So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

I have decided to discontinue this blog after much deliberation. I’m doing this so that I can concentrate on my other public blog, geekulture, [] as well as other endeavours such as my other writing commitments, music, career, family and friends.

I had a really good run with singularity industries. I look back fondly on the two posts that I wrote last year that got a minister to respond in kind and also garnered so many views from so many people, and also got the local music community I love so much to feel something much more than just the eternal struggle. I’m really thankful, yet, sad to say.. I don’t think I’m that gifted a writer to continue writing at such a caliber on a regular basis.

You see, my insecurity has been plaguing me as much as the apparent success of such readership. I’m not blaming anything or anyone for this blog’s demise except myself. To some degree, it’s a natural death. I tried to switch gears and changed my angle from social good to social innovation, but I’m no expert in that matter, and try as I might, it didn’t seem natural to pursue a new aspect of writing when my heart was always some place else.

At the end of the day, it’s mainly about writing. I’m streamlining and cutting the fat off my digital assets. I want to keep contributing to the Net, I don’t want to just be lazy on Twitter and have quips here and there about occurrences. I still want to type long-form, and I think at this point of my life, I am more geekulture, than I am singularity industries.

I think there’s some degree of narcissism as well. When I blog, I enjoy sharing about my personal experiences and tastes. geekulture allows me to do that, it allows me to blog for myself, and it continues to feed the passion. Lately, that has stopped, because.. I was being fragmented with myself. I felt that having two distinct personalities was hypocritical (probably paranoia on my part), but that has always been what compelled me to blogging.

Blogs are personal, or rather, the blogs that matter are personal. They are more than just a news source, eyeballs and advertisements. The blogs that matter, always have a personality behind it, it’s more human, more niche and less about following someone else.

In order to continue writing, I have to cull what I think is detrimental to the joy I find that comes with pitting my fingers to the keyboard, articulating the mass of information in my brain into proper sentences, black on white.

So with this one final post, I would like to thank you for reading singularity industries. The ethos behind this blog will continue into geekulture as I create new categories that cater to the particular content of social good and innovation. But more than that, I will continue to exercise the voice I have, with the tools I have. It is far more cohesive to have one brian, than two schizophrenic voices.

Singularity Industries will continue to exist on the Net as an archive of opinions, to any folk that happen to stumble through its doors. But I will be slowly removing the hyperlinks from my digital assets.

As always, learn and do good.

Stay true,

- brian.


A Higher Order

social innovation

I know I have not been writing in here for a long time. The truth is, I did not really know where this blog was headed. I knew I was taking a step in the right direction when I launched geekulture slightly more than a month back, and I knew that I wanted to make a few editorial changes around Singularity Industries [Si], to accommodate my evolving writing interests.

I would like to take the time to perhaps share some of the changes that I intend to make to this blog, but perhaps it would be pertinent to remember why I wanted to start [Si] in the first place:

1. I was inspired by Monocle‘s editorial content, and how they curated the events of the world. Apart from having a more positive angle, I think their attempts to portray a more positive portrayal of how public life comes together when it comes to governments, businesses, culture and design. It was lovely, and I wished that I could attain a fraction of their success (in writing).

2. I wanted to improve my skills as a writer. I did not want to just be a reflexive writer, I’d hoped to be a clearer writer, and one that could present news and opinion in a more inspiring fashion.

3. I think there was still a part of me that wanted to contribute to society even though I was not gainfully employed. Hoping to highlight the good that people, whether in their crafts, businesses or ideas.

Alas, the reality that hits, is that my aspirations were perhaps too lofty. I was stretching myself thin as a writer, and [Si]‘s focus became blurred with trying to be too many things, but not as effective as the blog I’d hoped for. This ultimately was why I started geekulture, so that I could continue blogging about whimsical topics that did not necessarily contribute editorially, apart from putting a smile on your face.

