Got money to burn? Do it the good old fashioned way, using fireworks
It’s 2020, we’ve got no time to waste, so I’ll jump right in. How long does it take for you to spend S$6 million? And when was the last time you splurged that amount? Did it bring you joy, or better yet, a ten-fold investment return?
We could banter all day about opportunity costs, but here’s how long it took one city to spend it: 12 minutes.
You read that right. For its New Year’s Eve celebration, Sydney splurged a good AU$6.5 million (S$6.1 million) on the extravaganza.
And what an extravaganza it was. More than 13,000 shells were used to light up the iconic Sydney Harbour, as over million revellers gathered across various vantage point – including Birchgrove Park, Blues Point Reserve, the Botanic Garden and Bradfield – to watch it unfold.
Of course, you’d have been living under a rock to think that this expenditure came without criticism. To be fair, spending some of the annual budget to start the year with a literal bang doesn’t sound unreasonable. But this year, thousands of citizens were evacuated due to bushfires that plagued much of the country, especially New South Wales. As if the land Down Under needed to be that bit more hazy. The fires started in September 2019, and show no sign of slowing down. If you’d like to lend a helping hand, you may make a donation here.
But I’m not here to criticise how the money meant for celebrations should have been spent (because let’s face it, the money was spent way before the fires started).
Instead, I’m sitting here wondering what the point of a fireworks parade is. Why is it always used to mark the end of an event? Are the performances that disastrous till you’ve to distract the audience with an explosion in the sky? It’s not like humans have a short attention span, right?
While it involves an eye for choreography, colours and design, surely there are better ways to spend six million dollars.
I mean, we are blowing up money. Literally. If that’s not a big middle finger to those living below the line, I don’t know what is.
And boy did the money get blown in spectacular fashion. You name it, the show had it. Every possible type of firework was used, from coconuts, chrysanthemums and spiders (these are official names by the way, look it up) to mines, snowflakes and time rain. They may have skipped using the jellyfish firework, but to be honest I can’t be bothered to fact check (just this once, I promise).
And I’ve never seen so many people that ecstatic seeing their tax paying money turn into smoke. (Never mind that officials released a statement to say the year-end celebrations would bring in AU$133 million, resulting in a 2,216 per cent profit.) The spectators may be gasping – perhaps from the carbon dioxide emitted -, but their eyes don’t lie. There’s an unmistakable twinkle as they whip out their phones to film a video that’ll enjoy a record-breaking viewership of zero.
Why do people film it anyway? I haven’t got a clue, and perhaps that’s another question for another day.
But I shouldn’t be such a wet blanket. It’s 2020, one of my resolutions is to not judge people based on the six-million-dollar joy they receive.