Chinese PhD’s urge nation to boycott Christmas

A must-read post from one of my very favorite blogs. The blogger’s take on this subject is witty and smart, and best of all, he makes two separate references to kaoya.

As an interesting accompaniment, I recommend you also watch this unusual video, in which Sexy Beijing asks Beijingers on the street their thoughts about Christmas. Some interesting comments – is it all good fun, or is it in questionable taste to put Chinese people on the spot about a topic they most likely know little about? (My own attitude is that the video was shot in the spirit of fun, not cruelty or condescension.)

The Discussion: 18 Comments

The Sexy Beijing installment is great, one of the best so far. Kudos to “Su Fei” and for their fine work on the series.

The part where she tests Beijinger’s comparative knowledge of Christmas and hanukkah is priceless.

December 22, 2006 @ 11:15 am | Comment

Oh, I haven’t seen this one yet. The last one I saw was the one where she goes to the countryside, which I thought was pretty darn funny…

December 22, 2006 @ 2:17 pm | Comment

I never thought I’d say this but I agree with the Chinese PhD. As a non-Christian, I always get annoyed around this time of year with Christmas constantly assaulting me everywhere I go.

I personally don’t understand why Christmas has been afforded this position of preeminence amongst all holidays of all cultures of the world, other than the fact that it is much more marketable than say, a month of fasting or penance.

Anyway, in striking my own blow against imperialism, I am currently teaching my students that a proper response to being wished “Merry Christmas,” is to reply “Bah humbug!”

December 22, 2006 @ 2:40 pm | Comment

Can someone explain to me the Chinese culture it is replacing? hasn’t most of it being bulldozed away to be replaced by socialism with Chinese characteristics?

But I would tend to agree with YiFan, as even as a westerner, I find that there is too much emphasis on Christmas, Halloween, Valantines day and other western style festivals. Sure they are nice to be involved in but do we really need to be bombarded by them 6 weeks beore they start…. As soon as halloween finishes we are onto Christmas, then Valantines day, then Easter, is there a point where it is too much?

December 22, 2006 @ 2:52 pm | Comment

Since they don’t have humbugs in China the phrase that was coined is ‘Bah Mantou’ 🙂 Good luck on sorting out that ‘imperialism’

December 22, 2006 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

Okay, as a non-Christian…I like Christmas! I don’t see it as a religious holiday at all. But I like the decorations, the songs, the tree, the cards…I like exchanging gifts and getting together with friends and family…I remember some conversations I had with Chinese friends about Christmas. They liked it because unlike most of the traditional holidays, they didn’t see it as a family-oriented event. For them it was a time to get together and celebrate with friends and just have fun. I thought this made a lot of sense.

December 22, 2006 @ 3:01 pm | Comment

Guy – I think we reached that point in the west a long time ago. China should act now to spare itself – but as always, it is consumer and media driven and there’s becoming more and more spare cash going around. A fool and his bèng, etc.

* prob should be qián but I like the sound of bèng, it’s just sounds so, Chinese 🙂

December 22, 2006 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

It is enough that Christmas is celebrated as a time of good will, peace, happiness and giving more than normal to those that have less. Atheists and others seek some sort of PC “happy festivus” or some crap but are often just to crabby and bitter to enjoy a general holiday spirit. Of course, in a consumer-as-crack addict society such as China it is easy to get caught up in the simpleton concept of “consumption” or be rebellious and just sit at home in a black t-shirt and black slacks opposing everything while getting drunk and watching DVDs.

December 22, 2006 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

I believe these Ph.D students are very stupid.

Christmas is a harmless international holiday that should be encouraged in China.

I say this from a strictly economic point of view. The Chinese economy is export-driven. This economic model cannot be sustained. China must stimulate domestic consumption because the domestic demand is very undeveloped.

If the Christmas custom of gift giving and putting up Christmas decorations were encourage, this would have a very positive effect on China’s economy.

Chinese children, like all children, enjoy receiving gifts. If they also knew that each Christmas they will receive presents, this may be a way to modify their behavior during the year.

China makes the majority of Christmas decorations in the world and the majority of the toys; these industries would expand due to the increased demand. This will be good for China’s economy.

Mr. Wang and his Ph.D colleagues are not economists, businessmen, or social scientists. They do not understand that Chinese culture is strong enough to absorb all the world’s customs and give them “Chinese characteristics.”

Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea have all accepted the custom of Christmas and it has not hurt their culture. Christmas is a very good way to stimulate domestic consumption. China should encourage this custom.

December 22, 2006 @ 4:36 pm | Comment

Waaay off topic, but I’m posting here that it seems like Google has been totally blocked in China :o(

December 22, 2006 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

While the topic of Christmas is more or less irrelevant since the Chinese (and I would wager most Westerners too) celebrate it as a more or less secular consumer driven holiday, I think China would be better of if there were more Christians.

There are over a billion souls to save.

December 23, 2006 @ 10:20 am | Comment

For those people saying they don’t like Christmas or don’t like having to celebrate it because it’s religious:
It wasn’t even originally a Christian holiday — so don’t sweat it, ignore the jesus parts, and get excited about gift-giving and the holiday spirit. So far, in China, I haven’t seen any religious-type displays anyways, only the Claus and Christmas trees.

December 23, 2006 @ 10:26 am | Comment

Well Jing,

Certainly Hong Xiuquan 洪秀全 thought so, but it didn’t work out quite the way he planned…

December 23, 2006 @ 11:07 am | Comment

After i move back to the US, I am going to be sure to tell people not to acknowlege the chinese new year. No more of that “gong hey fat choy” shit threatening our culture! After all, we only have a few hundred years of it, leaving us defenseless… before you know it, we might all be putting golden cats with a single paw bobbing up and down in the front of our offices!

December 23, 2006 @ 10:33 pm | Comment

i am just testing

December 24, 2006 @ 1:18 am | Comment

Thank you for that one kevin. What a relief it would be not to have to acknowledge ‘gong hey fat choy’s in America from the ‘culturally conscious’ politically correct occidental types during Chinese new year. Never would I have to endure this crass greeting from complete strangers who think they are pandering to my quaint culture in my supposed own language and expect me to be grateful for their acknowledgement.

And kevin, wherever you are while being away from the US, Joyeux Noel and Feliz Navidad! And if you are in China, don’t bother practicing your ‘gong hey fat choy’s. Nobody will know what the hell you are talking about, and if they did, you would be viewed as crass and hopelessly obsessed about money.

December 24, 2006 @ 6:13 am | Comment

They just were bad boys and can’t expect to get a singel present this year so they want to spoil the fun for all the others too. Chinese Grinches disguised as confucian scholars.

Merry Christmas everybody.

December 24, 2006 @ 10:28 am | Comment

I always wonder how such bright people take up such lame causes. There are many things to fix in China but Christmas is not one of them.

I am a Canadian and celebrate Christmas as a festival to be with my family and have some fun. I do not like the over commercialization of Christmas either. But I know that is part of the festival.

As a western Canadian I have had the pleasure of taking in many festivals in China. I enjoyed them with my friends very much. I would love to have some of these festivals in Canada! Eh we all could use a little more time to enjoy our family and blow off some steam.

Hey bright people pick a cause that matters. I have spent 15 years in China and see many more important causes promote!


December 28, 2006 @ 1:38 am | Comment

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