Truth in Fiction

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We must become the change we wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
One of the many wise quotes from a distinguished leader of the Indian Independence movement in British-rule India in the 1940s. Gandhi led India to independence and inspired Civil rights movements and freedom across the World.

 

“We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” – Nelson Mandela. He was the first elected Chief Executive of South Africa, in a fully representative democratic election. With his leadership, his government focused on demolishing the legacy of the system of segregation or discrimination on the grounds of race, through tackling institutionalised racism and fostering racial reconciliation.

 

These are the people who we have looked towards for some form of leadership, in the past, to ignite changes within systems that are flawed. There are many more in the past that have risen to the occasion and have made an impact on our current lives and reality. Yet, there is still a disparity that lies hidden within the unseen cracks of our current economic systems and governments. The leaders we have currently tend to be modest in the changes that are put forth compared to those in our history books. Mostly within the subject of economic and military growth. Below are some known examples of our current leaders’ speeches on growth:

 

1. President Obama elaborating on his budget and inviting people to take action.

2. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speech on transforming British economy.

3. Speech by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Leong, at the Economic Society of Singapore Annual Dinner.

4. Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli delivering a speech at the conference, vowing to push forward with China’s “New Formal” growth model.

 

As you can see, these speeches are mostly about the economy and the country’s growth. So why is economic growth so important to us?

 

Economic growth has been presented to be essential for each and every one of us surviving in this current time. It has been deemed important to acquired more wealth accompanied by the growing consumption everyone has in most countries. This allows businesses and corporations to grow and prosper exponentially. This relates to growth in the output of the economy as a whole. Currently, growth is measured as the difference or change in the gross domestic product of a country over a year. However, good economic growth does not equate to a better standard of living as always intended.

 

I live in Singapore, a small country located in the southernmost region of the continental Asia, which has no natural resources besides its people. Since their independence in 1965 from British rule, Singapore has grown to be a global commerce, financial and transportation hub. In 2014, Singapore was crowned the most expensive city in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). With such luxury like casinos, “low” crime rates, multi-million dollar properties, ever-green parks and a great Business district skyline, many expats and foreigners have resided in this small country which has tremendously impacted and increased the cost of living for the average Singaporean. Despite the high cost of living, I lead a happy, thriving life. I can safely say that with a slightly over-average income, I am able to have a home, water, electricity and some simples vices that makes living here tolerable. However, I cannot say the same for part of the population that work just to survive this increasingly expensive place. Recently, a study has shown that the ‘working poor’ in Singapore are not getting sufficient pay or salary to make ends meet. ‘Working poor’ is defined as a working individual whose income per household member is less than half of the national median per capita household income of Singapore, which stands at SGD $1,920. A survey done on poverty attitudes by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Social Work Department presented that those who need money want to work and that there are jobs available for them. However, it has been reported that there are more than 300,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents who earn less than SGD $1,500 a month (excluding employer CPF contribution) despite working full-time. Read more on this 2013 article here. Here is an article from the Guardian by Warwick Smith on his opinion on economic growth.

 

Simply put, quite a number of people do not prosper while the economy does. It is quite simple. We have been conditioned by our monetary and economic systems, that supports and purports greed rather than growth, to want and yearn more. To have more of something is the societal norm that has encompassed the mind of every individual that has lived in these past years, and will live in the years to come, as these ideas and concepts are built and incorporated into our education system. Competition has been put in place within the structures of growth rather than collaboration or cooperation. We have been made to judge and dream about the redundancies of the materialistic world. We promote greed and jealousy in our advertisement to grow consumption and thus the economy.

 

There are other possibilities of a far better economic and social structures that have been researched and also presented to the world which will abolish war, hunger, poverty, debt and unnecessary human suffering. One of them is called the Venus Project. This was created by an organization that created a feasible plan of action for social change towards a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are no longer a paper proclamations but an actual way of life. They have presented us with many different solutions such as a world economy that is resource based. With this, it utilizes existing resources, rather than money, and provides an equitable method of distributing these resources in the most efficient way, to the entire population. This system requires no use of money, credits, barter or any form of debt or servitude. Other solutions include housing, transportation and energy. The founder, Jacque Fresco, a futurist, inventor and industrial designer, uses the frontier of science, technology and imagination to create an intelligent application of what is available to us. The only limitations are those which we impose upon ourselves.

 

Think of all the human suffering that can be eradicated. Think of all the unnecessary famine, war, deaths and destruction that undoubtedly follow in our current plans for economic greed and power. The Venus project alone shows the very possibility of a new way of life. Rather than just to survive, we can thrive and develop a new world where every single individual can live and prosper. However, we need to change our current mindsets and some parts of our beliefs that have been instilled to indoctrinate us to the current structures of society and culture. We need change on an individual level first before the world can change. We need people to explain and lead us forward and inflict creativity and open-mindedness, towards these changes that will have to take place in order for each and every one of us to thrive.

 

Where are these people or leaders?

