Ahmad Abdul Haq


Looking For A New Year Resolution

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Sabtu, 10 Januari 2009 04:57 WIBLooking For A New Year Resolution

Looking For A New Year Resolution  Now that the new year is here I suppose the thing to do is jot down on a fresh sheet of paper my list of New Year's Resolutions; an annual task that I admit I still do with the earnestness of a school girl wanting to get good marks for her homework.

Writing down resolutions after all is a pretty serious affair and with all the years piling up behind, it's getting more and more difficult to come up with: a) new resolutions exciting enough to actually see the light of day, b) realistic enough to follow beyond the first week of post New Year hangover and c) not mere rehash of last year's failed ones.

For this I need to revisit last year's crumpled list which, to my dismay was rather long – though this was probably more a reflection of momentary enthusiasm brought on by too much Countdown Festivities' alcohol than any well thought resolves upon my part.

Let's see. There is the obligatory resolution to work out more and eat healthy which incidentally, has been on the list for the last few years and showing no sign of getting anywhere near ticked off as long as I cannot do better than having the odd banana, the occasional colonic and regular strolls in the mall as my definition of a healthy lifestyle. This year, rather than bothering to set myself up for failure I resolve to keep that resolution off this year's list.

Then there is that resolve to recycle. I cast my mind back over the past year. I never did manage to get two different bins to separate the banana peels from the discarded bills. As a matter of fact, when it comes to rubbish, mine pretty much goes into one big indistinct pile that would throw the environmentalist into an apoplexy. However, since I don't want to take jobs away from the scavengers who make a living out of messing up the rubbish dump, I can honestly say that recycling will not be on my list of resolutions this year.

Writing a novel – which came somewhere in the middle of the list together with some other over ambitious resolutions such as taking up pottery, getting a deep-sea diving certificate and getting up earlier to go to the office – certainly came nowhere near manifestation let alone fruition. To put it back on the list this year seems a gross disrespect to the Universe so it's probably a lot safer to leave it in its original realm of fantasy.

As to the resolution to save up for a big holiday, well that disappeared down the rabbit hole together with the price of shares and the stock exchange index. I won't even bother putting it on this year's list, as I would be lucky if my greatly diminished savings could begin to crawl back up out of the hole this year.

Hence, faced with a series of unfulfilled past resolutions and the need to make new ones, I'm beginning to feel at loss. Then I remember how at the airport on my way to Singapore I saw a bunch of young female migrant workers on their way to work in the Middle East. They stood in line quietly and obediently, covered head to toe in their uniforms and clutching their uniform bags, their faces tense and anxious.

I wondered about their future and what would happen to them. One hears such horror stories about how they get treated by their masters. I caught the eyes of a couple of them as they queued up next to me. I was in a holiday mood so I gave them a spontaneous smile. Very soon the whole line was looking at me smiling. I wished them luck and told them to take care.

On the plane I read that if you smile to a total stranger the happiness that you give can last up to a whole year, as it will be passed on to others in a kind of happiness tidal wave, thus contributing greatly to the health and happiness of this planet. So for this year my resolution will be very short but hopefully with a lot more tangible result than the run of the mill 'be kinder to others' resolution. It is to smile at strangers more. Happy New Year!

(Desi Anwar) 3rd January 2009

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