Google and Facebook as Eurocentric Extensions; Singapore to Become Less of a Country

I had previously written an article here about how Google and Facebook will redefine the face of diplomacy. I had further reflections on this topic. Below are further extensions to the conversation.

*****

“Actually, Google and Facebook are Eurocentric in their perspectives. Naturally they are extensions of Europe and America, since they were developed there, and would have grown with their ideals. It’s as if they have a tactic agreement with America and Europe to be their informal channels to pursue Eurocentric ideals such as the freedom of speech, from a Eurocentric point of view, in other countries. Other countries are well aware of this, and thus China developed their own machineries such as Baidu and Weibo and Iran has developed its own Internet network.

However, it is also in the greater interests of Google and Facebook to appear as independent and to ensure that they do not appear that their interests are tied to America and Europe because in the event that America and Europe fail, Google and Facebook can rise above them. Google and Facebook could either then continue to pursue Eurocentric ideals, or they could aim to become rising political powers, and further the organisational ideals that they were built on. Alternatively, they could rebuild their alliances with other nations when that occurs.

In the longer term, if Google and Facebook can outlive the demise of the powers of some nations, they can potentially create a new world order, because of the functions and interactions that they have created, or are in the process of doing so.”

*****

“Actually, if you look at the Singapore government, they understand that for Singapore’s future and survival, we need the world to continue to operate within the framework of globalisation and that Singapore functions as one of the key nodes/hubs within this globalisation. They know that they need to disassociate Singapore’s status from being that of a country to being one that predominantly functions as an international hub of necessity. Thus they allow our boundaries to be porous, in order to ensure that other countries also have a stake in Singapore’s future, so that other countries will contribute to maintain our status as a hub, and by extension, our existence.

However, the people of Singapore don’t. The people continue to see themselves as citizens of a country. If Singapore wants to continue to stay relevant, we need to move beyond seeing ourselves as a country, and even as a city, but to uplift our status to one as an international hub with further integrated services, both physical and online. The government knows this but it needs to communicate this vision to Singaporeans, in a way that does not expose its strategy. And Singaporeans need to step up to understand this vision.

In a way, this was what Minister K Shanmugam had hoped to explain in subtle terms, when he described Singapore as a city and not a country, but this thinking is still too advanced for Singaporeans to appreciate. He had also underestimated the importance of the cultural ties that Singaporeans would actually want to hold on to, to Singapore – because of people’s natural want to develop cultural affinity for rootedness.

But this means that the government needs to start respecting the people as equals and build mutual trust, so that this vision can be clearly communicated. If the government wants to move Singapore into the knowledge economy where the openness of the economy and communications are vital, it would need to operate like Google and Facebook, and encourage openness, creativity and innovation among the people.

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2 comments

  1. Pingback: Google, Facebook Leads the World in New Diplomacy. Apple is the New World Order « The Heart Truths
  2. vin8tan

    Such is the paradox of globalization and nationalism. On one hand, globalization is slowly eroding our cultures, forcing us to play by the rules of supranationals and giant conglomerates. Expecting my cup of frappa or latte to be the same no matter which corner of the world i am.

    Yet, for a decade now, we have been pumping in ever more money to grow or shape an identity we can call ourselves. Without the influx of migrant workers, we have never felt the need to protect and engage our cultures, needless to say value it.

    For me, i think the solution would be to further engage our universities and change the model of education here. education shouldn’t be treated as a conveyor belt system but one that is evolutionary. There is much money to be made in this model, more sustainable then turning it into a factory that churns out student after student.

    My question to all undergrads are, why are we not solving our own problems, but importing other problems into our country? Can’t we catapult our economy into the real 21st century and become a true knowledge economy? Why are you (undergrads and universities alike) not taking on the job and changing the way we work, live and play, changing our future

    There s so much potential where we can solve day to day issues such as transport and quality of living conditions in HDB flats .All these can be patented and sold to other regional countries where we as asians would know our own problems better than anyone else.

    Trains that hold more people, flats that are more spcious and condusive, machines that can replace your aging parents working to clear plates or in the factories. With that we can stop the cycle of increasing the CPF withdrawal age and reduce our reliance on foriegn talents. These skills can than be exported to the region to help leapfrog their economies and we can grow as a region. Everywhere we look, there’s an opportunity. If singapore invented a paint that can react to sunlight and translate that to energy, we can reduce the reliance on those ugly, static, not as efficient solar panels. Universities can generate large amounts of funds through licensing deals and become huge players of the work force, where people go to for research and developments. Where a passion drives us to change our lives for the better.

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