Thursday, January 29, 2009

Detoxing the Economic Crisis2: Understanding basics

It is important for Raperas to understand some basic facts about how the economy works. In a free market (which ours is to a large extent), two important forces that move the economy is "demand" and "supply". These are collectively called market forces and the interplay between demand and supply not only affect prices and costs but also determine the distribution of goods, services and resources.

An economic slowdown may be due to factors on the demand side, or supply side or both. In this current crisis, it appears to have been caused by demand side factors when the financial crisis suddenly left many with no "money" (in lay person terms). It will be interesting to note that it was not caused by the supply side factors such as over-production, rising costs of production (and the accompanying consequences), etc.

When we say "demand", in economic terms we mean the desire to purchase something ie desire backed by the ability to pay. In other words, need or desire without the ability to pay is not "demand". Only when there is demand will there be supply of goods and services. Any supply of goods and services without demand will also slow down the economy and result in wastage of resources (meaning unemployment).

Demand, however can happen both on the consumer side and the producer side. Consumers demand for consumer goods and services while the producers demand for resources or the factors of production - land, labour, capital and enterprise.

If for example, the demand for houses increases, this will encourage entrepreneurs to venture into the housing construction industry. This means more resources in the country will now be diverted towards this industry. Engineers, architects, surveyors, construction workers, owners of land, "owners of capital" (banks), etc, etc will now be "employed" by this industry - meaning everyone here earns income. Income represents ability to pay which in turn means demand which in turn will lead to further production of goods and services to satisfy this demand. You can see that one act of employment leads to a multiplier effect in the economy.

Simple explanation of the multiplier effect: If you spend RM1, it is likely that you may spend 70 sen and save the 30 sen. B who gets your 60 sen may spend 40 sen, C in turn may spend 30 sen and so on. In this example, an investment of RM1 has created an income of 70 + 40 + 30 = RM1.40 sen. Imagine if 20 million people spend much income will have been generated in the country? This is why spending is important to spur the economy. What you spend becomes someone's income which then becomes someone else's income and so on.

The reverse is also true. If you DO NOT spend RM1, the economy shrinks by a "demultiplier" effect. Th economy shrinks rapidly. Resources become unemployed, businesses become pessimistic and cut costs, income levels drop unleashing a vicious cycle that will bring the economy to a recession.

The above is of course a very simple explanation. However, it is clear that spending is important when economy slows down and the AREAS in which spending is done is equally important if the main purpose is to create employment.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Detoxing the Economic Crisis1: THE BANKS - PRODUCTIVE LOANS

A major player in our economic system are the banks. Obviously because they ensure liquidity (meaning money)in the economy - both on the productive side (meaning businesses) and the consumptive side (meaning consumers).

Let us look at the productive side and see how the Banks can play a role in detoxing the slowdown or worsening it. Very often we hear of Government leaders making announcements of funds that have been allocated to banks to ease the economic slowdown and to spur the economy. The reality on the ground is: no money is moving out of the Banks.

I have clients who have major difficulty in obtaining loans nowadays. The answer they receive is that: "The business is viable but let us wait and see after March". This wait-and-see attitude of banks when faced with funding businesses or projects that are viable is hurting not only the business but the economy in general. The longer the waiting period to get the loan approved, the longer the delay of any recovery of the economy. This means resources (meaning generating income) cannot be employed quickly.

The longer the waiting period for the loan, the entire project or the business itself may be called off due to various factors. The cost of waiting can be extremely high and the loan applicant may run of financial stamina.

So, it is about time Banks learn to be nationalistic in their quest to earn the interest and to safeguard their profits. They should not kill off the economy because of their alternative "safer" mode of earning interest from the use of short=term funds.

Small and medium industries, which are so essential for the generation of incomes and creation of employment during crisis periods, should be supported by Banks. Again, I notice from the complaints I have received that such support is not coming or extremely slow. I know banks have "checklist" being used by the banking technocrats.....but it will be useful also if you get the views of someone knowledgeable about the business that is applying for the loans. It is extremely dangerous when all that the bank relies on is the armchair evaluation of a Harvard graduate who doesn't have the slightest inkling about the business that he is supposed to evaluate! Of course it is worse when the evaluator is some young officer fromm some local study place who does not know where he himself is coming or going in the bank. No offence but this is the impression I get and it worries me. During the "good times", every one seemed lax, no everyone seems lost and scared.

