This traditional Christmas Eve in the City of Angels might offend someone:
It's a traditional Christmas Eve here, not Winter Eve, not Holiday Eve. The Grinch who is trying to steal Christmas has not yet discovered this city.
In the lane where I live, some shops have decorations and signs with the actual words "Merry Christmas". There are no signs saying "Happy Kwanza", or "Happy Hanukah", or "Happy Winter Season". Some people might feel offended.
This afternoon, as I walked into the building where I live, the doorman greeted me with a hearty, "Merry Christmas, Sir". He did not greet me with some bland alternative.
Tonight in the lobby of the building, a choir of school girls came to sing Christmas carols. They sang the traditional ones, including "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Silent Night, Holy Night". All the words followed the original lyrics.
And all of the school girls in this choir have similar skin color. There was no forced attempt to achieve a quota of racial mixing.
The choir director for these 8-12 year-old girls is a middle-age man. This man is not a sexual predator; he's their music teacher.
Santa Claus came along, too: a robust, jolly man with a hearty laugh and a huge bag of gifts for the children here. The children here are all rich kids -- this is an expensive part of town. Santa and the kids were having a lot of fun. Nobody was fretting over some "disadvantaged", poor kids on the other side of town.
And Santa was a white man - Caucasian - just like the traditional Santa used to be. And he had a pillow under his red costume to ensure he looked traditionally obese. In some places, obesity is against all the regulations.
After the caroling, I walked to a nearby restaurant for their Christmas Eve dinner. Not a Winter dinner, not a holiday dinner; the sign indeed said, "Christmas Eve Dinner". Dinner was roast turkey and roast pork with sausage stuffing: real meat, not some healthy, low-fat, or vegetarian substitute. And for desert, traditional plum pudding with hard sauce: Real hard sauce, the kind the soaks into your arteries and refuses to leave. Hard sauce hasn't been banned here, yet.
At the next table, a young couple had just finished their meal. They were enjoying an after-dinner cigarette.. Yes, in the year 2005, they were smoking inside a restaurant. And nobody else seemed to care. Can you believe it?
Feeling quite satisfied, I strolled back home in the early evening. Along the way I was greeted with the occasional "Merry Christmas to you". Not everybody was friendly - this is not Disneyland, after all - but I did see many smiles.
Ah, yes, Christmas is here, in the traditional way. No grinches lurking around, trying to enforce diversity, multi-culturalism, food regulations, anti-obesity campaigns, or no-smoking regulations. Nobody standing over your every move to make sure it won't offend somebody else.
And as I walked back along the lane, I couldn't help noticing the dozens of smiling, giggling, prostitutes. They looked so adorable in their little, red, Santa hats and their short, short, skirts.
THE WHAT ?!
Yes, prostitutes, wearing little, red, Santa hats and short skirts, getting ready for their normal, Saturday night's work. Prostitutes have been a tradition around this part of the world since long before the birth of Christ. Nobody here seems too offended by that tradition either.
This year I am enjoying Christmas in the city of Bangkok, Thailand; a city whose name -- in the local language -- means, "City of Angels". Seems a fitting name for a place where men still have the freedom to enjoy Christmas as they wish.
Peter in Bangkok (Email: email@example.com )
The above email reminds me of my previous posts about the enthusiasm for Christmas in China and Malaysia -- and also of this:
"Hundreds of young men decked with tinsel wander outside Senegal's mosques, hawking plastic Christmas trees. Women pray to Allah on a sidewalk where an inflatable Santa Claus happens to be hanging.
Senegal may be 95 percent Muslim, but it certainly knows it's Christmas. In fact, for this nation of 12 million it's a national holiday.
Blame it on globalization, which has turned the West's yuletide icons into a worldwide commodity. Or the Internet, or Hollywood, or the availability of travel that allows new generations of Senegalese to sample Christmas at close quarters. But mainly, Senegalese revel in the trappings of Christmas because they can and want to.
Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as a prophet, but don't generally celebrate the date of his birth. Many Muslim societies discourage Christmas hoopla. But Senegalese say they have a long history of tolerance and coexistence with Christians, so why not share Christmas?"
It is only the hate-everything Western Left who are intolerant of Christmas
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