Songs Sung Blue

Even here in predominantly Buddhist Bangkok, it’s impossible to escape some form of Christmas season torture. Most of the time it’s only innocuous things like decorated trees in malls, store employees wearing Santa hats, or seasonal song medleys blaring in restaurants.

But things start to get particularly creepy when gangs of overzealous Christians go public in their attempts to force their message on the locals. Bangkok's BTS skytrain system announced earlier this week that on Saturday and Sunday passengers will be “entertained” with Christmas carols by students from local Christian schools and churches.

I recall this horror from last year. I boarded one afternoon train on Christmas Day and was immediately confronted by a half-dozen kids singing their traditional odes to baby Jesus. There was no escape. All I could do was grimace and bear it. I noticed the Thai passengers in the carriage looking away from the minstrel missionaries, also obviously uncomfortable with this overt religious "celebration."

It puzzles me - and annoys me - that Christian groups are allowed, if not encouraged, to use public transporation as a "vehicle" for their preaching, even if it's being billed as seasonal entertainment. Would they let a group of Muslims use the trains for afternoon chanting and prayers? I think not.

This year I'll make it a point to avoid the Skytrain on those two days. My taxi is waiting!

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