Monday, July 9, 2007


So it's Monday and as I made my way to work, late and blurry-eyed, I pondered on the meaning of "world-class". Triggered by advertisements on a van "Oxford Van Lines - World Class Moving!". World-Class is a favourite phrase of politicians and businessmen in Singapore, and I have never heard it used so much anywhere else in the world as I have here.

So what is world-class?
  • 2.7 billion of world's population live on less than $2 a day. Is that world-class?
    After all, it's world-class poverty.
  • 72 million people died in WWII. A truly world-class war.
  • This list could go on, but i'll stop.
That aside, I came across some definitions of the term "world-class" on google:

World class:
A general term for a high level of competitive performance as defined by benchmarking and use of best practices.

Coming back to my poverty-statement, when you're living on less than 2 bucks a day, competitive is what you are. Now what is a better benchmark than a sample pool of 2.7 billion people. So I can safely say, that poverty scores 2 out of 3 on that. In fact, there is no ISO standard for poverty best practices, but I am sure many of these people are trying quite hard to survive. So I would argue for the validity of the term world-class poverty.

How about world-class human trafficking? Every year, nearly 800,000 people, 75% of whom are female, are trafficked and sold against their will into slavery and prostitution. Majority of these cases happen in Asia.

It's just amazing how loosely people use these terms without really thinking about them. Here are some of the more ridiculous usages of the term I came across on
  • world class dogs
  • world class tapes & cd's
  • world class hunts
  • world class term papers
  • world class hunts (???)
So much for world-class, I think I'll stick to stuff that is a bit less world-class. Perhaps city-class. Or my-apartment-class. I don't need a world-class dog or a cat, I'm quite happy with the street-level cats that need homes. And I am content with my 192kpbs mp3 files, so I won't need world-class tapes and cd's. These are the things that are more me-class. Benchmarked against nothing, and designed to appeal only to me. But that is ok, I can live with that.