It's 2016. New year. New problems. We're living in uncertain times. But this shouldn't really be news to us. It's more a case of denial and skirting around the issue all this while, rather than taking the bull by the horns. Yes, the bull is what we need right now. It's time to buckle up. Pull our socks up. All those clichés and a bag of chips. Suddenly we're having to come up with creative ways to overcome the situation. So, just how bad is it?
Pretty bad. As a civil servant, I can attest to this. Not only does it affect my day-to-day work on a professional level but even more so on a departmental level. The silver lining, though, is that we're a lot more accepting of the situation. Acceptance, not complacence. As government employees we've had to devise ways to make the most of our, shall I say, constrained resources. Perhaps this, if anything, will be the biggest lesson and test for all of us.
We've gotten so used to everything being provided for us, or at least being heavily subsidised, for which we're ever thankful. It's interesting to see the shift in looking more towards the private sector for career opportunities and SMEs sprouting left, right and centre. Even more inspiring is that these businesses are set up by the younger generation, Gen-Y, the savvy.
Some government departments may even be moving towards privatisation. This could help improve the quality of services, but surely for a price. It all depends whether the consumer would be ready to pay more for services that they've been so used to getting for free or at such minimal cost.
Having lived abroad and experienced various types of healthcare systems, I was often reminded how fortunate we are here. Spending hours on end in the waiting room is not "Brunei-Government-Hospital" specific. But spending just a mere BND1 to be seen by a Consultant to be prescribed a list of 20 medications (not mine), is. Let's hope it stays that way. But if it doesn't, then we'll take that pill and swallow it. So to speak.
For those who see the glass half full, (well maybe not quite half for now) the best thing we can do now is to improvise. Suddenly MacGyver's back in vogue! Yea, you Millenials can Google that. What it means is making the most of what we already have and roll with it.
We're now being taught to reduce waste, in any shape or form. Resources, money, and most importantly, time: that we can never get back.
Facing these challenges at work, it's inevitable that it translates to our own personal habits in terms of spending and frivolous indulging. Now we do consciously think twice about that new car or those expensive holidays. Things that would be nice to have, but we could live without. At least for now.
We all hope and pray that things will start looking up eventually. Sooner rather than later. But until then, we'll have to suck it up and ride this one out. MacGyver-style ;)