Therefore, they should consider leaving *SCAPE in private hands.
By Belmont Lay
Having the ability to run a $200-billion-a-year economy would give any government in the world a lot of confidence.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the PAP folks can strut around cocksure in their whitey-tighties, decreeing this and that, because they’ve gotten the fundamentals down pat with our $200-billion economy.
But, regardless of hubris or the level of confidence, there are certain pies that the PAP government should never, ever get their fingers into.
For example, they should never, ever try to predict again what sort of youth leader people want.
Lest they give us another Tin Pei Ling.
Also, they should never again predict what constitutes as “fun” and “entertaining”.
Lest they give us another *SCAPE.
So you should know, *SCAPE is that shopping mall thing located next to Cineleisure in the Orchard Road strip.
Set up and set aside since 2004 by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) to manage spaces in the heart of Singapore city, it is supposed to provide cool, urban, funky, buttocks-clenching excitement for young people up to 35 years old.
But there is a problem.
It is neither a provider of buttocks-clenching excitement nor attractive to youths at all.
It has, in fact, been suffering from a low turnout since its inception.
This example only serves to show that the PAP folks and government in general are rubbish at having fun and inculcating it in others.
So when I found out that *SCAPE will be launching a new entrepreneurship programme in March next year targeting youth-run businesses, I laughed so hard, incredulous, I snorted and farted at the same time.
After which I fell off the chair hysterical, ROFL and suffered spasms.
In the original Channel News Asia report proclaiming this new harebrained scheme, the mood of the article is already one of doom and gloom.
It highlighted three points:
1. Five tenants have moved out since *SCAPE’s official launch in June last year.
2. Retailers complain *SCAPE has not attracted as many youth as what it originally set out to do.
3. They are also unhappy with the low traffic, even though the building is located in the heart of Orchard Road.
So, the pertinent question is: What kind of sorcery is MCYS going to use to not only start getting young people with spending power there but also get going an entire entrepreneurship programme?
Beats me, but the CNA article correctly quotes Tracy Phillips, owner of A Curious Teepee at *SCAPE, saying: “Initially, when they spoke to me about youth, they told me youth was anyone under 35… but in reality, everything that is being done now is targeted to youth who are very, very young. And the fact is youth don’t want to hang out in a place where you tell them to hang out.”
So, here’s the point of today’s missive: You can trust “fun”, “funky” and “entertaining” to be true to form, if and only if, it is left to enterprising private hands. The government might be able to manage an economy on a macro scale, but mastering the finesse of knowing what young people want?
And you can trust Tracy to know exactly what she is talking about.
Because she is right that young people will never do what they are told.
The last time I checked, she used to be the ex-marketing manager of Zouk – a place where boys would pay through the nose just to show up to see and meet girls who will be there dressed to the nines as if it was SlutWalk every time.
Which means, in short, Tracy knows what young people want.
On the other hand, the Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports is Chan Chun Sing.
Chan Chun Sing. Enough said.
Needless to say, I might as well have just shown you this picture right at the start: I would have won the argument with just this picture alone.