So with these points in mind, I can begin to start rebuilding the editorial content, and direction of [Si], if you would so kindly hear me out:

What I hope for:
1. Social Innovation
I’m still very interested in how we can make the world a better place. The problem with that statement, is that it can sound self-righteous at times. This is not my intention, as I don’t think I deserve to have any Messianic complexes, nor am I trying to build this world in my image. I am however, interested in learning from people around me, who have a sort of divine discontent to the social issues around them and are doing something big or small to effect a positive change to their environment and communities.

I use “Singularity” in this blog’s name for a reason, and that reason is that the Singularity as an event, evokes to me, an emotion of transcendence. It also draws reference to the mysterious point where all matter in the universe was focused at a single point. This concept reminds me that as people, we are all one, despite our differences. Both these interpretations of the word, inspire me to look for innovative solutions, or perspectives, to the current challenges that society struggle with, in the face of tomorrow.

This led me to the term, ‘Social Innovation’, since I realised that the themes I was interested in, could be summed up with those two words. Of course, I had to Google the phrase, and as expected, there is a small, growing community of social innovators interested in the topics of social good, education, healthcare.. etc.

So this entry is pretty much the clearest definition I have ever had with regards to describing, just exactly what kind of blog [Si] is. It still maintains the manifesto “To learn and do good,” of which I am very pleased, because it just proves that my intentions were right, and my thinking has achieved a new level of clarity. I am excited.

2. Weekly to bi-weekly opinion based editorial
I’m going to have to be realistic with this blog. Most of my efforts are in attempting to grow geekulture into a daily read. Hence, I do not want to expend too much energy here, as long form writing is physically draining. What I can realistically do, is to write once every week or two, and distill my thoughts with regards to the categories that loosely fall under ‘Social Innovation’.

I’m still interested in technology and communication, but I think with my new job as a teacher, I will be interested in the topic of education as well, so please look out for that.

This schedule will hopefully allow me to be more productive, not just in producing content for my two public blogs, but also improve the quality of the posts for each blog.

3. Enjoy your weekends (Or days of rest)!
I fully intend to be a more balanced individual. Apart from maintaining blogs, I have an (un)healthy amount of bands and projects that I play music for, sometimes even managing. So in this regard, you probably will not find posts being published on the weekends. I might try crafting them, but if they’re not ready, the posts won’t go live. It’s really that simple, take a day off, and enjoy yourself! I know I will.

All in all
I hope I can live up to these expectations. It’s going to be a real discipline, but I should make an effort to, if I really want to see some sort of change in my own life. Thank you if you’ve been reading this blog regularly, though that would be impossible because you’d have to have been tolerating my irregular updates.

stay true,
- b.


My Thoughts And Motivations Behind The Post: Singapore, What Do You Want?

Empty Chairs
“A scene from Sunday afternoon as Singapore bands played to a small audience in gigs organised by the Youth Olympic Games”
Image credit: Leonard Soosay

When i wrote the post, Singapore, What Do You Want? I did not expect the minister himself to comment on it. I was coming home, taking the bus and checking my tweets out, and someone mentioned, “Look at the comments.” And for ten whole minutes, I was overwhelmed. This was going to be a lot bigger than I’d anticipated, and more will be stepping forward to share their views. I thought I’d be able to reply every single one of you who commented, but I can’t, or won’t. It’s almost 4AM, and my left arm is still in a cast, but I will share some top line thoughts and motivations to what drove me to write that particular post.

First of all, thank you for everyone who re-tweeted the message I wanted to share, for blogging about it and driving so many readers here (Mr Brown!). For everyone who liked a comment (ANY comment), and most definitely, everyone who left a comment. Whether you agree or not with my point of view, is not the point. I want to thank you for leaving a comment, and sharing your opinion, because it matters to someone. For those of you who encouraged me, thank you, I’ve been tired out from this because I’m not used to this sort of attention, but I’m learning to handle the pressure. You’re helping ALOT. And if my fuse was short on some, I apologise.

