Christmas lights up before Deepavali

From ‘It’s not yet Christmas’, 3 Nov 2010, Voices, Today online. Thanks to quirkyhill for the link.

(Jana Hahn): I WRITE in to question why Christmas decorations have already gone up in VivoCity when Deepavali is just days away, while it won’t be Christmas for another two months or so.

I’m not sure this is representative of our multi-racial society. Show some awareness, please.

I think it’s safe to say that ever since someone invented the concept of a fat man in a red suit stealing into homes to plant random gifts for nice children under artificial trees, Christmas has never been just for Christians anymore. Any Hindu feeling slighted by their Festival of Lights being outshone by Orchard Road’s annual light-up porn is choosing the wrong bone to pick and going against the spirit that is Deepavali/Diwali, as the Christmas season per se was never about favouring one ethic group over another.  Instead it’s long been a worldwide marketing blitz disguised under the ‘spirit of giving’ to get people, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus or otherwise in the mood for overspending and overconsuming without the slightest sense of guilt. But more importantly, Christmas cashier ‘ker-ching’ is year-end music to the government’s ears. Not that Deepavali or any of the ethnic holidays are less important, but let’s face it: Fake Christmas trees will always outsell oil lamps. Christmas cards will always outsell Chinese New Year cards.  Turkey and fruitcakes will always outsell ketupats. And they’re more TV Christmas specials you can think of than all other holiday movies combined. If Hitler were to produce a Christmas album today, it would sell faster than all the ang pows in China. Similar sentiments in this 19 December 1988 letter ‘Give equal treatment to all the festivals’, ST Forum.

Still, our fellow Hindu Singaporeans do deserve some recognition for their resilience not just in the face of the commercial Cloverfield that is Christmas, but the fact the in the 1970’s the government had the power to shift the date of the Deepavali public holiday willy-nilly, according to this letter dated 26 Oct 1972, ‘Change of date leaves 100 without a picnic’.

Be wary, too, that in your lack of ”awareness’, you start wishing Happy Deepavali to Indians in general and get labelled an ‘ignorant fool’ (‘When race isn’t religion’, 10 Oct 2006, Voices, Today). Incidentally, I googled ‘Deevali’ and found a grand total of zero results. Who’s the ‘ignorant fool’ now? Someone assist me in running a search on ‘Eid Mubarak’, for it sounds suspiciously like a dish I usually order with my Teh Tarik.





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