aking a look at international headlines,one cannot help but draw ratheralarming concerns. Going back a year,
we’ve seen Nature wreak her worst; the ground
shook, the waves crashed inland, the weatherbrought extreme conditions whilst volcanoeserupted. Are these to be taken as signs of animpending Armageddon? Are we nearer to oursynchronized doom as 2012 draws closer? The world is rife with viral rumours, as fear andparanoia continue to sweep across popularand fatalistic mindsets. We thought that thisapocalyptic topic would serve as excellent foodfor thought, and our team began to ponderover our lives thus far and how we approach it.See, if it does come down to the end of the
world, there really isn’t much we can do toavert a natural apocalypse, isn’t it? What
we can do, however, is an introspection and
reection of our persons and characters, toremedy our aws and become better people.
So what will complete annihilation of Earthand everything you know mean to you, if the world (hypothetically) ends tomorrow? Will you die with regrets, or spend the last few
hours alive happy and content that you’ve
lived your life as best as could have? All these thoughts about death and its impact
reminds me of the lm ‘127 hours’, based on thetrue story of climber Aron Ralston’s close brush
with death. It was intense and deeply moving,inspiring both tears and endless contemplation within me. There is the apotheosis of a person who only began appreciating what he has inlife, and who became a more responsible andengaged person, but only after a traumaticand painful experience in which he nearly losthis life. It really is quite pathetic, to need to
know we’re about to die before we regret orbegin eecting positive changes – why notmake that change now? Now here’s a guide,
with two basic creeds I live by. Foremost are
the words the famous Roman poet, Horace:
Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
” which translates to “seize the day, place notrust in tomorrow”. Essentially, to make every day count and to grab every opportunity,leaving nothing that can be done today tilltomorrow (I see that many a procrastinatortoday probably do not know who Horace is,
yes?). Another dening creed for me is to
treat others the way you want to be treated.
Honestly, karma’s a bitch, and it’s gonna stab
you right through your heart without almost
immediate eect. Hence, to (try to) be the bestperson you can be: to respect and be lial to
our parents, practice patience, be kind andgenerous, and then some. “We must learn tolive together as brothers or perish together asfools”, said Martin Luther King Jr. once, andhow apt in this apocalyptic context!For those who are hosting their own private Armageddon over personal woes and
struggles, take heart. “Diculties are meant to
rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to
grow strong by conict”. Look at it this way:
life is temporal. So if things are good, enjoy it
for it won’t last forever. And if things are bad,don’t worry, it can’t last forever either.
For the rest of us, keep going as the midtermsstretch out over weeks and the essay andproject deadlines close in and rob you of the precious bonding time with your bed.Examinations are not the end of the world, and
even if you feel like dying, know that there’s
the entire summer break right after beckoning you to luxuriate and indulge in the excess of time. Good luck for your exams, and take some
time to reect on your life today!
Warmest,f 1. 3000 words and 10 straight hours of typingat your laptop later, some idiot tries to use aforeign electrical appliance in the hall pantry and the power in the entire building goesout. You have not saved your document.2. The exam starts at 10am. Yousomehow manage to sleep through 3
dierent alarms and wake up at 11am.
3. You are on the last page of an online quiz when
your computer hangs/you have itchy ngers and
decide to refresh the page. And the questions
are dierent when you try to redo the quiz.
4. You skip an exam and decide to take an MC.
The doctor tells you, “No, you don’t need an MC.”
And you still have to pay for the consultation fee.5. You knock into some random dude and
do not say sorry because you’re rushing for a
class. Five minutes later, the same dude walksin and introduces himself as your professor.6. You miss the S/U deadline.7. You try to print an essay just beforethe deadline for a professor that insistson having the essays at the start of class,but the auntie at the printing room hasgone “out to lunch”, as the sign on thelocked printing room door says, at 9am.8. You misread the deadline of apaper and your professor refuses toaccept it without a grade deduction.9. You get a straight F for a paper because thecomputer system accuses you of plagiarism. You actually just have a limited vocabulary.10. Your girlfriend/boyfriend breaksup with you just before the exams.
Disaster WatchApocalypse…When?I the world endstomorrow, what willyou do today?
