Facing the Changing World – වෙනස්වන ලෝකයට මුහුණ දීම හෝ ඊට පස්ස හැරවීම


සිංහලෙන් කළමනාකරණය ගැන සාකච්ඡා කරන බ්ලොග් අඩවියකට ඉහත මැයෙන් ඉංග්‍රීසියෙන් ලියන්නේ ඇයි ද යන ප්‍රශ්නය ඔබට මතු විය හැකි ය. සිංහලෙන් කළමනාකරණය ගැන අප කතා කළේ වුව ද වෙනස් වන ලෝකයේ ඉංග්‍රීසි දැනුම නැතිව අපට පැවතිය නොහැකි ය. මේ මහනුවර සම්මන්ත්‍රණයක පවත්වන්නට යෙදුනු කතාවකි. එය ලිපියක් හැටියට ලියා දෙන ලෙස එහි සංවිධාකයන් කරන ලද ඉල්ලීම නිසා මෙය මෙසේ ලියන්නට සිදු විය. ඔබ සමග බෙදා ගන්නේ ඒ ලිපියයි. මෙහි සිංහල අනුවාදයක් පසුව පළ කරන්නෙමි.

We live in a fast changing world. It is different from the world many of us have been brought up.

Those good old days we led a serene life. We enjoyed a good swim or a bath, outside, in a common reservoir or a well. We had a meal full of “kos, del and bathala”. Our vegetable supplies came from our own garden or from the neighbors who were willing to share an excess crop, either as a goodwill gesture or as a return to a favor done. Everybody, in the village, knew each other. There was hardly anything one could do without being noticed by the neighbors and sometimes the whole village. But beyond the village nobody would even recognize you. We were both helped and restrained by the villagers. We were not individuals but members of a closely knit community.

Those days change was also gradual and there was time for us to adjust. There was less uncertainty. We could predict the future and predictions were proved right most of the time.

There were very few paths to select from. Answers, to many questions, were straight forward.

Technology supported us, but not dominated or dictated, unlike today. To be up-to-date we need to change our computers and mobile phones often even when they are functioning well, though we rarely bought a new machine unless it is not repairable in those good old days.

Economy was closed. National boundaries clearly marked. Many of us lived and worked in our own country, if not in our own village. Those who went for higher studies returned to the country in large numbers. We were more inward oriented and were truly Sri Lankans with many divisions within that identity too.

But the pace of change now has become very high and is difficult to cope up with, especially with the outlook we have developed over the years. We hear lot of noise; some called that information.

We have become restless having being forced to look at numerous opportunities and also threats. We did not go for tuition or went for tuition only for the AL, that also when the teacher was extremely bad. Now tuition starts in year 1 in preparation for the five year scholarship and continues in to the Universities!

There are no trends that we can identify to forecast but only U turns making it hard to predict. Jobs that were lucrative suddenly disappear, businesses that were high performing evaporate and skills that were demanded are not even recognized.

(In one of the video conferences on vocational training recently held at the Distance Learning Center where I work, a Korean Vocational Training expert said the challenge today for the vocational training industry is that the skills they impart to their students no longer are valid by the time the students are passed out from the institute).

Economy is open and with that the whole world. You are a member of the global village and with lesser national identity. You may not be the member of the closely knit community but somewhat independent individual having to look after your own interest and fate, but at the same time you are also not solely the segregated individual that you would like to believe but one integrated and interconnected. You will not be affected any longer by what a villager would say. But your job will be affected by what is happening in China or USA. Chain reactions create ripples across the world. Sometimes we seem to be lost in understanding what is happening around us.

When you look at the world we also see that domination using power has been replaced by winning through smart intelligent action. There is no colonialism any more but neo-colonialism. You are not forced but compelled.

It is the market not the politics (sans Sri Lanka and few other countries) that decide. It is prudent to sail using the winds in the market than trying to go against it with political action; protests and sabotages.

Male domination is fading away giving in to gender equality, etc and etc. Women can contribute equally well in the changing context; as game has change from bulldozing to winning over.

Majority rule is giving way for inclusion of all. Diversity is being appreciated instead of uniformity.

A certificate you obtained was valid for rest of your life yesterday, but not today. Many different paths are opening up for learning and it is not sure whether certificates will have the same value in future.

Many of us cannot believe this change. At least many don’t like even to accept it. Some go to the extent of resisting it, assuming it is possible to do so. Some trying to maintain the status co and some others even try to retreat in to the past. Some want to create safe enclaves so that they are not exposed to what is happening.

But so far no one or no country has been able to resist it or be out of it completely; not even Burma and Cuba; not even our indigenous veddah community, who played a T20 cricket match recently.

These changes though may not be comfortable to some but would be of use to the others, especially those who are ready to acknowledge it, understand it and to use it. While the old would lament about the changes young might even embrace it.

Young generation has already shown that they are ready to face this change. But advice we, of the older generation, offer them could be counterproductive.

Older generation is not only reluctant to accept the change but try to resist and they expect their siblings would be with them in the resistance.

Apart from fighting it out and resist the change there are two other options; Facilitate the change and embrace it and empower yourself with necessary skills to face it or take flight; migrate to a greener pasture where the change is happening; leave the morons in the island.

Young generation unless misguided will opt for those two options. If misguided they will waste their time aligning with the old, protesting and sabotaging the change. Those who cannot be misguided will first try to embrace it and manage it. But if they get fed up will adopt the last option. Migrate; Australia bound.

Only way you can erase such frustration is to give the change a chance. Understand it fully and make use of it.

Change, in fact, has made our lives easy also. The bills that we paid, after travelling and being in long queues, now can be paid from our home or from a cyber café sitting in front of a computer. The questions we had and sought answers from elderly elite visiting them in person can now be directed to Google for instant response. Without throwing back numerous questions and without any fuss it answers. The days we bank on the non-responsive telephone operator for connecting us on a trunk call with our loved ones (it was the case even within Sri Lanka) is not necessary anymore. We can connect through Skype and make conference calls with many scattered around the globe and see them in action too, in seconds, without banking on any person. We don’t have to depend on snail mail anymore; email communicates in no time.

When we sit at the computer having internet facility the whole world seems to be before us; encyclopedias, dictionaries, translators, maps, museums, archives, places of interests, master pieces of art, etc.

Yes, there are opportunities amidst the threats. You need to counter your weaknesses and build your strengths to make use of this world of opportunities while managing the threats. They never come separately; they come together. Opportunities and threats are sides of one coin. You don’t get one without the other. In Chinese language both are represented by a single word.

The coin is valuable; don’t turn your back to this coin. Also, never allow its shine to blind you. Manage it properly.

March should be forward; but be careful about the traps; keep your eyes wide open.

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