It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive
but those who can best manage change.

– Charles Darwin, English naturalist, geologist and biologist

My dear friends, change is inevitable. One of the hottest news in the past one week is the retirement of national badminton star, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, due to his health. As such, his fans have to get used to not seeing him play again in the world badminton courts.

Lee, who spent 348 weeks as world number one, wept as he called it quits months after suffering a cancer scare.

The father of two and three-time Olympic silver medallist told a press conference that his decision to retire was a heavy one.

“I really love this sport, but it is a demanding one. I thank all Malaysians for the past 19 years,” he said.

Lee underwent intensive treatment in Taiwan after he was diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer last year.

Now, he wants to rest and spend time with his family and even take his wife and former badminton player, Wong Mew Choo on a honeymoon, a trip delayed and long overdue since their marriage in 2012.

In their heartfelt video for Lee on Facebook, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali have expressed their sense of loss over his retirement but also relief that he has decided to give priority to his health.

Hasmah applauded Lee for his right decision, pointing out that his wife and sons would be there for him.

Dr Mahathir hoped Lee could rest and recover from his illness.

The Prime Minister also thanked the badminton icon for putting Malaysia on the world sports map.

Now that Lee has retired from professional badminton, things will definitely be different in the sport.

The national men’s singles head coach, Datuk Misbun Sidek, told The Star it would not be easy to produce the next Lee Chong Wei.

Misbun was responsible for discovering Lee and turning him into one of the greatest shuttlers of all time.

According to the coach, it could take up to 10 to 15 years before Malaysia can produce an extraordinary shuttler like Lee again.

Misbun admitted Lee’s retirement left him with mixed feelings.

“I was sad and happy at the same time – sad because he finally called it a day after representing Malaysia for so long.

“And I’m happy because he was able to battle through his deadly illness. It pleases me to see him getting better and better, and almost back to his normal life again,” he said.

But although he has retired, Lee’s fans will be pleased to know that he will be going to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as chef-de-mission.

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman revealed this at a special media conference in Putrajaya to announce Lee’s retirement from badminton.

“The reason is simple. We cannot think of anyone better to fly the Malaysian flag high and to also inspire our young athletes,” explained the minister.

Another notable change this week from my personal point of view is the transformation of our local daily, New Sarawak Tribune, from a broadsheet to a tabloid. The first tabloid copy of the paper, where I work, was released yesterday.

In a special interview, the New Sarawak Tribune executive editor, Rajah Murugaiah, explained, “Tabloid is the trend now as it is easier to handle compared to broadsheet which can be a bit cumbersome.”

The paper’s priority, he added, would be human interest and society news.

Having worked in various newspapers before, the new size of the paper does not matter to me. News is news and work is work.

Change is indeed inevitable. It happens every day.

Take for example, the weather. This morning, it may rain. In the afternoon, the sun may come out. A few hours later, it may rain again. So if you are going out, make sure you bring an umbrella with you so that you will not get caught in the rain.

If we look around, change is happening everywhere.

Not so long ago, the Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, was sworn in as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.

Not so long ago too, Thailand also crowned its new King Maha Vajiralongkorn, while in Japan, Emperor Naruhito ascended the throne after his father Emperor Akihito abdicated.

If you study business, you will learn about change and the need to change. If you are a businessman, you can choose to change with the times, take advantage of new opportunities in your industry and grow your business. On the other hand, you can fight the changes, refuse to adapt and wait for your business to die.

Change is hard for individuals and even more difficult for organisations and countries.

For example, Sarawak has embarked on digital economy. The digital economy will permeate all aspects of society, including the way citizens interact, the economic landscape, the skills needed to secure good jobs and even political decision-making.

Digital economy can also generate new scientific research and breakthroughs, giving rise to job opportunities, economic growth and improving lives.

Accepting digital economy means accepting change in many aspects of our lives including the way we think and do things.

According to English naturalist, geologist and biologist, Charles Darwin, it is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.


So my friends, let us change and survive!