Some while back I made this video, stating the changes in society and how it should motivate us to move forward. But my actual philosophy on the matter of change is still sort of balanced. If it’s the question of progress vs preservation. I have to say there’s no right or wrong answer to that. Both has it’s argument and none of them close the deal anytime soon in the future. The context is that the trotting horses have evolved so much that it become steel horses, the kind of horses with wheels in the place of their legs. The streets have gone from dirt and mud to concrete and asphalt. Even in the nation of Japan, where they were so preserved in their own culture. We can actually see western clothing and see how the old rickshaw has been replaced by modern taxis. For me it’s quite a powerful scene on how the old gets replaced by the new. And the only selling point of the old is no longer effectivity, but only for the sake of preservation.
I have always been a man of progress. I don’t sink deep into my own culture. And as someone born into the Asian family, it’s pretty hard to find place for progress. Progress in some sense is to be effective and efficient. Forgoing with technological advances and be as global as I could, I never had any time to spend living the cultural festivities with either family or friends. For me, culture is bureaucracy is it’s more primitive form. Something that people cannot live without, but eager to leave behind. Taking example from the Japanese, they left their Samurai sword wielding lifestyle in the wake of modernisation and westernisation. Western style buildings replaced the old wooden and hay architecture in the old Japan. I guess for one big reason, fire. Almost all of Edo (now Tokyo) was consumed in big fire in the past, not only once, due to the materials of their architecture. Now that they have evolved into bricks and concrete, they can focus their worry on earthquakes. Progress has take it’s part into transforming Japan from a feudal nation with lots of fire into a big nation that produced the world’s most advanced technology and automobiles for several decades.
Preservation is a matter of sentiment. We preserve because we still feels for it. The only cause that we Asians still preserve our culture is because we still feels for it. Especially for Indonesian born Chinese, and probably every other descendants of any immigrants, we know how our parents and grandparents try so hard to make the foreign land they live in resemble their home land as much as possible. They long for the festivities back home, they miss all the warmth that the old culture bring them. So they try to hard to embed it into the mind of their children, to preserve what’s left of their home. Preservation is an identity, if we don’t stand for what the culture that brings us up, then what are we? Even though we talk about being globalised, we still care about our nationality, about our races, about how we think and do things. Cause Spanish will still be Spanish, just like how the French will be French, regardless of them being in the same Union or not. Languages and cultures hand to hand build a sense of identity, about who someone truly are. And the Japanese preserve their old culture by keeping their identity as a tourist attraction. Maybe the locals have been westernised, but the western world are too bored of their own culture that they only want to see the preserved culture of the Eastern world.
Progress is efficiency and Preservation is an identity. Simply said, can’t we be both? Can we still be cultural yet progressive towards the future? It’s not as simple as it looks. It’s like mixing up the past and the future together. Today Japan will not be the same if they’re all westernised, nor will it be if it still live under the Sakoku (isolation) era. We need both and it’s pretty hard to let go any one of these. We can be either one of the two, or we can be balanced like the Japanese who managed to keep their culture but still strive towards progress. But no matter where we move, we should keep on moving. Because the future doesn’t wait for us and the steel horses might be obsolete in the next coming future. Maybe taxis and western building and clothing are what we ought to preserve in the near future where it has been embeded so deep into our own identity.