Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Disneyland with the Death Penalty

Its an article about Singapore by William Gibson, who is called as father of cyberpunk genre. I been living here for almost past three years and I was amazed by authenticity of this article to this very day. Though it was written in 1993 and I feel nothing much has changed in terms of culture and society from outsider's point of view.

Here are few interesting quotes from the article

link to the full artcile (http://www.wired.com/wired/archive//1.04/gibson.html?pg=5&topic=)

"It's like an entire country run by Jeffrey Katzenberg," the producer had said, "under the motto 'Be happy or I'll kill you.'" We were sitting in an office a block from Rodeo Drive, on large black furniture leased with Japanese venture capital.

Now that I'm actually here, the Disneyland metaphor is proving impossible to shake. For that matter, Rodeo Drive comes frequently to mind, though the local equivalent feels more like 30 or 40 Beverly Centers put end to end.

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They're good at this stuff. Really good. But now they propose to become something else as well; a coherent city of information, its architecture planned from the ground up. And they expect that whole highways of data will flow into and through their city. Yet they also seem to expect that this won't affect them. And that baffles us, and perhaps it baffles the Singaporeans that it does.

Myself, I'm inclined to think that if they prove to be right, what will really be proven will be something very sad; and not about Singapore, but about our species. They will have proven it possible to flourish through the active repression of free expression. They will have proven that information does not necessarily want to be free.

But perhaps I'm overly pessimistic here. I often am; it goes with the territory. (Though what could be more frightening, out here at the deep end of the 20th century, than a genuinely optimistic science fiction writer?) Perhaps Singapore's destiny will be to become nothing more than a smug, neo-Swiss enclave of order and prosperity, amid a sea of unthinkable...weirdness.

Dear God. What a fate.

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