Friday, May 02, 2008
The Dichotomy of Passion Economics
by Chong Wei Yong

By lemlabs @ 12:44 AM :: 309 Views :: 2 Comments :: Article Rating :: Badminton, Other Sports, Rant and Rave
From the fall of 1890 to the spring in 1891, Monet did a series of 25 paintings that featured haystacks outside his home in Giverny. 

You can call it thematic repetition all you want, or even an explorative study of light with en plein air painting. I’ll call it, “putting bread on the table by painting furiously fast and repeating work that people liked, and bought.”

I hear purists in the background hissing…

Fast forward to 2001, the Supermarket art was sold by Sotheby’s in London for US$14.2 million.

For a man who attempted suicide in 1868 by throwing himself into the Seine shortly after the birth of his first child Jean due to fledging financials, he knew he needed to convert his passion for painting into immediate tangibles or face exploitation by unscrupulous and powerful art merchants around him.

And show me the money he did. At more than 1,000 francs apiece, (in 1891, this was huge) the 25 haystacks paid for his house and a water lily pond for his muse.

He leveraged on the pond investment, wise businessman he was, and started painting a series on the water lilies in his garden. On June 19th 2007, one of the lilies was sold for a staggering US$38.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London.

On the 1st November 2007, the Singapore Sports Council announced numerous new initiatives to bring more talent into sports and develop the industry.
Speaking at a press conference to release its annual report, Singapore Sports Council Chairman Mr Alex Chan said: “In fiscal year 2006, the triple engines of growth - sports participation, excellence and industry - continued to roar with achievement. Not only are we on target, we are surpassing expectations. Three groundbreaking developments in the past year will drive Singapore sport into new realms over the next 10 to 15 years: Sports Hub, Formula One and the push to develop a sports culture… On the back of these achievements, SSC will focus on developing the people factor to promote sports participation, industry and excellence going forward.”

However, the problem not only lies in pulling in good people wanting to pursue a career in Sports but more so with keeping them.

I was told there were 2 types of people in the industry. The first does it because he has to, the other does it because they like to. No prizes for guessing who does better at work.

There are passionate people aplenty and we want to have them around to drive the local sports industry, but when financial realities set in, many will start painting like Monet. We’ve lost many a good athlete this way as well.

Passion says. “Just do it.” CEO says, “Put bread on the table.”

Passion and economics do not mix. One is fueled by emotion and the other packed with reason. Passion sacrifices and power exploits.

We all know that you can only get so far with non-symbiotic relationships.

In the world of Singapore sports, there exists an important need now for administrators to balance the above dichotomy for the success of a toddler industry.

All reason and no heart, though important and necessary for the meritocratic engine to run, is not always the best way forward. We do need to put a value to the passion in the people that drive the industry forward with what they do and reward them for that.

10 years ago in 1997, an American economics professor by the name of Albert Otto Hirschman wrote: “once passion was deemed destructive and reason ineffectual (in the later 16th century)… a message of hope was therefore conveyed by the wedging of interest in between the two traditional categories of human motivation. Interest was seen to partake in effect often, the better nature of each, as the passion of self-love upgraded and contained by reason, and as reason given direction and force by that passion. The resulting hybrid form of human action was considered exempt from both the destructiveness of passion and the ineffectuality of reason.”

In human words: There is hope. Balanced and compassionate greed is here to the rescue.

Inspired words.

“Philosophers have interpreted the world,”said Karl Marx; “the point, however, is to change it.”

Look at what’s happening in local sports that needs your help and offer assistance without reward. Reach out to the young ones. Guide their passions, point them in the right direction and behold, a new and brighter future for sports in Singapore - for many generations to come. It will be a legacy you leave behind. The planting of a cultural seed.

Building a sporting culture in Singapore is about touching the lives of Singaporeans with sport, one at a time. It is not an investment in marketing programs that can be justified with a calculated return. Culture is not manufactured in a factory. Culture defines how people act based on their beliefs and mores.

One may have the flashiest website with the most inspiring message, but do remember to add a human touch to the delivery.

People like getting sentimental.

It’s an exciting time for all of us involved in shaping sport, as we know it, in Singapore.

We’ve just won a heavily contested bid to host the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The sports hub will be completed in the next few years. The South East Asian games in 2013 will be hosted once again in Singapore.

Are we ready to play?

“He who fights for the future lives in it now” - Ayn Rand.

The passion economy thrives on the fact that if you’re the best at what you do, the rest will take care of itself. Just take the first step forward and join us.

Support the passion economy.

Monet should have gotten his pond much earlier. He could have done a couple more lily paintings.