I will go so far to say that banks that do not approve loans to viable businesses due to dubious reasons or do not assist in overcoming the "lack of qualifications" that the applicant may have are actually working against national interests.

The Government, the businesses and the Banks have to work together to detox the economy. We have to ensure that there is liquidity in the productive sectors so that this will translate into demand for resources and hence income and employment generation.

On the consumption side, the local Banks must try something that they have never tried before - do not push those who are genuinely out of jobs into bankruptcy. Approach loan and credit cards defaulting with sober approaches that will not worsen the economy and cause further socio-politico-economic problems. Barclays card is a good teacher that knows how to handle defaulting credit card holders in a way that does not destroy the credit card user. Likewise, I understand, Citibank is good at handling those who may have difficulty in settling their credit card repayments.

Moments of crisis requires one to approach matters creatively and not just sticking to set procedures and textbook solutions.


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is one of the most important traditional Chinese holidays. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, especially by people outside China. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve".

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or "Year" in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjunlaozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjunlaozu's mount.

The biggest event of any Chinese New Year's Eve is the dinner every family will have. A dish consisting of fish will appear on the tables of Chinese families. A reunion dinner is held on New Year's Eve where members of the family, near and far away, get together for the celebration. The venue will usually be in or near the home of the most senior member of the family. The New Year's Eve dinner is very sumptuous and traditionally includes chicken and fish.

Red packets for the immediate family are sometimes distributed during the reunion dinner. These packets often contain money in certain numbers that reflect good luck and honorability. The red packet itself is said to represent good luck. Several foods are consumed to usher in wealth, happiness, and good fortune. Several of the Chinese food names are homophones for words that also mean good things. Yushengs or Yee sang is a raw fish salad. Eating this salad is said to bring good luck. This dish is usually eaten on the seventh day of the New Year, but may also be eaten throughout the period.

The fifteenth day of the new year is celebrated as Yuánxiāo jié (元宵节), otherwise known as Chap Goh Mei in Fujian dialect. Rice dumplings Tangyuan (simplified Chinese: 汤圆; traditional Chinese: 湯圓; pinyin: tāngyuán), a sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in a soup, is eaten this day. Candles are lit outside houses as a way to guide wayward spirits home. This day is celebrated as the Lantern Festival, and families walk the street carrying lighted lanterns.
This day often marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.


The Horse Trick

He goes to town riding a horse expecting to be showered by scented flowers from both sides of the path. He tries a new trick which the horse has never done before. He expects the onlookers to be surprised and applaud him. The trick only killed the horse and he fell breaking his legs. The horse was never made ready for the show. Will he recover?

Peace !

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Politics of NGOs.

How many times have we read in the papers with headlines like “24 NGOs protest against abolition of ISA”, and so on. It conjures up the image of quite a number of thinking people with no vested interest supporting a cause or protesting against some evil.
RAPERAs, not necessarily so. You have to look closer. It could very well be made up just a few people with vested interests hiding behind the façade of an NGO. They could also be serving a hidden master. This is the politics of NGO.

“NGO” is an acronym for a non-governmental organization. It could range from a society for the old to any society founded on some cause, for example, Consumer Association of Penang, Persatuan Ibu Tunggal and so on. NGOs are supposed to be free from Government influence and from mainstream politics. They are supposed to have a cause free from vested interest with an ulterior hidden motive. Of course all NGOs have a vested interest – their own cause. Nothing wrong with that. It is the hidden ulterior motive that we are concerned about.

Reality is however different in this country where hypocrisy is a major value and almost a dominant culture. There is a lot of “silap mata” in country because there are many people with vested interests who actually believe that the silent majority of the Rakyat are fools. They mistake silence for stupidity and helplessness.

