Good riddance to 2021!
As Queen E might have put it, it was certainly an “annus horribilis.” The floods alone would have been bad. Throw in an implacable pandemic, a reeling economy and less than intelligent leadership – and that’s being kind – and one is driven to despair.
But we’re more fortunate than many others: there are Malaysians whose plight is truly harrowing with ruined homes and wrecked livelihoods.
It’s been bad everywhere, even in Singapore where I’ve been living the past two years. There was, for example, a record number of suicides in the city state during the year.
Now that we’re all agreed that 2021 was the Year of Living Dangerously, let’s hope that the new year will bring a smile to our lips, a song in our hearts and cheer to our lives.
Maybe it will too.
Ironically, the hope could lie in the Omnicron variant of the coronavirus. There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests that the variant is, in itself, attenuated with few hospitalisations and a generally lower virulence. But its enormous infectivity holds the promise of displacing the deadly Delta variant and the prospect of wiping out the pandemic altogether.
Or, at the very least, it might just reduce Covid to nothing more than the common cold. It went away just like that a century ago. Why shouldn’t it happen again?
OK, fingers crossed.
I have one wish for the country as well. For one thing, I wish the level of stupidity, especially from the religious right, will be greatly reduced.
In fairness, the general level of intelligence among such people in any country isn’t exactly overflowing. Consider this inanity from Pat Robertson, an American Southern Baptist minister of such fiery piety that it would make Hadi Awang blanch. Robertson was the one who encouraged Christians to vote for Trump because “the Holy Spirit” told him.
Clearly, he didn’t think much of the movement in general or in the particular. “It (feminism) is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
And we thought Jane Fonda was merely beautiful. Who knew?
Compared to Robertson, Ustaz Nazri Karim is a mere dolt in the intelligence sweepstakes. But he wasn’t averse to displaying his ignorance for the world to see when he ascribed the cause of the floods in Selangor to its “numerous wine bars and its beer factory.”
Idris Jala, Heineken’s chairman, thought the Ustaz was grossly ignorant which was a dreadful rebuke because everyone knew that gross ignorance was 144 times worse than ordinary stupidity.
Which reminds me of the Islamic Party of Malaysia, or Pas. It seems to me that the party has only four, near-obsessive preoccupations. They are as follows:
- Booze, its existence and sale in the country
- Gambling, its existence and practice in the country
- The attire of stewardesses on Malaysia Airlines’ flights, and
- The deplorable lack of sharia law in the country
Quite apart from these pet peeves, they seem to have no ideas on corruption, the economy or anything remotely useful towards helping to govern a multiracial, multi-religious country of 32 million people. In short, they are about as useful as the G in lasagna.
Happy New Year people, and remember, the secret to life is honesty and fair dealing: if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.