What they see coming in the year ahead

IT seems like only yesterday that we were worried about the Y2K. Experts predicted the possibility of a global shutdown in telecommunications and services dependent on computer-operating systems.

With the end of another decade, however, the threat of the Millennium Bug seems like a teardrop in the ocean.

The world has experienced much greater tragedies since such as the collapse of the Twin Towers, an infamy that will always beremembered as simply 9-11, the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, and the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 but life has continued and pollers find themselves pondering the future of the economy, the environment and the nightlife.

From the pollers thesundaypost surveyed, many of the answers were industry-related.

For Alex Wong, a consultant for a logistics firm, his hopes and expectations for the New Year are that the economy would improve and that fuel prices would remain stable.

Human resources executive Darren John Angking sees a light at the end of the global recession tunnel: “As we ended 2009, we could see signs of the world economy recovering. Hopefully, in 2010, the local economy will also pick up pace. I would also like to see more people cut down on plastic bags. Some places have already started restricting their use to once a week. I believe we all should start cutting down as well.”

Darren says he’s not one to make predictions or have expectations but the sportsman in Miri-native Loong Jay-Jee couldn’t help but make a few forecasts on the year ahead, including who’s going to win his first NBA Championship next year.

The assistant manager for loan syndications reckons LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers will win a ring and Los Angeles is going to get an NFL franchise — the LA Jaguars?

On the global front, Loong predicts the economy will improve next year while in Malaysia, there will be a bank merger and the ‘stock market will go up, then down, then up again’.

Furthermore, looking at employment trends of domestic help over the last two years, he predicts there will be a huge increase of Cambodian maids in this country.

As for epidemics over the last 20 years like Mad Cow Disease, the Avian Influenza and Swine Flu, Loong jokingly asks: “What’s next? Mad Salmon?”

Restaurant owner and motivational speaker Shan K Wong, is more positive about the year ahead, notwithstanding all the predictions, good and bad.

“I’m a real optimist! Last year, when the US was having those banking and financial problems, everyone was saying recession would be setting in. But my business went up sevenfold between June 2008 to May 2009,” he says, explaining that positive thinking coupled with creative visualisation and personal power have spurred his business.

“I believe when there is a crisis, there is always an opportunity. While everyone is despondent and let their guards down, I will work more aggressively to get business.”

While stating that 2010 will definitely be a year of recovery for Malaysia, Shan adds that the market in Kuching or Sarawak in general will still be slow.

“There may be some increase in outside visitors but probably not big enough to have a significant impact.”

American expatriate Michael Daniel Daly predicts that the economy will rebound in Asia but remain stagnant in America and Europe.

This, he says, is due to Asia’s position as the world’s manufacturing centre.

“The factories are already there, and America’s slow growth will not diminish domestic consumption — even with a slow economy, America will be buying most of its goods from Asia.”

Closer to home, 32-year old Daly doesn’t see much job growth in the US, saying: “I don’t think the housing situation is going to improve that much and there will be a big increase in commercial leasing.”

Associate consultant of Industrial Relations with Malaysian Employers Federation, George Young JR jokingly forecasts he’ll make his first million in 2010.

On a serious note, however, he hopes the government will pay more attention to native land issues and that the opening up of SCORE will increase employment opportunities for Sarawakians.

Meanwhile, a lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, observes that adjustments in the Sarawak judiciary system will face some difficulties in the future.

“With speed being emphasised over justice, the constant changes and tight deadlines will mean the judiciary, court staff and lawyers will be even more over-worked while at the same time, struggling to figure out the new system.”

PR and marketing executive Paula Chang may not have any predictions for the coming year but she definitely has some resolutions in mind for the state and herself.

“I have given up hope on finding a man for the year 2010 and will be focusing on my career and education,” she deadpans.

Aiming to pursue a degree in Liberal Studies this year, she hopes there will be more shopping malls and food outlets like Nando’s, Burger King and even a TGIF.

“Clubbing should also be extended to 3am so that we have a more vibrant nightlife in Kuching,” she says, explaining that this will raise Kuching’s profile for tourism.

“I feel like there’s too much focus on Miri because it has a more vibrant nightlife and is overtaking Kuching, which shouldn’t be because we are the capital of Sarawak,” she adds.

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