But on a human and societal scale, the New Year is a big deal. For people, so much can happen in a single year, and there is definitely a lot in store for Phuket, Thailand, the world and our solar system for that matter. With the age of digital technology in full propulsion, time is of the essence.
It’s the year of the sheep on the Chinese Zodiac, and that means... well, who really knows what that means? If you’re wondering if you’ll get pregnant, meet your soul mate, win the lottery or finally land that dream job, go on and cough up your money to one of the many soothsayers around town, and on the internet, if you so wish, for there are plenty of outlets that will gladly tell you what you want to hear if the price is right.
My aim here is tell you what you need, not want, to hear, as there are some things we can absolutely be certain about this year.
A crowded planet
If you were annoyed about congestion levels in 2014, don’t expect the crowds to ease up any time soon.
In Phuket, the official registered population is around 350,000, and is not expected by officials to budge this year beyond a few points.
However, the actual population of people who live, work and visit the island is estimated to be between 900,000 to a million at any given time. Tourism promotion officials are hoping to ensure this number increases year on year.
As for the actual growth rate, we can reasonably extrapolate from available waste and resource consumption data that Phuket will grow by another 10 per cent this year – that’s 100,000 more people on top of the levels you see now.
But it’s not just Phuket, it’s the whole planet! The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs projects the world population to increase this year by some 80 million people, from 7.25 billion in 2014 to 7.32 billion by the 2015 year’s end. That’s like cloning all of Germany or Iran, and scattering the new humans all around the world, an average of 220,000 new set of organs every single day for the year.
That said, the Phuket News’ psychic desk predicts to see a lot more of the following key words in this year’s headline stories: scarce, shortage, disaster, murder, plot, riot, war, heist, famine, drought, corruption, court, scandal, flood, raid, disaster, disease, epidemic, terror, GMO, fluoridation, contamination... and certainly don’t forget about climate change (see editorial on News page 10).
Hey, but don’t let such a grim outlook stop you from toasting to a New Year full of wealth, health, happiness, wisdom and perhaps most important of all, luck, for it seems we could all use more of it from here on. Happy New Year!