Friday, January 14, 2005

A Singapore Christmas Story

*adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl
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Once upon a time.... a little Chinese girl tried to make a living by selling light up Christmas items in Orchard Road in Singapore.It was Christmas Eve and the streets were full of people from all walks of life. From brightly lit malls came the tinkle of laughter and the sound of singing. People were preparing for their own celebrations.

But the poor little streetseller sat sadly beside the fountain. Her blue jeans and baby t'shirt did not make her noticeable in the crowd. She had'nt sold any items all day and she was frightened to go home, for her father would certainly be angry. If only she could sell even one item.

She approached a young man, but he only said:"buon Natale".After hesitating for a long time, she approached the girl of her age, and the girl just nodded and said:"joyeux Noel" while handing out a crisp five dollar bill. She was filled with joy for at last she was able to sell . But her father made it clear to her that she needs to sell all 20 pieces.

She approached the group of people coming her way. She showed them the items but only one person bought an item, though all of them greeted her with "feliz Navidad."Then came a group of Japanese people and she approached them instantly with her Christmas light up items. They nodded happily, paid for 10 pieces and greeted her with "meri kurisumasu".

The little girl still had 10 items to sell and she was so hungry. She got no money to buy any food as her father expected her to give back $100 in all.She decided to walk farther to HMV so she can dispose the remaining 8 items, when she saw a Filipino family walking towards her. She hesitantly showed them her products. The young mother gladly showed her twin daughters the light up items and the twins gigled merrily. They bought all the remaining items and then greeted her with "MALIGAYANG PASKO!" The Chinese girl was so amazed of the sound that she asked what it meant in English.

When she learnt that it meant MERRY CHRISTMAS, she tried to say it that it sounded so cute. The family then invited the girl to eat Noche Buena in their Woodlands home. Upon seeing all the Christmas decors and the food on the table, the little girl was so filled with amazement and joy . She could not believe that Christmas celebration in other homes were a table full of food.

She then enjoyed with them in eating the sumptuous food.When it was time for her to go home,the little girl told them that she sold to other people and they also greeted her in their languages. But with them, Filipinos, they not only bought her items, they even invited her to eat, and that she will never forget all her life.

She then said thank you and repeated MALIGAYANG PASKO.

As it is Christmas time again, it is just an ordinary sight to see a Chinese lady in her own shop speaking in Tagalog saying MALIGAYANG PASKO to everybody.


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