-SIGH- /rant post ahead.
Last year, IKIGUIDE did an interview with the very non-assuming Anthony of Booktique. I just read this piece of news on the possibility of Booktique closing down and all I can do is to sigh.
Insane retail rental. Capitalism. Instant gratification and the “sunset” industry. These are harsh realities facing any business owner in Singapore. You get it worse if you belong to the black collar industry. You get it ten times worse if you are a black collar person with zero business background/intuition.
I’m really at a loss for words. -HUGE SIGH-
You know, some say that Singapore is a perfect country, or “too perfect”. That’s why people choose to leave, because things are sort of “too perfect” here and getting increasingly expensive. Income gap is widening–they moan–the richer folks are losing touch with the “ground”, etc.
Here, it is plain for all to see on instagram. -.-
As a nation, it is a real possibility that we sort of already traded part of our soul for money and profits. Which isn’t surprising, really–we know that Singapore is pretty much a competitive and “cut-throat” sort of nation.
Yet what I’m concerned about is whether we will continue trading our collective imagination and “soul” for money–at perhaps, an exponential rate.
Yes, there are various governmental grants for the fashion/creative/music industry. But just ask around and you’d know how much red-tape and paper work are involved. And so what if you do get funding–do you have the proper business sense to make it all sustainable?
And I had always felt that it’s a huge, huge pity that our major universities in Singapore don’t offer fashion/music/entertainment marketing, for example, in our business schools. Why not? FMCG/blogshops/luxury fashion/music are literally doing so well in Singapore/ Asia right now. Why can’t we have more cross-disciplinary niche areas here–to study theory and think really hard about how to apply these theories to practice?
I’m sure, for instance, if we raise more hard-core, business-minded fashion marketers in Singapore, the creative folks can just concentrate on making their garment and the marketers will take care of the rest.
To expand this particular notion, I’m also confident that if we raise more hard-core marketers trained to market the Arts/creative scene/ entertainment by discipline or specialisation, the local scene would grow exponentially.
This vision is obviously not for the faint-hearted–there is so much work to be done. But one can always hope, and I hope. I do hope! I do hope with all my heart and soul!
That’s why I came back to Singapore. To contribute a little towards this vision.
Meanwhile I hope Indie folks hang in there and don’t give up. This is a long process of bottom-up nation-building. Hang in there while we figure out a way to make this business model sustainable.
So dear reader, meanwhile at this weekend, please head over to Booktique and give them some moral/practical support. Don’t let another piece of the nation’s soul die.