The Ramblings of An Angry Chinese Man

Imagine Confucius with roid rage...
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DECEMBER 11, 2009 5:18PM

The Holiday Season... I don't get it.

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Before we continue, I believe that a little back-story would help you understand my confusion. I'm an immigrant. My parents decided to come to the US when I was a small child, though they never really supported the concept of integration. From a young age, I was told "Look, you are in America but you will never be an American.". I was raised, much to my discontention at the time, with the idea that no matter what I did or how I acted I would always be seen as an outsider; thus there was no point in pretending. In retrospect, I more or less believe they were right to do so and their view was correct in many ways.

However, regardless of whether this method of parenting was valid or correct, it meant the following:

- No Halloween. "Why should I give these already fat [by Asian standards] kids more sweets to make them fatter?"

- No  Thanksgiving. "The idea that you have a day to give thanks shows that you are an ungrateful bastard every other day of the year."

- No Santa. "That's just silly. Any presents that you get come from us, not some magical fat man." 

- No Christmas. "We're not Christian."

- No Easter. "Again with this? WE - ARE - NOT - CHRISTIAN."

- No Fourth of July. "Sorry, all the Americans are taking the day off. Thus, I'm the only contractor working today, more money for us."

- No Earth/Arbor/Labor Day. "WTF is Earth/Arbor/Labor Day?"

Note: These views are not representative of all Chinese immigrants, my father is a strange man in many ways. 

Ok, so back to today.  My fiancee's sister and her husband asked me and my girl to watch their 4 year old daughter for the weekend so they can head up to Boston to take care of some things. Fine, I have no issue with this. However, the topic of keeping up the charade of Santa came up. Now ignoring the fact that Santa has nothing to do with Christmas, I'm sorry men in red suits giving gifts does not correlate with the supposed winter birth of Christ, I don't believe that teaching children that the laws of both the legal system (ie. breaking and entering) and physics (ie. that a fat man can both fit down a chimney and move at roughly 650 miles per second, which is the bare minimum needed to cover delivery for all Christian children worldwide) do not apply to a fat guy in a red suit just cause his intentions are good is a wise thing. 

Now, this point of contention led to a long discussion on the meanings of holidays, with a focus on American holiday traditions. So, I ask, why should we promote the current concept of Santa? The Santa of old made a list and checked it twice, knowing if you were naughty or nice, and dispensed both rewards AND punishments accordingly.The modern day incarnation of Santa is jackassery, he promotes the idea of "it doesn't matter what you do, you'll get good shit regardless". When was the last time you heard of some horrible little shit of a kid getting, the traditional gifts for asshole kids, coal and cleaning products? No, these little fuckers still get the same things as kids that aren't causing severe mental stress upon all those around them. Thus, I proposed a compromise with my future family, I would advocate Santa if I were allowed to bring back his darker half... The Krampus.

Disclaimer: Before anyone else says it, yes I know Santa Claus is derived from the Dutch Sinterklass and therefore his darker half should be Black Peter. But the whole idea of Black Peter is racist, thus I substitute the Krampus.

For those of you that do not know of The Krampus, he is a figure of no small evil that terrorizes all children AND delivers much punishment upon the ones that have been naughty with beatings, abductions, and even occasionally putting children in a sack which would then be thrown into a nearby river. Some of you may say that this is horrible, but it is tied closer to the origins of tradition of St. Nicolas' gift giving than Christmas. See, in the old days, St. Nick had nothing to do with Christmas. He had his own day, December 6th, St. Nicholas day. On St. Nicholas Eve, St. Nick and the Krampus would go from house to house judging children, rewarding or punishing them respectively. This myth I do support, despite my still present reservations about the miseducation children in regards to the legal system and physics, mainly cause it actually can be beneficial. In this dichotomy, St. Nick and the Krampus represent, in my mind, society as it should be. Do well, are productive, and be a good person and we shall reward you with that which you deserve. If you suck, be a drain on society, and are an overall horrible piece of shit? Well, we whip you with a birch switch, abduct you, and ultimately hurl you into a river.

So, anyone that is reading this, I implore you... If you love your fellow man, and desire to help mankind progress, then you really have no choice but to put on a devilish mask with goat horns, a larger fur covering of some sort, grab a birch switch and go terrorize the shit out of some kids... for the good of the species, of course. Help society and mankind as a whole, help me bring back The Krampus. 

Though, perhaps, I simply was never supplied with the proper tools to understand the American Holiday season/spirit. If one wishes to explain, in a logical manner, I would be glad to listen.