 

They are available anywhere, but do not look for them in the next political campaigns or in the current government. These ‘leaders’ are nothing but fictional characters that are invented by creative people to address the rising conflict between truth and lies within our reality. With many mainstream media and entertainment industries being owned by corporations, information tends to be exaggerated and sometimes, even fabricated to present the population with only the truth of what these powers want you to believe and not. It seems that politics and mainstream media are more about fiction than facts. We live in the age of technological advancements and with the easy access of information available to the common man, we hold the ability to research on a certain subject. With all these information available in an array of platforms and avenues, the truth is just an accepted perception of the conscious mind. In today’s context, fiction has become a primary point on which the journey towards truth will start. In many books, TV series and movies, truth has been portrayed as a kind of camouflage that can only be detected by the curious mind. Below are some examples of truth in fiction:

 

1. Known by most as “the most honest 3 minutes in television history”, this is an HBO TV series called the ‘Newsroom’ starring Jeff Daniels. The character Daniels plays is Will McAvoy, a news anchor. In this scene, he answered a question asked by a student, “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”. Great answer!

 

2. The Matrix. This movie provides a great representation of exactly what we are to the Elite of the world; batteries. It also shows the possibilities of an individual once they have awakened and escape the matrix. Your mind is the only limit.

 

3. Lord of War is a movie, starring Nicolas Cage, about an arms dealer confronting the morality of his work. It shows the Government’s prominent role in the distribution and sales of weapons and how they cover up the distribution and uses it to promote violence and fear throughout the world.

 

4. Blood Diamond is a movie that sheds light on the hardship and corruption incurred in a certain part of the world to provide trivial luxuries to people in developed countries. It also shows how the truth is being kept and hidden from people who keep the diamond industry intact through value and praise.

 

Well, it may not be hard facts, but there are some truths in them. Do not even get me started on the symbolism that are found in these shows. The best part is, there are many more just waiting for you to search on or stumble upon. Remember to always be wary and keep an open mind on the meanings and hidden messages in these shows. The most important thing you can do is to share these information. Share your opinions and comments with others so we can learn different perspectives that will ultimately lead us to unveil the real truth. Below are some of my favourite finds of great videos that will intrigue, fascinate and motivate you to strive for truth and change.

 

1. George Carlin – The American Dream

 

2. V for Vendetta – The Revolutionary Speech

 

3. My ultimate favourite, The Great Dictator (1940) – The Greatest Speech Ever

 

Written by Fariq Yusoff
Image sourced from Flickr

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Gaming is a Lifestyle

Playing video games has evolved from being “just a game”, to not only an online social platform, but also to make money. However, for most people, it remains an idle hobby. It is a time-consuming and expensive habit. Gamers develop niche expertise; games influence their “real” lives, and has become an encompassing lifestyle for generations to come.

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[Photograph of Cousins playing CS: GO]

 

In the past decade, video games have almost dominated the mainstream society, and its infiltration is growing. Graphics are better, stories are more engaging, playing experiences have also become more interactive. This has drawn more and more people towards the gaming arena. Additionally, the popularity of handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch and PlayStation Portable, which allows people to play video games on the go, allows the young and old alike to gather and interact more naturally, bringing even more people into the world of gaming.

What’s popular now is Mobile Gaming.
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This has completely revolutionized the gaming industry. Groups of people can be seen crowding in an estate or local shopping mall to play PokemonGo!. For hardcore and next-generation gamers, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) has become a trend on handheld devices, cell phones to be specific. The power and reach of the gamer life continues to infect our society. A word of caution, however: computer-hosted MMORPGs are seriously addictive and it has the influence to turn any person into a stay-home geek. Graphics and user interface is ever advancing beyond typical games; featuring full length movies, exciting storylines, engaging characters, and mind-blowing cinematography. You can play and explore forever: there are entire alien worlds to discover, risky missions to accomplish, mystical treasures to unlock, and worldly records to beat.

Gaming tournaments and Comic Conventions are ever growing in popularity, not only influencing the entire realm of the gaming lifestyle, but tourism as well. The top competitors from all over the world, travel to the major tournaments and compete against one another for huge cash prizes. These players devote their lives to honing their skills on a select few games; encompassing their skillsets and it’s their craft, their job, and their passion. At the trade shows, the major & minor gaming companies tempt their fans with the latest technologies, attracting the media and fans on a global scale. It’s an extremely lucrative business.

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YouTube and Twitch.tv are the leading online streaming platforms. G4(United States) television network, also covers major tournaments and E3(Electronic Entertainment Expo), including line-ups entirely filled up with programs devoted to gaming: review and preview shows, technology shows, walk-through shows, and more.

With all this media attention: TV stations, tradeshows, tournaments, games with broad demographic appeal, sophisticated systems which turn into home entertainment centres, it’s a culture shock that enabled gaming to spread across the globe and continue to influence the lifestyles of future generations.

 

 

Written by Yoji Amashiro
Photograph by Yoji Amashiro