When i first started out playing RPG games, one of my favorite parts was to create the new character that i was about to play as. After choosing the name and the gender, which are interesting choices, the most important and crucial part of the character creation was to choose the profession or, as the RPG genre puts it, the class. The importance of choosing the right class cannot be understated. It generally shapes the way how you will play the game. If you choose a warrior type class, be it fighter, barbarian or the knight, you generally bash through each and every monster, looking for the loot. A wizard type class will have you casting spells and using your intellect to solve puzzles at every turn. My favorite was the sneaky type, the rogue or, politically incorrect use of term here, the thief. My character has to sneak around, looking for clues and hints on how to defeat the big boss and strike at his weakness in some devious ways. The best scenario involves charming through his harlem and stabbing him at the back while he is casting his masterplan spell to destroy the world.
As I continue on my array of RPG games, (my all time favourite is still the Quest for Glory series), there comes little changes and complexities along the way. The RPG genre begins to introduce more varieties of classes. From the simple trinity of Fighter, Wizard and Rogue, classes like Paladins, Necromancers, Ninja, Archers and Monk were developed and added to the array of choices. It became a fun thing just to replay a game with different types of character just to find out what would have happened if my Monk had no ability to pick the lock to the evil vampire’s lair like my Rogue and I have to meditate my way through. Then the multi-class system kicked in where a character can be a Fighter and a Mage at the same time. Imagine a two-handed sword wielding big-muscled guy starts throwing fireballs. The power of it all!!! Muhahaha!!! Thankfully, most games generally balance it out by making such characters Jack of all trades, Masters of none. So, instead of the big muscled guy, you probably have a lithe sword swinging fellow with some tricks up his sleeves.
Then came another turn of change. RPG games with no class!!! *gasps* Instead, the character you play can advance up his skills anyway you like. Need more muscles? Increase his strength at the next levelling up. Too stupid to solve a puzzle? Develop his intelligence at the next training ability. Too slow to catch arrows? Learn the tricks of dexerity at the master’s cave. Suddenly, there is no direction, no guides and no lines, just scenarios to solve and your decision on how to develop your character not only to solve immediate problems but to be more well rounded to tackle future problems as well… Doesn’t this sound familiar?
When Singapore first started out, the plan was simple. Gain economic wealth, improve housing and education level, ensure internal and external security and connect ourselves to the biggest gorilla out there. Much like Maslow’s hierachy of needs, the bottom layers are simple and direct, but once they are fulfilled the higher ecelon needs more than a little definition. Singapore has matured to a stage where the lines are blurred and definitions of the past no longer works. Narratives of the past have a universal appeal because they are urgent and necessary needs of everyone’s life. Thus, the nation was supportive and leadership was perceived as strong and productive. Now, ask what is the next step in Singapore’s future of ten persons on the street, you will get twenty answers.
Today’s blog is not about answers. In fact, I hope my blog is never about answers but hopefully trigger questions. However, I do have one suggestion to the newer generation of Singaporeans. As the conversation on the next big step occurs, let us never forget that the current status of our country is based on the hard work of our parents and our parent’s parents. Things that we take for granted like wifi, mobile phones, the Internet and even the TV were not guaranteed in their days. Just as Maslow’s hierachy rests on the simpler needs, we also must give thanks for those who provided the simpler needs.