I have included two of my favorite Krampus videos below:

Disclaimer: I do not advocate that shitty music found in the second video. But if the goal of The Krampus is to terrorize, then this sonic bombardment might just be designed to do so.

 

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Did you see the krampus on Colbert the other night?

Good post.
No, I had not till you mentioned it. Just checked it out. I'm generally not a big fan of Colbert, but I do enjoy a good Krampusing.
Sounds like you have a lot of anger re family, holidays and goodness knows what else. Do you think one four-year old child has done anything to deserve having it all dumped on her? Please pick someone approximately your own age and/orweight for this honor...like maybe your dad?
See, I reject the idea that kids are horrible, except in very, very rare cases. My son has trouble sitting still. Demand that he sit in his chair through dinner (a common demand) and he can't do it.

It's not that he's disobedient. He's been tested and it turns out that his vestibulary system, the part of the brain that tells your body where it is in space is underreactive. Normal people get regular signals telling us (imperceptibly) where we are. He doesn't get frequent signals. But, moving triggers a signal. So, he feels a need to move. He can't feel what's happening, he just gets an itch to move.

Telling him to just sit down, doesn't acknowledge that it is physically harder for him to sit still than the average kid. We're working on this problem.

Plenty of kids have minor problems that manifest themselves in difficulty meeting the normal demands of polite society. You have to recognize them, work on the problem/behavior but NOT characterize the kid as a "little shit." That does nothing to help them recognize and resolve their problems.

My son is highly motivated to be good. If I spent my time telling him he's a little terror because he can't sit through dinner, sit still in class, etc, he might decide he's just a bad kid and there's no point in trying to be something he isn't.
PS:
The Russians celebrate New Year with a decorated, pine New Year's tree. They give presents on New Year's and some of the presents come from Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) who, you guessed it, wears a red suit trimmed with white fur and lives in the North Pole.

Thus, the holiday is completely stripped of Christianity, which makes sense as so many American Christmases have not much to do with the birth of Jesus. Like the Christmas in our atheist household.
Jesus is a story, just like Santa and his reindeer.
I love this post! I'm not a big fan of cheesy holiday stuff. My daughter, who's 7, recently asked me the truth about the tooth fairy so I told her. We don't celebrate Xmas so when she asked the truth about Santa I told her that too. But I made her promise not to ruin these things for her classmates. I don't want any angry moms calling me! I laughed at your dad's thoughts on the holidays--he had a work ethic, and he tells it like it is.
I enjoyed this. I know it was meant as comedy and that you're not really serious about terrorizing children and hurling them into rivers (or are you?) Thanks for the education on the Krampus. I thought it was something that visited women every 28 days.
i loved this and thought it was hilarious. My only quibble is how did you figure Santa needs to be moving at 650 mph to get to all the children? That part just screams made up to me, it's magic you see not mph's :), :)
ACM, I know some little monsters who need a visit.
@goldstrom~~~~~~~BOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
So, YOU are the judge/jury?? You must be one of those judgmental christers.

@Ariana,
This ought to explain a lot of how he gets around~~

FLY AWAY FLY AWAY FLY AWAY ALL
I agree with Jean Goldstrom..

Although the Krampus is an amusing thought.. you truly need therapy.

Regarding children.. you say..
"No, these little fuckers still get the same things as kids that aren't causing severe mental stress upon all those around them."

Cruelty to a child does not help.. and no kid makes a parents life unbearable.

Sorry, you're wrong.. I know that 100% of the parents feel this way.. that's why we celebrate them in our lives with gifts at holidays and their birthdays (a celebration of their birth? hellooo?).

Children bring joy and hope to the world for a better future.. and we encourage and applaud that through our love and bestowing on them some gift they would like or need.. as does the symbol of the wise men bringing gifts to Christ child.

Symbolism.. which is not a bad thing to pass on.. it's very powerful. (Hey, I can figure that out.. and I'm not even religious!)

Obviously Christmas needs to be kept in perspective, otherwise it can get out of hand.. and Krampus, Grinch, etc., provide that.. but..

You are dead inside.. you're parents killed your enthusiasm for living.

There is much beauty to life.. holidays are how we celebrate it.

You need to get it back.. like the Grinch.. your heart will only grow.

AngryChineseMan..

Merry Christmas. I hope your future holidays are better than the past ones... it's up to you.
I am not an immigrant but my feelings on holidays aren't much different than yours. I grew up poor so all the emphasis on holidays was just a reminder of what we didn't have. We did the holiday thing for our children, but their response was interesting. my kids at an early age knew there was no santa. One said the handwriting on Santa's gifts was mine, so he knew it was a fake. Now, I don't enjoy all the build up to christmas because of the religiosity and the greed, both.
@Jean Goldstrom: Ms. Goldstrom, or perhaps its Mr. as in the French form of John? No matter. Perhaps you did not ascertain by the combination of my screen name, title/subtitle, and bio that I am indeed angry? Pssst.... I'm Chinese too. Also, I am male.

