Lately, there has been a host of digitalisation initiatives to prep us for a digital future. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been increasingly clear that such a move is not only convenient but necessary.
However, it worries me that despite all these efforts, we may be kept from realising such an aspiration because of the lack of expertise in our human capital. And one day, we would wake up to find that the world had gone digital, and us scrambling to catch up.
Take for example my recent trip overseas. I had checked in online the day prior to ease the process at the airport. Instead of getting rewarded for being tech-savvy, I found myself in the same queue as everyone else. Then at the entrance to the departure hall, I produced my digital boarding pass for examination. But the airport personnel frowned and asked if I had a physical copy.
The same is true for public members who drive to neighbouring Malaysian towns. When you announce your plan to travel to Miri or Limbang, it is typical to receive advice such as “make sure you print a copy of your registration pass” even though the application process is done online and a digital copy is sent to your email.
During the period of movement control in the second COVID-19 wave, a lot of us were made to work from home.
While some companies thrived in the new normal, using the opportunity to put their remote management skills to the test, others were left wondering how to effectively oversee a team without physical contact and communication.
A friend once said: “Forget about fancy digital plans. Just look at our payment options at smaller vendors and petrol stations first.”
How many times have we panic-checked our wallets at the petrol station? Or when we thought we had cash in our pocket during checkout at a convenience store only to realise we had worn the wrong pair of pants?
At present, we are not even afforded the option to pay with a card at petrol stations, let alone the possibility of using an e-wallet.
The gap between where we are and where we want to be is so wide that it would require concerted efforts from all industries to stand a chance at a digital future.