Whilst many may regard the year 2008 as the worst in memory, there is a good case for engineers to be optimistic in 2009:
1. Change is now the Global Trend: In 2008 we have seen Ma Yin-jiu elected as President in Taiwan, and Obama in America. All over the world people come to realise that the current systems are not working, and hence are voting for change. For our region the ease of tension between Beijing and Taiwan is decidedly positive. Peace and security are the cornerstone of prosperity. On this front 2009 looks promising.
2. Public Expenditure on the Increase: To deal with the aftermath of the financial tsunami, governments worldwide are increasing public expenditure, and Hong Kong is no exception. The SAR government is not only committed to building more infrastructure, but will surely be responding to further calls for spending in 2009. This will benefit engineers though we have to watch out and ensure that the money is well-spent for the benefits of the public and engineers alike.
3. Engineers no longer taken for granted: The Legco election in September 2008 has changed the political landscape in the engineering profession. The government now gets a clear message: engineers who long for a truly independent voice are on the rise. Engineers cannot be taken for granted to give blind support to dubious policies of the Tsang Administration. As more and more engineers speak out without fear nor favour, our influence on policy-making will increase in 2009.
All in all, we have the capacity to shape our own future. And in this hard time, let's not forget those who can benefit from our helping hand. Please feel free to visit the exhibition "Engineering Hope for a New Sichuan" organised by Engineers Without Borders from Jan 2-4 at the Times Square, Causeway Bay.
May I wish you a healthy and fruitful year ahead.
Ir Albert Lai
2 January 2009