Twenty Three Years

Soldering On To & Soldiering On in the Service

Turning twenty three (23) in the State Civil Service was another ordinary day. In fact I never realised the anniversary until I signed some documents and I asked my colleague the date I should put in the date column. When she mentioned its the eleventh of July then I remembered it was 23 years ago this once young officer reported for duty at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, at eighth floor Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

Looking at Wisma Bapa Malaysia
Looking across at Wisma Bapa Malaysia building from my office window, a structure that many think from afar look like an old structure, out of place as it is being surrounded by many modern buildings

Looking back at how long since I embraced the Civil Service I realised how things have changed. In fact I can see with great admiration and sadness at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, where I first reported for duty, from my new office as it was there the sweet and bitter memories, the ups and down lies. Recruitment that time was not so complicated like it is now where one needs excellent grades to be considered qualified for selection. Yes its the age of talents now for those who wish to join the service. For many who have applied in the recent years and those who succeeded to reach the examination, assessment and finally interview stage will know how tough it is. The ones who made it through the various phases are considered the cream on top. I would not know if I would have survived if I had to go through the process myself.

Each time a young officer comes under me I would sound like an old uncle saying things like “Boy, in our days we had to use bus to the waterfront and cross the river by official boat, then use van sapu to get to office”. Its true back then, we had no hand phones in our hands before they were called smartphones. Only my banker friends would have one and those working with Sarawak Securities that I could recall would have more than one probably for dealing with different clients. Personal Computers were additional luxuries and well basically only the typists will have them. Officers get to share one computer at the resource room ~ a unit provided by MAMPU back then.

Being a young officer that time the office left it to me how to figure out it worked and there was a lot of trial and error. Yes the standard of measurement to be competent with computers that time was as long as you are young you know how it works. So from there on, most of the knowledge was self taught and self learning because I hate to see technology lay to waste. By coincidence most of my friends that time were the young Sarawak Computer Services (SCS back then but now known as SAINS) fellas who were a few floors below and they come up to service the MAMPU computer every time I infected it with virus. My senior officer colleagues wished no part in touching it and I understand why as the computer interface was pretty confusing. Icons were not easily memorable and opened up different things when clicked. So we usually end up having “Boy, in our days we did it this way and that way….” conversations with me but I learned a lot also from them as these officers could memorise service circulars like a super computer. No need to refer to any internet or links as their brains worked like Google’s browser and have almost perfect accuracy in quoting reference numbers for the different circulars.

A different world
Its a different kind of world out there right now, one that involves hashtags

Yes I have to admit those were memorable days and fast forward 23 years the changes has been overwhelming. In a way we could say the introduction of information technology (IT) or rather Information Communication Technology (ICT) has been quite disruptive. But its necessary also as the load of information run in the millions especially if we talk about Big Data now. With the Digital Economy journey in full gear and the strive towards Fourth Industrial Revolution you start thinking, maybe I can get my younger officers deal with all these changes. After all they are young and these Internet of Things stuffs should be kacang (come natural) for them. But then one has to come to terms with the new challenges of serving in the 21st Century. The New Synthesis preached by Jocelyne Bourgon explains it well on how to ‘anticipate what might be, to prevent what can be and to adapt to what will be‘. Well I have to agree on the adapting part and we have to adapt together. Its a world of hashtags now, that’s for sure as this is the way the millennial generation express themselves these days.

Talk about hashtags, come now, lets not get too serious in this posting and lets celebrate another anniversary in the form of the Rainforest World Music Festival 2017 as it dishes out its twentieth (20th) anniversary this year. Post your images while you are there and do that hashtag thing with #RWMF2017. See you when I see you and very surely in social media.