Friday, March 19, 2010

Birthday Musings

I suppose one of the questions people would have to ask is why I didn't want my birthday celebrated this year, why I kept quiet about it. Two key, interrelated points, really. Firstly, the money could be better spent elsewhere. Secondly, I feel that many birthday celebrations (especially those amongst Singaporean youths and young adults) have lost their true value.

I'm glad to celebrate friends' birthdays. However, I don't quite want anyone to splurge for me unnecessarily. I've got my family, my motley crew of brothers, my friends in church, Crusade, school and perhaps a dozen other places. And these relationships and friendships are more than enough for me. I don't need my birthday to be celebrated every year. Perhaps once in a while is fine I guess.

This isn't always the case. But more often than not, as youths, we spend so much of our allowance or income on needless things. One of these is birthdays. If we had a group of say 10 friends. And we wanted to make each person's birthday memorable. Well, we'd spend perhaps 10 bucks for each person. Meaning that each person would have paid at least 100 by the end of the year. Now, take into account various social groups... etc etc. What a huge waste of money.

This is not to say birthdays aren't worth spending on. They are. But perhaps we should use our money more sparingly. Perhaps there are better ways to celebrate a birthday. By putting money into birthdays to buy gifts, we have in a way become ritualistic about it (not in a religious sense). It's a yearly ritual. It loses its value to us.

Do we really celebrate birthdays because we want to? Or do we often do it because we're compelled to?

How bout individuals who feel hurt if their friends didn't celebrate their birthday? Well, to that I say, whether a friend remembers your birthday or not is not a determinant as to whether he or she is a true friend. If he or she remembers, very good. But friendships not all about that.

I think that a great many birthday celebrations are overrated. There was once during NS that they threw a surprise birthday party for a particular superior that we were opposed to. I asked the rest why they did it. Their reply? "It's his birthday what." That one really got me thinking. If we didn't mean it, why were we celebrating his birthday?

I would think a birthday worth celebrating only if I know it is celebrated by people who really love me. And then again, if I know these people really love me, why would I need them to celebrate my birthday anyway? So as it is, the knowledge alone is awesome enough. I don't need them to prove it through celebrating for me.

Once again, I'm not against this whole birthday thing. Just saying that great parts of it are overrated. And as far as I'm concerned, I'm rather glad that my birthday's not a boisterous affair this year.

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