Autumn Reflection

Having stayed with us for almost a whole year, Judy declared that her favourite season in Perth was Spring. She loved the feeling of flowers blooming everywhere and the relatively cool weather. True enough, traditionally Spring symbolises life and a beginning. The Chinese celebrates the coming of Spring. The Chinese New Year begins with Spring. You'll notice a lot of CNY songs are based on praises of Spring and bountiful harvests. That is because traditionally Spring and Summer are the seasons of growth and harvest.

Far, far away in Singapore, we celebrate CNY with the same gusto. However, it has little to do with Spring. In fact, I wonder if Singaporean Chinese of this generation really know what they are celebrating about. Harvesting is only for businesses busily convincing Singaporeans that Bak Kwa, $1688 reunion dinner packages, salad with thin fish slices and other whatnots at hyper-inflated prices are for the satki people. For the rest of the peasants who do not indulge lavishly will be cursed with eternal poverty. Therefore, no one dares not to save up the money they carefully put aside the previous year and becomes poorer for it. How ironic. 

To me, Spring has no significance in Singapore simply because we do not encounter Spring. The only springs I know is the flaccid hot spring in Sembawang and those hidden in the mattresses that are discarded illegally at the void decks during "Spring Cleaning". Spring in Perth is a little cuter. At least there is Spring time here. To me, it was an excuse for insects to emerge from their hibernation. Before too long, the dreaded Summer heat will be upon us. Of course, if I am a farmer, I will sing a different tune. At the moment, I'm not so... no, I don't really enjoy Spring despite the sights of beautiful blooming flowers. Well I like Autumn. If Spring symbolises life then Autumn shall represent death. Many find it depressing because things are dying off everywhere. I don't see it that way. For life to be, there must be death. That is how the circle of life spins.

The world is changing at a rapid pace. The automation revolution is upon us soon, if not already. It shall change whatever we think about tradition forever. The "right" methods, timings and duration to perform tasks will change beyond recognition. There may be no differentiation between night and day in the future, let alone Spring and Autumn. If food will be grown under manicured automated greenhouse environment, regardless of the will of mother nature beyond, how will the working and living conditions of human beings be in the future?

None of my friends believe that automation will take away our jobs forever. They believe that automation create new jobs. The displaced workers will simply need to reskill and take on those new jobs. We don't even need to dive deep into the figures to know that is mathematically impossible. The prospect of humans working 15-20 hours a week in future is very real. Will our quality of life continue to improve? Yes and no. The finer aspects of living will definitely be available but how many can actually afford the luxury?

How should I prepare for the future?

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