Sunday, December 21, 2008


Around this time of the year we have over the years hearD of adults asking to keep Santa Claus out of Christmas. I was reading my favorite monthly magazine OFF THE EDGE over breakfast and chanced upon a Bob Teoh's story, "Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." I could not do a cut and paste thing so I will type out excerpts from the is well worth it:

It was 111 years ago when Virginia O'Hanlon wrote to the New York Sun: Dear Editor - I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Clause. Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun, it's so.' Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Francis Pharcellus Church, a pastor's son and a senior writer at the Sun, reportedly dismissed the matter when his editor handed him Virginia's letter and asked him to reply. Yet under deadline, Church went on to produce a masterpiece in 417 words, Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.

In her innocence, Virginia handed Church, a former war correspondent, a most difficult assignment. There was no avoiding the question. He must address it, he must answer truthfully. And so he took his pen and began his reply which was to become one of the most memorable pieces in journalism.

Virginia, your little freinds are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

Your tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all these strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Clause! Thank God! he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.




Anonymous said...

Ah! El Zorro!!!

Is there a Santa Claus?

When children, nay men, equates and celebrates Christmas as the coming of Santa Claus who brings gifts and presents for one and all, and fill their expectations with joy and with imagination, then we may have gone slightly astray and forget what the day means to those that celebrate it.

My Christian friends celebrate the day as the birthday of their Saviour Jesus Christ who was born 2000 years ago to save the world. To them there is solemnity, humility and reverence and of course, joy.

But alas, for many others, its time to party and shout "Merry Christmas", and enjoy themselves on this holiday. Others celebrate it as the day of the Golden Keris.

Christmas today is about green and white pine trees with flashing multi-coloured lights, jingle bells, snow and snowmen, reindeers and sleighs, elves with red caps and fat men with white beards dressed in bright red pajamas.

But where is the birthday boy, the newly born? There's no mention of him anywhere - whether at the malls, over the radio and TV etc. Maybe his name is unofficially banned so as not to offend "sensitive" people. And the National Christmas Party is a "cultural event" by the Tourism Ministry where only Santa will be mentioned and who will be present to repeat one word "Ho, ho, ho".

Alas El Zorro, have we all gone astray by celebrating Santa Claus Day?

Anyway, Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men.

Anonymous said...

I'd wish Santa comes a-calling on all those kids who attended the white candle virgils and peddled for an honourable cause. They deserve first-in-line to receive the goodies from Santa. Maybe the CPO for Selangor would like to hand out the gifts to these fine kids personally. The Christmas spirit is not against his religion, I suppose?

Anonymous said...

sorry bro i will miss buying you the malt i promised. am being tied to too large a rock to carry----lol i live in the little red dot-----everyone is rich-----as per the shit times.
i am not doing anything drastic.
merry chistmas am=nd a better new year to you.

Anonymous said...

Hello Zorro

Somewhere towards the end of this article, there is an interesting note by the writer that the person in focus is coming to Malaysia for a holiday. Strange that Malaysia is becoming a haven for thiefs.


Lavish life of Mugabe’s looter-in-chief

Jon Swain – Times Online December 21, 2008

In the rich and leafy northern Harare suburb of Borrowdale Brook, Gideon Gono, who as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is President Robert Mugabe’s right-hand man and financial adviser, is having the finishing touches put to a lavish mansion that he started building several years ago.

The castle-like house has 47 en suite bedrooms and a glass swimming pool with underlights, a gym bigger than many good houses in the Zimbabwean capital, a mini-theatre and landscaped gardens.

His house is one of the biggest in Harare - bigger, in fact, than Mugabe’s, which is nearby, hidden behind a high wall and guarded by soldiers.

No one except Gono knows for sure how much the mansion cost, but the architects originally said they expected it would reach more than $5m on completion. This is enough to build and equip at least four primary schools in Zimbabwe.

Gono is not ready to move in just yet. Extra security sensors were recently installed on the outside perimeter and biometric iris recognition and finger print authentication systems were fitted in the interior, but he has yet to be convinced that it is entirely safe.

Whether he moves house or not, Gono is hardly facing a miserable Christmas, unlike the millions whose lives have been wrecked by the once-prosperous country’s economic meltdown. They are coping with constant power and water cuts, food shortages and now the terror of cholera. The disease has struck because the government has spent so much money corruptly rather than investing in a clean water supply for its people.

