Matt Harding is the dancing roly-poly man in the Visa ads you currently see playing in local cinemas. He is a man all of us wanderlust-stricken people love to hate. And in his 2008 video, he’s been to 42 countries and danced with a cast of thousands.
This city works as long as everyone keeps buying. We can all be happy and prosperous, we can get everything we want, just keep the money churning.
It doesn’t work as well in America. The drug of free market capitalism is tainted by creeping ennui — a jaded insight obtainable only by those who’ve never been poor. Most of us don’t believe that cell phones will make us happy. And because we don’t believe, we’re right. It’s just like any religion.
But these folks dive in with aplomb, keenly aware of the dreary alternative to their retro-
futuristic enclave. They’re safe, they’re comfortable, and they’re appreciative. So they line up when Nokia releases the world’s first combination cell phone and flashlight. It’s their civic duty.
And this was in 2003. Nothing much has changed, really. And which pretty much explains the predicted GDP contraction for the next few years.
Three years later, during a layover in Changi Airpot, Matt writes:
I’m struck with a small epiphany. The distinction between Singapore and its airport is a minor one. The entire country feels like one very large departure lounge; spotlessly clean, no distinct smells, climate-controlled, no one is poor, lots of shopping, no real culture, pleasant enough for the moment, but not a place you want to stay very long.
I love my country, but is it any wonder that so many of us want to leave?