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December 31, 2006

Happy New Year !

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Well folks, it’s already been new year in China for seven and a half hours. Celebrated it with a little party in my residence followed by a walk in the freezing cold. My roommate decided to come back about 11.30pm, having drunk God-knows how much of his Korean alcohol, taken off his trousers and flopped into his bed. So the countdown came, New Year arrived to the sound of a few dozen people of several nationalities all cheering ”三 二 一。。。新年快乐!” (San, Er, Yi… Xin Nian Kuai Le! – 3 – 2 – 1 Happy New Year!) Good fun.

The temperature at night these days has been around -6-11 degrees, sometimes colder depending on the wind strength. So I walked out in my thick, heavy jacket and started making the phone calls and writing text messages and also just appreciating the beauty of the campus. It’s as scenic as Warwick but is now decked out in snow. And watching groups of people pass, rambling in Chinese, wishing one another a Happy New Year – it was all very surreal. Gorgeous.

So while I was walking, I got to thinking about when I was younger and spending a couple of New Year Eves up in Scotland with the family. I’ve never been terribly attached to my Scottish half for one reason or another but I always used to love the Scottish New Year celebrations. It didn’t have that sort of commercial, artificial feeling to New Year I’ve always found in London. The celebrations always seemed so much more genuine.

And so we get onto Auld Lang Syne, written (or gathered!) by the Pride of Scotland™ Rabbie Burns and adopted as a New Year Hymn by most English speakers and various others (I think South Korea even had it as its National Anthem at one point, with Korean words of course). It is, of course, a beautiful tune, full of a hopeful and happy nostalgia (yes I am aware of the etymology all you classicists!). And here’s the key part for me:

And ther’s a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine
We’ll tak’ a right good willie-waught,,
For auld lang syne.

So Happy New Year everyone! Here’s hoping that this year turns out better for you all than last, انشاءالله


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