There are as many types of calendars as there are religions and customs. The Catholic Gregorian Calendar we are using came by courtesy of Christian British Imperialism - for it was adopted by Protestant England only in 1752, and not without protests and dissensions because Protestantism has always been suspicious of the Papacy and Catholicism; not much different from the present disengagement between the Shias and Sunnis.
The present Gregorian calendar was introduced by Pope Gregory X11 in 1582 mainly so they say, to keep Easter, which is observed on March 21 in sync with the spring equinox, something which the former Julian Calendar (as in Julius Caesar) failed to maintain.
Later in the 19th century, Japan (1873), Egypt (1875) and Korea in 1896 adopted the Gregorian calendar. This was followed by China (1912), USSR (1918), Greece (1923) and Turkey (1926).
More interesting, Saudi Arabia also switched over in October 2016. According to The Independent (Harry Cockburn, 4 October 2016) :
"The country had used the lunar-based Hijri Calendar since the Kingdom was founded in 1932, but has switched to the Gregorian calendar to pay civil servants." As the Hijri calendar has 11 days shorter than the Gregorian 365 days, "the move will mean Saudi civil servants will lose 11 days of payment as salary days are cut. It is one of many belt-tightening measure announced as the country seeks to reduce its high budget deficit".
Certainly we shall not see a clamour in Malaysia to switch to the Hijri calendar!!!
I do not want to be a wet blanket, but what is the relevance and meaning of a "New Year" for many people in many parts of the world. Discounting the annual fat bonuses for the fat cats, the latest revolution in mobile and car technology, the amazing radical changes in choices and of lifestyle for the ordinary folks-in-the-street like .......
........ what's more, 2017 has revealed the mother-of-all sexual predators in the shape of Harvey Weinstein seen here with two of the 21st century's most iconic personalities - Barack Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow.
|Barack and Harvey - great political pals, then - to the tune of $600,000 according to UK's Daily Mail.|
|From the Daily Mail, 11 October 2017|
.......... he erred in using such words as "girls" and "boys" which, in this new "liberal" climate, will discourage children from recognising and acknowledging their sexual identities as being neither fish nor fowl.
In the case of Gwyneth Paltrow, I am surprised at her ignorance of the politics of sex and success.
|Gwyneth and Harvey|
It's all old hat to this septuagenarian. In my time at Singapore University and in the corridors of the teaching profession, we girls were told, mainly by word of mouth, how to get on with getting good marks and special favours from the men-in-charge : from old and young men, ugly men, repulsive men, men of all shades of colour and religion and highly educated men especially. They can be nasty, persuasive and wily so as to get what they want.
But then it works both ways. For the fairer sex, sometimes, all they have to do is to give these predators a dose of manja-manja, feed their ego and more often than not it can bring some reward. Furthermore there are women who have polished this to a fine art to get what they want and some foolish men fall for it, hook line and sinker! But then a bigger harvest will require a great deal of 'investment' on the part of the female.
It all depends on how desperate you are to get ahead and to do so without too much effort. It also depends on how desperate you are to keep your dignity, self-pride and honour.
For women in any part of the world and from any culture who want fame and fortune in what is basically a male domain, this is the oldest game in the world!
I guess I was very fortunate because when I reached puberty, my Abah cautioned and warned me that "men are crocodiles". That really prepared me for the rest of my post-puberty life!!
What can 2018 bring for the ordinary, quiet and decent people of the world? I am thinking especially of the decent and suffering people of Palestine.
What is in store for their children?
|More of the same in 2018?|
How many more graves have to be dug?
|More visits by The Grim Reaper from Israel?|
How many more broken and bloody bodies in 2018?
|More casualties to be treated in broken-down hospitals (not for the blues, only the reds)|
The great and good of the world are mortified by the unequal distribution of wealth on this planet - how a great deal of fortune is held by a small percentage of the population. ( In USA, 1% of families own 38.6% of the country's wealth).
So what can we make of this unequal distribution of deaths in Palestine and Israel. In 2017 there are 8.3 million Israelis and 5 million Palestinians but which country takes the brunt of ending up as the victims, especially among the children of Palestine?
|The unequal distribution of deaths.|
So, roll on 2018. Bring on the life and times of the powerful, the wealthy, the victors and the self-righteous.
Publicise the salacious and the banal.
Keep out and rationalise the violence inflicted by the powerful, and the sufferings and deaths of the powerless.
I have no greetings for a Happy New Year but do read some of these links.
But so as not to be a killjoy; to "celebrate" 2018 with a big bang, look up the following link and watch the video.
Furthermore, we are all aware of the norms of political correctness. Anti-Semitism and any other antipathies must be reviled. However compare the reaction of the authorities in France to Charlie Hebdo's anti-Islamic trash and to Youpi Bayard's omission.
BUT THEN, WHAT'S NEW ???? - in this new year or in previous old years and forever?