This is Christmas in a shopping centre in the middle of Orchard Road, Singapore. I have layered the image to emphasise the crowded chaos:
Imagine a vast marbled hall, ringing with the screeching of excited shoppers as they paw eagerly through the latest lot of branded, lifestyle-validated, shiny plastic bauble; the roar augmented by a large-screen TV at one end of the hall screaming out the offers of the day.
This could be in Australia, the UK, Europe or the USA too!
There is no denying it. For many in the developed world, Christmas is about buying too many things we cannot really afford, often for people we barely know or like, and who don't usually need or want the stuff anyway. All pimped merrily along by the fake-righteousness of bastardised hymns and the fake-nostalgia of threadbare movie tunes.
Bah humbug indeed, I am having a Scrooge moment – only brought out once a year by the “Christmas spirit”! But wait, there is a serious blog post here too; thought without the obligatory steak knives.
Seriously, does everything in life really boil down (brown and soup-like) to buying even more stuff?
Has the current prevalent economic model of mass production, mass consumption, mass marketing and mass branding (created in post war USA) become so entrenched we have accepted it as eternal and “too big to fail?” Mass apathy anyone?
I am conscious of how much my work could (and has) potentially contribute to the madness of consumerism, and the attendant problems of environmental sustainability, manufacturing ethics, and the increasing rich-poor gap…
Thus far most of my work has been focused around services, experiences and events, and less so on the direct sales and marketing of “stuff.”
Right now, “Where to next?” is the question for me – and very much a desired outcome from this sabbatical.
Christmas however, beckons. So this is “enough” for now. Till next year then! Have a safe and happy holiday season!
You want to know the real meaning of Christmas? Try this on for size: CNN Top Ten Heroes: Narayanan Krishnan