Surprise, surprise, 'doomsday' is just a day like any other

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 2:26pm

The sun came out yesterday as most Hongkongers expected. But elsewhere in the world, people were not so certain about seeing the light of day.

Australia was one of the first countries to see the sun rise on December 21, and Tourism Australia's Facebook page was bombarded with posts asking if anyone had survived Down Under.

"Yes, we're alive," the organisation responded.

The cause of the global obsession stems from a carved stone found in Tortuguero, a Mayan site in Mexico. The relief contains a cryptic allusion to something really big happening yesterday.

However, most experts interpret the calendar to mean December 21, 2012, is simply the end of a 5,200-year era for the Mayans and the start of another.

The Post did not find anyone preparing for an apocalypse, but did find that the special day reminded many to cherish their loved ones.

The grand notions of life and death that an impending apocalypse offered was great fodder for romantics. Couples getting married yesterday were confident that even the death of mankind would not tear them apart.

"If tomorrow marks the end of the world, all I want to do is marry her," said Eddie Tai, who chose to tie the knot with Carrie Nip at the Tsim Sha Tsui Marriage Registry.

And Nip's devotion transcends earthly conventions.

"If the doomsday prophecy is true, I'm still sure that we'll meet and fall in love again in a brand new world."

The Immigration Department said 219 couples married yesterday.

PICTURES: Rituals take place around the world to celebrate new Mayan cycle

In the face of possible perdition, Hongkongers retained their sense of humour. A message widely circulated online this week warned that at 6pm on doomsday, the sky may turn dark with a swarm of people appearing on the streets. But fear not, this phenomenon is called "people leaving work at night".

Aqua Restaurant Group's flagship in Tsim Sha Tsui received 20 reservations for its six-course "end of the world" dinner costing HK$2,112.12.

One diner at the 29th-floor restaurant, Paul Nicks, 46, said: "It's a fun way to celebrate the occasion. It's like celebrating Christmas and New Year."

Neil Krieger, 52, who was enjoying the doomsday dinner with Nicks and two other friends, was also confident it would not be their last day. While enjoying the fine view of the harbour from their window table, he said: "I can imagine all the buildings collapsing for my enjoyment before it comes for me after dessert."

Even though Mexican officials said no special celebrations were planned to mark the turn of the Mayan calendar, which coincides with the winter solstice, up to 20,000 revellers flocked to Chichen Itza - a city built during the Mayan civilisation.

The United Nations denied distributing tickets for an ark to save people from the apocalypse, it said on a mainland social networking site, Sina Weibo. The novelties, titled "United Nations 2012 China Tibetan Noah's Ark tickets", are widely available on mainland auction websites for about 10 yuan (HK$12), although their face value is 10 billion yuan.

Tongue-in-cheek scientists in Taiwan planted an electronic countdown timer atop a two-storey replica of a Mayan pyramid, drawing crowds at the National Museum of Natural Science.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse