeling with each other and the country.

It is only good human beings who can join together for the enjoyment of their rights and common interests.

It is only through this feeling of one-ness with their country that people can build a nation where its citizens will willingly do their best with pride for their country and not just for sake of the rewards being offered.It is only in a nation with soul that its people can feel that they are not passengers but true, caring citizens.It is only when people feel that they are true and caring citizens that there can be more patriotism, more harmony and more solidarity in the country.

The strength and cohesiveness of a country depend on the hearts, minds, spirits and consciences of its people.How our country will grow and develop in the future will depend on whether our human spirits can survive its true goodness in freedom and fulfilment in this temporary world of badness, constantly being fettered, constricted and dehumanised by the bad spirits of materialism and selfishness.

It is only the people's sense of social and moral responsibility that will give strength to the nation.A country will never become a true home if it is made up of individuals with bad spirits of selfishness, conforming digits-like people, transient visitors and foreign workers whose only purpose is grabbing bigger pies of wealth, in this life of economic growth.

Without a community that can inspire commitments and pride from generation to generation, there can be no cohesive society to build a true, comfortable home.


Spiritual Growth and Other Values

All human beings are physical forms and have selfish needs.However, economic activity is but one aspect of human life.For a more balanced and civil society, there must also be consideration for other aspects of human life- other types of desires and happiness.If we just concentrate on economic and material aspect to the exclusion of others- then we will not, in the end, get a balanced society that we should be aiming for.

In striving for wealth creation, economic growth should not over-ride the social needs of the community.

If life is only about harvesting money, then society will be very hesitant to provide social amenities and people reluctant to do voluntary work.In fact, the disturbing signs are already showing.Some volunteers are already feeling more resigned than fulfilled but at the same time a different breed of volunteers emerged.When we start weighing social needs against opportunity costs, and encourage only commercial activities and leave social activities to fend for themselves,we will tend to see those who cannot produce as much as they consume as burdens to society.Being over-commercialism, these new breed of volunteers see the opportunities of achieving their own interests, friends and families.

The sole preoccupation with this selfish aspect of human activities will surely cause an unhealthy change in social values of the community.

The presence of such an unhealthy change is obvious when rich people in big cars start rushing for free used textbooks meant for poor and needy students.Another example, when rich people who can buy nice, big cars but asking for free parking at commercial buildings?!

The future will not eliminate the human condition and solve all human problems.While people should be free to take control of their own lifes, the society can only survive if there is a real growth in depth of social feelings and understanding to match the material abundance.The society will fail not because of the absence of quantity but the lack of quality.

This social understanding can only come about when we are able to see that a caring and enlightened society cannot be conceived solely in economic terms.Any society that uses economic productivity to access the worth of each member of our society will destroy the caring and supportive ethos of our community.What is the meaning of society or community when there is no care or welfare?

This lack of social understanding by eroding social morality will become a danger to social cohesion.This is because social morality is essential for order and harmony and the preservation of social state.Laws and Orders alone are not enough.

Without social morality, economic advances will have sociological consequences which are not always beneficial.With the object of bettering his material and social status, an individual may act in ways which will have hurtful consequences for others.Economic growth may bring material benefits but it may also erode qualities such as reasoning, imagination, sympathy and feeling for fellow human beings.Such mental mutilation is the result of materialistic obsessions and narrow-mindedness.For this reason, idealism and moral principles are even more necessary in the free market societies of the rapidly changing world.

There is nothing wrong with striving for physical comforts and luxuries.Some of these things have become basic necessities for a modern social community.However the pure consumption of goods and services alone does not lead to fulfillment and happiness.That is why in spite of our "wealths", Singaporeans still are such grumbling lots!

Why then are we grumbling when life is so "good"? This is because, in life, there must be a mental space for a person to nourish his "soul".This is what everyone lacks!

Economic growth, therefore, should not be just a tool purely for the acquisition of wealths.More important, it must also be a tool that can free people to find true meaning of life and help them attain a higher level of moral development.

Housing and economic growth are important for our physical survival and well-being.Beyond this physical provisions, economic growth must help us in our spiritual growth.If we allow profits, dividends and the value of our flats and our cars to imprison our human spirit and enslave us psychologically, then we can never hope to develop a society that can free the human imagination to help us grow as a community in the next century.

While success should be duly rewarded and we should not deprive the hardworking people of their dues, the single-minded approach of measuring success in monetary terms will forever limit the personal development of the individual and make him feel constantly anxious and insecure all the time.

Thus to build a society rich in community spirit, we have to address the intangible needs of man.Only in an environment that can cater to the intangible needs of its citizens will our people be able to emphatise with each other.Only such environment can free our people to test their full range of imagination and intellect.

Singapore is not known to be a lively place for political, intellectual and philosophical discussions.What most people want is a bigger house, a bigger car and lots of money to spend most of their times outside of their homes.

To most Singaporeans, getting involved in civil participation and political discussions is not only economically unproductive but may sometimes bring trouble.The attitude then is just to make lots of money becoming only an extravagant and never bother at anything else.

All of us understand that cohesion, caring for others, community consciousness and the spirit of helping others is important to nation-building.Yet all these ideals will come to nought if the mind is still shackled by the anxiety to acquire more material wealths.The individual can integrate himself fully into the life of the community only if he sees himself as a useful and functional part of the community.

Meaning and Importance of Participation

Materialism can be damaging to both the individual and the country.To the individual, it corrupts his moral integrity.To the country, it breeds abuse of power, manipulation of the economy, mascarading beneath iron-fisted governing and towards political indifference!!

