Published: January 12th 2009January 12th 2009
Our Announcer for the Event
Cara said this boy looks like Eddie Munster. I concur.
...How Li Yuan Foreign Language Primary School butchered Christmas.
As I said in the previous entry, my Christmas holiday was not totally free and clear. I was coerced into participating in Li Yuan Foreign Language Primary School's fifth annual farce of a Christmas celebration. Li Yuan has three campuses and ours is the only campus with foreign teachers (Rosemary and myself). The school likes to show off their hard work in spreading the English language by having a big Christmas pageant for all the parents to attend. With so many parents in attendance, the school wanted us there to parade around. Rosemary's whole family also agreed to participate and another teacher in the CTLC came to be our Santa Claus. My contact teacher nearly assumed Chelsea would join us on stage but I nipped that in the bud as quickly as I could. I really wanted to wiggle out of it myself by pressing the fact that CTLC teachers were guaranteed the day off, but the school had given me two days off the previous week to pick Chelsea up in Hong Kong and I didn't want to jeopardize any future days off I might need.
The pageant's opener
The start was promising
The singing of Silent Night
was promising as children sang Silent Night. But the Christmas Spirit gave up the ghost quickly after that. There was a nonsensical skit about pulling an overripe turnip out of the ground involving a ballet dancer and kung fu, a sweet song about sunshine accompanied by inappropriately dressed third graders, a samba dedicated to the Harvest, another song I can't remember where the children were dressed as frogs and Hello Kitty, and various other ditties I either missed or didn't pay attention to. The highlights were a big dance number to the truly awful song "La La" and Li Yuan's take on Snow White. "La La" was at once funny and disturbing. I posted a video. Please keep in mind that these are fifth graders and this is supposed to be a Christmas pageant. If you listen carefully you can almost here Christmas crying in the background. You can also hear my fourth graders yelling my name because I was blocking their view. It was for their own good. I also posted a video of Snow White. You can't really see anything, but the real beauty of this piece was in the dialog, so just listen. The evil queen was
played by a boy whose big joke was running around screaming "I am the most beautiful woman in the world!". I'd love to make a joke about the child needing future therapy, but men in this country carry purses, hold hands, and spend more time on their hair than their female counterparts, so the boy will probably be fine.
After Snow White, it was time for the White People Parade. Rosemary chose "Do you hear what I hear" so the children could sing along with us. Rosemary sang lead while her two children Esther and Paul, Daniel (our Santa) and I sang back up. I was still sick so I held the microphone closer to Paul than to me. Just before we went out Tina informed us that we'd be handing out candy to the students afterwards. I learned firsthand that Asian kids go temporarily insane around sugar after I was mobbed during my Halloween lesson. Rosemary had had a similar experience with her students so we both knew this would not end well. After we did our part to bring 'Christmas' to Shenzhen Rosemary and I were handed hats filled with such delights as Durian hard candy and
were directed towards the ravenous beasts. The first four for five pieces went out peacefully enough, but the sickness took hold and they thronged towards me. I tried to reason with the mob but no one would listen and for fear of being trampled I had to physically push children away from me. Rosemary was encountering a similar situation and tossed her hat o' candy away from her to avoid toppling over. The Vice Principal finally rescued me and all the white people made a quick exit before we were asked to do anything else. I was livid. The last thing I wanted to do was sing and then be held out like a human pinata for the kiddies to swipe at. This is my holiday! And I felt like the school was making a mockery of it.
Chelsea and I changed and ran for the front gate. We were due to have dinner with people who knew what Christmas was supposed to be and I didn't want to be around the fakers any longer than I had to. But then there he was with his red suit and vacant smiling stare: The creepy Asian Santa the school had
The Evil Queen
Either this boy will realize he enjoys being a queen or he'll need therapy
set out at the entrance that day. Well, he wasn't a friendly mall Santa, but he was close enough. We paused long enough to pose and take a picture before running for the hills. Merry Christmas!
There are more photos below