Su found my last upload somewhat disjointed if not fragmented. It probably was, because I did not write the piece in one go. Over the years, I had pieces written over long periods, sometimes over a span of six months. Even at the time I was writing on a weekly or monthly basis, I often would write a paragraph or two in between tasks and then put them together just before the publication deadline. I was told on good authority that some professional columnists operate similarly, to ensure a steady flow of articles.
But life is not always a continuum or a movie-like process with one theme or a coherent storyline. I left off with a thought from Einstein on the importance of imagination which has the advantage of being all embracing, limitless and ever expanding. We may think that the average individual spends the greater part of his working life living to the agenda and demands of others, but I’d like to believe that it is often up to the individual to execute these agenda and demands, such that there will always be sufficient scope for exercising one’s imagination.
While I was holding down a job – for that matter, I have so far only taken up one job that paid me – I was often asked whether I liked my job, to which my response was, “I would learn to love my job so that I have the motivation to go to work day in and day out.” Loving one’s job does not necessarily involve loving or liking one’s colleagues, although it would help; but I have survived till my retirement following a simple belief that I can learn to love my job.
Today, every institution faces challenges from globalization, technological advances and escalating costs, which in turn impact on individuals who in turn faces challenges on how to cope with the inevitable changes in the organization and evolving values of the institution in changing times. Change is what every leader has been talking about. Big Data Institutes are being set up and flourishing all over the places. Our universities now face the challenge of having to tell students that they won’t be able to learn anything from their professors if they fail to learn how to learn and if they fail to stretch their imagination beyond the present.
Recent scuffles at campuses of our local universities are at best symptoms of changing times. Only those with no imagination would conclude that it is a problem. Let the results speak for themselves; and time will tell. For that matter, the BREXIT vote is not a problem, but rather an indication of a deeply divided society. Statistics have shown that 75% of voters with post-secondary degrees voted to stay while a similar percentage of those without degrees voted to leave. It does suggest that educational background could be a more decisive indicator over others such as income level, age or class. Similarly, in the United States, Trump won the votes of the whites who did not have the benefit of a college education by a wide margin, even though he lost the popular vote to the other candidate. Again, Trump’s behavior so far is a phenomenon rather than a problem.
It would be premature and indeed a defeatist attitude to assume that the students of today will face a more difficult job market or a more hostile world when they graduate. No, they won’t. I would guarantee that they will face a different world compared with the world today, just as everyone will, regardless of age or other background. More importantly, great changes will almost always bring in great opportunities, which will be for all to grab, beginning with those who have learnt how to learn and those who have the imagination.
I would stop here, lest I veer off to a different subject.