Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

The Lights, Camera, Action! attraction at the theme park I work at is immensely popular with visitors because it whisks them to a world of alternate reality.

You can step into a boathouse on New York City's waterfront to watch an F5 hurricane tear the place apart. Flames, smashed window panes and a cargo ship that comes crashing into the boathouse amid flashes of lightning and torrential rain cap 6-minutes of movie magic. At the end of the show, the wrecked place magically resets itself for the next performance (though few visitors stay around to watch this, darting out as soon as the doors open just as few Singaporeans stay to appreciate movie credits).

Alas, theme park magic is alive and well at a certain directorate!

People who argue that civil servants or uniformed personnel are an unimaginative lot must hear about how that particular directorate hosted their opposite numbers from another government ministry.

They took just days to set up an artificial Operations Room, fully staffed and wired up to impress their visitors.

It was scripted. Pure Hollywood. Throw in some fancy dancing and it could rank as pure Bollywood.

To use the local term "wayang" (stage play) would be a gross injustice to the amount of brain juice that went into theming the Ops Room so it would knock the socks off those wearing visitor passes.

I wish my best friend had shared his intentions with me, because I would have introduced him to my stateside colleagues who did the show Battlestar Galactica. Then, the Ops Room would've been something to shout about even louder.

Alas, the fake set would have worked if not for the too-good-to-be-true sentiments that stirred among some of the seasoned visitors. You know, that same feeling when you watch a movie and the special effects are a tad over the top.

Discrete enquiries were made and word got out. In no time, The System became aware that they had a theme park attraction on the doorstep of a heavily guarded facility that even paint-wielding Swiss artisans haven't attempted to penetrate.

As a tax-payer, I'm thrilled to bits that the spirit of creativity and movie magic has spread beyond Sentosa's shores.

The wet blankets who aren't amused should learn to loosen up and enjoy the show. People pay good money to indulge in theme park fantasies. Here, they've got one for free and the narrative that accompanied the tour would make any Hollywood or Bollywood producer blush with pride.

The staff officers who dragged their feet to be part of the performance should also lighten up. We're a buzzing, First World society which loves and indulges in world-class artistic performances.

Granted, being part of the smokescreen isn't what some of them signed up for. But human resource practitioners celebrate versatility and a can-do mentality, and that was exactly what we saw in the Ops Room.

People in The System who fret about the waste of tax-payers moolah, or that wrong ideas might be propogated in this sideshow have nothing to sweat about. The Ops Room was picture perfect and probably framed what could be an ideal case scenario.

I certainly hope the esteemed visitors walked away with the "right" lessons and will implement the proper ones when they sit at their work stations. I dare not imagine what would happen years from today if bad practices were exported...

Because should disaster strike on the public relations front, they can't reset the wreckage as easily as the theme park's hurricane-ravaged boathouse.

Argued from that perspective, I can well and truely understand why some people in The System don't have a sense of humour like my best friend and I both share. Do you?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why so cryptic...