Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Random Musings #4

Seeing M1’s advertisements a few days ago about their “Remote Working Solutions”, I think many people will have the same first thoughts coming to them. With four major outages in 2020, when reliable broadband services are more important than ever, do you want to depend no them for remote working?

Their tagline “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay in Business with M1” should more aptly be stay home, stay safe, and be isolated from the Internet.

The excellent broadband connectivity we have in Singapore has helped make telecommuting during this pandemic very workable, and probably more so than in many other countries. Telecommuting hasn’t been a technical challenge for perhaps over a decade. The problem with telecommuting has been mostly non-technical in nature: people’s mindsets, organisational resistance, environmental difficulties, among others.

For some of us, telecommuting has become a new norm. I suppose we’ll see as we enter the new year in 2021, when our “Phase 3” has already begun, if telecommuting will continue. I don’t expect it to be as pervasive as in 2020, since most of us had no choice. But if in 2021 we see a significant in take-up compared to pre-COVID-19 times, it will mean telecommuting is gaining acceptance.

I’m actually loving Zoom and other sorts of videoconferencing meetings, at least to some extent. You see, I can do other work without it being terribly obvious that I’m not giving the meeting my 100% attention. Or even 50% attention.

As this year draws to a close, and everyone’s going to talk about how unusual this year has been, I like to appreciate the good things that have happened. Beyond pervasive broadband Internet, we’re really lucky that we have a robust ecosystem of online shopping and food deliveries. I know, we have had them for years, which is a good thing, because it means everything mostly works well. We don’t have to deal with teething problems during this time.

We can buy school books online. We can buy school uniforms online. I know, many parents still don’t. But these online options had already been available before this year, at least for some book and uniform shops. Not everyone seems to be using them. Much so that the police apparently had to break up crowds at a certain uniform shop.

There are many lessons to learn from this year. Perhaps something quite important is about change. Change is everywhere. Change is all the time. The only constant is change. All these sayings that we will have hard some time or other, is more evident and present this year. Expect the unexpected. Plan for the unexpected. We know these things, or at least we should, but this year is a test of what we’ve learnt. It’s a real-life practical test.

Some of these changes that many of us had to adjust to this year, well, the changes had been around for some time, but we simply avoided having to deal with them. The circumstances this year forced our hand. Now, what will we do to make 2021 a better year?

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