Welcome 2011: Lessons Learnt from the Last Decade

~ Liberty Leading The People by Eugene Delacroix

A year has passed. Those happy moments, sad moments, frustrated moments, joyful moments in 2010 existed now only in memory. The things that we did last year are set in stone and there can be no turning back to change events of the past from the way they has unfolded.

2011 represents not only a start of a new year but an end of a decade since the Millennium. All of us sitting in front of your personal computers, laptops, and smartphones reading this article are all children of the new millennia. We represent a Millennium of progress in technology, humanity, civilization and culture. We are the products of an unbroken history from the renaissance, to the enlightenment, from the reformation and to the scientific revolution.

We represent the hope of a better world that many individuals in the past have worked to achieve. A better world built for a better people through liberty, equality and fraternity. Those were the mottos of the French Revolution. We have achieved much but there is still plenty of room for progress.

The Millennium started out with the Y2K scare. Computers that registered only the last two digits of the year would crash when the Millennium reset everything back to the year 1900 instead of the year 2000. Banks would crash, airports would cease to function, accounting systems would be disrupted. Total chaos would rip the world apart. The good news was that none of that occurred as we reached the year 2000. The scare was just a scam to enable IT consultants to reap some money off scared business owners who thought their businesses were in jeopardy.

9/11 however, posted a real and grave threat to international security. Terrorist groups abused the lax security procedures and hijacked planes in mid-air before crashing them into the World Trade Centre (“WTC”), the Pentagon, and White House. Thankfully, some brave Americans fought the terrorist in the air to save their beloved country and the plane meant for the White House crashed into an open field instead. It was the worst attack to the United States of America (“US”) since the attack on Pearl Harbour back in 1941. The WTC crashed down to the delight of other terrorist around the world while the Pentagon lost its newly renovated wing.

The kamikaze stirred up the sleeping giant once again. “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” said US president George W. Bush. Ironically he echoed the third Star Wars movie in 2005 when Anakin Skywalker told Obi Wan, “if you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.” Barring the coincidence, what Bush said also echoed the Italian fascist, Benito Mussolini, “O con noi o contro di noi” – You’re either with us or against us.

The War on Terror went full blown with no decisive results. For how can one fight terror? The enemy remains undefined, hiding in the mountains and caves, fighting guerrilla warfare that parallel to the Vietnam War. Then 2008 came and the world was wrecked by the subprime mortgage crisis and the election of the first African-American as the 44th President of the US. While overcoming the racial divide is certainly a healthy development for world affairs, it remains yet to be seen that Barack Obama is able to restore the US to its former glory and dominance.

China on the other hand, has been rising faster than ever. With its double-digit growth almost throughout the entire decade, it has now overtaken Japan as the second largest economy. The giant of a nation is now planning to develop public infrastructure to bring economic development into its impoverished inland provinces. Nevertheless, the world is now already beginning to accept China’s place as one of the dominant superpowers in international politics. The only country that is rich in aggregate but poor in per capita.

In terms of information technology, progress has been continuous without regression. In 2004, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg co-founded of the world’s largest social network, Facebook. The Time magazine named him 2010 “Person of the Year”. Also in 2004, Google, the world’s most popular Internet search engine became public listed, making Larry Page and Sergey Brin instant billionaires. Inventions were rampant as well. iPods, iPhones, iPads accompanied by ever smaller laptops, flashdrives and external hard disks dominated the world of technology. If the Moore’s law continues, soon everyone would be able to afford a personal computer and an Internet connection.

While progress have been made almost on all fronts of intellectual development, other areas concerning politics, economics, racial discrimination, environmental hazards, and education continues to move at a sluggish pace. With Iran and North Korea developing nuclear arsenal and Osama Bin Laden still on the loose, who knows what 2011 would bring? Nevertheless, we should continue our struggle for liberty, equality and fraternity. Promote freedom of speech, human rights, education for all, and tolerance in terms race, creed, religion, and gender. Everyone counts and everyone matters. Together let us step bravely into 2011.




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