The End is not Near, it’s Here
The Japan quake has had everyonetalking about the impending demise of the world, but if one scales it down justa tad, we realize that it doesn’t take atsunami to bring apocalypse upon us.Orat least, send us into an FML frenzy.
ere’s a quick overview of some
of the devastating disastersbrought about by the wrathof Nature since 2010. (photographcredits to
) A year after the disastrous 7.0 magnitudeearthquake, which shook Haiti, thecountry is still in shambles. 230,000people were killed in the disaster, with350,000 injured and another millionleft homeless from the wreckage. Approximately 51 million people, suffering
one of China’s worst droughts in the century,
had to endure severe water shortagesas water sources dried and cracked. As a blanket of volcanic ash sweptacross Europe after a volcanic eruptionin South Iceland, panic followed andleft hundreds of thousands of travelersstranded as flights were cancelled.Fires raged through Russia as widespread
smoke covered the country, in Russia’s
hottest summer yet. Up to 15,000 peopledied in heat waves and fires, as fearsof remnant radioactive particles fromthe 1986 Chenobyl nuclear disasterbeing thrown up raised concerns.In a 6.3 magnitude tremor that ripped
across New Zealand’s Canterbury region,
an estimated 200 people were killed asscores of buildings and infrastructure were destroyed, including Christchurch,
New Zealand’s second most populous city.For the world’s most prepared country
against the devastation of naturaldisasters, the double destruction of theTohuku (9.0 magnitude) earthquake and(up to 23.6m high) tsunami waves which
mercilessly tore across Japan’s eastern
coast left the nation in shock. As thedeath toll exceeds 10,000, a reported17,500 people are still missing, survivorsare left homeless, facing severe shortagesof food, water, electricity and supplies while drowning in fear of nuclear reactormeltdowns and radiation sickness.
thas never occurred to me to makeprovisions for the last day of my life,thus I found this a refreshing subjectto expound upon. As far as traditionentailed, it seems customary for families tohuddle together, hands clasped in prayer. With this despairingly hopeful image inmind, I began my reflection upon an endbefitting my venerable 20 years of life.I found myself in a dilemma; should I, at
my life’s end, seek comfort or significance?
If it is the former, I fear I shall die lazily in bed cuddled up with my smelly soulmate- an elderly bolster named Jack. Yet perhaps, after a mundane existenceon Earth, one should reasonably seekto end with a Big Bang. As such, my
3-step guide to the end of my life is thus:
First, I shall dispense with all the money I will never see again, in a huge extravagantbanquet with every delectable foodimaginable, where my family and friends,strangers and foes (for who would beartheir hatchets to death?) shall convene. We shall defy all customs in our refusal to wallow. Instead, indulge in gastronomicaldelight, for it is said there is no lovemore sincere than the love of food.In my second act of protest, I will buildan urn, into which I shall channel all my angst, ripping up the certificates andawards I have painstakingly accumulated,along with the essays over which I havemulled, cried and deliberated suicide. All of which, have done absolutely nothing to recommend me to a higherinstitution in after-life, and lament“Ah. My education has failed me!” I will smash my guitar, burn my piano,butcher my laptop, and flush down thetoilet bowl every last page of words.The vagabonds and customarily unac-complished shall grin their final tri-umph over us, paper chasers who havethus squandered our lives. After all, we are but equal – beggar and Kingalike - especially when everyone diesa synchronized death in Armageddon.The final moments shall inspire my yodeling revolution, so that our ridiculous,happy voices may drown out the lastmorsel of fear and thus die in absolute glee.It seems to me an ideal end, for thoseof us who have led an unburdenedlife, with little to regret and noth-ing to fear. Nevertheless, fear not if you fall within the unfortunate end of the spectrum. I now offer you the Bru-tal Truth, and some practical advice.Readers, for those of you who have led alife of malice, know that you are certainly going straight to burn in hell. At thispoint there is no longer redemption,therefore I suggest that you head straightto the Institute of Mental Health and get yourself checked in for a vague mentalillness which might justify your misdeeds,after which pray fervently that God issufficiently blind and obtuse to buy your lie. You MUST do so with as sincerea heart as you can possibly summonfor this could be your sole salvation.It is further recommended that you fallto your knees in sudden overwhelmingpangs of guilt for the hurt and grief you have caused in your unworthy life.Stab yourself to death in penance whileshedding vile bucketfuls of crocodiletears. Have no fear; the last few hoursof your life are inconsequential forif you are truly such a character, thismight actually prove an immensekindness to the world (brownie pointsKa-Ching!). Resist every urge to sneaka snide wink at your inner monstrosity. As with all Aunt Agony columns, themoral of the story is, if tomorrow is yourlast, miscreant perpetrators, rejoice! Youno longer fear legal (or not) repercussions(which as I have recently enquired at nosmall expense) are pretty dire. A word of caution, however, in reality the world willprobably escape doom for a long time yet,thus retribution is very much inescapable. Also, as a disclaimer, above mentionedmethods will only prove effective in aceteris paribus situation in which theassumed factor is that God is stupid.Mary Baker Eddy sums it all up only too aptly, “Sin makes its own hell, andgoodness its own heaven”. So the only functional take-home advice is, nomatter your circumstance, mould yourattitude to it. Live as you should and youshall fear no last day, hour or minute,nor judgment; mortal or immortal.