Hence, many NGOs are not actually apolitical or without vested interests. Many NGOs are actually formed and backed by politicians with various ostensible objectives but the main purpose being to sustain their power and influence. A close scrutiny will disclose that actual active membership of the NGO is negligibly small and the real persons moving it my be actually one for two persons. Hence it is not at all surprising if “24 NGOs” translates to actually 24 people. The movers of these 24 NGOs may even be just one or two or three persons at the most while the rest have a nodding skill.

SO, RAPERAs, do not be fooled or mesmerized by the “support” or “protests” of NGOs, Some are genuine and many are false serving hidden masters and hidden agendas. For people with hidden agendas and who are prepared to be tools, do they serve free lunches?

Let us look at another aspect of NGOs. There is an NGO called the “Muslim Lawyers Association” (“MLA”). Being a lawyer, I have always wondered why there was a need for this while there is the Bar Council. It seems to “justfy” the formation of a “Hindu/Christian/Taoist/Buddhist/Confucious/Sikh Lawyers Association”. If it is a “Shariah Law Practitioners Association”, I may be able to understand for obvious reasons. So I wonder how Muslims lawyers’ interests are served by the MLA which cannot be served by the Bar Council?

An NGO which has now resurfaced to capture the public eye is the Dong Jia Jong (United Chinese School Committees/Teachers Association) which a blogger has termed the “myopic dong-keys”. This group used to be very powerful among the Chinese based political parties and is supposed to represent “Chinese interest like education, culture, language, etc”. They are asking that Science and Maths be taught in Mandarin and not in English. Great leap forward! Had they not been of “Chinese origin” would they believe in that call too?
At another part of the dried lawn, you have “Persatuan Islam that” And “Persatuan Islam this”. Obviously some of them have Islamic teachings as the premise for whatever their cause may be. However, there are also others where you have to try hard to identify why they named themselves as “Persatuan Islam …”. A Muslim especially cannot avoid thinking that the label “Islam” is being abused for completely some other ulterior motive that has nothing to do with Islam. It may just be a case of pandering to the sentiments of the majority professed Muslims in the country.

A Rapera needs to avoid thinking that every NGO must necessarily be serving a “good cause”. Quite a number may turn out to be devils in disguise.

The art of politics is similar to the art of the sleight of hand or Houdini’s magic – what you see is not what is. What appears most harmless and most innocent may turn out to be the very centre of ………

Think about it.

Peace !

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Friends and readers of this blog,

There may be no postings until 16th Jan as I may have to travel a bit. But that shouldn't stop you from sharing your views.

Peace !

Thursday, January 8, 2009


A University lecturer friend of mine in England emailed me these lyrics. The song is linked below. Interesting.


Who made up all the rules?
We follow them like fools,
Believe them to be true,
Don't care to think them through

And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this

And it's ironic too
'Cause what we tend to do
Is act on what they say
And then it is that way

And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this
I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this

Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they possibly
Know all this?
Who are they?
Where are they?
How can they possibly
Know all this?

Do you see what I see?
Why do we live like this?
Is it because it's true
That ignorance is bliss?

Who are they?
Where are they?
How do they
Know all this?
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry it's like this

Do you see what I see?
Why do we live like this?
Is it because it's true
That ignorance is bliss?

And who are they?
Where are they?
How can they
Know all this?
And I'm sorry, so sorry
I'm sorry we do this

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


A Rakyat is obsessed, mesmerized and awed by politics and politicians. A Rapera knows that politics is not the beginning and the end of life. The beginning of life is life –you are born. The end of life is the end of life – you are dead. Between cradle to grave, there are many challenges, needs, issues, responsibilities, duties, temptations, etc that will be put in your path of life. How you respond to these things will determine whether you are a mere Rakyat or a Rapera.

“Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, "We believe", and that they will not be tested?” (Quran 29:2

These are simple truths of life. These simple truths do not admit differing interpretations. For example, at the very least, one has to eat and shit (no disrespect meant). Between the act of eating and shitting there are so many other simple truths. You either accept them or deny them. A Rapera cannot live in self denial like the common Rakyat. A Rapera must be prepared to confront the challenges with courage, wisdom and patience. In the process, be prepared to feel grieve, frustrations, loss of worldly privileges, etc. But you will not lose your dignity and humanity.

