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In Search of the Singapore Soul (w/ Nick Fang)

by Steve Stine

In this week’s episode I’m in conversation with Nick Fang, Managing Director of Black Dot, a Singapore-based media consulting and advisory firm. In our conversation we bandy about the idea of what it means to design and imbed a national narrative. Nick has worked as a journalist, a presenter and a public commentator. Since leaving journalism, he’s dabbled in politics, served as a member of a local think-tank, and contemplated what we’ll call the evolving Singapore narrative.

It’s about the stories we tell ourselves. Curious, isn’t it. We, as humans, are masters of the art of story-making. Just as we design tales to project to the world who we are and what we stand for, so do nations employ similar devices to align its citizenry to a common set of ideals or principals.

Singapore has oftentimes been seen as a country small enough to test new ideas and approaches and demonstrate to the world what’s possible. It is exemplary in every way, but most notably in the roll-out of infrastructure, institutions and incentive structures that keep Singapore on the cutting edge.

The hardware, as Nick tells us, is firmly in place. Advancing the Singapore vision, however, requires something more…something less tangible and more attuned to the feeling of what it means to be Singaporean. For this, the people of Singapore will need to do a bit of soul searching. Once again, Singapore might prove the shining example of what it means to frame a collective vision then carry it out. And god only knows, the world – now, more than ever before – could use a few shining examples.