A Conversation with Uncle Claus

A Conversation with Uncle Claus

“Build bridges between people, all people. That’s what the world needs most”

* “I am what I am, a make-believe but a powerful one”

We again had a chat with Santa Claus as we did last year. Uncle Santa is a wise old man, although he is made to look younger than his age. He has been around and seen lots – people, places, events – good and bad. Yet he manages to maintain a jolly spirit and does not seem to get tired. This chubby guy has got quite a few tricks up his sleeves, and is an astute observer of some ground realities around the world, including our small island…

TP Saran: Hello, Old Boy! Good to see you in your usual jovial mood again. How are you doing?

Santa Claus: Very well indeed, and how about you guys down here? Nothing to complain about either isn’t it? Generous budget, bonus, holidays galore, more public holidays than in any other place that I know – and I do know places! -, sunshine, blue sky, white sand, emerald seas, well, isn’t it a real plaisir for you all!

* Really amazing how you keep that jolly good mood with the insanity all around. Really amazing indeed!

That’s why I like to come to your island. Restores my mood, get rid of the blues. ’Cos elsewhere everybody is complaining – inflation, youth unemployment, drugs and what have you. But you fellows seem to be getting, getting! Instead of losing, growing all the time, I am the one to be amazed!

* ‘The main reason why Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.’ Guess who said that?

Must be some joker!

* Well, that was from George Carlin, the American stand-up comedian. He really had a sense of humour, that fellow. Had to, anyway… That’s quite understandable – he won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums…

Oh that guy! Yes, he did have a sense of humour, great satirist of his country’s social landscape as well. But remember he had a very supportive family, and a loving daughter.

* Now, tell us about those ‘bad girls’, will you? Thought you had a weakness for the ‘good’ ones! All men are pretty much the same, the women folk would say…

Well, there are bad girls and bad boys too don’t forget! So I look at everybody with the same eye. No one is all good, no one is all wrong. What can I do, good or bad everybody expects a gift from me. And the men folk say the same thing too about women. But I leave them to sort it out between themselves, I am too old to take sides.

* But why is it that ‘bad girls’ usually get the prize and the nice ones finish last? There must be some good reasons for that, isn’t?

The nice ones always win in the end, make no mistake about that. Put-up charms

and cleverness can only go so far. The bad boys too, some come round, most not.

* But you do know, dear Uncle, that the kids have a weakness for you. I mean most kids – Christians or non-Christians alike. You have today become “wholly secular”, as they put it – “a powerful cultural symbol which is impossible to ignore” … although some Christians object to you because you are secular rather than Christian. Likewise some non-Christians take objection to your Christian roots. Quite a hard nut to crack, I dare say!

Irrelevant. Forget the labels. I am a creation of cold climes, where it’s freezing and people need to warm up inside and outside. My hugs and gifts touch both, so what’s wrong with everyone irrespective having fun with me? Best is to laugh and connect, that’s what. Build bridges between people, all people. That’s what the world needs most.

* But there is a myth that has been built around you and about your “powers”. And the most serious objection to perpetuating belief in you is that parents have to lie to their children. I mean the ‘little white lies’ that parents should persistently tell in order to get kids to believe in you. As with any lie, it’s necessary to construct more and more elaborate lies and defenses as time passes.’ Now, that should make you rather uncomfortable, I would think…

Nope. Those who tell the lies must take the responsibility. But you know, don’t you, that modern kids can’t be fooled. After all, they know that their houses don’t have chimneys, and they go about seeing all these toys and what have you in the shops. Do you think they really believe nowadays that Santa Claus pops the iPads and Ninja games from nowhere and push them down an inexistent chimney!!

I am what I am, a make-believe but a powerful one, a positive symbol, not one that makes anyone want to go to war against the other. So that’s fine for me. I only hope I will last, even if I am virtual. But again, virtuality is the new reality, so I have a hope for myself. On the other hand, lies get discovered. Kids are smart, they know I am not a lie, I am magic.

