By Junelie Anthony Velonta
“The bell of Gion Shoja temple rings with the impermanence of all things; like how the color of the flowers in the holy woods of Sala reveals the truth that to flourish is to fall. The proud do not endure, like a passing dream on a night in spring; the mighty fall at last, to be no more than dust before the wind.”
|The Tale of Heike shows us that every rise precedes a fall, and that every start cues for an upcoming end. The journey of a thousand miles begins with an eager and excited step, and in the end we see our goal. In everything we pursue, we undertake a journey that teaches us how to be better individuals. Little do we notice that each step we make takes us ever closer to the very ripening of our ambitions. Just like the current year, there has to be a beginning and an imminent end, and sometimes we barely notice that we are very near our destination. Let us recall what the journey of the year 2015 brought us.|
As early as Jan. 5, the world was bombed with the news of terrorist attacks all around the globe. While most of the occurrences were focused on the disputed areas within Africa and the Middle East, many attacks, both small-scale and en masse, were spread throughout Europe and Asia. One of the most violent terrorist attacks recorded in 2015, according to the Foreign Policy, occurred in Baga, Nigeria with death toll reports ranging from 150 to a grueling 2000. This was perpetrated by the radical group Boko Haram which is scattered all over Africa. The first terrorist attack in Europe happened in Jan. 7 to 9 in France, which injured 22 people and had 17 deaths around Paris. Even civilian transport was not spared as attested by the October 31 bombing of a Russian jet bound for St. Petersburg flying over Sinai, which killed 224 people. Perhaps the most famous was the November 13 Paris terror attacks which, according to The Telegraph, killed 130 people in a series of seven organized shooting and bombing incidents. The latest threat came last Dec. 13 when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), via reports from Mirror UK, issued an oral “fatwa” or religious decree declaring the killing of children with congenital deformities, Down’s syndrome, and disabilities. There have been at least 38 cases of such which happened in Syria and Mosul. A study by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) indicates that strikes killing more than 100 civilians averaged 4.2 attacks per year from 1978 to 2013, but this figure skyrocketed to a grisly 500 percent with 26 attacks in 2014 with the trend going up in 2015.
The fashion trends of 2015 turned to a rollercoaster of reminiscence and innovation. For men, according to the Cosmopolitan, the well-kept and thick beard is an in thing once again as international man-beauty trends shift from swaggy to manly. Early on, the brush-up and undercut hairstyles were common and “in” but were later replaced by the much manlier man-bun. The classic “athleisure” wear also made a return as opposed to last year’s “heavy and swaggy with all the bling.” Coachella fashion became a worldwide trend because of its comfortable and stylish feel. For the women, according to the Manila Bulletin, the utilitarian sense of fashion seemed to kick in as more and more women take on the roles of authority. Coats, skirts, and slacks, became the “in” thing as women became more empowered. Female fashion took on the femme fatale look with an emphasis on the old film noir. Stylish business dresses became a standard among women who now found a new form of strength in equating themselves to their male counterparts.
The music industry continued to flourish in 2015 with the influx of many up-and-coming new artists who proved themselves as worthy additions to the worldwide music chest. Unlike in the years before when the center-stage was predominantly occupied by British and American artists, other foreign artists like Seinabo Sey of Sweden, Troy Sivan of Australia, and the French girl Soko, also made big booms in the music world. All kinds of rap, from street to gangsta’, made a daring comeback with the influx of Rast RFC with their reminiscent storytelling rap, Corbin (formerly known as Spooky Black) with his dark and hypnotic dirge which are largely vocal, lyrical, and aesthetic, and Mick Jenkins with his brooding and jazzy production best suited for a world wrecked by ignorance and temptation. Artists already in fame also made hits like Adele’s “Hello,” Ariana Grande’s “Focus,” Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean?”, and Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
Movies also continued to rise as multiple silver-screen shows awed the watching crowd. Among the most famous was “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2” which brought the franchise to its powerful second half of the last chapter, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, and Josh Hutcherson. Rotten Tomatoes states that “Mad Max: Fury Road” is currently the best movie of 2015 followed by Disney/Pixar’s “Inside Out” in second place. There are also upcoming movies to be released later this year. One of the most anticipated is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” otherwise known as “Episode VII,” which is directed by J. J. Abrams with cast members from the old Star Wars movies like Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford with newer and younger casts adding to the new era of Star Wars. Filipinos also await the Metro-Manila Film Festival (MMFF) with entries of known stars like Vice Ganda and Coco Martin, Kris Aquino and Derek Ramsay, Vic Sotto and Ai-Ai delas Alas, Nadine Lustre and James Reid, and also Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza.
What is a year without new memes? The year 2015 has had loads of new memes based on a famous personality or sometimes ridiculing them [awk]. According to the New Yorker, Donald Trump has been the focus of many memes because of his seemingly deranged propositions if he were to be president. New memes were also added this year like Drake’s dance moves in the Hotline Bling music video, The frog Pepe, Shia Labeouf shouting “Just Do It!”, Adele’s Hello, the black-and-blue or white-and-gold dress, the picture of a cat going up and/or down the stairs, and Confused John Travolta. Potatoes were a constant addition to long posts and many posts were then dedicated to potatoes: the national food of The Kingdom of 9gagia.
The year may end, but the journey lives on. The start of the end has begun and it is up to us to look back and see what has happened in the past to walk in the path of the Future.~