Another basic, albeit pivotal, message that we can take up from the Royal Address of His Majesty The King during the 114th National Day celebrations is the inevitable need to prepare ourselves for the future and move along with the time and changes happening around us in this world.
His Majesty’s message is clear – we need to change, we need to adapt or we will be left behind due to our inability to adapt.
As declared by His Majesty that our journey ahead would be fraught with challenges, being prepared for the future means that we must be ready to handle anything or any challenges that are thrown onto us or come our way.
The challenges, according to His Majesty, will be the global population, within our lifetime, increasing exponentially to nine or ten billion, which will be compounded by recurring pandemics and the impact of climate change.
His Majesty further stated that unequal access to knowledge and disparity will create greater disparities in education, opportunities and wealth, and that conflicts among powerful nations may be unavoidable.
However, amidst these challenges, His Majesty also touched on the opportunities that would be brought about by the rapid and sweeping changes in technology and breakthroughs in nanotech, biotech and genomics.
His Majesty’s Address is a timely reminder, therefore, for every one of us to wake up from the slumber of mediocrity and not let complacency get the better of us.
Although we may have achieved much in a small span of time and as a small society, the journey altogether is far from over. We cannot be complacent.
Further, our complacent attitude and perception that ‘we can only do this much’ will unquestionably not work as we tread towards the future. If there are things that are holding us back, we need to accept this fact and then right the wrongs accordingly.
Preparing ourselves for the future, according to His Majesty, is also about renewing our knowledge and skills before they become obsolete and inculcating in us a culture of life-long learning.
The jobs that we have today may be because of the knowledge and skills that we possess today, but we simply cannot assure a job guarantee in the future with the knowledge and skills that we possess today.
We, therefore, simply cannot be that fish in the Buddhist fable, which knew nothing whatsoever about anything else but water just because it was a fish and it had lived all its life in the water.
However, many of us become that fish once we finish university, get a job and start a family. Just because we got a job doesn’t mean we stop learning new things and skills. It must be something that must be continued and done throughout one’s lifetime if we are to succeed and compete in the future world as envisioned by His Majesty.