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