More than 1,100 have died in the epidemic, nearly 21,000 have been infected and there is no end in sight.

“Where is the joy this Christmas?” asked Mercy Gunda, a housewife, as she stood in a long queue at a bank to withdraw money last Friday. “The city is full of people queueing at banks. They are not doing Christmas shopping. If there are any Christmas presents to be bought for the children this year it will be school uniforms.”

Last week I met Palimaga Malani, a 67-year-old blind widow whose task this Christmas is to look after seven children whose parents have died of Aids. They live together in Bulawayo in a house hardly bigger than a walk-in wardrobe in Gono’s mansion.

Somehow she makes sure that with the donations she receives from a local church the children are neatly turned out and fed. “I am very well really, but I am hungry,” she said. The cataracts that caused her blindness are curable but she cannot afford the operation to restore her sight.

A few streets away was another family of orphaned children, the youngest two being cared for by a 15-year-old girl, Anyanga. They survive by selling ice lollies on the streets. Gono, however, has plenty of houses and several farms that were seized from white commercial farmers over the years.

Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of southern Africa and one of the world’s top exporters of tobacco until 2000, when Mugabe started seizing white farms under the guise of redistributing them to black Zimbabweans to right the wrongs of the colonial past. But he gave them largely to his cronies and entourage.

This chaotic land reform programme, plagued by violence, was condemned as racist by five African judges in southern Africa’s regional court in a test case bought by 78 farmers, a ruling that Zimbabwe has refused to accept although it is bound by treaty to do so.

The land seizures have created chronic food shortages and a crisis that has led a third of the population to flee abroad and half of those remaining to depend on food aid to survive.

As Mugabe’s right-hand man, Gono is a beneficiary of the crisis. “He has been looting big time,” said one of his many critics, a once wealthy Harare businessman who had crossed swords with Gono several times. “Mugabe has just reappointed him governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe [RBZ] for another five years, so it must be great for him.

“Any loot that comes in he grabs. It is no longer the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe; it is a bank reserved for him and the president's cronies. If Mugabe has a degree in violence, which he has often said he has, Gono has a degree in corruption.”

In fact, Gono, who started out as a tea boy at the central bank, has a doctorate in strategic management, but it is from a nonaccredited American university.

Some of Gono’s farms are not in working order - far from unusual among Mugabe’s entourage, who have so many farms that they sometimes do not know what to do with them.

Take the case of Elias Musakwa. A stalwart of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, he is a gospel singer at night with his own recording studio, a banker by day working with Gono in the upper echelons of the RBZ, and an occasional farmer at the weekend on a farm he seized.

Last year he grabbed a dairy farm that once supplied 2% of Harare’s milk. It now has four goats and a few sheep, while hundreds of cows that produced the milk have perished.

“If you do not have a sense of humour you don’t survive here,” said one Zimbabwean, who told of government officials using their posts to steal fuel, pay their children’s school fees and fund the inflated wages of their gardeners and maids, all for a few hours’ work a week. “Everything is weird in this country,” he said.

While so much is collapsing all around, one of Gono’s biggest farms near Norton, 50 miles from Harare, where he has installed two white managers, is fully functional, a glaring example of how he and the powerful men around Mugabe abuse their power. When it is dry, the farm draws water to irrigate the fields though a pipe-line linked to a reservoir 25 miles away which Gono installed at vast expense. The reservoir water is supposed to be for the people of Harare.

The city has minimal municipal water of its own. In the poorest suburbs, where houses are made out of tin and plastic, children were playing in pools of untreated sewage last week and families were still collecting water from broken pipes.

Cholera has killed 224 people in Harare, with more than 9,000 suffering from it. Many affluent parts of the city have no municipal water but survive on a system of privately dug boreholes.

In 2003, when Gono took office, inflation was 619%. It is now well in excess of 231m%. A police inspector’s Christmas bonus last week was worth one American cent on the widely used parallel black market.

Little wonder that, on Friday, anger against Gono spilt into the streets of Harare for the second time in a month. A mob threw rocks at the Reserve Bank building. Many were low-grade civil servants such as prison staff who had been trying to get money for Christmas, only to find that the banks had run out of cash despite the introduction that morning of new Z$1 billion, Z$5 billion and Z$10 billion notes.

