Hi, my name is Eugene Lim. I am a final-year Sociology major at the National University of Singapore. I am a writer, or not yet. I am no musician, but you may say I’m a dreamer. Consider me a cultural blogger, but more so a student of everyday life.
You may think that everyday life is just common sense, and see no practical need to challenge it. But your “common” sense is invisibly tinted by society. Your decisions tend to be made out of options defined by others. And so it’s important to put yourself in shoes outside of your own, so you can discover what you really want and find a fit for your own unique sense within everyday life. It is thus more practical than you think it is.
This blog is Ground Zero of my creative visions. I have three, and extend them to you as invitations:
1) Provoke the Sociological Imagination
Our shared desire to be free can never be free from constraint. Freedom has to be won, by staring into the eyes of constraint. Only by opening your eyes to society – and how it shapes your education, career, social life, leisure, health, etc. – can you begin to discover who you can become, right where you are. To do this, we need the sociological imagination: Sociology at its base helps one to understand society. Sociology at its best helps one to reimagine the individual.
2) Turn Apaths into ‘Socio Empaths’
Our unmet desire to be free can easily justify apathy; we have enough problems of our own to care for those of others. Yet a life of rational calculation is bound to displace the quest for meaning. To truly find ourselves, we need to outgrow the pettiness of the mind into the totality of human spirit. This requires a distancing from the self, a process helped by growing empathy for and taking the perspective of others, within their conditioned or marginalized contexts.
3) Give Voice to Singaporean Creators
Our half-met desire to be free can also breed a sense of privilege; we have solved enough problems to start “enjoying” life. Yet you are hardly free; you have become trapped in your comforts and are unable to do more with life. A lifestyle is not a life. To create and recreate a life, there is much to learn from the creators with heart among us. Most of us are not trained in a spirit of discovery. But all of us are free to discover that possibility, whether as an artist, thinker, or doer.
It is with the articulation of these visions that I have decided to start speaking, in my own voice. This is not to degrade writing; writing allows greatest precision of mind and revision of spirit. But to speak up is a statement in our increasingly text-dominated social world. And to be heard in more imperfect ways is a hopefully effective invitation to realize your agency in spite of your flaws and constraints.
Yet to speak up also entails a desire to be truly heard. It requires a more strategic mindset to know where to speak what. It is with this that I have struggled most. But I am happy to experiment. As I learn more about the various content platforms, the rules which govern them, and the user expectations which germinate, I hope to channel my eclecticism in ever more effective ways to be most helpful to you. You may have your picks, but do know that they are meant to feed off one another.
What About SmartCasualSG?
As for SmartCasualSG, it centers on the theme of creating freedom within the constraints of everyday life. I envisage adopting the concept and list formats in greater measure, as they tailor to the shorter attention spans of digital readers and foster participation. This means displacing longer essays and stories to other platforms, be it larger magazines or books. For now, you have to follow Socio Empath for any such updates.
Finally, I am not an expert. I am a student of everyday life. I never presume to know everything about anything, and the most passionate-sounding sentence should be read in that light. What I am doing is creating a library for reflection: I am opening my library for you to do your own reflection. Join me, will you, in speaking out our lives?
May we each become far more than the sum of society’s prescribed parts.
Feel free to contact me for queries or features.