The Singapore government has a long history of running social improvement campaigns: be gracious, be kind, smile more, don’t forget to flush the toilets, and it’s cool to speak Mandarin.

This made me wonder: how would one go about inducing an entire nation to start thinking outside the box? Or for that matter to appreciate, value and desire quality over quantity? (These are challenges that are by no means unique to Singapore of course.)

Must the complex-ification, enrichment and maturity of a culture be mandated through social improvement programs, changes to education over a set period of time? Or does it require some sort of organic grassroots-induced shakeup of the prevailing status quo? Or is it simply a function of time alone?

The global economic crisis initially sparked many calls for an overhaul of capitalism. And yet as time goes by, we see more and more of the same. The same techniques that built the bomb in the first place are right now being used to patch things up. Perhaps when a system is entrenched long enough, it develops self healing properties. Unfortunately this healing can be short-term focused.

(Yes I know this is tackling big challenges in a mere tiny blog post…)