Bonfire of the Vanities


One year blogging, 100 posts, another birthday..

Its quite an achievement considering this is entirely self-motivated, no incentives whatsoever, lots of shameless self-promotion and I must admit many narcissistic moments.

I’m honestly proud of myself starting from zero knowledge and experience in the world of WordPress a year ago and making that crazy step into a space where many may frown upon as only for online braggers and brawlers.

I’m sincerely grateful to all readers – family, friends and followers. Thank you for your Likes and comments.

Every year on this day, great expectations fill the air around me – specifically a few centimeters surrounding my entire body surface area. Outside that, life goes on as normal.

In my own sphere of indulgence, I would feel special and sad at the same time. What’s this about birthdays that creates a mixed bag of emotions? Do we take birthdays as instalments or rental? Is it one year less or one year more?

I used to get hung up about these things and often disappear for the day so I won’t be reminded. Don’t get me wrong. I love birthdays and birthday parties. Just that there are so many hiccups in the past 50 odd years that all I wish for now is a simple quiet day that I can be alone and warm, like the time when I was in my mother’s womb.

But no, once you’re out, there’s just no hiding from it all. Birthday cards, presents and celebrations, reminders from insurers, health checks and soon invitation to apply for senior memberships.

This year of all years is different. I’ve been to London many times but never on my birthday which is also Guy Fawkes Day. Its ironical that the day is remembered more for the rebel of the gunpowder plot than the king who escaped the assassination some 400 years ago.

In fact, Guy Fawkes legacy is further captured in V for Vendetta, the 1980s comic novel and adapted in the 2005 movie. The mask, a symbol of contemporary social angst towards totalitarian states will be used today for the Million Mask March around the world from Sydney to Seattle. (Is it happening?)

Meanwhile, bonfires and fireworks have been seen in parks and the night sky since last weekend here. Who do we remember on this day? The ones who ruled over the people or the people who fought for their rights?

Reminds me of Tom Wolfe’s book – Bonfire of the Vanities. Set in 1980s New York City, the story is about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed. Thirty years on, nothing’s changed. Actually many hundreds years on, nothing’s changed.

Is that why in Renaissance Italy, the original bonfire Falò delle vanità was started with the burning of all objects that were associated with human’s ego and conceit? In those days, cosmetics, mirrors, art and books were considered things of vanity leading to a life of sin. Thank goodness. I don’t think the practice was very successful. Italy would have been a state of drab and gloom.

So we try – year after year, generation after generation – try to be better, to build an all-inclusive society where real power is in the people and not in a s-elect few who can easily become self-serving once they get a feel of authority.

In a way, that’s what bloggers like me aim to do. To talk about things that are happening, lessons from the past and hopes for the future. Of universal feelings from happiness to anxieties about ourselves, loved ones, friends, and society. To reach out to people like never before – our private thoughts and aspirations, and maybe there’s someone out there who feels the same and there is solidarity in being truthful.

Have a booming 5th of November!


Photo credit : BBC

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