I love my dad, as strange as his philosophies may be. He showed me how to become a man that has his own set of convictions and sticks by them no matter what the other 300 million people around him says, the definition of true honor. For that, though not for that alone, he has my eternal love and gratitude.

I also love my future niece, very much. She's the only 4 year old Street Fighter prodigy I've ever seen. To see her surprise an opponent with the Raging Demon is like watching Miyamoto Musashi invent Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryu or Rene Magritte create The Son of Man.

I take her all around the city with me when she visits and one time at the Canal Street arcade, I saw her crush the life out of a man with such frustration at her innate ability that he cried. She responded at first by giggling but then apologized to him and gave him a hug. That, people, is true grace and class. I shall stand by her side, protecting and aiding her, as she dominates life one Dragon Punch at a time. But that is not to say that she would not benefit from understanding the nature the world via the juxtaposition of St. Nick and The Krampus.

My posting was not about anger, sir/madam. It was an honest attempt to understand the holiday season and to present a manner to celebrate it in a form that is less crass and has societal benefit; with some humor interjected for the sake of making things less tedious.

But I guess this is what a strange, inscrutable foreigner gets for questioning such a holy thing as Santa... many apologies, I shall fetch you some tea.

@Malusinka: I too believe that most children aren't horrible little shits, though I would argue that its not as rare as you think. The children I speak are the truly unruly. We've all seen em; the ones who whine with at high pitch scream for some treat in the market, the kid who attacks other children on the playground, the little bastard that curses out his parent for attempting to assert authority on their petulant asses. These are the children who should know, and fear The Krampus. Your son seems like merely an antsy young man, that I take no issue with at all. In fact, tell him, somewhere in the Manhattan there is a gentleman of the Asian persuasion that wishes him a happy holiday season.

As to your description of the Russian holiday tradition, and thank you for sharing it, I have to ask was it the same before the advent of communism? I mean when you superpose a very anti-religion government structure upon a society for many decades, I would assume that many things would be changed. I ask this not to be argumentative, I merely am curious of such things.

@VictoraLord:

First off, I too shall wish you a Merry Christmas. However, I resent the implication that I am dead inside just cause I refuse to accept the idea that parenting and the messages we send children as a society should only be done with positive reinforcement. As much as we try to fool ourselves, we are indeed animals. As such, all animals require both positive and negative reinforcement to be trained properly; say what you want but child rearing is nothing more than a form of training when you break it down to its core. The Krampus is merely a form of negative reinforcement, that I view is a necessary balance to the way too sugary sweet form of Santa that currently exists.

Furthermore, saying that my parents killed a part of me, ie my enthusiasm for life, simply makes me want to slap the shit out of you for both your attack on them and unmitigated ignorance. I enjoy much in life. Mostly the little things; a finely crafted custom cigarette, a properly made gin and tonic, or even a good dirty joke. But you think just cause my view is a bit more pragmatically based or that I postulate that your revered holiday is indeed hollow, that I must somehow be broken. Well, madam, I can assure you that I am not.

Also, for your edification, I enjoyed many holidays as a child. Just not the ones that are native to the US. My favorite one, as a child, was the Moon Festival. Primarily cause it was close to my birthday and I loved the Moon Cakes. But the one that resonates most with me now, as an adult, is Ancestor's Day. It is a holiday where one forgets the petty crap of current life and honors the memories of those that came before them. There are silly decorations or presents, no people dressed up in costumes or charities begging on the street. We merely clean tombs/gravestones and have a nice meal while honoring our ancestors. It is a holiday with meaning, not like the hollowness that accompanies most American holidays which are used by many as simply excuses to spend and drink.
I'm an American, but I'm an atheist. I have no sentimentality about the Christmas holidays. Santa Claus represents the intersection of Christianity and consumerism, which results in child-rearing by buying kids unlimited amounts of stuff they don't need. Kids are indoctrinated into all of this at the same time.

I've always seen Santa Claus as a "gateway deity". What child in their right mind would accept the Jesus story? But Santa... Santa they have every reason to want to believe.

