IS “excitement” a physical manifestation of an emotion, or a state of mind?
How much excitement do we want to live with? How much can we handle?
Coming out of a two-year slumber of sorts, and as we kick aside the COVID-19 blanket, have we becoming restless as a result? Has that down time made us more demanding and expectant of ?
Or has Singapore lost some of its edginess and excitement?
How important is the perceived excitement of a country for its population and for continued growth?
While we have seen Singapore up the excitement levels through entertainment — integrated resorts, fine-dining restaurants, Formula One races, concerts and the like — what’s it like for the population. And do businesses find Singapore exciting enough to establish their presence here?
The idea of excitement sits differently for different people.
But as a concept, what are we looking for in an exciting environment?
The WED WEB CHAT — How To Make Singapore Exciting? throws up the question for discussion.
The panellists bring a range of interests and experiences to the discussion.
Roberto Fabbri is the Managing Director of S.I.B. Consulting. He is the Founder and past President of the Italian Business Association and European Business Association.
Paul Tan is a poet and the former deputy Chief Executive of the National Arts council. He is currently a PhD candidate at Nanyang Technological University.
Emma Goh is a fresh graduate working as a research assistant at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre of Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Jin Ooi is the Managing Director at Distilleri Pte Ltd, a strategic communications consultancy, that will be launching Grand Prix Season Singapore (GPSS) this year.
What Does “Excitement” Mean?
For Roberto Fabbri, the excitement begins in the brain just like any other emotion and as such is in many ways a personal as well as a collective experience.
“Personally, I am excited when I have easy, varied, and affordable access to art – all art from performing arts to galleries, concerts, music, or ballet. This type of excitement won’t be probably sustained if I would live and work in a dull environment, and here is where the community comes in.
“Parks, park connectors, easy transportation, accommodation, and physical and mental well-being are factors that influence our perceptions and our level of excitement.
“In business, given the location, size, and reputation of Singapore, I suppose that revising the MICE business model by moving away from events showing “things” to events discussing ideas would keep us where things happen, and excitement begins.
“We may not have a large market for goods, but we might have it for ideas.”
Roberto, who has been a Singapore permanent resident since 1984 and has two daughters with his Singaporean wife, holds up the seemingly infallible Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system as an example. “We were pioneers among the major cities in the world to introduce the ERP system, we are quite advanced in vertical farming, why not become a reference point and a model for elderly care, stress management, etc. It may not appear exciting but the elderly (care, psychology, products, life enhancement, etc.) and stress management are among the largest and most promising businesses we may think of.
“And finally, we must be and remain an open and welcoming society as no life survives in stagnant waters.”
It’s About Discovery
If Jin Ooi were to be bestowed a superpower, he would “want to be able to read other people’s minds”.
He would then understand their mindset and how they are going to behave.
An ideas-led, purpose-inspired, digital-savvy, marketing and communications professional with close to 25 years of experience across FMCG, telco, automotive, IT and government businesses, he is known amongst colleagues to be a goal-achiever, problem-solver and an inspirational leader.
“Excitement is about discovery — about having new perspectives, discovering new things and going on to new adventures.”
He set up Distilleri, a strategic communications consultancy, to change set minds about the evolving media industry. Distilleri works with major clients to develop new approaches to communicating their messages. It has recently been awarded the inaugural GPSS by Singapore Tourism Board, which will be held in September, as a run up to the returning Formula One race.
During his downtime, Jin likes to scuba dive, or enjoy a good scotch and a cigar.
Meat And Poison?
“I think all great cities inherently have a creative energy, a dynamic and diverse resident population and a buzzing calendar of events,” reckons Paul Tan, who has several volumes of poetry to his name and who used to helm the Singapore Writers Festival.
“Singapore sure makes the grade as an exciting place? Or not?
“Perhaps one’s person’s excitement is drudgery or dread to another?”
New graduate Emma Goh has an exciting future ahead. The recent Urban Studies graduate of Yale-NUS College is now working as a Research Assistant in the field of urban planning with the Lee Kuan Yew Centre of Innovative Cities at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Her research interests are in ageing urbanism and urban innovation. She’s also passionate about placemaking to transform spaces to become more inclusive, accessible and exciting.
Emma reckons, that for her “perhaps the most exciting spaces are the most serendipitous ones”.
Watch previous WED WEB CHAT discussions HERE.