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Netizens Make Wishes as Mayan Doomsday Nears

Date: 2012-12-12

Chinese Internet users are vigorously discussing their unfulfilled dreams and reflecting on the meaning of life, as the date of so-called "the end of the world" is drawing near.

December 21 marks the conclusion of a 5,125-year-long Mayan calendar, a point associated with the apocalypse.

A post by Netizen "Sao Congcong" which simply said "1999.05.28-2012.12.21", indicating his date of birth and predicted death received immediate popularity, as millions of Internet users have imitated the format on Chinese Twitter-like microblogging site Weibo.com in the past week.

Most of the posts also include an epitaph of oneself, a wish list, or a sentence expressing one's thoughts about current life.

The wishes range from making a breakfast for parents to becoming a superman to save the world. But most are everyday things to do with family and friends, and are full of love, faith and hope.

An Internet user with the screen name "Red Sun" said he plans to quit his current job and find new employment in his hometown so that he can spend more time with his 70-year-old father. He said the "apocalypse" forecast had helped him make up his mind.

"In the past, I thought I still had plenty of time to weigh pros and cons; now I know time waits for no man," he said.

Some netizens are taking actions to make their dreams come true. "Brown sugar" and her five friends plan to spend the winter solstice in Tibet, like the doomsday survivors of Hollywood movie "2012."

"Why don't we just do it instead of sighing in regret that we had not lived life fully?" she asked

Several companies in the cities of Changsha, Wuhan, Chengdu and Nanjing are giving employers extra days off on December 20 and 21.

"Few people believe the world will end, but we can take advantage of it to spend time with our loved ones," said a Wuhan IT firm CEO surnamed Du, who considers the so-called doomsday a chance for revelry.

However, there are people are taking the prophecy much more seriously.

Panic buying of candles swept two counties in Sichuan Province, while a man named Lu Zhenghai in west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region spent his life savings to build an ark for 20 people in order to survive flooding on the day.

In southern Jiangsu Province, a 54-year-old university professor surnamed Jiang mortgaged her house for 104 million yuan (about 16.7 million U.S. Dollars) and donated it together with her savings to charity, saying she wanted to do something meaningful before the end of the world, according to reports from Modern Express, a local newspaper.

According to reports, credulous middle-aged women like Jiang and retired people across the country have been scammed, with swindlers encouraging them to buy good-luck tokens at sky-high prices or donate all savings to survive the doomsday.

Shanghai police issued a public warning on Weibo.com after handling 25 cases relating to the apocalypse within 24 hours. The warning says, "The end of the world is pure rumor, do not believe it."

As paranoia intensifies, institutions including the Beijing Planetarium and the Astronomical Society of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have refuted the rumor through media, sending the message "December 21 is just a normal day."

Xia Xueluan, professor of sociology at Peking University, said the paranoia reflects social desire for entertainment.

"We've lived through several so-called doomsdays in the past decade, such as those predicted by Nostradamus and around the Millennium. People take satisfaction in talking about them," according to the professor.

Xia added that the panic may also reflect the insecurity people feel toward the future.(Xinhua)