I wanted to write about this earlier but June holidays had a whole lot of adventure in store for me I never got to writing about it. Today I recall visiting BooksActually (one of the all-time favourite independent bookstores in Singapore) after seeing their video calling out for help through their Homeless Book Project in the month of June— they were dishing out promotional opportunities to help them raise more money to curb their rising rental bills.
To me, independent bookstores like Books Actually embody a kind of spirit that celebrates local writers and artists, that treasure works of the past and present (especially the past). They are one of the only few beautiful independent bookstores left in our vicinity and even they, are almost struggling to keep up with inflation of rental prices and our progressive economy.
Sometimes, in face of stores going through phases like this, I think about what our society has come to value over the years and if we are deeming some relevant things irrelevant by obsessing over this one goal of a highly progressive economy. I am most afraid of falling into the trap of just going with the flow just because.
That’s incredibly dangerous because if everyone thinks like that, in time, we aren’t really following a good idea towards a good goal that is all for common good that the majority feel for and relate to; since we aren’t really considering how much we relate to it and want it or agree with the direction of how we’re progressing. And if everyone thinks like that, soon enough I don’t think I can be sure that we will still be happy with the environment and culture we live in. I sometimes think that the conviction in wealth, fame, fortune, tangible and material profits being guarantees of a ‘better’ life makes us pretty obsessed with the pursuit of them, and we ignore the glorious little things that actually contribute so much to that ‘better’ life as well.
An example I sometimes think about is when we blame the infrastructure for being ‘not good enough’ from housing to healthcare to transport; but maybe we don’t question enough the things that are within our control and how well we are maximising those opportunities nor do we consciously remind ourselves that we create the culture that we exist in. So until we stop going with the flow that we may not necessarily enjoy being in, and consciously protect parts of the flow or inject new personal touches of what you wish to see in this flow society is taking, we will all just be
going with the flow.