Columns 4.7.2014 08:00 am

Half-full or half-empty?

Supplied picture

Supplied picture

Apparently, the amount of liquid in a container is a really big deal. Why else would the proverbial “they” come up with a question like: “Is the cup half-empty or half-full?”

Living in South Africa forces you to pose that question, as there is never a dull moment. For instance, at one end we have the argument of CEOs’ remuneration packages juxtaposed with the salaries of unskilled workers who are always claiming to be underpaid.

As a striking member of some or other union, why would you care about the economy when you reckon you are valued only when you are protesting? (But think about it, when else does corporate South Africa and the middle class even realise that miners and metalworkers exist, except when they are toyi-toying?) The cup is half-empty here.

Then we hear news that Telkom is finally stepping up to the plate and being innovative after years of lagging behind in the telecommunications industry. The parastatal has announced plans to convert its more than 79 000 pay phones into Wi-Fi hot spots. How cool is that? Clearly they are putting their thinking caps on. All of a sudden, the cup is half-full again.

Then there are issues that altogether cloud our judgement when it comes to judging how we are doing as a nation. To determine how we’re doing as a nation, the cup needs to be transparent, at least.

We live in a country that has not optimised the resources that it has in abundance. Instead, we choose to dwell on the negative and overlook the positive. For instance, there is always some or other industry that is on strike in South Africa, and the deadlock is usually around money.

How about we think outside the box and look at being radical, as our efforts so far are not working. How about offering shares to loyal employees, or maybe farmers letting their workers in on the business side of things, just to make land redistribution a little less complicated? I reckon we can significantly reduce the amount of protest action just by involving workers a little bit more.

It is proving more and more difficult to remain upbeat about our country, as the cost of living seems to increase daily, but we have to hold on to the notion that the cup is half-full, as this optimism will assist through the turbulent times we find ourselves in.

I just hope the cup is neither half-full nor half-empty of petrol, as, either way, maintaining that is way too expensive.

 

today in print