We had a Christmas party at the MyTaiwanTour office. Our editor-in-chief reworked the classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to fit Taiwan sensibilities. Later, he read it out loud. Alcohol was definitely involved.

(* With Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

Twas the night before Christmas, or at least cha bu duo*

And noisy was the  office of MyTaiwanTour

The desks had been cleared of computers and phones

In their place lay big trays filled with sushi and scones  

(* “give or take”)

 

The office staff milled ‘round the break room so fine,

Using a Taiwan-made rice cooker to heat up mulled wine;

And I in my cap, already mildly soused   

Was trying to figure out what to write for this post

 

From somewhere outside, I heard such a clatter

I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I hopped like a toad,

To see that two taxis had crashed on HePing Road.

 

The moon was not seen through bright Taipei light,

But with rush hour in full swing I could tell it was night

When before my wondering eyes an image did grow,

Twas a miniature sleigh, drawn by eight Taiwan Tu Gou*

(*Taiwanese Mountain dogs.)

 

With a little old driver, so lively and drunk,

I knew in a moment it was Santa Ah-Gong.

More rapid than You-bikes his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

 

“Now QQ, now, Xiao bai, now Lucky and and Xiao hei!

On, Pee-pee, on Cho-Cho! On, Lai-foo and Xiao-hua!*

(*common Taiwan dogs names.)

To Ximending quickly, there’s stuff worth attendin’

And I’m jacked up on whisbih and kaoliang and Bing-lan*

(*various Taiwanese intoxicants.)

 

As the scooters raced past, each on their own way

Santa Ah-Gong attempted to rise in his sleigh

But the sleigh it did stall, and failed then to rise up

Five of Eight dogs had gone (Santa’d neglected to tie up)

 

Ma De*! Said the fat man, and abandoned his sleigh

I’ll just have to stand here and give things away!

So he reached in his sack, and like a night market vendor

Shouted out loudly the things he had come to distribute

(*Fuck it!)

 

“Enough Taiwan beer to last through the year”

“A Giant road bike with twenty one gears”

“An Acer Computer with Windows Ten loaded”

“A new Samsung mobile*…no wait, it exploded”

(*Samsung’s a Korean company; All the more reason to buy quality Made in Taiwan products!)

 

On the corner of He-Ping Jolly Ah-Gong continued

Distributing presents to adult and Kinder

Some flash drives and cameras, Computers and More

Two VIP passes good for any MyTaiwanTour

 

Lesser quality stuff also, its sad but its true.

“Made in China,” Said Santa “But what can you do?”

“Got two Gucci Bags, don’t know if they’re fake”

Take ‘em off of my hands, for Christmas’ sake.

 

An hour went by, and then two, and then three

Kids and adults made off with the gifts with great glee

And Santa Ah-gong’s bag grew more and more small

By the time Midnight Struck, they’d made way with it all

 

His sleigh lighter by now, and with three dogs remaining

Santa Ah-Gong could leave (he had a Mah-jong game waiting)

Flying off he did shout, to each woman and man

Zhù dàjiā shèngdàn jié kuàilè! Zhù dàjiā wǎn’ān!*

 (*Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Night!)

 

Author

Joshua Samuel Brown has co-authored twelve Lonely Planet guides, including two editions of Lonely Planet Taiwan, and has written articles from Taiwan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Belize, America, Norway and more for publications around the globe since 1997. He is also the author of Vignettes of Taiwan and co-author of Formosa Moon for Things Asian Press.

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