When I was a kid, we got presents for Christmas as parents could afford them. We were always told you had to be good to be sure you didn't get lumps of coal in your stocking. Now parents are expected to shower their children with presents year-round. Not to do so is considered not just un-American but an attack against the American way.
I think Angela is on to something. Even as a kid, I never really expected to get nothing or something bad for my Christmas present -- I just assumed it was a threat that grown-ups used when we'd get overly excited to get us to calm down a bit. But we didn't get gifts except for Christmas and our birthdays so it was a really big deal. And we didn't ever get everything we asked for, just a few choice items.

I had a different experience though with the Santa Claus vs. Jesus stories. I found Jesus much more believable than the Santa Claus story. After all, I would actually meet Santa Claus, usually several times each year at some store, and he'd always be different. His beard especially would be different but sometimes he'd have glasses and sometimes not, sometimes he'd have fake boots and sometimes real ones, and so on. It truly bothered me and I'd ask all sorts of questions and get vague answers like "oh the real Santa is making toys and this is one of his elves". Well that started another round of questions because as far as I knew, elves were small and wore green outfits. I figured out early on that it was all just a game and not real. Not that I didn't continue sitting on Santa's lap and giving him a list of stuff to bring -- I still wanted to believe. But I was kind of skeptical about the whole thing.

The Jesus story seemed real to me. I knew about babies and sheep and camels and donkeys and stables and food troughs. I wasn't sure about angels being real but I also didn't know anyone who wore those robes and sandals in the winter either so I assumed that they must have done things differently in a far off land in a far off time and they probably did have angels back then. I figured it was similar to how my grandparents were always telling me things that I couldn't imagine like how they used to not have TVs and had to listen to the radio all the time and how when they were kids there was no such thing as cars so I understood that things were a whole lot different in olden times. Even if we can't see angels now, I was sure that people like the shepherds could see them then.

Mostly though I liked the idea of a sweet friendly little baby who was so special that lots of people came to give him gifts. I wanted to be special and sweet and nice like baby Jesus so people would give me lots of gifts too.

Your future niece might like the idea of The Krampus when she's older and into scary monster-type things, especially when she wants to prove that she's not a baby anymore. I would have loved those stories at 10 or 12. But if I put myself in a 4 year-olds shoes, I'd think my future uncle mixed up Halloween which is supposed to be dark and scary with Christmas which is fun and lights, and I'd be really confused by the idea.
I am a mother of 3 and I love my children, I love Christmas, and although I am not highly religious, I do believe in god. I however didn't take any offense to this post or the videos. It was funny, I laughed and even giggled to myself about what my two oldest would do if I told them the story of the "Krumpus", I don't think that makes me a bad person...lol

Although, I couldn't do it to them because I would only be hurting myself in the end with the late night crying from nightmares.. (a joke)

Honestly, I am not sure how much my two oldest believe in Santa...but we all play the game. It is probably for the sake of me because I find it cozy and fun. I guess it helps to keep there innocence for a little longer. It is as simple as that for me, to many parents try to kill that innocence and simple mindedness in their kids way to early, it is sad. So I celebrate Christmas and give my children presents simply because I like to do it and I love them. No other reason! Well, maybe because it is also away for me to relive a small part of my childhood....:)

I do understand what you meant about terror children, (I worked in a Daycare for years) but I think that it has more to do with bad parenting then anything. Children are creatures of their enviornment....Most parents can't understand why their kids yell (as they are yelling at them to stop yelling) or why they hit (as they are beating their rear ends saying, 'don't hit) or why they scream (as they scream at them to stop)....I mean come on!



I do agree that Santa and Jesus have nothing to do with each other. Santa and Christmas for me is purley about the tradition and fun. It is not something that I see as a religious holiday.

I am a christian though, atleast I like to think I am. I don't attend church, I admit that but I do like to read the bible and I don't understand the birth of Jesus and the affiliation with Christmas. I don't know why churches celebrate Christmas as the day of Jesus birth.

The bible says nothing about December 25th at all....infact it says that shepards were in the fields, they only stayed in the fields with their flock during fall (a little history research)...and The origional celebration of Christmas on the 25th was honoring the sun god (wich is actually a pagan thing)...so hmmmm
Another thing is that the whole nativity scene is made up, yes, I believe in the story of jesus birth...Mary and Joseph, the inn, the angels singing, baby Jesus in a manger (all the wonderful stuff in the bible) but the 3 wise men...What is that? That is a whole other bible story, in a complete different book of the bible, it never says there was 3 and they visited baby Jesus sometime after his birth to age 2. Mary and Joseph were already in a home in Egypt by the time the men got there. Jesus was NOT a baby in a manger.

Anyway...I guess that was just food for thought.....

