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Happy New Year — Art Harun

January 01, 2013

JAN 1 — Today is the first day of 2013. Time sure flies! And so I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy New Year. May 2013 bring all of us nothing but goodness, good health and peace of mind. And a bit of wealth wouldn’t be out of order too.

Of course we are also thankful that the Mayans have been proven wrong. Unless of course the Mayans arranged their dates just like the Americans. Which means the Mayan’s 21.12.2012 should actually read 12.02.2112. Even then, 2112 is a hundred years to come. Every one of us will be dead by then. So you see, who says death is not a solution?

I am sure many will have new resolutions for 2012. I for one have been having the same new-year resolution for the past three years and this year I am having the same resolution again. It is a simple resolution which I am supposed to do every day of the year. Well, simple it may be but to achieve it one would need to be zen-ful. And there lies the problem.

I resolve not to lose my temper or be angry or upset while driving. As an extension to that, I also resolve to always be courteous while driving, not get bothered when people cut in front of me or when they tailgate me or when they do whatever Malaysian drivers do on the roads. So far, I have to say I have managed to carry out this resolution 40-50 per cent of the time. That is hardly a success story. However, each time I manage to ignore a traffic pest I almost felt nirvana.

When a typical queue jumper cuts me from the left, I would try telling myself “it’s okay, you are not in a hurry and he may need to go to the hospital.” Or “he drives an uncomfortable car and he needs to get out of his car as soon as possible.” Sometimes it worked. And most of the times, it did not.

The times that it worked however were almost blissful. To let go of a small upsetting incident so that we could enjoy our life — and in the process, avoid high blood pressure, stress and other life-threatening conditions — is, to me, good living. And worth trying.

We may overlook it but most of the time, it is the small efforts which yield better and more meaningful result. On YouTube recently, there was a video which went viral. It was a video of a man celebrating the birthday of a homeless person. They were speaking Spanish. But the language of humanity is universal. The smile and joy on the homeless person’s face brings instant realisation that out there, there are millions of people who are needful in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine. And it doesn’t take even RM100 to make one or two people to smile.

Right in the middle of Chow Kit, for example, is a house for street children, Rumah Nursalam. It has hundreds of street kids of Chow Kit registered with it. They would come for food and for some TV or even lessons for days and they would disappear for days before coming back. Most of them are fatherless as their mother doesn’t know who their father is. Because of that they can’t get birth certificates. The sum of that is they could not be enrolled into schools. The ultimate result is they would end up as sex workers or even drug addicts and be exploited by syndicates and the like for the rest of their life.

You don’t need RM100 to help out. You can spend an hour on a weekend or after work at Rumah Nursalam to just talk to them. Or to impart some skills or knowledge to them. Or to just show that somebody cares.

We talk about human rights, freedom and liberty. We do that probably because Obama keeps on repeating those words. What mercy have we shown to the blind and needy? Don’t they have the basic rights to food, shelter, education and love? While it is good to possess, it is also good — and may be even better — to give.

The single most unifying event in 2012 in the whole world is not one which takes hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve, like Obama’s presidential victory. Or the London Olympics.

Just like Lee Chong Wei’s fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude or Pandalela’s unlikely Olympian achievement or Nicol David’s consistency bring much unified feeling of nationalism and national oneness, there was one astounding world unifying act.

It is a YouTube video sensation which has had one billion hits so far.

Yes. Gangnam Style.

Think about it. — art-harun.blogspot.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.