The New Year’s eve pissing contest

Fireworks

Fireworks

Earth has completed one more turn of its stately dance with sun and the people on the globe have celebrated with gusto, as usual. Just as it’s no coincidence that so many religious festivals almost coincide with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, so it’s no coincidence that the arbitrarily chosen day for the commencement of the year is also close by. Really, it would make lots of sense to start the year on what is now 22nd December, the day after the solstice. Or maybe on the 22nd of June, since after all, the world has two hemispheres. But never mind. The date of the solstices varies a little between the 20th and the 23rd, and it’s all pretty meaningless anyway, just a day glorying in its status as the first of the year.

In fact, increasingly the celebration of New Year in the world’s capitals has become a pissing contest. In my (humble) opinion.

Yes, I know it’s one more reason for people to celebrate, to get together and raise a glass or several, hug and kiss strangers etc etc. I have no objection to that. But I do have to wonder about the mountains of money splurged on fireworks displays that last for fifteen minutes. Here’s Sydney’s contribution. This display cost $6.8 million. Melbourne paid $3 million. Then there’s Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra. That’s a lot of money going up in pretty lights and smoke in just one country.

So Sydney’s display is second, after Auckland’s tower, in the round the world arrival of midnight. This shows the footage, and also gives the argument for a fireworks display. But each year, it’s the same, as more and more money is spent, with each country vowing that “mine’s bigger than yours”.

Folks, I like the pretty lights as much as the next person, but I looked at that footage of around the world flashing lights and I wondered how many hospitals it would have bought? How many teachers, doctors and nurses might have had a job? How many hungry kids might have been fed? How many homeless people might have had a place to stay? And what about the aftermath? When too many people are crammed together in a public place with too much alcohol, violence is inevitable, and so is litter. $300,00 for the clean-up, free public transport to keep the drunks off the road, extra hospital staff and police to cope with the ‘revellers’. I’ll bet that’s not figured into the $6.8 million.

<Shakes head> On the positive side, $6.8 million isn’t much more than a down payment on a modern fighter jet.

Oh… happy new year. We’re hoping for an improvement on 2013.

New year with the birds

8 thoughts on “The New Year’s eve pissing contest

  1. Leiah

    If they would use that money to do what you suggest, nursing and teaching salaries, feeding the hungry, think how much better the world would be. Schools for women in Afghanistan would be a much better use of the money than bombs and guns.

    Let us all spend time quietly with our friends and family this year, donating time and food and money to women’s and children’s shelters,schools, homeless shelters, food banks and animal shelters, how much better would the world be?

    Let’s make this a truly good new year by doing GOOD!

  2. Marj

    And all that smoke going into the atmosphere? It’s obvious that the people in charge don’t really believe that smoke and other ‘carbon emissions’ have anything to do with Global Warming. Probably they don’t believe in global warming – that idea is only to manipulate the commoners.

    1. Greta Post author

      I agree, Marj. Climate change will happen in spite of anything we do. Political cynicism know no bounds.

  3. Jo Skehan

    I agree Greta, just think what Sydney could do with that $7million that went up in smoke in 30mins? And Melbourne’s $3million….then as you say there is Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, although Perth is very modest for New Year as they like to have their big bash at wasting cash on Australia Day with their Skyworks. It’s all such a waste when we need more beds in hospitals, better schools etc.

  4. MonaKarel

    Oh, you are so singing my tune. You know they added up the cost of being at war for a year and pointed out how much less it would cost to end poverty, which would have a great impact on ending some of the wars. Granted those figures are no doubt skewed but still…
    May we live in interesting times.11PM. Mind you one of the dogs decided he HAD to go out at 3:30 AM but still…I heard a few fireworks go off but not enough to wake me at midnight.
    And we move into a wonderful new year. How do I know it will be wonderful? Because of the friends I have made in the last year, and more friends I will make in the new year. Okay, that sounds odd. No, I won’t be creating friends from the Saruman’s mud…but wait, this is the Internet
    Hmmm
    Huge hugs, from far away.

    1. Greta Post author

      Thank you, my friend. And the very best wishes to you and your dogs on the other side of the world.

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