The Star, 6 Dec 2012
SYDNEY: Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Thursday weighed into the debate about whether the world will end on December 21 under the Mayan calendar in a spoof video about Korean pop and flesh-eating zombies.
In a one-minute video address recorded for the youth radio station Triple J, a sombre-looking Gillard said the pending apocalypse was at hand despite there being no proof found by the “best and brightest” government scientists.
“My dear remaining fellow Australians, the end of the world is coming,” she said, tongue in cheek.
“Whether the final blow comes from flesh-eating zombies, demonic hell-beasts or from the total triumph of K-Pop, if you know one thing about me it is this – I will always fight for you to the very end.”
The prime minister said there was a bright side to Armageddon, which she noted had not come as a result of the much-hyped Y2K millennium computer bug in the year 2000 or due to Australia’s corporate pollution tax.
“At least this means I won’t have to do Q and A again,” she said, referring to a weekly current affairs talk show.
“Good luck to you all.”
Gillard recorded the message for a special “end of the world” programme being broadcast on Triple J Friday after Australian science writer Karl Kruszelnicki warned December 7 was the world’s real end-date.
Kruszelnicki, a renowned author and science commentator, said he reached the date by putting the Mayan and Gregorian calendar into a complex algorithm combining mathematics and comedy.
The video went viral on social media after being uploaded to YouTube, with most people seeing the funny side, although a few questioned whether it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Triple J host Tom Ballard admitted he had been surprised when Gillard agreed to take part “but I’m grateful because everyone needs to be warned and informed”, joking that he understood she had now retreated to a bunker.
“I don’t think it’s hilarious at all, I think it’s a very serious matter and people are worried,” Ballard told AFP.
He said he was anticipating “zombies, natural disasters, people not getting along very well, being quite mean to each other, and of course all the world’s religions proving to be false” when the end came on Friday.
It is not the first time Gillard has enjoyed Internet fame – footage of a fiery speech in parliament in which she accused her conservative opponent of sexism and misogyny in October has been viewed more the two million times.
December 21 represents the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar that began in the year 3114 before Christ.
A doomsday industry has boomed in Hollywood around the notion that the calendar’s end will bring the fiery end of human civilisation, with the blockbuster “2012” depicting Earth being swallowed by floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
The Mayan culture enjoyed a golden age between 250 AD and 900 AD in present-day Mexico and Central America, before its steady decline and the arrival of Spanish imperialists in the 16th century. -AFP