Now that you slow pokes back in the West have caught up in terrestrial rotation, (NYE is soooo 13 hours ago guys...) Happy Nü Year!
According to the Korea Herald scholars have termed 2006 as mil un bul u (in Chinese: "very cloudy but no rain"). The phrase is used to illustrate frustrated and ultimately disappointing anticipation. In other words, the year of clouds with no rain was one of worry without release. Another Chinese proverb picked to sum up the year was gyo gak sal u ("Killing the cow by trying to adjust its crooked horns").
Sounds pretty bleak n'est pas?
I follow the Korean news pretty superficially. Since I don't care about business or education reform, I've already eliminated about two-thirds of the Herald, so that leaves a neglected arts section and North Korea, which about a month ago could have warranted the paper to change its name to The Kim Jong-Il Alarm.
The article, and the proverbs colour 2006 as an anxious year for Koreans. People are fed up with the blank-faced knob leading the country, worried about North Korean missiles, loaded news reports about reviving militarism in Japan, housing-costs, declining birth rates; boy howdy, that's a lot that demands worrying!
(On a swerving side, Shane and I have a running joke about how Bush has a limited stock of "boy howdies" he's able to speak during a fiscal year, and each one after that drives the US further into debt:
"Boy howdy that was a dry-ass meeting, huh Condi?"
"Mr. President I must advise you that the national "boy howdy" reserves are at a critical low."
"You're cutting my boy howdies?"
"Sir, you're only making it worse."
"What if I just search up boy howdy on the Google?"
"That's -2 Mr. President."
"C'mon now, these vapid cowboy affectations are all I have left!"
"Pardon me sir?"
"I needs my boy howdies!"
"Please Mr. President, that's -3! The Bank of Zurich just repossessed the state of Maryland. They're airlifting it as we speak."
"My kingdom for a boy howdy..."
"Sir you must control yourself... one more boy howdy and we lose your presidential cuff-links and the city of Hoboken! Consider the deficit sir!"
"Hells a deficit?"
etc. ad infinitum.
That rambled on longer than planned... where was I again? Oh yes, clouds but no rain...)
My message of hope is to ride the clouds with clenched teeth for the next, say, 31 years, when Paul is of a respectable age to explode onto the political scene with his vibrant new Dung Party. Unfortunate choice of verb?
2006 definitely had a long stretch of lows for me, but the beauty of shitty experiences is that they are a constant bench mark forcing you to appreciate what you have now. Even the most brain-crushingly terrible day working at my school seems like paradise next to slaving away at the Athens.
My personal resolve is to make 2007 a year of new experiences, travel and personal growth. Mostly sunny with a chance of showers? I think it loses something without the Chinese...
Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!
A Canadian writer teaches English and finds out what it's like to be a foreigner.