“We have fallen into the abyss,” said a friend. “Economically we were teetering on the edge. Now we have fallen over and it is demonstrable for a number of reasons. You go into a shop and if you don’t have US dollars you starve. People don’t want Zimbabwean dollars. They are worthless.”

He pointed out of the window into a grubby lane below where people had dumped thousands of banknotes which had become redundant.

There are many heroes in Zimbabwe still trying to make the country work. One is a 28-year-old male nurse at a Bulawayo hospital who was struggling this weekend to care for a ward of 63 children on his own.

Unable to obtain their wages from the banks because of the shortage of banknotes, many of his colleagues have given up coming to work. It was too burdensome and expensive for them to travel or they have moved to South Africa to try to earn a living.

Behind the male nurse was the body of a two-year-old boy lying under a sheet on a table. He had died that morning from severe malnutrition and septicaemia from sores on his body.

“We survive by so many ways,” the nurse said. “We adjust; we barter. I have been tempted to leave like many of my colleagues so many times, but I need to look after my mother, father and young brothers and sisters.”

Looking at the small bundle beneath the sheet, he said: “This boy should never have died.”

“When you meet somebody like that young man you feel that is why there is still hope in this country,” said Stella Allberry, health secretary of a faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who has been jailed before. “The one God-given thing we have is hope. And the one thing I don’t want Mugabe to take from me is hope.”

Hope for too many has disappeared, however. At a cholera clinic near the Mozambique border, a 23-year-old mother was watching her seven-year-old daughter die of cholera and malaria on Monday. It had taken her almost 12 hours to bring the child to the clinic on foot. Others were carried there in wheelbarrows.

As the country crumbled, Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party was desperately trying to put on a show of unity at its annual party conference. Even before it began, the facade of unity was cracking. The party is increasingly riven with factionalism, shown by an unprecedented outbreak of fighting at its Harare headquarters on Monday night. Police had to use water cannons to break up a pitched battle over the election of a new leadership for Harare province.

This internal party violence followed the mysterious wounding of Perence Shiri, the powerful air force chief, in an alleged assassination attempt, and the arrests and abduction of opposition members, human rights activists and journalists who have vanished without trace.

The government charges that the opposition has set up secret military training camps in Botswana to overthrow it, aided by the West.

Zimbabwe is entering an unpredictable, unstable and dangerous phase. In the next few days Gono is expected to head off for a holiday in Malaysia. Mugabe would normally go there, too.

Apart from a holiday, both men have assets in the region in the aftermath of western sanctions and it is a favourite destination. But diplomats last week wondered whether the 84-year-old president would risk leaving Zimbabwe at this time.

He has been in power for 28 years and is outwardly still defiant. “Zimbabwe is mine,” he said on Friday, rejecting calls to step down. “I will never, never sell my country. I will never, never, never surrender.”

Nor, say many suffering Zimbabweans, are they going to surrender hope for change as they celebrate the bleakest Christmas of their lives.

In Bulawayo, 1,000 people, black and white, turned out for a candlelit carol service in the rundown amphitheatre of a once beautiful park. The children were delighted. There was a nativity play and a brass band played.

“It made the children happy,” said a mother. “When it came to the end we prayed for them. Our prayer was that the children would not be hungry next year.”

Anonymous said...

Santa Claus is an American version of St. Nicholas, a fourth-century bishop of the Christian church in Asia Minor. The feast day of St. Nicholas is December 6, and in many European countries the children find on the morning of that day that the saint has come during the night and left presents for them by the chimney piece. The early American colonists adopted the festivity from the Dutch settlers, changing the Dutch name of the saint (San Nicolaas) to Santa Claus and the time of his visit to Christmas Eve.
Santa Claus first started appearing in illustrations within the United States in the 1860's. The above image was taken from a circa 1910 stone lithograph printed postcard. It was drawn by the artist, Ellen Clapsaddle. The illustration shows Santa Claus listening to a little girl's bedtime prayers. Although this seems to be an innocent concept, some may view it as Santa replacing Christ as the mediator between God and man!

Personally, I dont like the idea of Santa Claus, except when he starts replacing Christ as the giver of all good gifts. As long as one continues to remember and teach about Who we are truly celebrating, I think there is room for Santa Claus

Anonymous said...

