06 June, 2014

The Problem with the Big Picture

Had a tough day and wanted to blog about something wrong with our society.

My lecturer back in NP always told us to not just identify the problem but also figure out a solution - only that would make us helpful citizens. Without constructive feedback, it only makes us angry citizens.

I thought I may have figured out a solution to a big problem in our society today and I call it -

The Problem with the Big Picture

Do you remember how primary school was about who to friend, who not to friend? Or how secondary school was about BGRs, finally being able to watch NC-16 movies, and the frickin' O'Levels?

Those are the little things in our lives that makes things meaningful and memorable. We were building on relationships, be it good or bad.

At some point in time, some adult-wannabe comes into our lives and teaches us to look at the big picture.

Picture yourself in 5 years' time (which also happens to be a very common interview question), would you want to be cleaning tables at a fastfood outlet?

Looking at the big picture helps us to let go of the small problems - why she don't like me? Why I no clique? How come my mother don't let me have my own handphone?

In a way, it helps us to "grow up". To stop fighting over the smallest issues. That's growing up... right?

But recently I found a BIG problem with the BIG picture in the BIG environment we call society. 

You know what made the modern society so "cold"?

Exactly, the big picture.

Let me, *ahem*, start small.

University students are past their teenage years but are not exactly adults yet. They stay in hostel, can watch whatever movie whatever the ratings, they can take the driving test, they can sign papers with parental consent. At the same time, many them in Singapore or the Asian society, are still living with their parents, still financially-dependent on their parents and are still part of their Dad-Mum-Siblings family circle.

It's at this point in time when looking at the big picture makes them forget what really matters. Or, as I would call it, the whole picture. 

They find that it's okay to spend the night away from home, even if it isn't schoolwork. They are always focused on their projects, exams, presentations, GPA, friends, self image...

Then they forget the other priorities in life.

For example, at our age, household chores is aunty-ish & optional. Of course schoolwork is more important! Or even, dating.

But it's optional for you, because you have your D-M-S family that covers for you.

When you look at the big picture in the future, when you have your own home, your own family, household chores actually isn't an option, but a priority too. If you don't wash your clothes, no one is going to do it for you. If you don't empty the trash, you can grow your own pests colony.

It isn't EVER optional. It's the smaller part of your big picture that life has taught so many of us to forget.

Outside of home, how many of us take note of the cleaners in the estate? Or the bus driver of that bus you always board in order to get to school?

In a way, we have no right to say that the government has forgotten about us, the citizens. Because we forgot about the "small people" in our lives too.

Stop saying that the country is progressing in a way that's good for our finance but not beneficial for the people. Just look at how you're advancing in your own life, overlooking the well-being of others who make your life easier.

Sometimes our big picture is just an excuse.

You can forgo two hours from your leisure time to clean up your own space.
You can fork out 15 minutes just to have a proper decent conversation with your father.
You can take just 1 minute to thank the cleaner in  your estate who wakes at 5am.
You can take just 5 seconds to greet the bus captain.

What is stopping you from looking at the whole picture today?