Where are we now?

I HAVE been giving the Transformation 2050 (TN50) movement very little thought, to be honest. Because the truth is, I was raised to bring forward the ideas encompassed in Vision 2020. In fact, it was pretty much drilled into us in the late 1980s and early 1990s without much gain or action leading towards it.

Plus, being an obese chainsmoker doesn't exactly raise the chances of me actually seeing this so-called TN50 thing through. This isn't me being pessimistic, this is just me being realistic about my lifespan.

And thus, why should we be more enthused with something that will happen 33 years from now – which is basically a goal that will be my current age and thus double my current lifetime.

Any one who knows how to inspire a good goal will listen to Simon Sinek and start with why. Why aim for 2050? Why bother for any goal at all 33 years into the future? And what is the future outlook for Malaysia?

One daily had economists paint a rather dystopian future, as their headline points out – old, poor and childless. Had I been listening to venture an opinion then, I would have to say they were 2/3 right – Malaysians won't stop having children even if there were 12 siblings and two parents living in a PPR flat.

You have a higher probability of spotting a family of six stuffed into a MyVi, than a family without children, as well as poor and old. The truth is, the former is one cause of generations being poor in the future.

Children are a long-term investment with a very high probability of no return. The definition of "long term" here, of course, could be up to 25 or even 30 years.

So, let us start with the generation that will actually be leading, maturing and perhaps even gaining no returns from this investment of future children.

They would be those younger or at the age of 27 at most, of all races, from urban and rural demographics, across the political aisle and bridging the education, income and even cultural gap.

These people are the transition generation for TN50 – those who by 2050 would officially be retiring or close enough at the age of 60. They will be the ones who will be openly bearing the burden of making TN50 happen and see it through to its achievement.

They must not only be aware of the going-ons in Malaysia, but also be able to visualise a global mindset of the future – what societies around the world will be like; what technology is and will be available; what is expected from global levels of education; and even what our limits will be in terms of finances and other resources.

What old fuddy-duddies like me and those older than me – the ones attending town halls and even having hours on hours of forums – are doing, is giving this transition generation a hazy picture of what to expect – pretty much a gaze into a crystal ball, or best guess based on current data and trends.

It is not one considering the leaps and bounds or even sudden unforeseen events such as petrol being made irrelevant in the energy sector, or currency going fully digital, or even the total automation of manufacturing, transport and logistics. Perhaps education will no longer take place in classrooms and brick and mortar universities, and instead be fully online.

Perhaps such a trend will eventually apply towards the workplace. Who knows, perhaps a grey T-shirt and jeans will somehow become the new corporate uniform.

Of course there are already signs showing some of these becoming a reality given enough time. But whether or not we have a younger generation even aware that flying cars are now being prototyped, leading to our generation's imagination of The Jetsons coming true, is an uncertainty.

See, the older generation grew up on watching science fiction of humans travelling to distant worlds and exploring galaxies using spaceships, going through dimensions using a star gate, exploring oceans in super submarines, or even having a police box that is bigger on the inside that can travel through space and time.

It was and is a generation that managed to see these explained and some of it becoming too real or real enough to come true.

So to the younger generation, these are my questions before you venture into TN50. Do you know where Malaysia stands in all things? Do you know where the world stands in this? Are you aware of what the future will be like?

And finally, what do you think needs to be done to change it?

That is what you will all have to do, together.

Hafidz Baharom is a public relations practitioner. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com