Monday, December 12, 2005

A Llama Christmas in Bangkok

The famous song goes "Tis the season to be jolly." But here in Thailand it should read "Tis the season to be sweaty, just like every other sun-baked part of the year." Yes, the Christmas lights and music are out here, and have been since even before Thanksgiving. Certainly it's mostly a way for stores to attract Western customers - which is a bit odd. In the US I think something like 70% of retail business is conducted around Christmas, and so it makes economic sense for companies to invest all that PR and advertising money around the Christmas celebration. But here in Thailand, surely Christmas doesn't count for that much... 95% of the country is Buddhist, after all.

Nonetheless all the department stores have set up their plastic trees (nothing real here, of course). Sometimes they are this flourescent green, sometimes pink; this very nice tree at the Emporium is all white... but not frost white, more of an ice white. And it's lit up with white lights, shaped like lanters. It's all very mod and symetric, and quite nice, I must admit.

Christmas music is played in the establishments that cater to westerners... but it's not the awe-inspiring choral music of religious standards, nor the pop/jazz remakes of old favorites. Rather the Christmas music flavor of choice seems to be children singing commercial Christmas songs... Frosty, Rudolph, Jingle Bells, etc. It's maddening. I was at The Pizza Company friday night and the whole time I was there a single medley of "Christmas" tunes was being belted out by some British children's group. I know they were British because everytime they were required to utter a sylable that ends with an "-er" sound, they would pronounce it "eha". And I put "Christmas" in parentheses because towards the end of the medley they had apparently exhausted the supply of sacharin songs of the season and so added on a few general feel-good songs to drive out the last ounce of sanity in my brain. AFter the finishing the usual dirges, the group added in "I'd like to teach the world to sing" (from the Coke commercial), "We are the World", "Let It Be", and a couple of others I can't remember. All accompanied by synthesized pop instrumentation. It was so bad I was sure Rummy was sitting in the back somewhere spinning the records himself.

Does this mean I'm turning into a scrooge? Maybe I just need my family around me again. Well, time is flying fast so it'll come sooner rather than later, I'm sure.


1 comment:

kristybox said...

What are your Christmas plans?

While I find the other songs mind-numbing, I do love the Coke song.