Friday, January 1, 2010

Condolences! It's the new year again..

Every year as we step into the new year, particularly hours before, I am sure we will all receive numerous text messages wishing us a happy new year. All these well wishes, I am sure it is as warm and sincere as it can be, puzzles me a little and very often I will not reply to them, not because I dislike it, not because I don't wish them well and not because of any religious reasons either. I sometimes struggle to understand the concept of a new year celebration in its entirety. Every year I have this same dilemma. Every year I will think about this perhaps more than I should. Why do we celebrate the start of a new year? Instead, why don’t we feel sad leaving behind the year before? Afterall, we are one step closer to adulthood..one step closer to more responsibilities….and one step closer to death! So why can’t I say “Condolences! I am sorry that you have to move into the new year yet again!”

People would wish each other “a happy new year” as if knowing for sure that the year before was a bad one and the future would be better. Perhaps the idea is to say that even if this year sucks, you can still work for a better year in the next. But what if 2009 is a year that you have achieved greatness. A year that has been jolly good for you. A year that you would not like to forget and a year that you would like to remember and if possible be in forever. Then the onset of a new year would simply mean that you would have to work harder to continue having a year as good as before if not better. It seems like a vicious cycle. Continuous improvement for a better year. There is no such thing as continuously being better, every year. Technically that is not possible. If you achieve the absolute greatness in 2009, then likely 2010 would not be better. It will either be worse, or in the best case scenario, the same. Why do we then wish each other a ”happy new year”?

Why do we have to wait till the end of a year to do that. Why not wish me a “happy current year”? If you are sincerely concerned about my happiness, then wish me a happy new day instead. Pray for my health, wealth and happiness everyday. Why wait till the end of the year to do so? Why is the end of the year so auspicious?

Fine, scientifically it marks that the earth has gone around the sun in one full circle. But seriously, is that something that we have to be proud of? Did we actually have something to do with that? You don't expect me to believe that the earth wouldn't be able to go around the sun if we were not here in existence? In fact, it would probably go way faster if we, the excess baggage, were not here… or maybe not…nobody knows.

I was in KLCC during the new year eve countdown. It was my first time actually being in a new year’s countdown. (I had guests visiting from afar, so I thought I should be the host with the most!) There were thousands of teenagers, couples, old folks, pregnant ladies, kids, babies, Malaysians, foreigners and others (don't know what they were!) celebrating the start of a new year. And I just could not get my head around this phenomenon. Why are we celebrating? What are we celebrating ? It is just another year. It is just the start of another day. It was as if we were celebrating the start of a new year after so much of struggle and difficulties going through obstacles in 2009. It was as if we crawled our way through 2009 into 2010. It was as if we fought really hard to survive 2009 in order to get into 2010. It was also as if we had to go through a process of extreme scrutiny with examinations and filtrations so that only the cream of the crop gets to move into 2010. Fact of the matter is that, even if we were to bum around the entire 2009, we would still end up in 2010. It is only natural for time to pass. It is natural for days to pass. And it is definitely natural for years to pass. And as naturally as it can get, no matter what we do, how much effort we put in, whether we were good or bad, we would still step into 2010. Life goes on!

Perhaps we celebrate because we need something for us to hold on to and look forward to. We look forward to a new year as an excuse to not have a good year this year. Maybe we need it to believe that next year will be better so that we could go through a difficult year now. Or maybe we just need it so that we could be wishful that next year will be better. Personally, I think that it is just wishful thinking. Nothing wrong with having dreams if it keeps us going through tough times. But it seems like we celebrate the new year as an excuse to have fun and have parties. We celebrate the new year to fulfill our innermost hedonistic desires!

So, in this new year, I shall not wish you anything. I shall not wish you a healthy new year. I shall not wish you a wealthy new year. And I shall definitely not wish you a happy new year. But what I will do is pray that you have a great day every single day. You don't need to know this. Just know that I wish the best for you everyday! So have a happy current year…and a happy new day!

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