My 5th Christmas in Perth

When I was young, we had the pleasure of sending cheap Christmas cards to our friends. Printed on those cards would always be something related to snow, be it house with a arched roof embedded with a thick layer of snow, a white Christmas tree or a magnified design of a snowflake. I asked my mother, "When is it going to snow?" Of course, she laughed and told me it would unlikely in her lifetime. 

Still, I was still contented that we got to celebrate Christmas in Singapore, although it was a westernized thing. The next best thing to spending time with the family and the dead turkey on the table in a cosy warm house on a snowing evening was perhaps walking along Orchard Road admiring lights and sweating like hell by the time we reached City Hall. No matter, street walking had never felt that good in any part of the year than Christmas session. The decorations were rich and generous and loud Christmas songs were played to drive up the atmosphere. The weather was usually good, by Singapore's standard, around that time of the year. There was almost a hint of romanticism in the air along those streets. Life was good.

Until the very first Christmas Eve when I had to work. I was only 16 years old back then and took up a holiday job in Takashimaya to earn a few bucks. That Christmas probably gave me a rude awakening to commercialism and melted any romanticism left in my mind for Christmas. I almost missed the last night train home that night. It wasn't quite my idea of "Silent night, holy night" for me. Quite the opposite, in fact. Since then, Christmas represented a time for me to "slack" at home and hide from the world.

If Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Christ with nice cold weather, songs and log cakes then Australia, Perth in particular, must be where Satan normally resides. For it gives us damn good weather throughout the year except and especially on fucking Christmas day, just to prove a point I guess. 

In fact Perth has been the hottest capital city in the world on Christmas so often that even bookies are offering bets for that this year. Just imagine what kind of Christmas spirit you can experience here. Dead spirits from animals, insects and humans who died of heat stroke perhaps.

A good majority of the companies in Perth closes (termed: shutdown) from the 21st Dec onward. Some reopen for business only on the end of the first week of the New Year. It was supposed to be a year end holiday/celebration for the Aussies, though I suspect it is also for them to get away from the heat by driving south, flying North to Bali or simply hiding at home with reverse cycle activated. I thought the shutdown thing is a good idea, though I will prefer them to call it the Bunking Fortnight. It is a mystery to me why Perth houses do not come with a basement. That'll come in handy for our bunking needs when Satan visits during Christmas.

I've been asked for the 4th time by a colleague today about my plans for Christmas. I should have realise by now I am supposed to have one but I do not have the mood to make any. If there was actually any traces romanticism of Christmas left in me, it will be fully melted and drained after this one. I do, however, miss my family in Singapore when I was doing a big grocery run last weekend. My daughter must be wondering why I gave her extra hugs lately.