After the late night movie “Babel” on Malaysia’s NTV7 which ended around 2am, I accidentally flicked to TV3. It’s amazing how inverted priorities are in this country. It was quarter way into a children’s animation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. At 2.30 in the morning? Which child would be awake at this hour, except for those like me.
The cartoon movie was, as usual plagued with intermittent advertising in very bad taste as in the movie “Babel”. I wish NTV7 would stop, its ridiculous food wasting, diabetes encouraging, artificially colored sweets and cakes advertisement, with its infinitely irritating music. The Christmas TV repertoire consists of movies repeatedly aired, retro movies, some cartoons, local movies that have nothing to do with the season’s celebrations and the usual sit-coms and one-sided news reports. All these aired, not according to a well planned, timed programming, but as and when whoever is managing the broadcast feels like it. I’ve seen movies being aired half-way, and suddenly switched to some other movie. This is possible in this “Bolehland” of ours.
In view of this year’s religious politicizing, the ‘Allah‘ issue and so many clamps on freedom of expression, and knowledge, the outcome of a politicized Christmas seems inevitable. So, airing “A Christmas Carol” at this unearthly time, could be interpreted as another sham ‘handshake of goodwill’, simply to keep up appearances of a tolerant, multi-religious, multi-cultural, plural society. It is akin to a wife-battering, child-abusing family, that wants the outside world to think that everything is fine and good within the family. But, in this case, we are not alone knowing the true state of affairs in ‘Bolehland’.
In a particularly well-known foreign-owned hypermarket, yesterday, where I was shopping for groceries for our Christmas menu, the absence of Christmas decorations, Christmas trees, and foodstuffs for sale, was very noticeable. This was a British chain store and it looked like the British did not, or dared not celebrate Christmas, or even put up items for the festive season. It was just bizarre.
Whether, it was due to restocking or change of worker shift, some of the food items on sale looked like they had reached their ‘sell by’ date. Was this another politicizing of Christmas? Hopefully not. Perhaps, it was the wrong place to look for any stuff for my Christmas menu. In the past, some foreign-owned hypermarkets seemed directed to overlook Christmas, yet local stores and shops still went all out to take advantage of the season, sometimes too much. However, Christmas is what we make of it.
To all Christians, Christmas or Easter will always be a special time even if the government tries to drop it from the calendar. We still commemorate the first Christmas which lacked all the earthly trimmings but was celebrated by heaven and among the humblest and poorest in society. No matter how politicized our festivities are, this sacred celebration will lose nothing of its glory and wonder in the hearts of Christians of all ages, ethnicity, status, cultures and all complexions. Christmas is an eternal festival, a celebration of birth, the beginning of a life that would change the world forever.
- The meaning of Christmas (blogs.montrealgazette.com)
- Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” (jlue.wordpress.com)
- Charles Dickens Delights in The Heart of a Child (themotherofnine9.wordpress.com)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol – The Ultimate Christmas Movie (oneroomwithaview.com)