Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Letters to Santa

During a recent Christmas lesson, I asked students to write a letter to Santa Claus. I explained that children in the West write letters to Santa to tell him what they want for Christmas, and why they deserve it. I expected some simple and not especially interesting letters asking for things like mp3 players, and some were like that, but many had a uniquely Chinese-student approach to the letter. For example:

Dear Santa,

I can't touch with you a long time, I don't know how to do recently. Forgiven me and I think you study hard to pass exam. The Christmas is coming, I wish you are very happy and get a lot of gifts of your parents and your best friend. There are not lots of gifts in my town so I can't send gifts of you. I will bring best wish of you. Happy Christmas!

Your best friend Hank


Dear Santa:

I know my wish is simple but it couldn't be put into my sock. I wish my grandmother has a healthy body and a happy smile like you. Thank you! Others said Santa is a tie [lie] But I believe you're always staying around us.

Your Pupu


Charistmas will come but I am not happy. I have a trouble. I have not a good gift to give my gf. I am worry about it. Can you help me? I need it very much. Happy Charistmas!

yours Andy


Dear Santa,

The Christmas will be coming. I have some whishes want come true and I believe you can help me to get them. Because you are very kindly and friendly, aren't you? I want to have a very good thing to protect my father's knees and a beautiful coat for my mother and some delicious bread for grandparents. They are soft for the teeth.

Oh yes, I only want to have a new cotton-shoes! Ha-ha! I believe you can.

Seriously,
Sabrina


Dear Santa:

Merry Christmas to you! I hope everyday is happy like today. I want to have a pair of shoes that keep warm and beautiful. Because the weather is very cold. My mother walks long time to work everyday, her feet often cool and pain. So I want to a pair of shoes that can keep warm for my mother. Please realise my dream. Best wishes for you.

Yours: Candy


Dear Santa Claus,

I am a boy who worry about all the thing happened in daily life, I don't know how to manage it completely. Especially, in the respect of emotion, I love a girl, but I don't know how much she love me, how to get her heart, head and heel. I don't know how to make her happy. I need some advices on it.

I don't know how to cope with the relationship between career and emotion. I can't control it easily. So I am very doubtful about it: St. Nicholas, you are the cleverest in the world. Can you tell me the best way to do it. I always think about it. It makes me nuts. I can't calm down. I think I will go crazy. Saint, please tell me what I should do. Finally, I give my best wish to you.

a boy

I liked the fact that so many students asked Santa how his life was, and that so many of them thought first of what their family needed. In the west we have an impression of Chinese having very strong family values and in my experience it is most definitely true. Probably one of the most striking things to a westerner about Chinese students is their sincerity and lack of cynicism, which is all the more apparent when they are using English. The average westerner is usually exposed to China through the occasional news story, mostly unflattering ones, and I often wish this could be balanced with exposure to the more undramatic, low-key and endearing side of China and its people.

Have a Merry Christmas.

3 comments:

dan said...

It is really something to see the difference between Westerners' and these. Makes me wonder that if we wished for things like this, for our families, maybe life would be better here [face it, there at a lot of problems in the Western world].

I was watching a program on TV where children would call in and tell Santa what they wanted. Children barely out of kindergarten were wishing for Xbox and Playstation. I remember, even when I was a child (I am currently 18), we wouldn't wish for things so expensive like that. My brother and I got a SEGA GENESIS one year, but that was the highlight of our Christmases :). Maybe parents' spoiling is making the children of today think they can get anything they want... maybe they can.

If only we weren't so selfish ;).
~dan
PS- Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Excuse me,but are you really 18 right now?

Dan said...

The poster of that comment is 18, but I (the writer of this blog) am 24. He has the same name as me so I wanted to clear that up in case you were referring to me.