Thus, if we want to breathe life into the nation and give our country a soul, then our people must imbued with idealism to match our materialism.While we need to accomodate physical and economic realities, we also need to have the urge of wanting to do something for our fellow human beings.

This means going beyond the basic material needs and to try find a higher meaning of life.We can do this when the mental space of the individual is allowed to reflect and search for the truth; to develop his understanding to help transform the life of his community.In turn, the individual's attitudes and beliefs must be allowed to be forged and tempered by the attitudes and beliefs of others in the community.

We need active citizens to achieve this.We also need a more conducive climate for such people to play their part in the affairs of the community and the country.

People should be encouraged to express views- not blatantly display their extravagant ways! Any debates on public policies should be viewed as attempts to search for answers to our country's problems.

Every person should be encouraged to dream and to communicate his ideas so that he could be part of the sum total of views and opinions that determine the destiny of his country and society.

However, if our people's involvement in the affairs of the country is limited only to being curious bystanders or think-about-your-job supporters, watching for only the outcome of gladiatorial politics and political roadshows during general elections, then we will just be successful commercial centre in the global village and not a proud country with a heart in a world of nations.

Only with a dynamic and lively participatory climate can we learn to give and take, show caring heart of love and compassion and work towards a more harmonious community.Only a lively climate of open discussions and democratic freedom can help to nurture this; but be forewarn that this area of openness and freedom can also be changed into reversal threats to win a discussion or public arguments.Only then are we be able to live joyfully and in harmony with our fellow citizens.

It is this participation that will give a citizen the sense of rights and moral obligations.Thus each and every citizen will have a claim on other citizens to be treated justly and equally.He will also have a responsibility to meet such claims that others have upon him.Just laws applied truthfully to everybody will then be able to be built on this foundation.

The fundamental principle to remember is that we are living in a social state and we should strive to find happiness for all.

Side-effects of Materialism

In the long run, in such a society of materialistic manipulations and exploitations, self-interests and greed will become a social decadence!

For this reason deep friendship will slowly become a scarce commodity and the feeling of community will slowly erode.This is bad news because a competitive and selfish people without regards for fellow citizens cannot bring about a very enlightening or morally-strong society.

Furthermore, a country of people scrambling for materialism without a care for the community, will not be able to evoke loyalty or total commitments from its citizens.Selfish pursuits of individuals, without being balanced by a caring society which shows some consideration for another fellow human beings, is the source of civil discord.

Material possessions should, therefore, not be the only important measures of success.
A society can be strong and durable only when there is social cohesion, moral commitments and self-restraint.

There must also be the sense of social and civic responsibility because that is what needed to bring about a neighbourliness, care for the poor and handicapped, and also bring about the political awareness to promote a strong political maturity of the country and its citizens.

As long as people think that minding their own business and upgrading their flats and cars, are the only important things that matters to them- then this country can only be a trading post of selfish competitors chasing after material possessions only and not a nation of citizens bonded by one common destiny.Selfishness will ultimately lead to what is known as the tragedy of commons: where everyone maximises his or her short term gain without consideration for the general good.

The tragedy is that the future generation will have to pay for the greed of the present generation!

One example of this tragedy would be in the area of healthcare.As a person becomes more and more materialistic, he tends to focus less attention to his health until he falls sick.He is likely to indulge in a lifestyle of fancy gastronomic food, lavish entertainment and glamourful life.This, together with all the stress, the competition, the anxieties and the envy from the chase for material possessions will inevitably affect his health in the long run.

In an affluent society of "conspicuous consumption", the type and quality of healthcare a person gets also becomes a status symbol.People are more inclined to consume tertiary healthcare with all its modern technologies an procedures than to be a believer of the preventive medicine of primary healthcare.

In Singapore, it has become common to hear people boasting of their care under famous cardiologists, their children's treatments under prominent paediatricians and their other wives' visits to popular gynaecologists.

This consumption of tertiary healthcare is likely to increase as a person grows older.

The richer he becomes the more he is afraid of death as he has too much now to lose.
It is also because materialism has weakened his spiritual strength and diminished his ability to grow old gracefully and die peacefully.

A consumer of tertiary healthcare, is therefore, likely to die- struggling with all the medicines and machines attached to him in the confines of an expensive intensive care unit.

This mindless consumption of tertiary healthcare not only creates a sick and nuerotic society, it also diverts resources from inexpensive primary healthcare that benefits the majority to more costly tertiary healthcare that benefits the few.In an ageing population, the bill will have to be paid by the next generation, both through their Medisave account and taxes.

Another example is housing.A materialistic person loves being assets-rich.Unfortunately, high property prices produce nothing and someone has to pay for it.

When there are asset-inflation and higherty prices, our workers must be paid more so that they can meet their expectations of owning a house and paying their mortgages.If the prices of flats increase, our electricians, plumbers, mechanics and hawkers must be paid more because they too would want to own a flat.When there are asset-inflation and high property prices, those who do busineses must also pay higher and higher rentals.

The high property prices must be passed on ultimately to the consumers.If a company has to pay more for its workers and rents, the price of goods and services must eventually be increased.In the end, life becomes expensive for everyone.

With high property prices, unless the rich migrates (since they can afford multiple citizenships) or the rich-wannabes downgrade, how can these people realise their wealth?

Furthermore, as almost all Singaporeans own their flats- even when they sell their flats, who do they sell to? The next generation of Singaporeans- their children!

Thus, we may be rich on paper but in the end, the people who are going to pay for the high prices of properties will be their own children and the consumers in general!