My Thoughts on America’s Birthday – Independence Day July 4th 2008
by Todd Cochran, LA, USA
When asked for a few words about Singapore and/or my Singaporean experiences
as an American, my initial thoughts came rushing to the surface, and eventually those
impressions led to some deeper essence feelings. Singapore, for me, is much more than
an exotic location or an escape from my realities at home. It occupies a special place in
my mind not only because of its natural beauty but more so because of the friendships
and relationships I’ve developed there.
As a musical artist I’ve been told that I tend to speak somewhat abstractly about
relationships and how they influence my thinking. This said, I’m particularly inspired by
people who commit to living their dreams and those – who by following their
imaginations – give rise to the hopes of everyman. For this reason I believe that the most
significant part of my Southeast Asian experience has been to have gained a greater
understanding of what is truly universal, and along the way, I developed a special affinity
for the decorum, art, culture and cuisine.
The “American” feelings that I have when visiting Singapore are threefold;
identity, consciousness, and awareness.
The identity aspect of my being American has to do with my knowing that I’m
part of a living tradition. At the core of this living tradition is a meritocracy. And to this
meritocracy is attached the mandate that one must continually transform and improve the
system of which they are a product. While the notion of a nation of supposedly limitless
possibilities fills me with a sense of personal honor and humility, I am at the same time
mindful of the fact that the appreciation and assimilation, acceptance and equality of all
cultures within the American concept has been an ongoing struggle.
Today I am particularly conscious of the fact that while progressive and
amazingly brilliant in dozens of ways, the American global identity is in serious
disrepair, and the American image as “a known quantity” or “the stereotype” – if you will
–is in dire need of an update throughout the world. I am proud to be one of many many
Americans who share the consciousness that now is the moment to enter a higher state of
grace and become proactively involved in changing the negative perceptions. We must
replace the not so good with positive actions and responsible attitudes. To this degree,
the great act of global fusion by talented individuals, and the wisdom of focused
collaboration that can result in healing innovation for the planet, will not reach its true
power until the river of ideas flow freely with empathy and humanness.
At this time my awareness is very heightened whenever I leave America to visit
another continent, another tradition, another family. While I stand on the shoulders of
my ancestors and muse on the enlightenment of my predecessors, I carry forward the
experiences of my heritage. It is with this awareness that I look forward to the nextmeeting ground, uninhibited conversations and expanding the boundaries.
ANA aka IDKIT