Several years ago I nailed Xmas lights to the roof of my house in Pattaya. Ours was the only one on Moo 9 celebrating the winter holiday on Pearl Harbor Day. The rest of the farangs were too mean-hearted to pursue any happiness other than the emptiness of sex, drugs, and golf. I spoke to none of them.
Two days later I bought a blue plastic pine tree and explained to my 3 year-old daughter that Xmas was a Christian holiday lifted from the pagan celebration of the winter solstice.
Angie only spoke Thai. Her understanding of religion was limited to Buddhism and she said, “Fi suay.”
"Yes, the lights are beautiful."
"Phom lak Christmas."
I tried to explain the wickedness on the Church in my Boston-accented Thai. My wife frowned with disapproval, although my daughter misunderstood my garbled irade and I accepted my failure to enlighten her to evil of the Christian faith, for while I have rejected the deeds and words of the Catholic Church, I still appreciate the beauty of Santa Claus. Mostly since the image of a fat white-bearded man in a red suit flying a reindeer-hauled sleigh around the world a sleigh remains twice as believable as the Immaculate Conception, especially considering that the Virgin Mary gave birth four months after her impregnation.
If I were a god-worshipper Santa Claus would be my man. The ho-ho gift-giver was based on St Nicolas of Smyrna, the original St. Nick, who is also the patron saint of beer, which is why my friends and I celebrated Beermas rather than Xmas, however I don’t play Scrooge during any holiday and neither do the Thais.
Christmas lights decorated Pattaya’s shopping mall to lure western consumers and curious Thais. Buy Buy Buy. Tis the season to spend your money.
On Walking Street go-go bars were splashed out in red. Dancers wore cute caps and nothing else. Jingle Bells played everywhere. Whiskey bottles were cracked open by my friends and gifts were exchanged amongst our Thai neighbors on Moo 9.
All this despite there being no chance of a White Christmas.
Neither were people fighting over nativity scenes, because the War on Christmas doesn’t exist anywhere, but the UK and the USA and as much as I avoid Bible-thumpers I feel that everyone should be able to say ‘Merry Christmas’ as much as ‘Happy Holidays’ or nothing at all.
Santa will sort out who’s good or bad.
The Bible-thumper's God in the mumu gave up that job a long time ago.
My daughter wanted to see the lights and we got on my scooter, happy to be a family, because Christmas in Pattaya is lights, fireworks, red caps, and a good time.
Friends, family, and a good laugh.
It even got cold at night.
And atop Doi InThanon, Thailand’s highest peak, there were reports of frost.
Maybe one year there will be a White Christmas in the Land of Smiles.
So Happy Beermas one and all.
Peace on earth and good will to men. Women too.