A stab in the heart for Singapore nationalists. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn’t a fan of Singapore when it comes to creative thinking. Speaking to BBC, Wozniak questions where are the creative souls in Singapore.
Here’s an excerpt from his interview:
When you’re very structured almost like a religion… Uniforms, uniforms, uniforms… everybody is the same. Look at structured societies like Singapore where bad behavior isn’t tolerated. You are extremely punished.
Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists? Where are the great musicians? Where are the great singers? Where are the great writers? Where are the athletes? All the creative elements seems to disappear.
I’m not sure how much Wozniak knows about Singapore and its system. But as a Singaporean, who grew up in this tiny island, I have to agree with his words. He talks about ‘thinking for yourself’ and how that’s important to creativity. And I agree that this is true. But with regards to Singapore, I believe most people here actually do think for themselves. Before I graduated from college, a lot of friends told me that they have aspirations to do this and that.
We’re big thinkers and very ambitious. What’s really lacking is the guts to do things. Only few have the balls to do what they really want. And unfortunately, most Singaporeans who aren’t that courageous end up as Thank-God-Its-Friday laborers, or folks who are always looking forward to Friday and the paycheck. They are the people who complain about their lives the most, not the entrepreneurs and creative minds.
Even for those who have the guts to do it (pointing to entrepreneurs in the tech space) most don’t have the global mindset to run their startups. We’re smart, but we are not the most open-minded and creative people because we’ve been stuck on this small island for so long. Our restrictive education system also doesn’t help the creative thought processing. Everything — from education and national service — has to have a system, points, and rigidity.
Go ask any Singaporeans who have ventured or stayed out in other countries. They will tell you the same story.
Again, I believe Singaporeans have a lot of dreams, aspirations, and creativity in that sense. But pure dreaming isn’t gonna work. We need more folks to say “Fuck, just do it.” Not “Fuck, forget it.”