Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gift-giving

I was somewhat amused yet alarmed when I read this piece of news in The New Sunday Times today – it says that the number of unwanted gifts Australians get under the Christmas tree amounted to a nationwide total of 20 million “useless” presents, at least according to an eBay survey. What this means in dollar value is that although Australians spent A$8.5 billion (RM25.8 billion) buying gifts this Christmas, at least A$1 billion worth of these presents will either be left to gather dust in a cupboard, binned, regifted, exchanged, or sold. Examples of unwanted gifts ranged from underwear, socks, bath products and inappropriately sexual items to a tandoori spice rub for chicken given to a vegetarian, a dog bowl for a dogless recipient, and cellulite cream, said eBay (p 41). What gratuitous wastefulness, is it not?

I do believe this is not just an Australian norm, but everywhere else too. There are many occasions whereby we will need to buy somebody something – a birthday, an anniversary, a farewell, a career promotion, and oh yes, Christmas. In fact, many a time, we do not even need special occasions to give somebody something – it can be a spontaneous act from somebody to anybody, really. I say, avoid buying gifts unless we know that somebody very, very well to be able to know what sort of presents they would appreciate and value. Isn’t it a lot easier to give somebody gift vouchers (say, from Jusco or MNG), and leave it to the recipients to decide for themselves what they would like to get? Or we could just buy them a nice meal? It’s more practical this way. Even giving ang-pows would be better, but of course, it is so old-fashioned. We could always ask the intended recipients what they really want – but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?

Yes, I am reminded by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, who said: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give”. But let’s be honest – this is a materialistic world, after all. If I do that, I will be quickly branded a cheapskate, right?


And in the Arsenal-Aston Villa match, the former walloped the latter 3-0. With Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas returning from a hamstring strain, we should expect him to positively influence the game, and he did not disappoint.

Fabregas contributed the first goal with a 25-yard free-kick. This 65th minute goal came after Villa keeper Brad Friedel had denied William Gallas from point-blank range and kept out an Andrey Arshavin shot. A first-time finish from Fabregas after a Theo Walcott pass (81) and an Abou Diaby strike (90+1) wrapped up the win for Arsenal.

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