“You shall certainly be tried and tested in your possessions and in your personal selves; and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you, from those who received the Book before you and from those who worship (serve) many gods. But if you persevere patiently, and guard against evil,-then that will be a determining factor in all affairs”. (Quran 3:186)

How do you guard against evil? Corruption and destruction of societies are not done by the ghosts and “evil spirits”. It is done by humans who worship false gods. Most of the Rakyat may serve and worship many false and created gods – politicians, priests, ego, materialism, tribalism and such. Have we not heard of the phrase for example, “biar mati anak jangan mati adat”? Culture is worshiped at the expense of the sacred life that Allah created. A Rapera is not distracted by these “dazzles of life”. A Rapera serves and worships only the Truth. The crystallization of truth is the performance of righteous deeds.

Politics is a conduit like a pipe. It may carry clean water or human waste. Untreated human waste is stinky and hazardous to life. Politicians that use the pipe to carry clean water or treated human waste are Raperas too. Politicians who use the pipe to carry untreated human waste or dirty water (like what is occurring today) have become part of the human waste. Hence we hear people say that politics is dirty. What is dirty needs to be treated and cleaned. The truth is that simple.

The question is: who will do the job? You or are you waiting for “them”? If you wait, then you are a common Rakyat. If you do what you can to start the cleaning process, then you are a Rapera.

Sure, power can be intimidating to some of the people, especially if power is in the hands of evil or those prone to evil. But look at the truth of power again. Briefly, it is temporary and self destructive in the hands of evil. If you have mixed with “powerful” people, you will realize that many of them are actually extremely lonely narcissists. They all know deep within that one day the curtain will fall and the audience will simply move to another show. That is why the corrupt ones are self deluded in amassing wealth with the false notion that at least I will be okey when I retire”. How much wealth will ease the loss of youth, agility and the audience? Please talk to ex-politicians, ex-high ranking civil servants, ex-judges, all the ex-ses. You can see that some have retired gracefully and some retired compellingly and unhappily.

Power is a subject onto itself that need to be understood carefully by the Rapera. Maybe I can take it up in another article. For the purposes of this article, let me add one more point – even the most “powerful” is not really powerful when you think about it. In the Quran you have the example of the Pharoah who finally died by drowning in his chase after Moses. In modern times, you have the examples of Indra Ghandi, Ferdinand Marcos, Joseph Estrada, Thaksin, Suharto, etc. In this context, Dr Mahathir was wise in voluntarily relinquishing power while he was at his peak. In other cases, you have leaders whose tenure in power have been cut short by events.

“Say: "O God! Lord of Power (And Rule), You give power to whom You please, and You strip off power from whom You please: You endow with honour whom You please, and You bring low whom You please: In Your hand is all good. Verily, over all things You have power”. (Quran 3:26)

A common Rakyat is submissive, and fearful of the powerful evil. Hence he has an excuse not to do the right thing. Hence, he may corroborate either consciously or unconsciously with the evil leader/person. On the other hand, while a Rapera may also be fearful, he is ever conscious that the presence of the evil leader/person is a test to him. The fear of failing the test overwhelms the fear of the “power” of the evil leader. Before God, there can be no excuses, maybe reasons AND there is a big difference between the two. You and I know it – deep inside.

A Rapera must forever hold on to the truth. Raperas need to remind each other of this.

Peace !


Sunday, January 4, 2009


When I first read the autobiography of Ghandi when I was in Form 4, I was moved and I was stunned. Was there really such a man who is prepared to take blows and swallow “pride”. So self sacrificial? I had to eliminate the possibility that this character is pure fiction. So I read as much as I can about the man. He is real. Since he is real, then it is possible for me to direct my behaviors and acquire mental attitudes of his – try in the face of hate to exhibit love. Must confess, I have not fully succeeded.

