– Gather ye round for a heartwarming festive story
Say what you like about Bangkok’s execution of Christmas (and I have), what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in effort. I happen to think that any predominantly Buddhist country that gets tinseled up and fairy-lit in the name of
blatant and shameless commercialism spreading festive cheer deserves our appreciation.
It was in this spirit that I attended the Hilton Sukhumvit’s tree lighting evening and sure enough, they had gone for it gamely, with all the trimmings – all of them, indiscriminate about trimming use, they were. A brightly lit display of all the traditional Christmas items welcomed guests and warmed hearts.
We admired the unconscionably long chocolate log over steaming glasses of gluhwein (hot wine… in the tropics… cuz nothing says Christmas like sweating your Santa hat off).
But the real magic was yet to begin. From nowhere, a shambles of adorable cherubs, attached to various stringed instruments, traipsed messily to the stage area, only to be hurriedly shooed away by their formidable ensemble mistress. Interest piqued, I found a spot with a good view and lo, a mini Christmas novella unraveled before my eyes.
The prettiest young lady remained seated, neatly arranging her skirts about her cello, demurely receiving the ardent attentions of the young chaps either side of her, one a gangly, awkward fellow cellist and the other casually wielding an acoustic guitar. Ahhhh me, sighed I, ruefully remembering the flutters of those early high school flirtations, oh and the complexities of the social hierarchies – how fascinating.
No time to linger, though.
Clap clap, Pushy Choir Mum had the stage to herself, having cleared the musical youths and, revelling in her moment in the spotlight, bade us attend the sweeping stairwell. A moment of hush, the sigh of a violin, and down they came, a harmonious troop of bobble hatted youngsters, shyly sawing and strumming at their instruments.
As the Bangkok Von-Trapps played sweetly, PCM directing them with aplomb, I couldn’t help but notice, not every member of the ensemble shared her enthusiasm…
The song finished to beguiled applause. The musicians relaxed a moment; swaggering guitar-player turned to joke with neighbouring cheeky-chappy violin dude, and I caught a glimpse of his face.
This guy is way older than these kids! Princess Cello remains remarkably poised considering she is sitting next to Buddy the Elf.
Luckily the day was saved. From back-row obscurity stepped a slip of a thing, clattering a little in her mum’s shoes. Handling the mic awkwardly, she lifted her little chin and sang ‘Happy Birthday Jesus’ in a high, pure soprano.
An audible sigh rippled round the room. Having stepped out to have a word with a colleague, Buddy the Guitar Elf and his (much more age appropriate companion) fell silent and watched in wonder.
…leaving adorkable cello fellow free to make his move and woo the princess.
A happy ending, a Christmas miracle. My cockles have never been more toasty. Even mini Taylor Swift cracked a smile.
Merry Christmas every one!
For more of my thoughts on Christmas in Bangkok, click here.
For another uplifting little story, try this one.