ask. For some, it is the 60s — the period that brought us JFK, flower
power and revolution. Others remember fondly the 70s, which saw the
advent of disco music. Keeping to this chronology, how should we view
The 80s was undeniably a decade of strong government in the West with
Margaret Thatcher dominating the political scene in U.K. and Ronald
Reagan doing the same in U.S.A. In the Eastern bloc, President Mikhail
Gorbachev emerged as a credible leader with whom the West could
finally do business. The unifying feature of all three politicians’
tenure of office was that they sold a clear vision for their
respective countries, to the people they served. In the case of
Gorbachev, he had perhaps the most challenging task – that of
convincing his people that the system he inherited and which had
lasted for many years, was in need of urgent overhaul if the nation
was to prosper.
The Western political philosophy of the day spread into other areas as
the power of the individual was promoted in the 80s. In this regard,
the decade saw the emergence of power dressing. Women would have
shoulder pads in the suits they wore to the office. Men, on the other
hand, would be seen having business conversations on big mobile
telephones. It was definitely a period of excess, whose beneficiaries
probably thought they were having a non-stop party, where the
champagne would never stop flowing.
In the West, the 80s were famous also for the music. Disco was a
memory, replaced by a novel creation, in which keyboards replaced
guitars. The resultant sound was called new wave music. With it, came
a new type of dressing, where the difference between the genders
became blurred. This could be seen most readily on visits to leading
nightspots in Western capitals. At such places, it would not be
unusual to see men wearing women’s make-up and with neatly coiffed
hair, dancing unobtrusively with their girlfriends and wives.
their affairs in the West in the 80s. The 60s and 70s highlighted
social interaction, whereas the 80s represented a time, when we were
encouraged to take more of an interest in our professional lives with
the promise that if we did so, the rewards would be there for the
Nostalgia is a wonderful thing as we human beings have it in our
psychological DNA to retain special memories of times we cherish.
However, nostalgia is no substitute for progress. For progress to
happen, times must and do change. Fads and attitudes outlive their
usefulness. They are replaced by new ways of thinking, more suitable
for the times in which we live. Periods of time are markers in our
Here’s to what this decade will bring!