In the Ghandi movie, one of the scenes that will make me cry even to this day is this: - Ghandi was lying on his bed, half dead from fasting as a means to stop the rioting between the Hindus and the Muslims. A Hindu man threw a piece of bread on Ghandi’s chest and pleaded: “Eat! I have killed muslim children because the muslims have killed mine. I will burn in hell but I will not have your death on my conscience. Eat !”

Ghandi replied to the Hindu man; “I know of a way out of hell for you. Adopt a Muslim child whose parents have died in the riots of the same age as your child that died. Treat him as your own...but only make sure he grows up as a Muslim”.

Ghandi is asking the HINDU man to atone for his sins of killing muslims by adopting a MUSLIM orphan and making sure he grows up a MUSLIM. This is how love replaces hate. Hate the sin, not the sinner. This takes great internal strength. A Rapera needs to cultivate internal strength to confront evil in the world.

“O you believers! stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do”. (Quran 5:8)

Undeniably, most of the Rakyat have been indoctrinated by the capitalistic-hedonistic-survival-of-the-fittest society that we live in to be tribal in our outlook. While technology may have advanced, the human is still not yet fully human – we are still cavemen living in different “furniture settings”. A Rapera tries very hard to safeguard his humanity from the onslaught of what is around him. In a sense, to be a Rapera, you have to walk it ALONE. If others follow, then they are walking with you – but expect no one but yourself to do what need be done. A Rapera has to walk his talk. A Rakyat merely talks and complaints.

“O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not do?” (Quran 61:2)
“Grievously odious is it in the sight of God that you say that which you do not”. (Quran 61:3)

If you do not walk your talk, you will be compelled to walk the path laid out for you by the evil forces. And you become part of it. You become part of the problem, not the solution. A Rapera must internalize this idea.

If a Rapera feels very strongly against racism and you feel totally helpless to “change the system”, here is something you can do alone – marry someone from another ethnic group. At least you will be a living example that it is possible to live as humans. At least your children will understand that ethnicity is a social and cultural construct. I can already visualize the common Rakyat coming out with many excuses even at this simple suggestion. A Rapera will find a way.

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”. (Quran 49:13)

Most of the Rakyat are always concerned about numbers, about majority before they even decide to take any action. They are trapped in the mindset that only if there is a majority that thinks like them, then only they may take action. Hence they die never “contributing” because they can never find this majority as a prerequisite. History is clear that the majority always wait for things to happen before they follow the crowd. Generally speaking, following the majority in most cases in most matters merely because of the “majority factor” is “suicidal”. The “comfort zone” is a sure killer in the long run. A Rapera knows this. The Rakyat does not.

“Were you to follow the majority of those on earth, they will lead you away from the Way of God. They follow nothing but conjecture: they do nothing but lie” (Quran 6:116)

The “sad” fact is: the majority does not stop to think and reflect. They hardly make an attempt to obtain and appraise the true facts. They are existential in behavior and attitude. They simply live out the life that is laid out for them on the guess (conjecture) that that is the normal way to live. A Rapera must know this or must verify the validity of this. A Rapera know that majority per se does not make it the truth or right. A lie repeated a trillion times through the generations is still a lie.

The common Rakyat is like the sheep that can only make sense of its life if there is a shepard. They are forever waiting for the “right leader” before they want to right what they see as wrong. Of course, a leader is necessary and important but how do you know it is not you? A Rapera is not too concerned with the issue of leadership for the purposes of taking action. He does what has to be done as best as he can without waiting for a leader. It is not glory or heroism or claps that he is looking for. He merely does what need to be done.

“No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another; That man can have nothing but what he strives for; That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight” (Quran 53:038-40)

Verily, this is My way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from His path: thus does He command you. that you may be righteous (Quran: 6:153)

A Rapera will persevere all through his life to be on the right path –the path of doing deeds of righteousness in all aspects of life. This is also known as the “power of one”.

Peace !


Saturday, January 3, 2009


A Rakyat may be cowed by positions, power, and wealth. A Rapera knows that only Allah can bestow this on a person and take it away as He pleases. Hence, these glitters of life do not detract him from calling a spade a spade. A thief is still a thief even if he is called Tan Sri Adipandai and lives in a mansion. Why should a dignified human being be intimidated by and bow to a thief? What more if you truly do believe in God.

