Fri, 29 Sep 2023

by Hummam Sheikh Ali

DAMASCUS, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Syrians are using black humor to complain about the eventful month of May, describing it as the "longest month" of the year and making sarcastic wishes online to get through the month "alive and sane."

"Thank God for extending my life to finally get to June and I thought June would never come ... Thank God for everyone's safety," Kinda Sameer, a housewife, posted online.

Her satire was echoed by many who suffered the month starting with a price increase in Internet and phone calls, followed by fuel, cooking and industrial gas, and all the way to bottled mineral water.

All this was coupled with a decline in the value of the Syrian pound against foreign currencies. The price of one gram of gold reached half a million Syrian pounds (around 40 U.S. dollars), an unprecedented gold price in Syria.

Sameer joked that May should have been called "May Pro Max," as it was an extended and larger version of the regular month.

"A lot had happened within 31 days," Sameer told Xinhua, complaining that her salary ran out so soon that the remaining days seem difficult to pass.

The increase in prices is not new for Syrians mired in economic woes, but what made May a month of black humor and sarcasm is that the last May also witnessed an increase in prices, earning May a reputation for bringing along bad news.

Amir Dairawan, a Syrian comedian and radio host, made a short reel on Instagram describing the year as the "Ayar Year" or the "May Year," expressing a feeling that May this year felt like a year due to the countless events that had taken place.

In his video, he started by recounting the international events, including the coronation of Charles III and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom, Syria's reconciliation with Saudi Arabia and its attendance at the Arab Summit, then the increase in the prices in the country and the death of two prominent Syrian actors, and the weird sudden temperature change in the country.

His video earned over 1,200 likes and a lot of comments expressing similar feelings.

The trend has also found its way to traditional media, with a local radio station hosting Muhammed Alassiry, the head of the Syrian Astronomical Society, to speak about why people feel May is so long this year.

In his interview with Melody FM radio, Alassiry said that one reason people feel that May is longer is probably because of the longer daytime in the summertime. Another factor is that people's comprehension of time is linked to the succession of events stored in their memory.

For instance, he said that being under pressure and having to deal with life problems and economic hardships make one feel that time is going slower.

"The more a new memory comes to us, the longer it needs to be stored, and therefore we feel an imaginary length of days and months," he said.

Many Syrians online now congratulate each other for the end of May, hoping that June will be kinder.

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