SINGAPORE - It is not surprising that most Singaporeans polled in a survey wanted a slower pace of life and were willing to trade economic growth for that ("Dangerous to rest on laurels" by Mr Pavithran Vidyadharan; Monday).
In fact, this is a natural progression, according to American psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs - physiological (basic needs), safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualisation.
People will aspire to satisfy their next level of need after achieving their lower-level needs.
By and large, the Government has successfully fulfilled the "physiological" and "safety" needs of the population.
Hence, it is logical that citizens now aspire to a slower pace of life and work-life balance to satisfy their need for love and belonging, and esteem. They want time to bond with their families and friends, and to be heard and respected for their views and feedback.
In fact, those successful entrepreneurs and professionals who give up their businesses and careers to do voluntary or charitable work, with little or no monetary returns, have probably reached the apex level of "self-actualisation".
After all, at the very basic level, most people require nothing more than a sheltered area to sleep under and a bowl or two of rice to satisfy their hunger at each meal.
In short, it may not be absolutely necessary to pursue economic growth at all costs, and unwittingly sacrifice our health, social fabric and bonding time with family and friends in the process, for we only live once.
- Ng Chee Kheon
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