* This is an article I wrote a few years back (during my Uni Years) for the Debating Club Newsletter. I found it amongst old documents and decided to reprint it here, hope you liked it. Very Informative..
Well it all started on the way to class while I was in the bus, the driver were tuning in to BEST 104 SENSASI SELATAN this Johorian Malay radio show. Which is by the way is kind of interesting. Much better than the dreaded hitz.Fm. So the DJ was reminding the listeners that today is the 14th hence it’s valentine's day. Then he said something which is rather funny
DJ : "Saya secara peribadinya tidak menyambut hari valentine ye."
DJ: "Kerana itu bukan kepercayaan saya. Saya tidak menyambut hari memperingati seorang paderi yang kena pancung!"
I actually laughed at that.
He does have a point.. However.....
It actually made me thinking. Sometimes in campus, in fact every time when valentine day comes, members of the PMI (Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam) would give out propaganda leaflets. I personally like propaganda leaflets because I like to read funny things about people fabricating facts. For instance according to PMI Valentine was a priest who was in favour of queen Isabella of Spain who helped her massacre the Muslims in Spain hence gave him the title St.Valentine. On to which I would just love to inform them that Valentine is actually an Italian and only that only the Pope can give out the title Saint. So after class I decided to do some research on this matter and guess what, even the church is as confused as those PMI fellows about the real origins of Valentines day and even St.Valentine himself. Apparently as it turns out St. Valentine was more of a legend than an actual person.
There are actually many versions on how Valentine's day started out. In fact the Catholic Church recognized that there are actually three person who supposedly or could be Mr Valentine himself. One an Italian while the third from North Africa. The most famous legend of valentines day would be the one the DJ mentioned above,
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Source : http://www.historychannel.com
Then there's the more logical and more accepted reason behind valentine's day
The connection between St. Valentine and romantic love is not mentioned in any early histories and is regarded by secular historians as purely a matter of legend (see below). The feast of St. Valentine was first declared to be on February 14 by Pope Gelasius I in 496. There is a widespread legend that he created the day to counter the practice held on Lupercalia of young men and women pairing off as lovers by drawing their names out of an urn, but this practice is not attested in any sources from that era.
In 1969, as part of a larger effort to pare down the number of saint days of purely legendary origin, the Church removed St. Valentine's Day as an official holiday from its calendar.
Source : Wikipedia.org
Now I just ruined valentines now did I? The valentine you witness today is more of a popular culture than coming from a solid history origin. Suffice to say, people created this day simply because they would have a reason to do something romantic or confess something which they normally wouldn’t dare do on other days. In fact, you can see various versions of Valentines Day. Amongst the society on earth Japanese is the best when it comes to screwing up other people's celebration.
For instance Christmas is to remember the birth of Christ but as for Japan (the most decorated place on earth for Christmas) Christmas is the day where you want to spend with your loved ones. So usually hotels are fully booked and couples usually decided to sleep together for the first time during this time of the year. So in other words they turned a holy day into a reason to have sex.
Valentine's day in Japan are quite different too. Instead of boys giving out presents to the lady of their heart in Japan girls give out chocolates. There are two types of chocolates, one are the duty chocolate where they gave out to their male friends (as a duty of their friendship) and the other are the favorite chocolate they give out to the special guy they have in mind. But alas, Japan is a business nation and the business sector decided that it wouldn’t be fair if only the girls were to give out gifts. So in order to tap into more money they created white day, where male who receive those chocolates would have to buy something in return for the girl.
So I guess it is true, money does make the world go round. Many of today’s culture are heavily influenced by the great movement called capitalism. Since the fall of communism capitalists have been partying all year long. We get to see shopping malls in Thailand filled with skimpy clad saleswomen dressing as sexy Sanitarians during Christmas even though less then 1% of the populations are actually Christians. We get to see love being toyed around in reality TV shows and people spent hundreds of Ringgits simply to vote a guy who sings badly.
Along these articles perhaps I do sound like someone who really hates valentines because of some personal problems. Although I have to admit I do not celebrate valentines due to OBVIOUS REASONS, but I won’t harass young couples who decided to buy some overpriced roses. Like they say a little chocolate never hurt anyone right? Plus it’s good for the chocolate industry. Although I still think we ought to have our own tradition where instead of giving out chocolates we should give out Karipap and Bunga Raya instead of Roses.
So its valentine's day today so what how am I doing? Right now I have a runny nose, sore throat, constant coughing and a mild headache. In other words I’m feeling like crap. Yesterday I have a test and a quiz and tomorrow there would be another test. I think I'll visit the clinic later in the evening in case of fever.
Written By : Zaidel Baharuddin
The Forest for the trees
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