Now, for the rest of the year...


NEW Year’s Day always regurgitates a cornucopia of emotions. As each Jan 1 dawns, it’s become almost impossible to put a lid on this frothy conviviality, bubbling over with goodwill.

Amid cheerful clinking of glasses, genial jolliness and overly buoyant text messages from all and sundry, perhaps the best way to deal with New Year is to go with the flow.

Do what others do. Clear the clutter, if only to get a head start on the high-spirited mood that will grip humanity once again in fewer than 360 days.

So, here are several reasons to celebrate the birth of yet another year.

Prepping and primping for this celebration began weeks earlier, leading up to the one great night celebrated the world over.

The all-day-and-night eating and drinking binge is justified. It is guilt-free, too, as you promise yourself that you’ll cut down, tone up and think healthy next year, with a faraway look in your eyes.

Nevertheless, that resolve will be broken by end January – when the piled-up pounds refuse to shift. Just like the resolutions that we still attempt to make each year.

The litany is endless, the problems the same and the determination as weak as ever.

Then again, the pleasure derived from making these resolutions is certainly equalled by that of breaking them. One at a time. The forbidden fruit surely tastes sweeter after days of abstinence.

Be prepared for some resolutions that’ll only last hours. Get organised. Don’t procrastinate. Make lists. Clean up computer. Place plant on desk. As you write this agenda on recycled paper, a lingering hangover will further stultify the all-pervasive post-holiday infection that afflicts all offices.

You begin to count the days to Chinese New Year. Not that you’ll need to bother to pencil in the general election in that same manner. The guessing game will hot up and so will the mud-slinging and its accompanying grimy promises.

As has been proven with the year’s first sex scandal exposed already. We have not changed in 50 years, so why bother, right? After all, we’ve been there, heard it all before, and seen it all done – over and over again.

Instead, you’ll be better off keeping your wits about you and your mitts closer to your wallet. Not only to guard against the growing number of criminals in this country, but also the expected rise in prices.

Get ready to juggle. The desire to balance budgets and live without will surely fade, in a matter of months, faced with the reality of keeping up with the Ahmads.

Ditto when it comes to wardrobe and home spruce-up. The intention is to re-create and re-invent by purging unwanted and unnecessary detritus. Unfortunately, many of us realise that it’s harder to toss decisively than to accumulate mindlessly.

Many 10-steps have been written to de-mystify this phenomenon and to get the masses to move on to a massive clear-out. Futile it could well turn out to be, as the emptied space will fill up quickly in less time than it will take to tackle this problem come 2009.

And we will be similarly unable to win an Oscar or Nobel Prize any time soon by going green. Though Al Gore, with a reported US$30,000 (RM99,000) utility bill to maintain his mansion, did acquire both with a mind-numbingly dull documentary.

New York, too, went green with its centennial Times Square celebrations this year. Its New Year’s crystal ball was made of 9,576 energy-efficient bulbs that used the same amount of electricity as 10 toasters.

Well, if you can’t be bothered to watch Al’s slide show, perhaps you could begin to find out what “carbon footprint” or “greenhouse gases” mean. For a start.

New Year’s Day is great, isn’t it? It’s just the rest of the year that seems to need a lot more than just goodwill and cheer.

People, places and perceptions inspire writer Jacqueline Pereira. In this column, she rummages through cultural differences and revels in discovering similarities.

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