It’s fair to say that 2016 was a year of upsets. One after another, punches rained down on the status quo, beginning with a flurry of celebrity passings. Authoritarian Duterte was elected leader of the Philippines, Trump landed the presidency and Leicester won the Premier League. It doesn’t get much odder than that. Oh, and the UK voted to leave the European Union.
While we still don’t live in post-Brexit times, because Brexit technically hasn’t happened yet, there has been an awful lot of conjecture, hand-wringing and strained voices. Many people are unhappy, which is understandable. But we can’t go back, only forward. To undo a democratic vote would set a dangerous precedent. Besides, we’re better than that: pragmatism and resilience amidst adversity are two British strengths (I’d take those over cheery optimism any day).
Turning crisis into opportunity
I’m not a cheerleader for Brexit (I voted Remain), but we have to survey the changing landscape and recognise that there are golden opportunities. The rest of the world, beyond the EU, helpfully sees Britain in a positive light: a survey from the British Council and Ipsos MORI revealed that worldwide Brexit has had a more positive impact on the attractiveness of the UK. The survey, As Others See Us , polled 40,000 Milliennials in G20 nations:
— British Council (@InsightBritish) December 16, 2016
Rapidly growing economies in Asia, from China to ASEAN, signal new possibilities in this increasingly topsy-turvy world of ours that we should pounce on.
Adman Sir Martin Sorrell recently called on young people to obtain work experience in China – an idea that Chelsea’s Oscar has apparently fully embraced with his mega-move to Shanghai:
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) December 14, 2016
And to use a football metaphor, the goals keep coming as China and Britain are now gelling nicely, from arts and culture to trade and education:
— Tim Jenkins (@tgjenkins) December 5, 2016
Another so-called BRICS nation (is the term still used?), Indonesia, is already popular with digital nomads who flock to the gentle rice fields of Ubud. But there is so much more to this sprawling archipelago than Bali:
— The Guardian (@guardian) November 21, 2016
That’s not to say the UK should turn its back on Europe. Far from it. But there is simply little point in looking to the government for direction, or huffing over a democratic outcome. The world keeps moving.
If anyone in the UK is curious about opportunities and needs pointing in the right direction, from Brazil to Vietnam, I’d be more than happy to help.