This is a strange place to write about a faith/deity/religion but there’s something to be learnt from everything so I’ll give it a go.
We live in a world where there are constant clashes of ideologies and I think the root of these problems lie in the misguided belief that our way is the only and absolute way. There is no room for dialogue and no chance for an authentic solution when we see everything in black and white. So for me, what I’ve discovered in my faith as a Catholic is the appreciation for mystery in the relationship I have with the one I worship. In other words, I am comfortable not having any concrete answers and because of that, am able to wander and wonder and through this, much is revealed. What the heck does this have to do with the ad industry?
Pardon the drama, but yeah, pretty much everything. I’m going to sound like a heretic, I know, because this sounds like I’m going against the grain of measurements and data-optimized communication solutions. I’m not. In this culture versus collateral debate, both are needed. That’s not even an argument. But what’s lacking in our desperate need to leap forward is now the culture. There’s a need to engage society not just as a sea of consumers, but also as a person struggling and navigating the ups and downs of the human journey.
Often, I do most of my reflections when I am talking with my children, my wife and my parents. I believe these relationships are healthy and reasonably happy because I never start any conversation from the point of having an absolute belief or point of view. It’s hard I know, but it’s possible. There’s still a place of mystery in these relationships and it allows me to listen and learn and organically navigate this space.
To build culture, we need to leave a space for mystery. I don’t have all the cock-sure answers so I’m just going to apply faith and trust that society will respond to our attempts to engage them as people. It’s about stripping away all the layers I have from all the prejudices formed and have the courage to say, I may not know everything, but here I am.
Let’s have an unbridled conversation about all the stuff that matters to us as a species. Far beyond the consumer journey is the human journey. The human condition is hard to measure. We will never have all the assurance we need. But that’s where culture is built.
Complaint Department’ series of comic strips began as random doodles and
reflection pieces of Alvin Teoh, ECD of NagaDDB Tribal.
These little stories were originally posted on Facebook and are an ongoing tribute to life in Adland.