Now, the basic idea here is that Santa Claus has to go around the world and deliver toys to every child in just one night on a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer, or nine reindeer if you count Rudolph. We shall look at the reindeer first. No known species of reindeer can fly, but the key word here is known. There are at least 300,000 species of organisms yet to be discovered by conventional science, let alone Mad Science, so therefore it is impossible to completely rule out flying reindeer, which Santa may be the only individual to have ever seen. I submit to the Council of The Mad Scientists' Guild the hypothesis that Santa, through conventional means of cross-breeding and genetic splicing, has managed to develop a singularly mutated strain of reindeer to which only he and his elves are privy. There is also the question of whether Santa may use a special corn-feed for reindeer that allows them to fly, and this could also be manufactured by the means mentioned above. This is also submitted to the Council as well. (Murmurs of acceptance.) By the legendary presence of Rudolph, who possesses a glowing nose that can light the way through dense fog, it is my belief that both theories may be true. (More murmurs of acceptance, sound of pages turning.)

Now let's look at the children factor. There are 2 billion children, or persons under 18, in the world. It is thought that because of Santa's Christian origins, he does not appear to handle Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and Monsterkind children, but I personally do not believe that this is true, due to my own experience of having received at least one gift distinctly labeled "From Santa" each Solstice Festival since my Creation. Therefore, some allowances are most likely made for these children. (Murmurs.) However, for the sake of scientific argument, if Santa were to handle only Christian-faith children, then the workload is reduced to 15% of the total, or 378 million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At the average census rate of 3.5 children per household, this adds up to 91.9 million homes, assuming there is one good child per house. (Murmurs of agreement.)

Due to different time zones across the globe and the rotation of the earth, and assuming Santa is moving from east to west, there are 31 hours of Christmas Eve to work with. Therefore, Santa makes 822.6 visits per second, with 1/1000th of a second to complete the following tasks on each visit: land the sleigh, get out, go down the chimney, fill all stockings, distribute other gifts under each house's Christmas tree, eat the thoughtfully provided traditional snack of milk and cookies, return up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each stop is evenly distributed, the calculations reveal a rate of .75 miles per household, adding up to a 75-1/2-billion-mile-trip. This does not count for rest stops and periodic feeding of reindeer.

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, which is 3000 times the speed of sound. The payload on the sleigh is another element: assuming that each child receives one gift weighing not more than 2 pounds, the sleigh is carrying a total of 321,300 tons without Santa. (Murmurs of surprise) Conventional scientific research has proven that a team of nine reindeer cannot pull this payload, due to the fact that the average reindeer cannot pull more than 300 pounds. Instead a team of 214,200 reindeer is needed, which increases our payload to 353,400 tons. (Murmurs from audience.)

A total of only 353,000 tons at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, which would heat up the sleigh and its team in the same manner as a spaceship re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. The consequences of such conditions have been included in my written thesis, and I will not disclose them at this time as they are too gruesome for the holiday. (Disappointed noises from audience.) However, I submit the hypothesis that the entire trip, with all conditions described above, is entirely possible with an advanced knowledge of electromagnetic waves and the space/time continnum. With such knowledge, Kristopher N. Kringle, a.k.a. Santa Claus, would be able to create "relativity clouds," or rips in the fabric of time and space, which would allow him entire months to deliver presents while only a few minutes pass on Earth! (Consternation.) And I also submit that presents are not delivered under the conditions I have described here today, but that they are created, atom by atom, at each home using advanced nanotechnology, which is not dissimilar to the very Mad Science we use in the lab to grow body parts from a single strand of DNA! (More consternation.) Therefore, I submit to the Mad Scientists' Guild that under these conditions, only one inevitable conclusion can be reached--Santa Claus is one of us!!

(Silence. Then thunderous applause and uproar. The last is delivered with an obvious smile in her voice.)

Distinguished Council Members and Honored Fellows, in the manner of our human neighbors on the other side of the Barrier, I take this opportunity to wish you not only a happy Solstice Festival, but also a very Merry Christmas. Thank you and good night.

zorro said...

nstman said: As long as one continues to remember and teach about Who we are truly celebrating, I think there is room for Santa Claus.

Spot on brother...I was just hoping a reader would say this. Thanks brother and have a blessed christmas.

El Scroogeo....the ROMANCE of Christmas warts and all.

joshua said...

I am Santa Claus. <8}}}

ho ho ho

Please don't forget that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.


Merry Christmas!

Peace on earth and goodwill to men.