Christmas 2007: Melly Clisma
December 26, 2007
Christmas here is almost a non event. Yet, there is a Christmas Spirit.
The shopping malls have huge trees in the lobby; the obligatory carols play in the background. One shop was playing "It's a Blue Christmas Without You" by Elvis. I sang along with him as I was choosing a new calendar. I did get strange looks and a couple of smiles. A few of the sales people wore red and white Santa caps. In one large store the local church sent over a choir complete with violin and guitar. You ever heard "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" in Thai?
Otherwise on Christmas Day it’s business as usual in this 95% Buddhist Kingdom. I even went to the Chinese Embassy to apply for a visa for my trip next month.
This morning I listened to radio station WNYC.org. It was still Christmas in New York City so the play list included everything Yule. One offering was a spectacular, jazz, big band rendition of "The Nutcracker." *
Many guitar arrangements and vocals were also included on the carols play list. Missing from the program was my all time favorite Christmas song. Can you guess what it is?
No, it's not "Jingle Bell Rock." "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is also a good guess.**
Finally, my sweet Thai friends assume that since I am white Westerner I must also celebrate Christmas.
Last night my mobile phone rang several times and I heard the adorable greeting, "Papa Jan, Papa Jan, Melly Clisma."
Melly Clisma to you and Sawatdee Pee Mai.
* The Harlem Nutcracker. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's "Nutcracker Suite." Expanded and arranged by Ellington expert David Berger into "The Harlem Nutcracker," the suite features jazz classics such as Dance of the Floreadores, Peanut Brittle Brigade, and Sugar Rum Cherry.