Let’s hope 2009 will be better

WOULD you join me in my huge sigh of relief? Phew! There we go, another year has gone by. It would be a cliché to talk about how fast time flies – oops there I go! But truth be told, I personally don’t think that there is a better way to sum up a year – any year, for that matter – whether it has been a good one or bad.

If one was having a bad year, there’s no time like now to bid farewell and welcome the year to come.

If it was a good year, it leaves us in great spirits to be even more optimistic about the next 365 days.

All my friends and family know that I am the sentimental type, and as such, I look forward to the end of December each year to look back on the year that has just gone past.

Besides, I may hate textbook history (I almost failed that subject in my SPM), but I do love history in general.

And what a year 2008 had been, and there are so many lessons to take from it.

For me personally, the past year had been one of discovery.

Having spent a week in rural Laos in June seeing the hardships that some of the poverty stricken families went through there, did change my perspective of how I’ve viewed my life in the past.

Also having been given the chance to interview my idol – Anderson Cooper – and finding him lacking enthusiasm during our phone conversation was a bit of a wet blanket and altered my view of famous people.

Then there’s my return to one of my great loves, the performing arts, a great way to mark having worked in the professional local theatre for 10 years.

However, moving away from myself, 2008 was definitely a year of changes with many headline grabbing and history making events that took place locally and internationally.

If there was ever a year that deserved a bumper issue in any publication or production, 2008 would be it.

The number of things that made the headlines right from the beginning of the year – politics, business, sport and disasters, among others – had been plenty.

And while there were many good news, there were equally as many bad ones, I think. But still, what an exciting year it’s been.

Democracy never rung so loudly in Malaysia in recent history as it did after March 8 when the “political tsunami”, as everyone likes to call it, hit us.

Much later in the year, last month, the United States voted in their first-ever black president.

China proved its mettle and hosted what was arguably the biggest Olympic Games the world had ever seen (and perhaps will ever see in a very long time).

So many names deserved mentions in the world of sports – Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt and even our very own Datuk Nicol David.

Of course, as I think back fondly of all the good things, I would also remember – as will many of us, I’m sure – the lives of the many lives lost in earthquakes and other natural disasters around the world.

Closer to home, and most recently of course, is the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide tragedy.

However, the biggest incident – where most people are affected – would have to be the worldwide economy.

Major companies have gone bust, some governments around the world are raising the red alert.

And the bleak economy outlook would surely seep into 2009.

Still, I have great faith in the strength of humanity.

The elections – locally and worldwide – show what sort of impact men (and women, naturally) can have when we stand united.

Dealing with the tragedies shows our resilience in times of troubles. And our sporting achievements are an indication of how people are able to exceed expectations.

Many people are saying that it is hard to be optimistic about next year. But I think that if we set our hearts to it, adapt our lifestyle a little and think of the times we’ve overcome hardship, then there’s no reason why we can’t ride out the coming year.

And besides, isn’t this the best time of the year to dream and think big? A new slate for a new year, they say.

Happy New Year all. Thanks for 2008 and I’ll see you in 2009.

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