Monday, October 18, 2010

Of The Deceleration of Time and The Quest For Individual Perfection

~The Deceleration of Time~


One of the ‘Slow Cities’ joining the Sloth movement

This topic appeared a while ago in the Star’s Star Two section (I think), and it intrigues me to study about this movement on the Deceleration of Time, a.k.a. the Sloth movement.

It’s really true, people nowadays are living such a hectic, job-centred life.  The suburban people are the most striking examples – going off to work/college early in the morning, and only return at sometime around evening to late night, depending on traffic conditions. In between, there’s work, work, work, lunch hour, work, work, work.

Some research group once studied the walking speed of people in different countries – if I’m not mistaken Singapore’s was the fastest. This may be attributed to the ‘fighting spirit’ of the Singaporeans in a small, highly competitive country. But the rest of the world aren’t really sloth-y either, from Beijing to New York to Tokyo to Mumbai to Kuala Lumpur, it’s pretty much the same.

Come on man, take it easy.

In our pursuit for materials, money or just simply survival, we neglected those things we whizzed by. Things that are precious to us, things that needed our attention, things that are simply beautiful it is a regret to miss it. As you were rushing towards your goal, you may be neglecting your child who wishes for some quality time, the old lady next door who live alone and appreciates some help, the beautiful fountain in the park which you just drive by everyday.

Whenever your schedule isn’t that tight, stop – and look around, for those little things that has added some colour to your life.

~The Quest for Individual Perfection~


I wonder who the hell started this.

From the beginning, I think everyone should’ve known this – Not everyone is created the same. Sure, in terms of looks, facial and body appearances, any underpriviledged and specialties. But we tend to overlook another aspect – the Talent and Interests of every individual.

The term ‘well-rounded’ is a very catching term as of today’s 21st century world, and also a term (at least, some of) us dreaded. To like, apply for a scholarship, you need to be good in leadership, academics, sports, arts, bla, bla, bla. This term is blindingly driving everyone into a mindless, soulless Quest for Individual Perfection.

The urban kids suffer the brunt of the impact. Parents scheduling ‘well-rounding’ activities, starting as young as age 3, to pre-preschool, art class, mental arithmetic, brain power workshops etc. Few years later, and they find themselves in a plethora of classes, music classes, martial arts, foreign languages, tuition, art class, football training ,etc.


Have they ever wondered, what the kids really wanted? Their real interests, which we fear they haven’t even knew due to being not given the chance to explore the world on their own. All these in the name of ‘well-rounded’!

This is seriously flawed. Why can’t we accept people for who they are? Why can’t we just let people to be what they wanted to be? In the end, those manufactured ‘well-rounded’ people who are good in everything, when they venture to the infinite field of life on their own, without a dream ( or even an idea of it ), will just simply get lost. They can’t even see their own selves in the mirror!

Of course, I’m not denying the possibility that there are really well-rounded people out there. But my point is, accept people for who they are, and let them discover their own ambitions in life. And of course, those universities should not blindly accept those labelled ‘well-rounded’ students, do give serious consideration to those who are really interested and passionate in their field of study too. As curiosity is the precursor to discovery, they say.

As for me, I’m pretty much left to my own devices, I have a rough idea what my ambitions are like, but somehow, indecisiveness is still cloaking my eyes from seeing my true self, haha.


In Germany there exists a Verein zur Verzögerung der Zeit - the Society  for the Deceleration of Time, as well as some Sloth Clubs in fast-paced Japan and Hong Kong. Even a pianist once mentioned that nowadays, people tend to judge pianists based on the speed they play, with a high speed signifying a virtuoso – while neglecting the aesthetics of the piece of music.

But still, I think that the full-blow Deceleration of Time can only be achieved in a return to harmonic co-existence with Mother Nature, surviving on the bare essentials while relishing life, the idyllic surroundings and relationships with other people. However, there’s a highly recommended virtual alternative : Harvest Moon Back To Nature! :D


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