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What Makes Singapore A High-Speed Society

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Living in a well-developed country, there are apparent aspects that make Singapore a high-speed society and how Singaporeans are keeping up with this accelerated times.

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The developments in Singapore through the years has inevitably led us to a nation living a rapid pace of life. When we think of speed, in the broadest term, we would commonly relate it to movement and time; how fast we walk or talk, and how fast it will take us to travel from one place to another. But what is it that makes us feel like we’re speeding up? One of the factors of social acceleration in Singapore’s society, is the social aspects. According to Hartmut Rosa, one of the change in social acceleration can be identified based on the transformation of our lifestyle. Singaporeans alone were already competing amongst themselves, much less an integration of migrant workers, which is frequently associated with the developments of this country. We often find local parents enrolling their children in various extracurricular programs to help them thrive and come to the fore, while adults work long hours and are deprived of sleep. As a result, Singaporeans dedicate most of their time to work which lead them to have lesser free time to themselves.

Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor, who carried out a study of ‘pedestrians’ speed’, has found that Singapore is the fastest walking city, compared to 31 other cities like New York and Tokyo. This is somehow a revelation because a fast walking city implies that Singapore is a busy country, and that we are often in a hurry. We would expect cities like New York to be busy, maybe even busier than Singapore, but the emergence of this study simply proves that this knowingly small country, is constantly on the go. Consequently, with the booming of economy, overworking becomes a custom, where Singaporeans tend to have the urge to be productive even during their free time. With that, social acceleration can also seen as an influence of expected conduct of an individual in the working environment of an accelerating age.The implications that speed brings to our modern society is the cultural acceleration. With the evolution of technology, the world is becoming ‘smaller’ than it was, and is changing rapidly. Everything is so much easier now, given that it is convenient for us to communicate with someone from across the globe, or to look for and receive information online. While we might consider technology like the internet to be the best thing that ever happened to the world, this advancement can be seen as destructive too. With technology, we no longer have to wait, causing us to be an impatient society.

Our pace of life has seemingly accelerated, especially when our schedules start to cramp up and we begin to integrate ‘media technology’ such as our mobile phones in our daily lives. As described by James Gleick, speed simultaneously becomes a channel that forces us to be as competent as our smartphone devices. Wiseman is concerned about the notion of immediacy and how it has shaped us as a nation because we are compelled to the idea that we have to always be available through communication platforms on our devices, and that everything has to happen immediately.

Majority of Singaporeans are inclined towards a slower pace of life, but there was much displeasure among citizens when they learned that there was more focus on the government’s interests of retaining a prosperous economy, instead of the welfare of its citizens. However, considering the nature of Singapore’s political strategies, it is quite inconceivable for Singaporeans to slow down as we are influenced by the concept of ‘speed’ coexisting within our lives. Speed is seen as a drive to economic growth and developments. If we slow down, the economy slows down as well.

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