I WAS at the FIABCi Property Awards dinner at the One World Hotel in Petaling Jaya last week, together with more than a thousand people, all dressed to a T in their fancy black tie suits and lovely evening gowns. I had the honour and pleasure of being seated between two gorgeous and charming ladies, Simone and Jackie. We struck up a conversation and, before long, were chatting away like three old friends.
The others on our table comprised a mix of young and old, experienced veterans and newbies in the property industry. I always look forward to events like this because they present me not only an opportunity to network and build new friendships, but also to reconnect with other players in the industry.
The FIABCI Property Awards dinner is one of the most respected events in the industry. It is generally accepted that you cannot win an award at this event if your project is not special in some way. Developers try hard to get into the event’s winners list, putting in huge efforts into their project submission. Award winners display their awards proudly as they rightfully should.
As we sat there talking, the conversation drifted towards smartphones and other gadgets. We compared stories and experiences on our various gadgets. As we talked, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the others at my table were busy with their phones.
We see this phenomena everywhere we go. We are fast-turning into a world of geeks, who prefer to immerse ourselves into a cocoon with our smartphones, instead of interacting with other people around us. I looked up and saw the same scenario at all other tables.
I noticed people were talking, laughing and generally having a good time. But I also saw many guests keeping to themselves by being busy with their smarphones.
I think smartphones will be the death of society as we have known it. We are fast-turning into a species that prefer talking by reading. We prefer communication by writing, rather directly, face to face. I go through this all the time in my office when I deal with younger members of my staff. I would tell them to call someone and relay some messages to the person. Half an hour later, when I check to see if that has been done, my staff would tell me that they have sent a message to the person. When I asked their reason for not calling the person, I usually got some answer that implies that I’m old and stuck in some world that time forgot.
Apparently, texting is the new talking. No one calls each other to talk. They just text each other. One single line at a time. With all sorts of funny abbreviations and broken English. And the level of English communicated among the texting generation is appalling. I suppose they are the product of a generation who were taught English in Malay.
I worry for the younger generation. I wonder where all this is going to end up in the next 10 or 20 years. But then I take a step back, think about what things were like when I was a kid, look back on those times, and wonder if my parents were worried for me as well? Were they also thinking: “What’s going to happen to the younger generation? Why are they so different from us? Why have things changed so much?”
I don’t think things are very different at all from before. I think each generation will look upon the next generation and wonder what has happened. And we will wonder if they will be ok when they grow up. And we will wonder what their value systems will be like, if it’s so different from ours. It’s called the “circle of life”.
Happy hunting and may the force be with you.