Let’s bid adieu to 2016 and get charged for New Year

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
lakshmiobserver@gmail.com –

Goodbyes are hard. If you have been in a boarding school, then you will know how difficult it is to bid goodbye at the end of each holiday.
We are all set to say goodbye to 2016. It has been difficult for the world in general and for a number of families who have lost their loved ones. Most people would agree the year began with a series of goodbyes and the trend continued till last month of the year.
Too many times people gasped as they continued to be shocked with another loss of a world personality or calamities that continued to rock the year. The year made most of us grow in one way or the other.
Just as a friend noted, you mature with difficulties.
As the world celebrated Christmas, in came the sad news of the passing away of George Michael, who had hit the charts with his band mate Andrew Ridgeley in the 1980s as Wham! There were many who grew up with the music of Wham! An interesting aspect of George Michael was his music matured with his audience. At 53, he was too young to say goodbye, but that is how it has been the whole year.
There have been good things, of course, but many would reflect on the economic fluctuations experienced worldwide. From petrol price and its impact on fuel price as well as our choice of fuel after the fuel price hike in Oman, we have a list we can compile on the surprises that popped up in 2016.
Social media continues to grow in popularity and it has begun to show its positive side. For many, it has been a boon while there are yet others who consider it a distraction. 2016 confirmed it is a distraction while driving and the Royal Oman Police conveyed it in as many ways as possible, including through traffic fines.
Oh yes, road safety reached another level of awareness with the introduction of traffic fines, which included parking. If it caused inconvenience, it must also be added people finally took notice.
One place where you can enjoy free Wi-Fi connectivity and still be on safe on road is when you are cruising along on Oman roads as a Mwasalat passenger. Mwasalat made a grand reappearance with a new look and service. People loved it. Especially the ride to the National Museum in Muscat.
One issue of safety continues to haunt, and that is the children being left behind in school buses as they go unnoticed by the bus and school authorities.
Tragedies, on their own, plead for a solution. It made a bigger impact when one of the young winners of Shell Road Safety Awards presented her study at an awards function in addition to the winning drawings of students from Omani schools. We would have to carry the search for solutions to 2017. The solution has to come from within the society.
We will also be searching for a solution in health. Ministry of Health has started its campaign on physical activities. The findings prove the lack of physical activities has led to people becoming overweight, a major cause of lifestyle diseases.
Shall we blame the social media for many problems? We can, in a way. The reason being we have managed to gain more time to sit idle and catch up with people on the social media platforms. Social media personalities took a leap with growing number of fans and followers in 2016.
There have been times people have been left wondering whether social media is controlling us. The trend has brought in a new wave of citizen journalism. There was a news event and a woman walking by was “talking to herself”. Found out, she was updating her friends on Snapchat. It is a world of #hashtags. Add them to your post and the whole world will be waiting to link up with you.
Beats are not just for heart, music and rhythm, it is also for new stories, lifestyles and anything you can relate to. We cannot ignore or avoid digital media. So let us make friends with it for good use.
Apps will continue to rule many lives. Sooner we learn about the latest apps, the better, lest you would be left behind.
Now, all we want is an app that could motivate us to move while still keeping up with the interest in social media. That has just reminded me of a students’ group at one of the SME exhibitions held in Oman in 2016. They had come up with shoes that could help charge your cellphones. Now that is one motivational factor. Let’s move in 2017.

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