Merry Christmas Everyone!

by cedhausen

Aaand yes, I’m not getting off that easily, I know I missed yesterday’s post, and ALMOST TODAY’S… So as punishment, I’ll be posting TWICE before midnight!

… though having said that I wonder if that’s punishment for me or for everyone else who’d have to endure me… so quickly, so soon, before Christmas ends. This first post will be spent talking more on how Christmas is celebrated here, and the second one will be on Singapore. For the latter, I doubt I’ll be able to cover everything nor do I want to in a single post, but I’ll be giving an overarching impression of my trip there.

So, in line with the Christmas spirit, or what’s left of it, here’s the Photo of the Day:

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It is the most wonderful time of the year. This one was taken at VivoCity, and that thing you see in front of the tree is a particularly glittery hot air balloon for families to snap some memories. I only noticed the person with the stroller after I’ve taken the picture, and now wished I had positioned myself better as to emphasise him/her a little better (I think it’s a man… just look at those calves… but then again, I can’t be sure).

Though I didn’t get to celebrate Christmas in Singapore, I certainly got a feel of the festive spirit. Christmas music playing in malls, festive decorations adorning the malls, brass ensembles performing yuletide standards… inside the malls. Everything revolves around malls basically, but the main difference for me as a Malaysian was that they had a Christmas Market here at the Gardens by the Bay, which brought back so many memories of my time in Leeds… All those chocolate bananas that I keep returning to at the Christkindlmarkt… Ooh, here’s a blast from the past:

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Oh why can’t Malaysia have Christmas Markets too!!! Maybe because this picture looks… remotely obscene… obscenely delicious… I’m not helping my case here. See, that’s the thing about celebrating Christmas in the tropics, those things will just MELT before they even touch tongue.

Christmas in Malaysia and in Singapore are pretty similar (aside from the fact that Singapore has a Christmas Market… of which I’m still bitter about… *let it go…*). Everyone frequents malls, traffic becomes even more of a nightmare since everyone’s flocking to the malls, and children are still singing “Let It Go” five tones higher. The two countries share a comparable mall culture, which makes sense considering the climate and especially so during the end of the year where it’s the monsoon season. Hence, the perpetually delayed trip to Sentosa.

There really isn’t a sense of tradition here with regards to Christmas, unless you’re an expat importing and injecting the festive spirit into the local community (neighbours, colleagues, that stranger you took pity on limping in the streets…) or a Christian. Otherwise, Christmas is pretty much just another reason to get that perfume you really wanted (look who’s talking… *ahem*).

… I’m using far too many parentheses here. I’ll stop (for real).

There’s no warm fireplace because you’d be crazy to even have one. People drink hot chocolate to warm themselves after getting drenched in the rain, not out playing in the snow. Spruce, pine, and fir aren’t even native species, though plastic may as well be considering how they proliferate in homes and offices. Carols at the doorstep? You’d be silenced by an aunty who’s trying to catch up on a Cantonese drama. In short, Christmas isn’t as magical here as it is in other countries that observe the birth of Christ. Or the coming of Claus, whichever you prioritise.

It is, however, a time for reunions. Some with a pricier tag than others. Companies would throw end of year celebrations by booking tables at at restaurant, friends would invite the whole class of ’97 for a gossip-filled get-together, and families… well, they’d come together after attending their respective parties, kicking off their shoes by the doorstep before slouching on the sofa, huddled closely to each other reeking of wine or barbecue, then to catching a re-run of Home Alone Lord of the Rings Jurassic Park some movie on TV.

So, in a way, Christmas is ultimately a time to rejoice. I’m not entirely sure if everyone else know what exactly it is they’re rejoicing about… but they do seem happy. So even though I can no longer take shots like this…

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… I take comfort in knowing that for a day, the world’s a much happier place. The fact that it’s fleeting and happens only once a year, makes me cherish it all the more. That, and I get to legitimise the festivities by singing along with Alvin and the Chipmunks. Throw that with a few good friends and a bottle of Bailey’s and I’m one happy boy,

Merry Christmas everyone!