Tag Archives: Christmas

16. Going Underground

  1. 01. Giving It Away
  2. 02. Mind Games
  3. 03. Customer Service
  4. 04. Getting Down to Business
  5. 05. …And Not a Drop to Drink
  6. 06. The Commission
  7. 07. Service!
  8. 08. Instant Celebrity
  9. 09. The Pinoy Diet
  10. 10. Life As We Know It
  11. 11. Doctors’ Borders
  12. 12. Poor, Poorer, Poorest
  13. 13. Half Empty
  14. 14. Me and My Leg
  15. 15. Always Be With You
  16. 16. Going Underground
  17. 17. Decisions, Decisions
  18. 18. I Shall Depart
  19. 19. A Volcano within a Volcano
  20. 20. A Nod and a Smile
  21. 21. Not Fighting City Hall
  22. 22. Stasis in Places
  23. 23. Fond Farewells
  24. 24. Parting Shots

The Philippines boasts the longest Christmas season in the world, so the holiday season has been upon us for some time now. I thought it an exaggeration when told — repeatedly — that it starts in September. But sure enough, every supermarket, mall, department store, sari-sari, turo-turo, open house, restaurant, bar, jeepney, bus and police station starts blaring Christmas carols the moment August ends. Leroy Andersen’s Sleigh Ride (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDRFmn_KqfA) is peculiarly popular given the environs’ complete lack of sleighs or snow or giddy-ups or a-jing-jing-a-lings.  There’s barely a person around who has ever seen snow, yet everyone dreams of a white Christmas. Even after twenty years in Australia, this cynic is moved by such absurdities.

img_4259The decorative crescendo is more gradual. This close to the equator, the sun never sets very late, helping justify huge investments in extravagant Christmas displays. Tree lighting ceremonies at shopping malls and public spaces attract thousands to celebrate peace on Earth by detonating fireworks to throbbing Christmas tunes.

I will say this for the Filipinos: they can sing. I see this as a by-product of a karaoke culture that encourages participation while effectively prohibiting criticism or mockery. I have struggled to hold my tongue through some painful renditions, but it has proven worthwhile, as the awful performances are relatively few, and the good ones plentiful. Rogue gangs of carolers roam residential streets demanding what you care to give in exchange for impressive intonation. Continue reading 16. Going Underground

16. One Helluva Christmas

  1. 01. Fiji…Again?
  2. 02. Fun & Games
  3. 03. Growing Indigenation
  4. 04. Coup de Grâce?
  5. 05. Friends Go Away
  6. 06. Mercy by Coup, Merci Beaucoup
  7. 07. It’s Nice to be Needed
  8. 08. Walk Like A Man
  9. 09. Extreme Retirement
  10. 10. Get a Grip
  11. 11. Dangerous Cargo
  12. 12. Drinking in the Holiday Season
  13. 13. Fit for Purpose
  14. 14. Emotion Sickness
  15. 15. New Fiji’s Eve
  16. 16. One Helluva Christmas
  17. 17. Enough is Enough

The sunrise cut through the crack in the blackout curtains like a laser beam, illuminating the room just enough to leave me utterly perplexed as to where I was awakening or why I was there. Frank was nowhere to be found. For reasons that defy explanation, he had left his iPhone broadcasting WBUR, Boston’s National Public Radio station:

“…an assailant stole a baby Jesus statue this morning from a nativity scene outside a Haverhill church and replaced it with a severed pig’s head…”

That’s right, I recalled, it was Christmas morning and I was in Fiji. Continue reading 16. One Helluva Christmas