What it was not about
1. First of, it was not a blog post: extolling the MCYS, the ministers behind it; a political mouth piece with leanings to the current government in power nor about offering justification to why we should have held the Youth Olympics here; nor discuss what good or bad will come out of it.

2. Second, it was not meant to be a political piece, forcing people to take sides, that you are either for-or-against the Youth Olympic Games, and therein lied your political alignment.

What it IS about
1. It is an independent voice. It is meant to talk about human values and human spirit, despite our differences in opinion about the games. You as a reader can choose however you want to take my words, but I stand by the integrity of this blog, that it is a post meant to encourage everyday people like you and me, working & volunteering on the ground, and putting a spotlight on youth athletes who show us the values of human spirit; hard work; and how celebrations and disappointments are a natural course of life.

1. My main motivation for writing this post, is perhaps best embodied in my previous post, “The Case Of The Local Music Scene Vs. You, The Consumer” My main motivation was to encourage. I’ve been playing in Singapore indie bands for about ten years, never breaking the mainstream, or seeing so many of my friends hit a ceiling when it comes to how far we can take our music. I’m not pinning the blame on the consumer / audience, but we know what it’s like to struggle, and fight for a craft, and no one seems to care. You could say I empathised with the athletes, volunteers and workers, because I felt that they were in a similar situation (despite a multi-million dollar budget).

I could just not care, and continue being a trainer for 2 weeks, collect my pay and go home, carry on with my life and write in my blog about other things. But like my previous post, I realised that *while* it would be nice to change mindsets, that’s way too selfish and self-righteous.

What was within my capacity, as a normal person in living in Singapore, was to give encouragement to those who needed, wanted, or were looking for it. I’m not saying I’m a saint, but like some of us who give monetary donations to feed material needs of the less fortunate. Maybe I felt like I still had an exccess of soul and spirit to give, so I shared that, to anyone who needed or wanted it. And that was really it.

2. It’s not that I’m proud of Singapore as much as I’m proud of people in Singapore. Do not mistake this with nationalism, and please try to understand that I have been contributing art and culture to a place that can be seen as home. (My family + friends are here, I am investing my time here to contribute to a society.) But while others choose to see the bad and wonder why we’re stuck in Singapore, I know I’m not alone with people who see the good, that this is where we would like to see local arts & culture flourish, as much as our home as a whole. Almost like rooting for the underdog I guess.

Why did I feel that motivation was necessary?
1. I definitely made the mistake of grouping all negative sentiment into a category of “haters”, or people not proud of Singapore, prior to writing the “Singapore, What Do You Want?” But I would like to remind everyone, that this is very wrong thinking. I can be guilty of it when my emotions get the better of me.

But there are definitely some purely negative statements that get vocalised, and tear away at peoples’ souls. Ridicule for people who believe in something different from them, getting called names for the amusement of showing everyone how smart alecky one can be. I can appreciate satire, but I think we can draw a line when our words deride the integrity and character of someone we do not know. But again, this is a personal standard, how you use the Internet is entirely up to you. You will understand if I don’t listen to what you have to say if I cannot learn anything new.

But in the course of understanding the various grievances that we have, we should raise our voices if we do not agree with something. It is through public discourse that we can understand each other and work together for a better home for all of us. It doesn’t always have to be more money, welfare or convenience, it could also be more understanding and social graces with each other.

Thank you again, for reading. For leaving your comments, for sharing your experiences, thoughts, frustrations and hopes. I think Singapore is in an important transition, and I’m no expert policy maker, economist who can increase our GDP at the drop of a hat. But I, like others, can at least contribute to the culture of Singapore. Something I feel we’ve left behind in the name of progress. It may not mean much to some, but it means a lot to others. We’re not waiting for some great external act to galvanise the people, or have a sense of community. But I think we can start in our own little pockets on the ground, and slowly chip away at the unfinished identity of being a son or daughter of a place we would like to call home.