Being born in the 70s, with Singapore economy making a foothold in industrialization I grew up with engineering, science and technology all around me. The secondary school that I attended even had only 2 arts class out of 10. Although I went on to do an engineering related and later move on to an IT job, arts had always intrigued me.
To me the various disciplines, a good mix of language, culture, history, geography, literature, psychology and the whole social presence in it all….makes us less robotic and more human.
How far does the impact on society and the nation do these human specialists have? Plenty. More often we will remember a great artist, someone like DaVinci more than an engineer like Bell or Watts.
I realized i only began to appreciate the human side of hung lately. Is it because of age? No I don’t think so. I think it has to do with economic reason. And compare it to a national scale, yes it could be. When a nation economic is chugging on fine, liberal arts will begin to flourish. As these non-engineers are able to support their living.
It translates from more books being sold, performances full houses or even increased funding from universities.
As the west now is in economic turmoil, will they neglect the arts side of things in trying to support their basic needs? Will they have to close arts school and open up more whine wring schools?
YALE current administration has been publicly slammed for opening up a college with NUS. Will we see a shift of liberal arts scene from the west to the east?
Time will tell but it will be interesting to hear more views from Asian historian lovers and economic think-tanks in future.