* Rest assured, dear Uncle: I, for one, do not care about those “little white lies” – even if one has to go on constructing more and more lies – so long as they are made for the kids’ own good…

That’s what I said, isn’t it. Keep the magic going, magic belongs to the imagination, man’s most powerful tool. I can be only as strong as your imagination.

* Here down dark earth, Uncle, it’s quite a spectacle, I should say. It’s quite depressing at most times, even scary. But you do know about that, don’t you? No need for me to elaborate…

No, no need… But good people must come together, otherwise you guys are done. Don’t worry about me, I will always be available.

* What is man up to, Uncle? There doesn’t seem to be any limit to his greed, prejudice, oppression, or violence against his fellow brothers and sisters and even against Mother Earth herself… Really crazy, this world!

I can do no better than let George Carlin speak. Here goes, take your pick:

If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.

I look at it this way… For centuries now, man has done everything he can to destroy, defile, and interfere with nature: clear-cutting forests, strip-mining mountains, poisoning the atmosphere, over-fishing the oceans, polluting the rivers and lakes, destroying wetlands and aquifers… so when nature strikes back, and smacks him on the head and kicks him in the nuts, I enjoy that. I have absolutely no sympathy for human beings whatsoever. None. And no matter what kind of problem humans are facing, whether it’s natural or man-made, I always hope it gets worse.

Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man… living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

* Let’s take a genuine politician: one of the remaining few leaders who one could look up to has departed. Nelson Mandela, who stood as one of the most admired political leaders of the 20th and 21st century for his vision to forgive and forge a new ‘rainbow’ nation, passed away, as you know, some 15 days back. Well, quite a lot has been said about the larger-than-life statesman that he was; he had indeed been a model to emulate – a great President for South Africa…

A real Great Man, period. The last of the Mohicans of the 20th century as it were.

* Some people have been saying that he had indeed been a great President for South Africa, especially for white South Africa… Now, that’s unfair, don’t you think?

Hypocritical more than unfair. Those who villified him, who labelled him a terrorist when his struggle against apartheid had to take a more muscled turn, those who refused to give him an appointment, those who continued to support White domination, the Blacks who dominated him – all are hypocrites who are trying to have some of his glory washed on to them by praising him in death.

Back to the brainy quote from good old George Carlin – the universe seems to have settled for very little!

* As far as larger-than-life leaders are concerned, South Africa has no doubt been lucky. It would seem most countries, including ours, do not have the same luck what with their “petty, frivolous, pathetic, sneering” chaps all over the place…

South Africa will never get that lucky again. Mandela’s legacy there is practically gone. Find out what’s happening at the University of Natal in Durban and you will get to know how much his legacy of social justice remains. You do not upgrade education by lowering the level of the requirements to entry do you? Seems that is what is happening in your education system too, isn’t it, with bilingual exam papers, the official noises about English with no real concrete measures for remedy.

* “If it’s inevitable, just lay back and enjoy it.” I am not sure if it’s Confucius who said that, but we seem to be doing just that. I mean the rape by the politicians, the fraudsters, the banksters…

Very interesting that you should say that! Heard of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs? He died a couple of days ago at 84 years of age. Here’s what a blogger commented: ‘At least he was a real “Robber” not one these pretentious ones that dress in suits and hide behind desks and walls giving the impression they are doing an honest day’s work!’

Voilà, there’s your answer, no comments!

* And the media is having a field day reporting the daily rape and laughing their way to the bank! It has been rightly said that the misfortune of some makes the happiness of others, isn’t it?

Same blog as in previous question applies here too I’m afraid!

* “Do not focus on the world that is polarizing toward selfishness and fear. Do not pay attention to the old that is crumbling around you. What has been shall be no more.” I do not recall who said that, but the message is clearly about the need to take heart, for there is reason for hope. Do you still entertain hopes about the “goodness” of man?

Why not end with our friend George again? Here goes:

I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.

Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.

If the cops didn’t see it, I didn’t do it!

It isn’t fair: the caterpillar does all the work, and the butterfly gets all the glory.

Thanks Santa! I did not know that you kept up to date on so many things! And, by the way, Merry Christmas to you too, even if it’s virtual!

TP Saran

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