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1998-06-12 15:38:26


The West Must Help Asia, Says Asian



This appeal for Western aid to Asia will fall on deaf ears. First, the West is not compliant and cannot possibly get compliant. Second, the West is not interested in giving money to Asia. "Let Japan do that." Third, money is not the solution; programmers are. You can't get more programmers by spending more money.

Almost no one says this publicly. I keep saying it. I have said it for well over a year. No one listens. The implications are too cataclysmic. But the fact is: there aren't enough programmers to fix it. All the other arguments have their place, especially the "imported bad data" problem. But this one is sufficient. THERE AREN'T ENOUGH PROGRAMMERS!!! Get it?

Hardly anyone gets it, including this gentlemen.

This is on Westergaard's site (June 12).

* * * * * * * *

Now EVERYBODY can roll up their sleeves and get to work on the bug with greater focus.

Until now many of the small- and medium-sized enterprises have been pussyfooting with no direction from anyone. And they have not taken the problem seriously. Now there is enough 'official' warning to get them to act. They have to be calm and rational to approach the project. In view of the lateness, they should also be putting contingency plans in place to avoid possible heavy losses in their business.

How to keep a fast tempo and maintain the coolness at the same time in the next 18 months is going to be the greatest challenge for the business owners, CEOs, CIOs and Y2K project managers. But the cooperation amongst them to balance the business aspect and technology constraints will determine their success.

OK, Australia seems to be slowly heading in the right direction . . . but what about Asia?

A recent article appearing in the May 8th edition of Hong Kong's main daily newspaper, the South China Morning Post, reveals a very disturbing scenario.

The article was on the front page with a headline that said: "Hong Kong '9 months behind on millennium bug.'"

The '9 months' assessment was suggested by the CIA. The prognosis alone is disturbing enough, but it was the quoted statement made by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong that takes the cake. And this is what he said when asked whether there was a problem with the bug . . .

"I can't answer you very intelligently." Listing other bugs he has had to battle, he said: "Since July 1, (1997) I have become an expert on chickens and ducks, and on fish and pigs and everything else. But that is one thing I have not mastered yet." . . .

China's financial systems rely heavily on computers. Their banking and financial institutions are connected with many of their western counterparts. It is no longer an economic enclave. Once they hang up the "Open for Business" sign for the rest of the world, they have become part of the technology community. Their millennium bug is our millennium bug. It's as simple as that.

China together with other Asian countries cannot continue to deal with the rest of the world if they are not Y2K clean.

Any excuse for not exercising due diligence in bringing their systems in check, is no longer acceptable. We are talking about a data transmittable disease here. We in the West can work like hell to get ourselves as Y2K OK as we like but if our Asian trading partners are not, then no one is OK.

Now it's up to the West to ensure that the Asian nations make their systems date compliant. The pressure should come from the highest levels.

In view of their economic misfortune, maybe they should be offered some monetary assistance via the World Bank. The West can also share their experience and expertise to help them bust the bug.

There is no time for Asia to ponder. The West should waste no time to offer its assistance. The time to take action is NOW.


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