While standing next to the chair with the window shades down, absorbing the silence of the room with a cup in my hand that explicates the legacy I have created, I was pushed to contemplate over something majestic and deep that had crossed my eyes. It was from a book that I got as a gift from one of my most liked friends Nadeem Mazhar-an amazing human, publisher and editor at the Pakistan Textile Journal, I was hooked by the powerful words written on the first page of the book, ‘As a Man Thinketh’, authored by James Allen. It says:
“Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes.
The tool of thoughts, and shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking glass.”
Indeed, humans have progressed in the arena of technology, sciences, art and literature where the achievements are not limited merely to our planet rather it extends from putting first human step on the moon to exploring the mysteries of the universe for decades. The quest to demystifying the wonders of the cosmos is incessant!
“Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:”, I had to put a stop to my train of thoughts while reading this line. Spot on, isn’t it? As we look around, our eyes can witness this assertion translated so aptly into the current quagmire our world is grappling with in the form of COVID-19 which has affected each strand of our lives be it social, economic, religious or political aspect. It seems like humans have excelled in technology and advancement but struggle to push back the baggage all this advancement has brought with it.
For the past couple of months, I have observed my industry falling prey to the deadly virus forcing both national and international event organizers to postpone and, in some cases, cancel the trade exhibitions and fairs in their countries. Many field experts came to fore with solutions such has virtual and hybrid exhibitions.
In no way I am against virtual expos or webinars. In fact, FAKT Exhibitions, is also conducting webinars the most recent one is on Solar Pakistan, which no doubt was a success and building upon the extent of its success we probably go for a virtual exhibition in the future but I believe that the yin and yang of the virtual/hybrid exhibitions or webinars can only be garnered through experimentation which requires huge investment, time, education and engagement of all the stakeholders involved. There is no denying the fact that each solution must have something substantial to offer however, the digitalization of what’s supposed to be a physical and tangible human experience pares down the entire purpose of exhibitions altogether, I reckon!
The existing health crisis has fostered a huge amount of frustration and negativity among my peers from the MICE industry in Pakistan, but I see the entire situation as a blessing in disguise. Sardonically, it appears to me as the nature has taken a break from humans to breathe and has cornered us to reflect upon our lifestyle, personal and professional dealings. I consider this phase as an opportunity to critically analyse the pitfalls of our convectional practices and how responsibly can we ameliorate the current ethos of our industry.
Akin to what I am a proponent of is a post that I have found on the LinkedIn page of UFI (UFI is a global association run by the world’s leading tradeshow organizers) the recent initiative of Germany for reopening of Expos by separating exhibitions from mass gathering. I concord with what Germany is trying to establish that we offer more than mere mass gatherings and re-opening of Expos instead of exploring digital solutions should be the way forward.
I can see my peers hemmed in the labyrinth of uncertainty, humming and hawing to come forth and create census among each other to have a dialogue with the government for the re-opening of Expo centres. If man is the master of his own destiny than what’s the point of holding back? Why we are reluctant to reclaim our spaces and start with the exhibitions while strictly abiding by the essential SOPs regulated by the Government? The intent of sharing my thoughts is not to stir up a controversy or fan the already blistering condition of our country rather it’s an honest attempt to instigate a much needed discourse on the impact of COVID-19 on the MICE industry and exploring the possibility of reopening of the Expo centres that will ultimately contribute towards the economy of the country.
Isn’t it so thought-provoking, making man ponder upon the incredible power of intellect he is bestowed with by the God? ‘Man is Mind…Tool of thoughts’, doesn’t it imply that humankind holds the power to shape up its own destiny?