Another dot in the blogosphere?

Last time

Posted on: October 26, 2021

We refer to “in the past” as “last time” in Singlish. For example, last time policemen wore shorts [1] [2]. 

When change knocks at (or knocks down) the door, some people retreat to the nostalgia of the past. Things seem better then because people have selective memories.

The past is not necessarily always better. One of the best ways to see this is to examine the evolution of technologies we take for granted now. 

The tweet above highlighted how a 20MB “portable” drive was the size of a backpack. Today we can carry 256GB in a microSD card, which is the size and thickness of a fingernail. 

One might argue that the vast increase in capacity also means carrying around more work to complete. This argument ignores how the technological affordance creates more opportunities, e.g., being able to record longer and better quality videos. It also sidesteps how the past had its own problems.

I have nothing against looking back provided that we do this to learn from history, reflect critically on practice, or laugh at bad haircuts. But it is a crippling mindset when all you can see and say is last time.

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