We are now in the New Year according to the Western calendar and will soon be concentrating the Chinese New Year. This is the Year of the Water Dragon. According some Chinese astrologers the water will have a detrimental affect the IT industry but bring better times to real estate and travel companies.

Water is unsettling and we can expect the changes which have rocked the advertising and media industry to continue.

This will mean facing new challenges. Many of us have already had to reinvent ourselves as our social and professional world has been turned upside down.

No doubt in future, everyone will have to have several careers or vocations during a longer working life. When I graduated as a graphic designer in the 60’s, I could have never imagined that I would slide through my life as an art director, copywriter, creative director, agency board director, with periods as a degree course lecturer, a publisher, freelance feature writer and trainer with side trips into alternative medicine and sex education.

As we enter 2012, you may be asking yourself where will I personally be in five years’ time. The rate of change, brought about by technology, has made this hard to predict. Each of us as individuals need to ask ourselves if we are equipped to not only survive but take advantage of new opportunities that will be presented to us.

You can only do this if you keep abreast of developments, upgrade or extend your skills, read the local and international news and, above all, remain interested in life. And participate in it. I hate to sound like a miserable old man (maybe it is because I have yet another birthday coming up next month! ) but I am sad to see a lot of young people in Asia more interested in tweeting or texting to each other than taking an interest in the wider world. The smartphone is a great device, and one of the major game changers, but it seems to me the marvellous connectivity is not, most of the time, used productively. And, as a motorist, I can see that the mobile phone is even a danger to life itself. Pedestrians walk out in the road deep in conversation or listening to music without paying attention to the traffic. You can follow other cars behaving erratically as their driver’s mind is focused on a phone conversation or reading an SMS. Don’t learn to how to handle the new technology properly by having an accident first.

I wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2012 and a calm passage through the year of the Water Dragon.