Contemplate the limited time we have on this earth
Another year is behind us, and so our lives have been shortened. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, everyone's limited time on this planet is what makes life rare, valuable and meaningful.
The passing of another year is a good opportunity for us to contemplate the "borrowed" and limited time we all have. It is such recognition that enables us to prioritise things in life and consider what is truly valuable and meaningful in each of our lives and what may in fact prove to be too trivial to spend too large a portion of our lives on.
Everyone must die, sooner or later, and time is like a train travelling non-stop, no matter what Einstein may like us to understand. In fact, whether you are young or old, you or I may not be around to enjoy tomorrow if some heavy stroke or fatal accident were to strike us later today.
Some may lament the ephemeral and brief nature of human life, but it's precisely this scarcity of time we each have in our lives that makes us able to lessen our attachment to ourselves and enables us to lead life meaningfully, and to more freely think about issues that are beyond our immediate interests and look at those further away - such as the plight of many others who we may not know by name in this world.
We can be more selfless, become less greedy and sacrifice more for others. All these things may make our lives less comfortable, but there surely will be emotional reward, and it should be bearable if one thinks that "this too shall pass" as our life is not going to be too long and we can cope with enduring some discomforts.
If we can view politics and the struggle for a more equal and democratic Thailand with such detachment and dedication, then we are less likely to be consumed by the mutual political hatred that has engulfed the country.
The finite time that we each possess also enables us to be more empathetic to others who share mortality, whether they be red shirts, yellow shirts, ultra-royalists or anti-monarchists, as they are first and foremost human beings like everyone else.
One day, sooner or later, we will become dust on this earth. Life is too short to be consumed by political hatred. Hopefully, some on both sides of the political divide will recognise this and engage in politics with a clear mind and understanding that if there shall be a fight, it ought to be ideological, and not about personal hatred or vendetta.
Unfortunately, many can no longer look beyond the here and now, and are fully consumed by current political conflict. My advice is: pause a little, think long term, and ask yourself how you might like to envision Thai politics and society in, say, 50 years, or even 100 years from now.
By then, most if not all of the major players and political leaders on both sides will likely be dead, and perhaps you yourself included. How would you like to leave Thai society to posterity?
Would you like to see Thailand a country with no lasting social contract, and one where politics is more about hatred, the cult of personality and suppressing others than about principle and ideology?
This writer hopes that regardless of where readers stand politically and ideologically, they would prefer to see the political fight based on ideology and recognition that while "others" on the opposite side - or people who think differently - may disagree with them, they are first and foremost equally human and are just holding on to an ideology as well, albeit a different one.
If your preferred political struggle entails drumming up unreasonable hatred towards political opponents, or people who think differently, maybe the best present you can give to Thailand in 2013 is to stop engaging in "politics" for good.