Santa is a Chinese Ah Beng

Santa is a Chinese Ah Beng
Santa with Oxford Street Christmas lights

Today, I would like to bring your attention to an important, long-overdue, potentially life-altering debate currently brewing over the question: Santa Claus is a fat white guy, right?

For those of you who are wondering why this topic is even worth debating in Singapore, let me explain. Studies have shown that a society cannot achieve full self-actualisation if it is unable to properly engage - as a nation - the problem of racial identification for imaginary figures.

The issue actually started last week from a blog published by Slate.com titled Santa Claus Should Not Be A White Man Anymore. In it, author Aisha Harris suggested that traditional commercial depictions of Santa should be done away with in favour of a penguin wearing a red suit.

"Why, you ask?" she wrote presciently. "For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of non-white kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood."

Then everyone just laughed at it and got on with their lives realising that there were better things to talk about.

Just kidding.

What actually happened was that it made national news in the United States, with a Fox New Channel leading the chorus of people who stress that Santa Claus is a white guy, period.

This prompted further rebuke from the non-white Santa camp until the issue started to feature on nearly every American news programme.

When I first encountered this debate, I felt somewhat inadequate.

You see, all along I thought myself a rather sophisticated individual who no doubt had a wellbalanced, thoughtful childhood.

However, I do not ever recall being disturbed or being made to feel insecure by a Caucasian Santa. I was more worried about how he was going to make his way into a flat.

There was no instance when I thought: "I would feel so much better if my presents came from a penguin rather than a white man.

Different species, I can deal with. Accepting presents from a member of a different race is too much."

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