Friday, December 31, 2021

About six years ago, Abang read a novel by Nick Hornby called “A Long Way Down”. It is about 4 strangers who was about to commit suicide on New Year’s Eve. Their meeting with each other seem fated or destined. What initially started out as a suicide mission then takes a complete 180 degree turn as the 4 decide to make a pact not to commit suicide on that New Year’s Eve.

What strikes Abang the most is how Hornby managed to capture the essence of melancholy that may overwhelm some of us during New Year’s Eve. And social media is not helping the situation, at all. With the higher level of awareness of what is defined as success, that was brought about by social media platforms, everyone now have this greater need to reflect on what they have done for the past 11 months or so. Abang remembers those years where social media platforms are not so prevalent- we would usually just spend the eve of new year playing games and be merry, then count down and continue to be merry till the next year. When social media platform takes over the world by storm, there is this sudden need for everyone to take stock of what they had done during the year. Everyone wants to show everyone else that they had fun and done great things, but here is the thing – it can possibly make everyone else feels like a loser for not doing anything substantial in their lives. Then we have the numerous happy photos featuring everyone with everyone else. Imagine if you were alone, scrolling through photos after photos of everyone out and about, getting ready to celebrate New Year on New Year’s Eve, wouldn’t you start to question the purpose of your lives too? It is depressing and to you, new year is just another new opportunity for gloominess to knock on your door. 


So, what Abang is trying to tell you here is—don’t just focus on yourself on New Year’s Eve. Be a human! Reach out to those people around you, whom you think might be spending New Year’s Eve alone. No one deserves to be alone on New Year’s Eve. 


Also, stop scrolling through IG, Tik-Tok and Facebook on New Year’s eve just so that you can compare yourself with others. Remember… Theodore Roosevelt once said that “Comparison is the thief of Joy”. You will never truly be happy if you keep comparing yourself with others. Also, to quote Alfian Saat, most things on social media are “curated surfaces which don’t reveal the anxieties of the rich, the insecurities of the beautiful and the loneliness of the popular. So… stop with the comparing already!


And if at this point, you are still feeling lonely, or just miserable, there are many hotlines that you can call, that will provide you with a pair of listening ears. You won’t even need to identify yourself as these numbers are based on anonymity. These are the lines you may call;

National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 

(8am-12am daily, from 1 Sep 2020)


Mental Well-being

- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (6389-2222)

- Samaritans of Singapore (1800-221-4444)

- Silver Ribbon Singapore (6385-3714)


Marital and parenting issues

- Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre (6445-0400)

- HEART @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre (6819-9170)

- PAVE Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection (6555-0390)

- Project StART (6476-1482)

- TRANS SAFE Centre (6449-9088)


- TOUCHline (Counselling) – 1800 377 2252


Otherwise, you may also choose to leave a comment with an email address or a Facebook page or your IG handle on this post if you think Abang can help. Abang will try to help in any way Abang can.