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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Editorial December 2nd 2022

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

The season of HoHo is upon us and with that comes the carols and the tinsel of the season. Most of us are already planning gifts, decorations, parties, feasts and events for the month ahead that ends with a firework display, more champagne and a nice sleep in. My first encounters with Christmas were at odds with the norm. For a lad growing up in the lap of a tropical village on a far off coconut lined shore the celebration of Christmas was a confusion, to say the least. The first issue was the fact that the luluais (priests) in the local churches were rattling on that Christmas was all about the birthday of their Numba Wan man, Jesus. If you snuck into the Haus Lotu (church) there would be a picture of Jesus with his long blond hair and his beard up on the wall. As I have described in earlier editorials the churches (there were three in the district all trying their best to win souls) would have their contesting Nativity scenes on display that we, as kids, found intriguing. Firstly it was clear that all the players were white. There was the plump white baby, the mother, a bearded father, three old white men who appeared on camels following a star and came with presents. The priests were very serious about the fact that December 25th was the birthday of their Numba Wan man and they did their best to create fanfare around it by having special Christmas songs that they would sing accompanied by their wives and children strumming guitars or banging a tambourine. The problem arose when we went to town. In town there was a different Numba Wan man. The town hero was a bearded old white guy in a red suit that said HoHo and apparently gave ‘everyone’ a present on December 25th. When I say ‘everyone’ that really meant only white kids and only those who had been good. If you were a local village kid then this man, called Santa, didn’t give you anything. I asked my father if he was one of the Wise Men who bought children presents it turned out that Santa was not from the desert but was in fact from the North Pole, flew around the world in a deer driven sley filled with presents and dropped them down chimneys in exchange for beer and carrots. Apparently it wasn’t an issue that we didn’t have a chimney, nor did we have carrots, but we did have a lot of beer. This fact came into play early in the piece when I discovered my very inebriated parents laughing on the floor, bodily entwined in a tradestore pushbike they were assembling that Santa was ‘bringing’ me. Like an onion, the myths of Christmas were unravelling one layer at a time as my father confessed to me that there was no Santa, there was no Easter Bunny that had rabbits plopping out foiled covered chocolate eggs for privileged white children to find. I already knew that villagers, myself and all of my friends, were not visited by this magical rabbit, and magical it had to be because Papua New Guinea had no rabbits. Layer by layer it was revealed that Santa was a contrivance of a nasty old man who only gave presents to white kids who had been good, and the richer the white kid, the better the present. I loathed hearing of the presents my school friends received and, bless their nasty socks, they would make a point of asking me what I got for Christmas which was usually tradestore clothing for the next year. It turned out that the Easter Rabbit was equally selective and that the Tooth Fairy was equally discriminatory as to who received a coin, and how much. As I look back on all of this I reflect on my father being truthful when he admitted that it was all “Bullshit”. Santa was bullshit, so too the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. When I asked him about the church, the three wise men, the star and the mother made pregnant by a spirit he told me that it was “Gammon Tasol” which is a nice way to say it was “bullshit” in Pidgin. Should he have perpetuated the lie about Santa and the others and not been honest? I’m pleased he didn’t. I didn’t much approve of racist Santa in the first place. So I come at Christmas and the Festive Season of HoHo from a different perspective. I am well aware that if there was a Santa then he is pretty selective with who he gives presents to. This explains why he fails to give anything to more than half the world’s population of children. But yet we perpetuate the lie to our children and celebrate him in every shopfront window. Every home has a decorated tree in readiness of a Santa delivery and our halls are bedecked with tinsel, mock snow and baubles —tralalalala. But the period of Christmas does have its upside. It is a time when we come together and share quality time with each other. Be that over a meal or a drink. There might, or might not, be gift giving but if there is then it is the thought that counts. Happy HoHo season to you, however you might enjoy it, and by whatever you might believe in. Until next

lei


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NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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