They said: "We have more in wealth and in sons, and we cannot be punished." (Quran 34:35)

“Say: "Verily my Lord enlarges and restricts the Provision to whom He pleases, but most men understand not." (Quran 34:36)

A Rakyat may be happy living in the world that his forefathers created, even if it humiliates humanity, affronts common sense and destroys him in the long run. He is controlled by perverse habits of thinking that may be labeled as “norms”, “culture”, “values”, “religion”, and so on. He is enslaved to the human masters that created these ideas for the pure purpose of enslavement.

“When they are told to follow that which God has sent down, they say: "No!, we shall follow the ways that we found our fathers (following). "What! even if it is Satan beckoning them to the Penalty of the (Blazing) Fire?” (Quran 31:21)

A Rapera is evaluative. He evaluates whatever he has inherited. He discards whatever that humiliates humanity, affronts common sense and destroys him in the long run. He tries very hard to free himself from being controlled by habits of thinking that may be labeled as “norms”, “culture”, “values”, “religion”, and so on. He is aware that Allah did not create brains for decorative purposes. He knows that he has change himself first before the society that he lives in can change for the better.

"Because God will never change the grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their (own) souls: and verily God is He Who hears and knows (all things)." (Quran 8:53)

A Rakyat is easily duped by politicians and religionists, believing that all of them must necessarily be good and sincere because of their speeches and their stature. They have not trained their minds to see beyond form. Hence, they cannot recognize substance.

A Rapera on the other hand, is guided by Allah’s warning – that such men may even swear in the name of Allah and yet commit all sorts of unthinkable atrocities. A Rapera learns to recognize substance over form.

“There is the type of man whose speech about this world's life May dazzle you, and he calls God to witness about what is in his heart; yet is he the most contentious of enemies” (Quran 2:204)

A Rakyat may think that change must occur outside himself. He is forever blaming “them” while forgetting that he is part of “them”. He may think he is helpless in the face of evildoers. A Rapera knows that evil can control him ONLY if he gives up his mind and soul to the evildoer.

"As for My servants, no authority shalt you (Satan) have over them:" Enough is my
Lord as a Disposer of affairs
(Quran 17:65)

DO not give the evildoers authority over you. Let us regain our dignity as a citizen of this beautiful Nation. Let us TRY to evolve into a RAPERA.

Peace !


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Have a BLESSED 2009 YEAR

When I was a kid, and then a teenager, I could never understand what my friends and then the adults were on about when they said they were "celebrating" the new year". As an adult myself today, I further could never understand it, especially when I look at what is meant by "celebration".

How does one celebrate what is coming ahead? And that too by waiting in large noisy crowds and counting the second and then yelling "Happy New year"? New Year's eve is a mad night. Unruly crowd who have forgotten all civic consciousness, party animals for whom this is just another excuse to do all that is ordinarily not probable and getting drunk so that he/she can savour a hangover the next day.

What happens the next day of the so-called celebrations? We wake up more determined and have left our bad habits behind? We become more responsible people - fathers, brothers, workers, citizens,friends, etc? Life around us suddenly changes for the better? I suppose it is human malady to keep repeating the same useless, self delusional behaviors that we have been so accustomed to because EVERYBODY has been doing it FOR YEARS!

It would have made more sense to me to ponder over the passing year and/or to celebrate it. Or to give thanks for the coming of the new one. Or to say: "GOd, I am still alive. My work on earth is still not done?".

How about this to celebrate? -

Every new year means you are one year older and hence one step closer to death and old age (ceteris paribus)?

Every new year means you have an additional year to audit your performance on earth - has it been any different, useful or the same useless existence?

Every new year means you have an additional year to struggle to free yourself from the mental and emotional baggages that you have inherited - will you succeed this year?

Every new year means you have an additional year to live a life of a helpless citizen or a dignified "slave" of God or in another language - a decent human.

From cradle to grave, many live a repetitious, predictable and meaningless life. I pray we are not one of them.

HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR...a another extension in the lease of our life.