Saturday, January 09, 2010

You Will Pass Water

So we're all another year, if not a whole decade, closer to shuffling off this mortal coil. This fact was vividly brought home to me by the expanding waistlines and receding hairlines of the old friends that I hooked up with on my recent Christmas sojourn back to mother Britannia (and that was just the women).

So what does this year have in store for us then ay? I’m already having visions of my 2010 as a green snake of empty Bintang bottles stretching out in front of me towards the horizon. Not necessarily a prediction that took prodigious mental powers of deduction on my part to make but at least it has the ring of truth to it.

Other commentators have also been keen to stick their tuppences into the annual year-end free for all. A feature in last week's Globe gathered together psychics, tarot card readers and inveterate chancers of every stripe to offer up their soothsaying hokum to the credulous idiots who believe in horoscopy, tea leaf reading and that sort of thing (and there are surely many such individuals in this country).

Most of these charlatans rather hedged their bets however. This is probably due to the fact that their mystic ether surfings were being printed in a widely read newspaper. We were therefore confronted with earth shattering, gob smacking predictions such as Indonesia being subject to more natural disasters and political turmoil over the coming 12 months. A child of five could have foreseen all of that on an Etch-a-Sketch. Alas, we never seem to get a follow-up article 12 months later in order to compare the quasi mystical babble of the fortune tellers with a year's worth of hindsight do we? It's a shame that.

I don't claim to be able to bring the contours of 2010 into focus via some clairvoyant information superhighway, however there are a number of things that I believe I'm on pretty safe ground in saying definitely won't be happening during the coming year. Let's have a quick look into my crystal balls (for I have two, dear reader).

1. Avid songwriter and part-time recording artist SBY will release his sophomore effort to rapturous critical acclaim. The album will be a sprawling three CD box set of acid fried psychedelia, overlapping tribal polyrhythms and industrial samples. A bonus disc of updated, dubbed out Jimi Hendrix covers will win the Prez a support slot with Slank. Fundamentalist calls to impeach the President for his forays into the devil's music go unheeded and a Summer of Love breaks out across Java as Indonesians tune on, turn out and drop in.

2. Barack Obama finally visits Indonesia, only to meet his death somewhere in the Archipelago. Rather than an assassin's bullet however, it's a rogue bowl of soto ayam that does for our Barry. CIA watching conspiracy theorists prefer to see the death in the shadow of the Castro exploding cigar plot. Several nations mourn.

3. A crackpot inventor in Java, working round the clock in his garden shed, discovers and develops yellow energy, a process by which energy can be liberated from urine. Amazingly, scientists at Caltech verify that he's not taking the piss and our man wins the Nobel Prize for physics. Meanwhile, the country's lavatory attendants are catapulted from poverty into riches beyond the dreams of KPK suspects. Sales of Bintang rise by 7000%.

4. Investment comes to newly rebuilt Aceh in the form of US franchise Hooters, who open a chain of bars across the province, creating jobs and opportunities for many.

5. TVRI screens a 12 part series on evolution and the history of life on earth to record viewing figures. A DVD of the series is subsequently released and makes it onto the national school curriculum. Prominent Islamic clerics declare themselves proud to share their genes with orangutans and don green robes in order to hug trees. Chainsaws are declared ‘haram’.

6. Tommy Suharto opens a series of inner-city orphanages across the Archipelago. "It's time to give a little back," says Tommy, who sells his fleet of fast cars and takes to an ascetic life of meditation, abstinence, sackcloth and ashes.

7. Jakarta's ageing fleet of orange Metro Minis is replaced with shiny new Smart Buses complete with an electronic travel card ticketing system. People abandon their cars in droves.

8. Conditions are finally deemed right for the long delayed invasion of the Malaysian peninsula by the Bendera group.  Amphibious landing craft (well, rubber dinghies) are employed and a brave landing party of 20 splits into two brave fronts of ten, who then launch a daring pincer movement assault on Kuala Lumpur. An Indonesian flag can be seen fluttering atop the Petronas Twin Towers by late September.  Malaysia surrenders to its new Indonesian masters the following week.

Okay, so that's what’s probably not going to happen. I'll see you in December for a recap. In the meantime, have a super New Year one and all and remember to get plenty of sleep and to eat your greens. Let’s see if we can’t raise a smile in time for 2011.