Wednesday, January 19, 2005

1. Pretension?

Just about a week ago, I attended this party thrown together for some colleagues of mine who were lucky enough to have been promoted at the end of the last review period. Not surprisingly, it involved much heavy drinking, lots of bull-talking and macho posturing, and a dose of heady flirting for good measure (more on that later).

Now these sorts of parties are the norm at the firm I work, it’s like an unwritten rule that every time you move up the ladder, so too have you got to give back a little to the less fortunate of us out there. And the way you give back is to open a few bottles of whiskey (quantity usually dependent on the level of seniority in the firm). It’s a nice system actually, as everyone will be buying drinks at one point or another.

Well anyway, I for one never miss these firm get-togethers, partly because I hardly need a reason to go out to party (yep, it’s rather sad when you have nothing to look forward to then get sloshed ain’t it?). It’s also partly due to the fascination of meeting up with the office folk once in awhile and observing these guys outside the normally formal office environment. You know how it is right, you find out that the quiet guy everyone picks on can actually drink anyone over and under the table or that meek associate nobody notices suddenly transforming into a saucy vixen. But mostly, and it’s no shame to admit it, it’s because of the free drinks (somehow it always taste better when you’re not the unlucky sod having to pay for it).

Ok, before I go on, some of you may be thinking that in light of all’s that happened in the region, it’s pretty much trivial and even downright obscene to be talking about parties and such. What more, it’s even worse to be the one actually doing the partying. To that, all I can say is maybe. Perhaps there is some moral implication to all of this, but if there is, it eludes me at this point of time. All I know is that I was out during New Year’s Eve at a club (this was a little less than a week after the waves hit). I must say I didn’t really have that a good time, but I was glad I was out with my closest friends. I also know that by me being at a club didn’t in any way make a difference to those affected by the disaster. You could say that I could’ve volunteered and flown out over there. Yeah, I’m sure you would’ve done the same, no? But then again, maybe I’d have thought differently if I was the one who lost everything and so happened saw a bunch of people out partying live on the telly.

But I digress, I’m not actually trying to justify or defend my actions. I just wanted to put my thoughts on this matter down in writing because it’s my damn blog and I can do whatever I want. So what I’ve come up with is that people have their own moral standards and people have their own opinions. Some may call off all festivities and call on for a time of reflection and prayer, some may light candles, and others like me may carry on partying but at the same time, being not entirely oblivious to what’s transpired.

It’s not me to say who’s right or wrong, and I believe that events like this should force us to share a thought on those unfortunate who suffered such unbearable loss and reflect on how lucky we are. Does it mean that we carry on as usual that we don’t care or are insensitive? Maybe, but what I certainly know that tragedy happens every single day, every hour, and maybe even every minute. Just because we don’t read or hear about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. And you know what I really hate? I hate it when people only take up the more well known and seemingly fashionable causes and neglect others that are not really in the limelight. I hate it when people do the right thing only when the media spotlight is on the issue.

Ok, now that’s off my chest. Let’s move on. Like I said, I did go to the party (this was held just a week into the New Year). And I was supposed to be enjoying myself. But I really didn’t. In fact, I had a miserable time. I couldn’t even get in the mood for it. Maybe it’s because I had just recovered from the fever at that point of time and was still dazed from all the medication (prescribed of course) that I was on. Somehow, it felt like New Year’s Eve again. All the ingredients were there to have fun, booze, friends, good music and scantily clad chicks. But something didn’t just click. The answer was, funnily enough, very easy. I was depressed, really, really depressed. Watching hours and hours of CNN had taken its toll on me.

Let me stop myself now and spare you another mindless rant (this time of a more sappy variety), all I can say is that I couldn’t somehow see myself getting wasted after watching all that. I may be sounding hypocritical here after what I just wrote earlier but there you go. And, for just a second or two, I questioned how the people at the party could be out enjoying themselves whilst others were suffering. I hated myself for thinking that way and hated myself even more that I was being so judgemental and self-righteous, but I did and I was. Ah well, no one’s perfect, least of all me. But I can honestly say that as quick as that hateful thought came, it disappeared. So instead of thinking too much, I did the only other thing that a sober guy at a party could do, I sat slumped on the sofa and observed. And boy, did I really observe a lot.

You know, staying sober and sitting round doing nothing in a party not all that good a thing, mainly because everyone except you seems to be having a good time. But the interesting about it is that it gives you the opportunity to actually view all that transpires during drunken and rowdy nights like this one with a level-headedness that wouldn’t have been possible with alcohol flowing in your blood-stream. You sort of feel like an outsider sitting on the edge of their world, like a documentary crew observing an interesting species of animal in its natural habitat for the first time.

More on this later...

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