I will begin regular or irregular re-posting on this site on January 5th. But for now, all I can say is that the year that was turned out to be an adventure for myself and for the world at large.
As for the year that will be, I cannot even guess about what will happen. I do know for certain that major changes are in the offing, and it will, I suppose, be yet another year of grace.
I do have some hopes:
1. It is perhaps a sign of the times that people will rediscover what is most important. I hope that the coming financial crisis will move the historic Christian churches into retrieving their most valuable resource, the costly ointment that, as William Cavanaugh suggests, allows us to counter-imagine the world, and not to dump it for what is “relevant” and “fresh.” Elsewhere I posted Victoria Matthews’ quote about this subject, from her diocesan synod address to the Anglicans in Christchurch, New Zealand:
“We often fall into thinking that catchy music or trendy liturgies attract newcomers to Christ. I suggest to you that there is nothing more compelling than excellent liturgy, preaching and holiness of life.”
Indeed, the greatest counter-cultural thing that the churches can offer is precisely that.
2. I do think there will be a shift in job demand this year, at least where I am living. Two things are happening in the States at least that will affect us greatly. The first is that the new tax policies the Obama government will introduce will give more incentives for companies to keep jobs in North America. While a friend has said that this won’t mean much, I suggest that the moves to abide by this policy have already started. Dell has introduced a new paid service where tech support calls will be handled in the US for those who subscribe to it. The second thing is that with the layoffs in the US, people may be more willing to take the jobs that they once thought they would not have. Call centers may very well want to take this chance of resettling in the States, even if the costs are higher, and again, they have an incentive.
But that means something for those among us who tried the first-wave BPO sector and found it wanting. I wonder who would come up with the idea of taking advantage of the KPO or knowledge process outsourcing field, in its newest manifestations. A friend suggested that firms in India are drawing young lawyers to work on processing briefs for firms in the US, and as he says, we might have yet another chance to miss an opportunity again. Our legal system, while still based ultimately on the Code Napoleon, has a stronger American influence than that of India’s common-law system.
My hope is that the government around here realizes that it can’t be in denial any longer. It is not, as the Business Mirror suggested in one of its last editorial for the year, a question of patching together a plan from wishlists of all sorts. It requires a sense of imagination which I fear we no longer seem to have. When we dumped our last president with a grand vision of our country 22 years ago, it seems we haven’t had anything to replace it with.
Here, I suggest that it is about time that we do question some of the assumptions of the Philippine Revolution, that it was about adopting an Enlightenment mindset of secularism which does not “work” in our country—and indeed increasingly in many parts of the world. Only from our convictions about God, the world, and humanity, and the relationships between them, can we speak the truth about our condition and what can be done about it. The grandest vision, I dare say, was not drafted by a benevolent dictator. It became flesh and dwelt among us. “And we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
A blessed new year to everyone!