Bunkers or bars on doomsday
BANGKOK, 20 December 2012: The world ends Friday, according to a Mayan doomsday prophecy. Friday is not a good day. I usually spend the evening with friends sipping a chilled Guinness at my favourite pub. The options of fleeing to a bunker, or booking into an overpriced disaster proof hotel are poor choices.
I hadn’t the slightest notion that doomsday was just around the corner until the international media got on the case. First it was the perfect date (12/12/12) to wed that prompted a crush at registrar offices throughout Asia. Now this Friday after splurging on expensive weddings we are told to party until the lights go out permanently.
The pessimism is based on the Mayan “Long Count” calendar that identifies 21 December as the end of a 5,000-year era.
For some reason that defies explanation, the doomsday nonsense has got our attention. I blame it the banal comments that flood Facebook and Twitter but traditional media is not too far behind.
In the run up to Christmas, media organisations face what they call slow news days. Usually, Father Christmas and holidays in the Arctic Circle are dusted off to keep the presses rolling.
The worst that can happen is the real Father Christmas from Sweden and Finland bump into each other and they have a sack fight.
But 2012 has excelled in delivering a doomsday panic that will reach a peak this Friday. It ultimately ends up with thousands of people suffering a Saturday morning hangover and wishing the world had ended after all.
By Sunday they will look like idiots for spending their cash on bunker stays and other anti-doomsday measures to survive. Isn’t doomsday about us all ending up in the same hopeless mess? What’s the point of a bunker if there is nothing to come home to after the doomsday prophecy has been fulfilled?
Tourism is doing just fine out of the doomsday fever. The gimmick has people spending US$1,000 a night to kip in bunkers. Hotels are offering parties to end them all across Asia.
We will all be around come Saturday although a little poorer if we were sucked into the hotel parties. We will still have to deal with global warming, the threat of nuclear terrorism, higher fuel prices, a war in the Middle East and the rising cost of a glass of ale. So what’s new?