You can’t have one without the Other / Das Eine kommt nicht ohne das Andere / Um não vem sem o Outro / Uno no viene sin el Otro

In 1965, Singapore, a small island at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, was granted independence, impoverished, uneducated, sparsely populated and with no natural resources.

Singapore’s new leaders understood that in order to survive they would have to act fast and find a way to make the tiny island indispensable to the global community.

From the start, the new government put an almost maniacal emphasis on education, commerce, and financial success, generating a culture built around rapid economic growth.

A metropolis was soon built specifically to cater to foreign investors, bankers, and international trade. It was a Disneyland for rich foreigners, an island paradise where they would want to bring their money and never leave.

Today, Singapore is one of the richest countries in the World. The island is more or less devoid of crime and poverty. When you visit Singapore, you feel like you are visiting the future, like what Manhattan should have become.

The city is modern, spotless and perfect.

But this appearance of perfection came at a cost. The country is a bit soulless. Everything is designed and catered for financial gain. There is no history, no identity, no deeper values, no deeper respect for individuals beyond money and productivity.

And so, ironically, what is most impressive and admirable about Singapore, is also what is most depressing about it. It was so driven by necessity to become financially indispensable that it sacrificed its cultural identity in the process.

Each cultural trait has advantages and disadvantages. The more extreme the cultural trait, the more extreme the advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it is often the most apparent and obvious aspects of each country’s culture that is both the best and the worst about that country.

Brazilians often speak proudly of ‘o jeito brasileiro’, or ‘the Brazilian way’. It refers to a typical attitude of being able to cut corners and find the simplest route to success so that one can spend more time relaxing, batting footballs around on the beach, and sipping caipirinhas in the sun.

Brazilians take pride in their leisurely ways.

It is this jeito that gives Brazilians the relaxed and fun attitude that is so attractive to foreigners. But this jeito is the same reason why Brazil is a fucking mess.

Nothing works the way it is supposed to. The government is completely corrupt and the infrastructure is still stuck in the 1970’s. It is both the best and worst thing about Brazilian culture.

The same could be said for Japanese politeness, for Russian bluntness, for German orderliness, and for American consumerism.

They are both the best and worst things about these countries and cultures. And whenever you take on one, you must be prepared and willing to take on the other.

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
This I tell ya, brother, you can’t have one without the other.

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
It’s an institute you can’t disparage.
Ask the local gentry and they will say it’s elementary.

Try, try, try to separate them, it’s an illusion.
Try, try, try and you only come to this conclusion:

Love and marriage, love and marriage,
Go together like a horse and carriage.
Dad was told by mother you can’t have one
You can’t have none.
You can’t have one without the other.

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