Land and the fate of its people

It has been a long while since my last post. We have just returned from a month’s trip to Australia, the land of the kangaroos and koalas (not bears!). While the trip has been an adventure in more than one ways, I will slowly recount the various lessons learnt during the trip. For this year, (happy New Year!!!) I intend to write up one post per week, doing this every weekend as a means of more than just an account of what I have read and learnt, but also to ensure that I continue to learn and think over matters in my new job. Yes, new job!!!

During the trip in Australia, I marveled at the land they have over there. Land is the ultimate resource. For a land deprived nation like Singapore, the impact of this statement rings true everyday in our lives. As we drive to work, we encounter jams along the few arteries of our city state. No matter how much the efficient government tries to correct the situation, jams are here to stay. As we work in our cubicles and stare out into the opposite office block, the concrete jungle surrounds us left, right, up and down. As we run out of space to grow, we have no choice but to grow upwards at exponential cost. Even as we head home to our stacked up apartments, even the closeness of our neighbors and the numerous humanity that crowds us in malls sometimes suffocates us. There is no wonder why fictions occur and our people generally are grumpy.

As mentioned above, I was amazed at the vastness of space available in Australia. As I overlooked the fields of sugarcanes, ginger and banana trees, the amount of production generated from the land and its potential looked back at me. The resources imbued in the land enable the people to prosper and grow without the constrains faced by Singaporeans. The space between homes in the countryside, even the suburban areas gives breath for families to grow and children to develop as creative individuals as they are able to explore and roam. Resources in the country are plentiful, even in the age of natural conservation. As my father said, food drop on their laps easily even if they take a break for a day. While this may be a over simplification and surely life is not as easy for all Australians, there is a truth there. That Singaporeans have to fight and strive every single day of their lives in order to maintain their lifestyle or even to achieve a lifestyle which comes easier to others. And this is because of land.

I learned a lot of lessons while playing the computer game, Civilization V. If anyone says one cannot learn anything from games, it’s rubbish. Anyway, it is a complicated game as you are placed in charge of a civilization and lead it to victory. There are plenty of things to consider in the course of the game, Politics, Sciences, Military, Happiness of the People, Production, Foreign Relations, Resources, Roads, etc. However, in order to gain advantage in the later stages of the game, it is crucial for the civilization to establish control over a sizable amount of land for it to grow and develop. Civilizations that stay in their original spot grow slowly and may eventually be swallowed up by foreign powers.

Thus, it has been said and I will repeat again. Singapore is an anomaly. A city state driven into independence with no natural resources, surrounded by potentially hostile neighbors in the 1960s. That it has advanced beyond its neighbors and continues to punch above its weight is nothing short of a miracle. Tributes must be paid to our leaders, our forefathers and fortunes. Let the future generations never forget this, take pride in this and never take it for granted.

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