A Muslim ‘St Claus’


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.

With family in St Claus uniform (doc: Bugi Sumirat)
With family in St Claus uniform (doc: Bugi Sumirat)

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.

Distributing Christmas Gifts (doc: Bugi Sumirat)
Distributing Christmas Gifts (doc: Bugi Sumirat)

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.

A gift for "Santa Claus's son"

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

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