Who Stole Christmas? We
04 December 2019
We stopped in a cafe yesterday here in Penang, an island city of nearly two million off the west coast of Malaysia. We stopped to catch our breath and escape from the oppressive, steaming, equatorial heat and humidity by strolling through the air conditioned shops and Malls. In Starbucks, after I'd unfortunately told the attractive young waitress that, while pointing at her badge, I thought Barista was a lovely name and ordered my mocha choco cappuccino, no froth, with sprinkles, moy caliente, no straw, in a mug, I got to wondering what is actually going on here in Malaysia. A former British colony, after we'd no doubt bled it dry, we, the Brits, very generously granted them independence. That was back in 1957. Since then, under their own steam they've created an economic powerhouse. The Silicon Valley of the east. It's certainly light years economically from pretty much all the Indonesian islands we visited. Quite a culture shock. That and the baubles.
You see, for us, obviously, it's the run up to Christmas. Anne has had the Lifeboat cards shipped out and spends the evenings interrupting my busy schedule by asking "should we keep sending to the Bloggs?" and other folk I'm afraid I've long forgotten.
Anyway. It is clearly Christmas here. Gaudily lit giant plastic trees, giant Hello Kitty snow scene balls - like the ones you shake and snow falls down over the Empire State Building or such like, only here, Chinese kids and their grannies are inside. There's all the festive drinks at Starbucks......Winter Warmer Gingerbread Coffee...... it's thirty five flaming degrees outside and they're peddling Winter Warmers for goodness sake. The malls are playing all the kitsch Christmas tunes although I have to say, old Noddy has yet to be heard.
It is all a bit weird though. According to Wikipedia, 62% are Muslim, 20% Buddhist and yet, with only 9% Christian, Christmas is absolutely huge.
At least, for the retailers.