Breakfast Notes #16 (Planning, Cities, Pro-Wrestling)

Breakfast Notes #16 (Planning, Cities, Pro-Wrestling)
Photo by Jezael Melgoza / Unsplash

Hi friends,

I just took my booster in the past week. The side effects were a real doozy and for a moment, I regretted it. However, with the Singaporean government’s new policy on booster shots, I am glad I took my shot.

There are two ways to look at the change in policy stance. First, like many, we can see this change from a cynical perspective. The Singaporean government is either ‘wishy-washy’ or imposing medical tyranny. Second, we can see this change from a more charitable perspective. The government is a dynamic government that changes its policy in accordance with evolving circumstances.

I prefer the charitable interpretation

The Power of Planning

The Joker explains the plan. (GIPHY)

Dwight Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest wartime generals and President once said that ‘Plans are nothing; planning is everything.’

A while ago, the Ministry of Health updated its pandemic readiness and response plan for Influenza and other acute respiratory diseases. If you skipped the headline, you would have thought that the Ministry of Health wrote this report in 2020 because it was only in the past two years, we heard about terms like ‘DORSCON’, ‘Contact Tracing’, ‘Social Distancing’. However, this document was already formulated in 2014.

Drawing from their lessons in the SARS encounter and patiently formulating a plan through rigorous scenario planning and research, the Ministry of Health has now a basic battle plan in its fight against COVID-19 and its variants. Without reports like these, I suspect the death toll in Singapore would have been much higher, and our policy response would have been much more haphazard.

An excellent barometer of what makes a quality plan is how obvious it looks in hindsight.

Visualization Of The Day

Newspaper Clipping of First Telegraph (Thoughtco)

184 years ago, on January 6, 1838, Samuel Morse unveiled the telegraph in  New Jersey.  The device used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire. The telegraph essentially facilitated a point to point instant messaging service, the predecessor of the telephone.

The Morse Code that he invented became the primary language of telegraphy globally and still remains the standard for rhythmic transmission of data.

The City as An Entertainment Machine

The City Stay Awake (GIPHY)

According to Joel Kotkin, a whole generation of urban thinkers, planners and developers have now embraced the notion of the city as largely a post-familial construct - a deviation from its past basic commitment to familalism.

Terry Nichols Clark’s ‘City as an Entertainment Machine theory highlights this marked shift.

In today’s city, modern citizens expect their cities to provide ‘quality of life, “treating their own urban location as if they were tourists, emphasising ‘aesthetic concerns’. The city is now their urban playground where buzzing fitness studios, upscale restaurants and luxurious art galleries are quintessential elements in the cityscape. Such changes contrast sharply from the past where key local amenities were schools, places of worship and neighbourhood associations.

The new city is constructed with “the slimmer family” of childless couples and often single professionals in mind. Its focus is on relaxation, arts, culture and cuisine; a system built for recreation and not procreation. The traditional family has been relegated, no longer important in the development of cities.

I suspect an endogenous effect will soon emerge. Cities will no longer just attract the ‘slimmer family’. Native city dwellers themselves will resist the idea of children because they find the city inhospitable to having a family and children incompatible with their city lifestyle.

The Magic of Pro-Wrestling


A wrestling match is akin to a movie. Blockbuster hits require good drama, compelling characters and an engaged audience.

The third is the most crucial and can be achieved by ensuring the first two criteria are fulfilled. A good storyteller can convince the audience to suspend their disbelief. At this moment, magic happens. Although the audience is aware that everything they watch is choreographed, they immerse themselves into the experience as if it was real.

In this video, you can watch Paul Heyman, a savant of pro wrestling, break down what he thinks needs to be done to make modern pro wrestling matter.

The formula can be summarised into a three-step process:

  1. Who are the characters?
  2. Why are they fighting?
  3. Why should I care enough to pay for it?

If a promoter answered these three questions, they are on their way to profitability. Be it in politics, marketing or even policy-making, and we can all borrow a little magic from pro-wrestling.

May the sun shine upon your face,


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