Sunday, December 25, 2005

Put Commerce back into Christmas?

American Conservatives are bickering over their President's Season's Greeting. Others in the US and Canada are spending their waking hours worrying whether to call Christmas trees Christmas trees or celebration trees. 'Put the "Christ" back into "Christmas"' seems to be the rallying cry.

Singapore has its own version of these problems. The company hired to put up this year's decorations over Orchard Road, which include both Christmas and Chinese New Year at the end of January, decided to kill two doves with one stone. So the "Season's Greetings" Arches were adorned with a crown that just happened to be the Chinese New Year Spirit's traditional hat. Put'em up in November, tear'em down in February and Bob's your uncle, they must've thought.

This turned out to be too big a leap of imagination for the ever-sensitive religious communities in multi-religious Singapore. Protests sounded and the contractor had no choice but to remove the hat that put China into Christmas. The result? A gift box bow, and Season's Greetings. We only worship one God: shopping.

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