Thursday, August 23, 2012


With the conclusion to the 'I Cry for You, Malaysia' series, it's time to take stock of my surroundings, look ahead, and assess the future. Hey, you can't expect me to despair aloud over Malaysia all the time, right?

Then again, the West is in pretty big trouble too.
North America is in trouble, but don't stop there. Look deeper.
I haven't seen much of Canada yet, so this will be more about some broader trends and challenges. Having said that, what I have seen (out of the back of a car at 9 pm) has been pretty impressive. Guelph is a cool small town, with trees everywhere, large houses, and pretty cool weather (even if the Canadians say it's summer). Oh, and by the way, there is a local alternative to Starbucks here, called Tim Horton's.

I'll not lie, these are tough times for the West, and even more so for my generation. Unemployment is only part of the problem; low wage growth, high student debt, the proliferation of low-paying internships, and budget cuts are all adding up to burden what Newsweek calls Generation Screwed. 

To top that off, there has been an increased hostility towards immigrants of late, though not in Canada. Yay me.
Whatever some may say, North America has always needed and been built on immigration.
Even so, for the bold, there is a lot to seize. This may be just the time to be here, not despite, but because of the West's problems. Thomas L. Friedman (my current author-to-drool-over) quotes John Gardner, who calls the energy-climate change conundrum as 'a series of great opportunities designed as insoluble problems'.

To be sure, Mr. Gardner probably didn't have agriculture in mind. But you can apply his quote to every major problem in the world of farming. Climate-change resistance, nutrient efficiency, reduced water supplies, limited land for farm expansion and so on. The way I see it genetic engineering is a major potential solution to most, if not all, these problems. 
In his book, Mark Lynas debunks common Green stances against genetic engineering and nuclear power as a solution to the world's energy and environmental problems.
Make no mistake, there is a lot to do beyond simply getting the grades. Anyone who wants to fix crops, revolutionize alternative energy or transform energy usage patterns needs to grab at research stints, field trips and so much more. And hope regulatory climates in the West, especially Europe, don't get in the way of promising  research.

With bated breath, crossed fingers and grim determination, so we go.

PS- To those who missed it, Parts 1, and 2 of 'I Cry for You, Malaysia'. Part 3 is linked to above.
Part I- An opinion on mosque and state.                             

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