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A dual challenge

Aug 19,2023 - Last updated at Aug 19,2023

In our quest for progress, which has been a priority for some time now, we find ourselves confronted with at least two challenges. The first is internal and the second is external.

Both are equally important.

Internally, we face challenges, obstacles, weaknesses and dilemmas that have been carried over from year to year and from decade to decade. These must be decisively confronted and resolved in order to increase our strengths and propel the wheels of progress forward.

What must be addressed at this level is a lot.

Examples abound: a deficit in performance efficiency at both the individual and collective levels;  a growing institutional lethargy that has become noticeably prevalent; a crisis of values and ethics escalated by a growing sense of selfishness and entitlement among individuals; prioritisation of personal gain over the common good; rampant corruption due to nepotism  and favouritism practiced by many individuals, often without them realising how subversive such practices are; a deeply flawed relationship with the environment; gross mismanagement of the precious natural and human resources available to us; a nearly absent educational role for families, schools, universities and the concerned societal institutions; lack of commitment to creativity, innovation, and invention; scarcity of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and awareness of duty; shortage of adequate funding necessary to maintain and sustain institutions, some of which are on the brink of collapse; neglect of key plans and projects in the transportation, water, and energy sectors; underestimation of the importance of upholding principles, rules, regulations, and laws.

There are many other dimensions to consider, of course.

The first critical point to stress here, however, is that most of these challenges stem from a deep flaw in the culture of individuals, stemming from a deeper flaw in the societal culture at large.

The second point is that persistent challenges and internal issues hinder our progress. If not tackled thoroughly and entirely eliminated, or confined within narrow boundaries, they will continue to impede us. And the more we ignore them or neglect to address them, the more we will suffer and lag behind.

Externally, the challenges come from our competitors in the neighbourhood and beyond. Others, in our region and the globe, are all seeking to improve and develop. None, to our knowledge, is content to stand still.

Some have, in fact, made remarkable leaps in their pursuit of modernisation, progress and prosperity. Several have become success stories and role models. And those who have not become so yet are formulating plans and programmes to do so.

The crucial point to stress here is that those who have surpassed us are not stationary, waiting for us to catch up, and those at our level or slightly behind are not content with their position; they compete and strive to move forward.

Based on all of the above, then, the conclusion one cannot but draw is that the challenge before us today, in our pursuit of development and progress, is a dual challenge: an internal one rooted in our society and contemporary culture, and an external challenge posed by those who surpassed us and those who are doing their best to do so.

We must respond to this dual challenge promptly and effectively in order to compete, noticeably improve our standing, and be at the forefront.

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