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By the way…: What lies
ahead … just maybe …
allegedly … you never
know

It’s that time of the year again when we gaze expectantly and none too seriously into the future. We carefully dust off our crystal ball, shuffle the old tarot cards and start spinning the Ouija board to guess what just may or most likely may not happen in 2013.

Tongue firmly in cheek, but with the realization that truth is often, if not always, stranger than fiction in the land of pop culture, here goes with what lies ahead. Allegedly.

JANUARY: With Jakarta swamped by torrential downpour and mass flooding, amphibious vehicles become the preferred means of transportation. The truly well-heeled keep their footwear high and dry with the fad of imported gondolas with Italian-speaking gondoliers.

FEBRUARY: The newest sensation on the musical block is the infant daughter of a certain ‘90s hit songstress who was just counting the days to launch her little one’s career. Infotainment scribes seize on a possible rivalry with her singing half-sister, but this so-called “Baby Gaga” pooh-poohs the allegation. Diaper changes follow.

MARCH: The Records Museum honors itself as the “first records museum to award itself an award”, on the same day that awards are also presented for, among other distinctions, the spiciest soto ayam (chicken soup) that does not contain a shred of poultry (in Kudus and Madura versions), the city with the bluest skies despite significant cloud cover and birds of a feather that flock together with the most feathers.

APRIL: Citing fatigue and the need to return to playing with her toys, Baby Gaga retires from the spotlight. However, two weeks later, she makes a comeback in the arms of the aforesaid step-sister. Kids these days.

MAY: Shoot-from-the-hip Jakarta vice governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama is the keynote speaker at an anger management seminar. Just saying. Don’t get mad.

JUNE: With a predicted 2015 population-to-mall ratio of 50-1, Jakarta becomes the official shopping center of the world. Under the proud slogan “the malls the merrier”, shrewd psychologists and tour agencies join forces to provide retail therapy for unhappy folks from around the world. However, use of the term “mall rat” is discouraged due to the city’s pesky rodent problem.

JULY: The ball gets very fuzzy here. Real murky-like. We may still be underwater, or perhaps it’s the suffocating presence of smog over the city. Can’t see much, so we must be OK.

AUGUST: So-So Voce, a lip-synch version of The Voice, debuts to thunderous (canned) applause. The unknown hopefuls are drowned out by the presence of a bevy of well-known singers with a superlative ability to mouth along to a tune.

SEPTEMBER: Popular sharp-tongued entertainer Velga Salkucha offends someone somewhere for something. Tearful, cringe-inducing apologies are the order of the day. Ahok tells him to get his act together.

OCTOBER: It was bound to happen: The city’s brand-name bag obsession spreads to the tiniest consumers with the launch of itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie totes. The family that shops together stays together goes the tagline. Unfortunately, Baby Gaga’s endorsement of the bags leads to a state of confusion when a certain antisocial social organization confuses her with the debauchery-spreading US singer of a similar name. Ahok steps in and puts everybody in their place el pronto.

NOVEMBER: An unnamed singer given to adopting sky-high hairstyles, bodacious bling and enjoying photo ops with visiting sports stars decides she ain’t goin’ to bend it like Beckham, but she will go international with her own version of “Gangnam style”. Alas, something is lost in translation: Her “ganyang” style leads to some raised eyebrows when she tries to take the world by storm in army fatigues, a diamond-encrusted bandana and a sharpened bamboo weapon at her side. Undaunted, she carries on by launching her “much ado about nothing” hairdo. That’s something.

DECEMBER: All joking aside. Here is my wish that the nation continues to move forward in achieving justice and better welfare for all, that it achieves its rightful place on the world stage for all its amazing offerings, that educational opportunities are available to all and that our leaders, national and regional, are fit and able to take the necessary measures to improve quality of life for the public. Here’s hoping.

— Bruce Emond

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