he world is ending
. The speculationbuzzes increasingly loudly;people furrow their brows inserious contemplation once the topicruffles light-hearted banter over now-90-cents Kopi-O (or Starbucks coffee,for our more affluent compatriots). As the media throws up yet more gravetidings of widespread destruction
courtesy of Mother Nature, people’s
attitudes have shifted from carelessdismissal to urgent discussion. Concernsare no longer confined to a selectfew who would have previously beenlabeled as over-alarmist tree-huggers.In the spirit of playing the role of the
mass informant, here’s a summary
of the most talked-of possible end-time scenarios, ranging from the stoic
and scientific to the wacky and wooly:
Firstly, let us establish that these days, thefashionable belief is that the world will endon December 21st, 2012. Mark that on your
calendar because the Mayans say so. Let’s
move on to the speculated reasons why…
The death of our Sun All stars have a lifespan which far exceeds
our own. But then again, we haven’t been
around long enough to know for sure that
our life-giving star isn’t just about to blast
our entire galaxy into smithereens withone glorious supernova that unfortunately no one would survive to witness.
The tree-huggers were rightThe world slowly becomes a giantsauna; the ice-caps melt and thepoor penguins and polar bears havenowhere to live and in the end, neitherdo we. Provided that we do live.
There comes a great Shiftin the Collective Consciousness of Hu-manity. With Capitalized Letters.Human beings spontaneously reacha great epiphany that the purposeof their entire existence transcendsthat of simply inhabiting the Earth.Therefore, somehow or other, theEarth as we know it is destroyed by the
sheer power of Thought. That’s new.
Or, forget Thought, wecould always use Nuclear WeaponsHaving numbered the World Wars thathave come to pass, one cannot help butanticipate the advent of a Third. Addthe fact that we all know that humanbeings already possess the technology capable of emulating the common onlinegaming battle move of self-destruct.It can be done, all with the ease of obscene excess of power in the wronghands and the slightest provocation.Having been presented with ahypothetical scenario that we can haveno hopes of preventing or understanding,I hereby propose that one simply pickshis or her favourite apocalyptic scenario
(or lack thereof) and toast to humanity’s
fate because this certainly beats chokingon your morning brew over how chaoticthe world is becoming. Instead, taketime to savour that cup of caffeinatedgoodness; it may just be your last.
hen I think of the end of the
world, I honestly don’t freakout; not a bit. I don’t panic,I don’t worry, I don’t start with a spout
of palpitations, nor do I experiencean adrenaline rush. No horror norexcitement, no wonder regarding howor why it could happen. Nothing.Selfish, maybe? Not really.Truth be told, when the world ends, itis not as if the only people who will begone are you, your parrot and your great-uncle Martin. It is not going to be just theannoying neighbor who loves Bon Jovia little too much, or his dog that overly
loves your cat’s tail. It is going to be all
of us; every single one of us. Which isperhaps why not feeling bad about this
isn’t the most selfish thing to do. Inreality, it doesn’t matter, because we’llall be long gone, and there’s nothing we
can do about it. This is not somethingthat is our fault like global warmingor the melting of ice caps; if the films“Armageddon” or “2012” are as real aspeople say, this “ending” is going tohappen regardless. The sad but real truthis there, right in front of us, mocking us,every second of every minute of every day.Of course, being this neutral about it isprobably exponentially stupid. After all,there is SO much I want to experiencebefore being wiped off the face of theearth. With barely a couple of years leftto achieve all of this, I really should bedoing some major panicking; I shouldbe putting together a disparate list
of things to do before it’s too late. A
part of me wants to do all these things;scuba diving, bungee jumping, writing abook, touching lives, falling in love, nottripping over flat ground, and so muchmore. However, these are not things that you just do off a list. Yes, you have to makethem happen, but no, you cannot justset a deadline, like 21st December 2012.Live in the moment; take every day as it
comes. Don’t become a train wreck of worry
thinking about all the things you need to
do before you’re wiped off. At the sametime, don’t become too complacent with
the assumption that you have your wholelife in front of you to do what you want todo, like watch your favorite band play live,or to keep a golden retriever that you wantto name Heinz for no apparent reason. Just go for it, embrace it. Embrace life.
10 Waysto enda NTUstudent’sworld