It’s hard to be positive when the world economy is in the doldrums and promises to be bearish for next year. Gold is down, and property prices are falling in Singapore, as they haven’t been in a while, always a bellwether for how things are going. Just look around you – people aren’t shopping even though it’s strenuously promoted at this time of year, and the beautiful malls, decked up for a budget Christmas, are empty.
The year woke up to the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, the defining Big Daddy of Singapore, and thence ensued a long period of mourning and a collective pall. It reflected a global gloom, a sense of the world slowing down, growing old and infirm. The China Boomtown seems to have faltered (if not actually stopped), inspiring a sense of foreboding and uncertainty. Political refugees East and West are being made homeless and stateless, towed out inhumanely, to sea. Not satisfied with systematically destroying a trail of 3,000 year old monuments of human creation in one shocking weekend of barbarity, ISIS followed that up with killing sprees in Paris. In the region, the barbarity of massive forest-clearing goes unchecked, a shocking crime against nature and humankind: global warming ignored, endangered flora and fauna wiped out forever. Then there is the specter of the rise of religious hysteria – in Aceh, gay sex is punished by severe and public whipping; Bangkok is bombed by terrorists. Closer to home, the scandals of City Harvest Church and 1MDB are riveting precisely because of their all-too-human, all-too-close nature.
The wisdom of Buddhist dharma would have us take all this in our stride and accept the realities with optimism. How? Each of us must stay positive and move ahead, work on your causes, fight the good fight, for if you give in to negativity, then all truly will be lost. There is still hope in every situation, but only if you work actively as a living example, a lesson, and a guide. Surround yourself with positive people, people with love in their hearts and clarity in their heads. Don’t give in to the stupid, the morally lazy, and the materialistic. Most importantly, focus on the present and release the past into the past. Learn to live in the present moment.
The haze is gone.