I don't know why people take such offense to ridiculous things.... We all celebrate different holidays and in different ways, no two people are alike and the meanings of those things are special to us as individuals. :)

****anyone who wants to disagree, don't argue with me, just look it up in your bible or any bible....****
Just as a clear up for LyndieB, Christmas was set on December 25 as the Romans used to have a holiday period called Saturnalia, where much merriment (i.e. drinking and sex) occured all over including the streets. Christians were not happy that some of their followers were taking part. They came up with an alternate holiday to focus them on Christianity - hence the birth of Jesus on December 25. In actuality he was probably born in March.

I think angrychineseman may have a point, although I wouldn't advocate his views. They are based culturally and familialy and are his beliefs. As he states in his culture there are many other holidays and festivals to celebrate.
R
When I read your post, I saw a (selfish) opportunity to talk about my dad, who has been much in my heart and in my mind this Christmas season.

My dad lived through the Great Depression and his childhood Christmases were pretty spare. Things were difficult and there wasn't much appetite for celebrating. He was determined to make a better experience for us (and for himself, too, I am sure). We had what can only be described as glorious Christmases. We didn't have a great deal of money, but Christmas was full of family, decorations, surprises, special home made gifts and traditions that my sisters and I keep still. The magic of Santa was a part of it, too. My dad and mom made every Christmas special.

My dad is gone now, and the memories of these holidays are some of my most treasured memories of him. I didn't have children, but you can be sure that if I had, I would have tried my best to give them the kind of Christmas memories that are mine. I think that that is what many parents are trying to do. Give their kids a little magic while they are young enough to believe. Give their kids some wonderful memories.

It sounds like you have a lovely bond with your niece; I wish you both wonderful memories, Christmas and otherwise.
Ok, I just want to bring up one thing. People love to bring up the mass sex and drinking aspect of Saturnalia, but it didn't have that much more than any other Roman holiday; even far less when it comes to the many fertility. Simple fact, Roman's loved wine. Alcohol leads to reduce inhibitions and causes a temporarily higher sex drive, though interestingly it starts to lower male libido after a certain tipping point. Roman's, as almost all cultures that were not heavily influenced by any of the big three religions that came from the middle east, were not prudish and saw that sex was merely another function of the human body much like farting or sneezing, only more fun.

Also, let us not forget that through Saturnalia's patron god is Saturn, the Roman god who is semi-analogous to the Greek Kronos, the main celebration itself was under the purview of Bacchus, the Roman form of the Greek god Dionysus, the god of wine, madness, ecstasy, agricultural fertility, and theatre.

The main tenets of the Saturnalian experience, however, are almost completely Bacchian in nature with only some lip service paid to Saturn himself in a few sacrifices here and there and the phrase "Ho, praise to Saturn!" used as a greeting; which some say is where Santa's "Ho, Ho, Ho" comes from. But the most central points during Saturnalia are gift giving, a symbolic role reversal (men and women exchanged clothes and masters served dinner to their slaves), and colorful holiday clothing was worn. The traditional dates of Saturnalia are the 16th till the 23rd of December; which proves, without a shadow of a doubt, that Saturn/Kronos officially endorses the holiest of days... Festivus. So when you break out your aluminum pole and tape recorder this year, be sure to thank Saturn/Kronos for all his blessings before you commence with the Airing of Grievances.
Festive holiday cheer indeed. :)
madcelt- I don't need to be cleared up but thank you anyway. I know the history of Christmas, and its purpose. I wasn't wrong in what I said...and shepards only stayed with their flocks during the fall months. My point is that Christmas and the birth of baby Jesus have nothing to do with one another and combining the two is clearly a lie.

I love Christmas and what it is now (obviously it is no longer a pagan holiday and nobody prays to the sun god).
Before the Revolution, the Tree/presents/lights/Santa thing was celebrated around Christmas. It wasn't a long standing tradition, having been imported by some German-born Tsar or Empress (Catherine the Great and her deposed husband, Peter the 2nd? 3rd? were both born in German to German princelings.)

What I like about the Russian celebration of New Year's is that it can be happily celebrated by everyone, the atheists, Orthodox, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists (to name the 4 state sanctioned "traditional" religions). On Christmas (Jan 7 for the Orthodox) the Christians can celebrate a religious holiday, which they do by going to church and praying.

Hence, everyone gets presents, to decorate a tree, and overindulge in food and alcohol without pretending that this has anything to do with the birth of Jesus.
Fair enough LyndieB - I didn't mean to insult. It was more to get in the Saturnalia bit. I'm not Christian in the real sense of the word, but dammit, I still love Christmas.