Saturday April 27, 2013
By DANIEL KHOO
There is a season for everything and the 13th general election has brought about in part an increased emphasis on the use of the word “manifesto”.
The word sounded strange to me when I first encountered it. It means a public declaration of policy and aims especially before an election by a political party or candidate.
The increased focus on such words by our main political parties indicates a maturing political landscape on the local space away from the times before – increasingly moving to an issue-centric election base.
This trend could be linked to the continued commercialisation the world’s political landscape led by the recent American election that was much publicised all over the world including in theoretically communist China.
Similar to the highly commercial lives we have been living in today, with advertisements trying to grab our attention wherever we look or hear, we are exposed to various political ideas and inclinations from the parties that represent them on varied mediums.
These manifestos mostly address the social and material aspect of our lives which are easily quantifiable but however such manifestos are usually unable to quantify the finer things in life such as the quality of life and the likes.
Perhaps a first step by the next administration should be an increased focus on the development of public libraries and museums around the country which are well equipped with literature from around the world.
This will actively encourage the exploration of knowledge that is not confined to within the four walls of the school or tuition class anyway. Should this be done, the developers should keep in mind that a library is not defined by its physical building but a centre for the exploration of the mind where it is allowed to roam-free and facilitating the quick development of the intellect.
This is why a library’s content with a strong collection of books is the key point in defining the quality of these centres of knowledge. This is especially more important to upgrade the country’s competitiveness in the age of globalisation where thoughts and ideas usually converge and take off from many places at one time.
After all, once a country reaches a certain stage of maturity and wealth, attainment of further progress would not lie solely in material development alone but through the advancement of the intellect.