If you look at the photo I attached in this post, you will recognise where I will lead you to continue my story. It was me and my family: my wife and my son when we lived temporarily in Albury, NSW, Australia, in facing Christmas session in 2007.
At that time, in my son’s playgroup in one of playgroup in community centre in Albury – there was a preparation to face a long holiday, prior to Christmas and facing the year of 2008. I received a surprise request. The playgroup principal requested me to act as St Claus (in Bahasa Indonesia, it is well-known as Sinterklas – adopted from Dutch).
She was asking me politely:”Bugi, could I ask you a favour, would you mind to be St Claus for playgroup Christmas party?”
My question was only whether it was a part of ritual or only a part of party. She assured me that it was a part of fun. And She knew I am Muslim. The main purpose was only to cheer up kids – and families.
But she said:”But if you feel offended with my request I apologize, I didn’t mean to do that. I looked you have already become a part of this playgroup family so I raised this request. However, if you are mind, that’s not a problem, we would like to hire a man to do this.”
Then I, confidently, replied:”Sure, I don’t mind and I will participate! Just tell me what I should be doing.” She, therefore, gave me a brief explanation of how to be a St Claus.
“You just need to say ‘ho .. ho .. ho …’ and ask kids ‘have you been good?’ after that give presents to kids.” She added.
On the D day, I was ready to be St Claus. I and my family went to playgroup as usual. The playgroup activity was divided into two: a regular playgroup activity and the party.
After I changed to St Claus uniform – a white and red uniform, the party began. The party was running well, with me as a St Claus and one of playgroup teacher who helped me to call for kids and distributed St Claus’ gifts. No one recognised who I was under St Claus uniform, except one kid that said:”I know who you are, Santa.” I replied:”Do you know me?” He said:”Yes, you’re Ghia’s father (Ghia is my son’s name).” I again asked him:”How did you recognise me?” Then he added: “I recognised your crocs (my shoes). It is yours, Ghia’s father.” I just smiled at him.
It was my unforgettable moment and I was happy to do that, to make everybody happy. For me, personally, it was one real implementation of tolerance.
Dear all who celebrates Christmas, I would like to say Happy Christmas 2011 and Happy New Year 2012.
Bogor, 24 December 2011