Xmas in China is yet another example of how all the ‘bad’ of a meaningful (Western) holiday can be exported like a commodity and planted into a completely foreign place where it is impossible for the people to understand anything about it. Sorry to start out so negative, but Patrick and I spent the greater part of yesterday shopping, and with every dancing Santa, every blinking Christmas tree, we thought…what is wrong with this picture?!? I called a modern Chinese restaurant to make a reservation for December 24th for a bunch of friends who are in town over the holidays, and I heard “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in the background. Yes, we are Shanghai. Yes, it is international. Yes, there are Christians living here. But it still makes no sense – all the lights and attraction that this season gets criticized in the West, right here in the East. If you interview a European on that subject, they will grunt and complain about commercialization, globalization and local traditions getting wiped out. But here – I am not sure if folks think about the implications.
Since work has picked up, and I have am in more of a work-home routine than I would like, I noticed that I have not been able to reflect on my experiences here as much as I used to. I wondered if that is because I am getting accustomed to life here and thus not as sensorally aware, or if I just am too tired for analyzation. Maybe both. But I have decided to make a list and so expect a longer entry hopefully soon!