Wednesday, 4 February 2009

An Ant-i-Climax

Alighting from the bus this morning at the bottom of Tanglin Road I stood inadvertently on a column of industrious ants.

I couldn't help that this action was a rather compressed metaphor for the futility of modern economics and impact of the world wide recession currently being felt by Singaporeans.

Singapore has been very diligent and prudent in its economic management in past decades, building up huge reserves in the process. Now through fault of their own, but largely as a result of greedy financiers and major countries living well beyond their means, this country finds itself facing very challenging times.

There is no doubt in mind that Singapore will weather the storm and given its continued investment in research and top talent will survive and thrive in the years ahead.

The government here is fast-tracking many public development schemes to keep the economy ticking over and there has been a significant increase in social welfare spending, although it is not directly termed as such and should not be confused with the Western model of the nanny welfare state.

The Thaipusam festival was celebrated this past weekend and to outsiders is best remembered for its devotee’s predilection for sticking sharp metal skewers through their skin and walking lengthy distances supporting highly colourful structures called Kavadis.

This Hindu religious festival reminds me of another revelation in the local media during the week. More and more Singaporeans are seeking solace in religion as the recession bites. Evidently the same trend has emerged in the USA where the occupancy of church pews has taken a sharp turn for the better.

This search for answers draws me back to my encounter with the ants. No matter how many are stood on, they collectively keep on going for the welfare of all. There's a lesson to be learnt there.

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