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Beijingle Bells

Christmas in China pretty much has to be seen to be believed.  Christmas, Christianity and most of the other imported ideas here are at the mercy of Chinese interpretation, that is to say, they’ll all do it so long as it’s cool and fashionable, but no one will really know what they’re doing or why.  That said, not really knowing what or why are pretty much the default settings for most Chinese people.

The festive period is a particularly isolating time for expats in this neck of the woods, not least because of the largely government sanctioned Good Times™ dictate when and where people can have fun beyond a late night card game in a smoky restaurant.  Perfectly rational people call themselves Christian without ever have attended mass, even midnight mass on Christmas Day, and quite frankly as someone who was raised Roman Catholic, and is still dogged by the incumbent guilt, shame and lack of self-worth that those dogmatic teachings instill, I understandably feel more than a little cheated about this.  The Chinese have approached the Christian celebration of mass and the Eucharist as they have approached everything else – pointlessly attaching a myriad nitpicking laws, unnecessary surveillance and legislation that wouldn’t look out of place in 14th century Cardiff.  Nevertheless, people do try their best to enter in the spirit of things, albeit, they’re a little wide of the mark sometimes.

Take, for example, the large, crass and downright vulgar Garfield statue that sprung up near my office in Chongwenmen.

The connection between celebrating the birth of Christ a and orange lasagna loving cartoon cat?  Well that’s anyone’s guess…

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