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confessions of a


come y2k

  I hate the countdowns to the millenium. Once upon a time, I used to consider it cool to be born in January 1970. It's the beginning of a new decade and certainly convenient for computing one's age. I came along in the 70s instead of belonging to the one-decade-older generation of the 60s. In those blissful days of a time far removed now, Y2K (the buzzword wasn't even coined then) and with it the big THREE-O seemed, well, like a millenium away. Even when Hong Kong was finally handed over to China in

1997, there was still a good safe three years to go.

  Then the security wall came crumbling down prematurely on 1st January 1999. Billboards the world over, irritating radio reports everyday, and even silly calendars, come with loud proclamations of how many days there are left to the millenium. It's bad enough to be suffering on one's own over the rite of passage from the heady 20s to the dreaded 30s, without the whole world "helpfully" hastening it on every single day!

  I started envying girls born in other years. We all reach thirty years sooner or later. But what a luxury it is to be able to come to terms with it quietly, to re-adjust in peace to the notion that 30 is not the twilight of youth but heralds a new beginning, an exciting maturity, a stimulating independence and (hopefully) the prime of womanhood, to savour privately the bitter-sweetness of the final moments of the 20s as they come to an end, and to anticipate with dignity as well

as trepidation the arrival of an important milestone in a woman's life.

  What I would give to be able to do my soul-searching (and mourning) in my own time. The last thing I need is all these constant and distracting "cheerings on to the final lap"!

  Being a resolute single (at least for now) makes it worse. For reasons right or wrong, but certainly quite unfairly, people assume a woman to be "left on the shelf" once she hits the thirties. Be it sarcasm or misplaced sympathy, I do not welcome either. Still, I would love some time to mentally prepare myself to face (and make myself invincible to) such unavoidable un-pleasantries.

  Unfortunately, it is precisely time that is not on my side, and it is slipping away fast - by the day. In Ally McBeal terms, it is as if a big biological clock keeps popping up at every corner - be it a Y2K article in the newspaper, a Y2K countdown "proudly sponsored" (I wonder why) by such-and-such organisation pre-fixing a news report, or the Y2K jokes, warnings, hoaxes and you-name-its on the e-mail. Now if I can only remove the clock battery...

  My male counterparts are a lot luckier, I reckon. Men always are in the age department. Come 30, it's merely time to grow up and be mature. In fact, the thirties would be considered an ideal period to settle down, having achieved a career headstart. Men don't go through THE PHASE that women undergo at this stage; it only hits them at 40. Given that females tend to live longer than males, it just seems so ironic and grossly unbalanced - the societal

perceptions towards women and men ought to be reversed.

  Oh why was I born at the beginning of 1970?! If it had been only a few months later, the countdown would be way off by a good number of days and I would be able to relish my "last glorious moments" in peace. Once the hullabaloo is over, who cares about the days elapsing after 1st January 2000? For one, it'll be far too long to countdown to Y3K, especially when none of us will live to see it.

  Okay, maybe I'm being paranoid and a tad too sensitive to these "unintentional reminders". Still, while the rest of you lucky folks out there eagerly, and noisily, celebrate the turn of the century (what's the big deal, anyway?), do forgive us gals born at the very beginning of the 70s if we seem less than enthusiastic or behave like party-spoilers. All we really need is to be left alone, if only for a while, to bid a poignant funeral, I mean farewell, to the, I mean a, chapter of our lives. Sob!

Ong Hwee Yen 1999 

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Love your website. Beautifully photographed and written.I'm almost 30 myself. sob,sob.