Once upon a time, I had so much free time on hand while waiting for Aaron at the swimming pool that I had to arm myself with many reading materials. So, I subscribed to three locals magazines (Singapore Women’s Weekly, then Shape, Vanilla and Lexean, the last two discontinued after just one year on the market), three US magazines (Oprah, Good Housekeeping and Times) and had my friends buy me magazines whenever they travel to Australia (Australian’s Women Weekly and Madison are my favourites). When she returned home annually from Germany, my sister would bring home (yes, can you imagine the weight of that?) her old UK Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazines, althought both were my favourite magazines ten years ago, I don’t find them relevant anymore (already know everything I need to know about sex, which occupies a huge portion of the mags, and can’t afford the fashion in it.)
As Aaron graduated from swimming to soccer, I no longer need to wait around for him and was left with a chunk of unread magazines, which was quite pressurizing as the magazines piled up every month, cluttering all the rooms, from the living room to the bedroom to the bathroom. I had stopped renewing the local one (other than the two which died a natural death, a pity as the writings were a much higher standard than most other local magazines). Now, I’m left with Times and Oprah.
I’ve considered terminating Times as I find the content too US-centric, especially during the months leading to the US election. Like in the current issue, saving Detroit was given extensive coverage. Even though I have some brief knowledge of Detroit from my last job selling Du Pont’s engineering plastics, which a huge part of the business was in the auto industry in Detroit, the article did not interest me. Some weeks, I can flip through the whole magazine without reading a single article.
However, some of the articles can be quite good, which was my dilemma before.
Recently, there was an article explaining why Wikipedia is losing its editorial attraction. (The reason – No more new stuff to add. The average Wikipedian is a young man in a wealthy country who’s probably a grad student – somebody who is smart, literate, engaged in the world of ideas, thinking, learning and writing all the time. Thus missing are the voices of people in developing countries, women and experts in various specialties that have treditionally been divorced from tech.)
Then there is this article on Facebook and how older folks like me are hooking up with old flames and crushes through FB. After reading that, I tried searching for some names, but none of them seems to be on FB.
I also read in the same issue on how book publishers are saved by romantic novels, a growing industry generating a revenue of $225.5 million in the first half of this year, an increase of 8.7%. Impressive, considering that other book genres lost 4% during the same period. I’m one contributor, although I’m trying to diversify.
The recent news on Stockholm Syndrom, where victims of kidnap/hostage feel compassion and even loyalty towards their captors was "captivating". I had been wondering about this term. Times provided me the answer. (Named for the site of a 1973 robbery in which Swedish bank employees held hostage for 6 days embraced their captors upon release.)
Another interesting article recently tried to exaplain the deteriorating handwriting of the current generation in US, which I felt is applicable to Singapore youths as well. The chicken scratch that I see in my sons’ books is not because of computers, more because penmanship and caligraphy, which used to be taught in school during colonial time in Singapore (and in US in the 70s/80s) are no longer practised. Is that such a bad thing? Not unless if you are a doctor, whose illegible handwriting on chart and prescription pads causes thousands of deaths a year, for penmanship has almost no bearing on job performance.
Other than that, there are some good movie and book reviews, plus I enjoy reading well written commentary that sets you thinking. Nancy Gibbs wrote about how far we come since 1991 in Time Will Tell. Who would have guessed in 1991:
– that US would have mixed race President and a black First lady?
– more text messages are transmitted than there are people on this planet
– everyone got a cell phone, an iPOD, a GPS and a DVR
– Top 10 jobs in demand in 2010 did not exist 6 years ago (We are preparing kids for jobs that don’t exist using technologies not yet invented.)
What would surprise the freshmen in 2027 when they look back in time to 2009? (Gay can’t marry?)
It’s such good, thought provoking writings that my subscription for Times renews only in 5 years.