You know that feeling when you’re at a party and you toss a handful of delicious, cheesy Doritos chips in your mouth only to shockingly find out they are some discount off-brand nonsense that was on sale at Wal Mart? That sinking feeling that you’ve just been fooled—taken advantage of. That feeling of going into the friendly looking restroom at the truck stop only to have the door locked behind you by a man as tall as a jeffrey pine and… ok, I won’t get into that, but you know what I mean. You expect one thing, and you get something reminiscent… but just wrong. That’s how Christmas is in Singapore.
Here in Singapore, Doritos do have a cheesy MSG filled coating, but only have a hint of the Doritos taste I know. They don’t even look the same, and on top of that, are made in Taiwan with a small icon that says “IMPORTED” on the bag. I feel like they also latch onto and import other traditions and ideals purely to appear more western and therefore “first-world” in status. Unlike other places where Christmas actually has some tradition, and religious significance, the idea behind Christmas in Singapore stems from pretty much every other non-asian thing here: Money. Sure, Christmas has become excessively commercialized elsewhere, but I still feel like a majority of people actually celebrate it, rather than USE it as an excuse to buy that new iPad case that folds into a Hello Kitty playhouse.
According to Wikipedia, or as I like to call it, “The Truthtionary”, 18.3% of Singaporeans consider themselves Christian compared to the 76% of American’s that practice Christianity. Of course I’m not implying in anyway that that people here shouldn’t celebrate it. Overall, the point I’m trying to make is they are celebrating it wrong. To me, the most important part the Jolly Fat Man’s season is lying in bed in an eggnog induced coma. Seriously Singapore, where is the eggnog? The only carton I could find was $18. EIGHTEEN DOLLARS, for less than a quart of delicious creamy nutmeg tastiness? To buy that would be getting sucked into the exact forced-into-buying-just-because-someone-says-it’s-“Christmas” I have been talking about. And even if I did buy it, it would probably end up tasting like imitation Taiwanese Doritos anyway.
*Just to clarify (so I don’t sound like a total Grinch), I did have a great Christmas Eve sharing dessert with friends. With a majority from Australia and The States, I don’t believe any were from Singapore, but that’s not the point. If you can’t find the Christmas you know and love, you just have to make one for yourself with friends and loved ones and, THAT is what Christmas is REALLY about, right?
A few photos taken at and around my work at Christmas
I’m not sure where to start here, since I’ve been slacking quite hard here on the updates. One overarching constant however has been the shocking absolute disrespect from the monkeys here.
Within the last week, I’ve basically done the two hikes possible here in Singapore. Both times, my good friend Autumn and I have encountered some cute looking monkeys. All we wanted, was to take a few innocent pictures and stare deep past their hazel monkey eyes in to their monkey souls, but every time we tried to get close they get all whiney about it and try to attack us. Well, by us I mean mainly Autumn.
You see, Autumn has this amazing long blonde hair, which apparently has never been seen in this land of jet black hair and brown eyes. My only guess is that to Asians, her hair looks like liquid gold, birthing baby phoenix babies which fly around her head singing the songs of sirens. While a piercing stare is an every day occurrence in Autumn’s Singaporean residence, the call of the baby phoenix siren is just too powerful for the monkeys (and some creepy men) to merely gaze; they just can’t help but try to get a piece of her golden locks. And like a spoiled child that has his favorite pet pony taken away, anger ensues from the withholding.
If anything, Singapore needs to step up it’s game and really invest some money into this epidemic of unruly tree-beasts with opposable toes. While I’m no expert, I’m sure there’s someone out there who could figure out whether it’s a couple sessions of anger management, social interaction classes, or just a few basic lessons in modeling poses that the monkeys need to really fit into the modern Singapore. The forests are coming down, monkeys. It’s your choice whether you are going to stay in that high tree of yours as it topples to the concrete, or brush up your social skills and make a few coins on the street posing with a few idiotic tourists (and a couple insane expats).
If I get put down by a couple of hit-monkeys in the middle of the night, you know who to blame.