Dumb Down

Stephen Chung

Managing Director

Zeppelin Real Estate Analysis Limited

September 2004 

A recent casual conversation with an overseas friend and contact led to discussion on observably a global dumbing down phenomena. Readers may wish to know specifically what we were referring to, yet we do not have any particular answer other than to say this is something that is felt. Overall, it seems people generally nowadays are more susceptible to suggestions with fewer capacities to analyze things for themselves, and at times tend to overreact, positively or negatively, to certain events or news. Perhaps a few local illustrations as follows:

a)      More than 80% of women in Hong Kong feel they are over-weighted = based on a recent finding / report, and this perhaps explains why there are so many slimming-weight loss programs in various formats and scales. This is NOT to say that such programs are not worthy of their prices, and many, in particular those with sufficient scientific-medical backing and professionally arranged, may indeed be effective in achieving not only an attractive figure but also good health. Nonetheless, based on visual observation, there cannot be that many women who are over-weighted locally. Even North America, renowned rightly or wrongly for having a generally over-weighted society, has only around one half of its populace being in that category. Hence, either the local survey is highly skewed toward interviewing .over-weighted・ samples or local women generally have little confidence in themselves when weight is concerned thus being prone to suggestions of over-weight.

b)      Brain-power / intelligence enhancing baby milk powder or products = the challenge here lies not with the baby milk powder or products, which may contain the benefits (of having a healthier and / or smarter kid) as claimed, but the attitude of parents in general. This is understandable especially in view of the highly competitive business and employment environment (that the parents are in), and .keeping up with the Jones・ is a natural outcome = parents not only provide their kids with the best food, clothing and home, but also send them to ballet, painting, piano classes etc so that their kids would have enhanced skills. Nonetheless, your humble author doubts if this would really produce the best and brightest kids given such pressure-cooker conditions. First, any creativity on the part of the kids may be suppressed, and second, a happy childhood may also be foregone.

c)      A .guideline・ dependent society = nowadays, when something disastrous happens, it is usual for an investigation committee to be formed, which in turn is likely to offer some remedies, which in turn often include the creation of guidelines in the hope to help avoid a repetition of similar events or to reduce their harmful effect. This is not a bad idea and is an act of accountability, and guidelines can help ensure a certain uniform level of work or service quality is met. Nonetheless, given time, such guidelines seem to have become rigid rules for some, and inflexibility sets in reducing the operational effectiveness and efficiency that such guidelines are / were meant to enhance. It is felt that guidelines should be, as the term itself suggests, used ONLY as guidelines, and (good) common sense, which is not common at all, should prevail at times, given that the world is changing all the time. The latter scenario alone renders unnecessarily rigid adherence to guidelines inappropriate.

With easier access via the web to more data and information, and with the world getting more and more connected / wired up, the time left for performing really detail and insightful analysis (thought process) is being reduced, and perhaps most everybody including your humble author has been dumbed down one way or another. In short, people today spend vast amount of time .knowing・ things but have little time .thinking・ about things.

Notes: The article and/or content contained herein are for general reference only and are not meant to substitute for proper professional advice and/or due diligence. The author(s) and Zeppelin, including its staff, associates, consultants, executives and the like do not accept any responsibility or liability for losses, damages, claims and the like arising out of the use or reference to the content contained herein.  

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