Last year on New Year’s Eve, the Outlook section of the Bangkok Post printed a large ‘Horoscope 2008’ report which covered the front and back pages. The readers of this blog can probably guess where I stand on such matters. (Hint : I try to stand as far as possible from the stinking pile of horsesh*t called superstition.)
After seeing the horoscope, I complained to everyone within earshot. I ranted against this insult on rationality and common sense (come on, 600 million people around the world will have exactly the same fate as yours? Gimme a break.) Finally, unable to contain my complaints and wanting to vent my wrath on the Outlook section’s editor, I wrote a letter to the Bangkok Post.
There is a section in the Bangkok Post called Postbag, where letters from readers are printed. Preference were given to short letters so I had to cut my letter almost by half. Here is the letter.
The Outlook section of Dec 31, sporting a huge ‘Horoscope 2008’ report, prompted me to ask myself, "What era are we living in?" Surely it can’t be the 21st century, where scientific and rational arguments are the norm, and evidence is required to support any claim. It must be the Sukhothai era, where science wasn’t invented yet and superstition ruled the day.
The horoscope (or made-up predictions, in other words) is an ancient superstition with no rational basis whatsoever. To call the horoscope nonsense would be an affront to the word "nonsense". Why can’t those who presume to know the future predict something useful, like anti-global warming measures or medical advances, instead of dreary, same old pedestrian lives?
At best, horoscopes are a waste of space and at worst, they promote a viewpoint based on wishful thinking. To put faith in them is to delude ourselves about the nature of reality. Our lives are much to precious to waste on such delusions
The Bangkok Post printed my letter the very next day, titling it "Hocus-Pocus"
I learned quite a few things from this experience. First of all, my grammar wasn’t as good as I thought it was. The printed version in Postbag was somewhat edited, and it reads better compared to the email that I sent in. I apparently misused some punctuation marks and I had a few problems with articles and plural forms. I’ve always said that articles are the most common mistakes made by Thai people, and my letter was no exception. The words "the horoscope", "a horoscope", "horoscope" and "horoscopes" all have different meanings, but it’s very easy to get confused.
Another lesson is that after seeing the letter in print, I felt that I wasn’t very well written after all. It feels a bit rushed and jumbled, in some parts due to the fact that I had to shorten the letter. In hindsight, both grammatical and contextual mistakes are easy to spot, which suggests that I should spend more time revising what I write.
Every journey begins with the first step, as the saying goes, and I feel that I have made just a tiny step forward on the writer’s path. This is probably nothing compared to the published works of some of my friends (Arm, I’ll try to catch up with you), nevertheless this is an achievement that I’m proud of.