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Raffique Shah


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Santa Shah is coming to town

December 17, 2006
By Raffique Shah

I have been thinking about my approach to Christmas which many have described as being that of a Scrooge, not a Santa. True. I dislike seeing people exhaust all their earnings and savings on this one occasion, only to have to resort to borrowing to survive the few months afterwards. It happens to most low-to-middle income earners. With portents of global warming soon bringing an end to all life as we know it, what the hell? So let the masses overeat, drink excessively, and be merry. As for me, I shall join the fete, even transforming myself into Santa. I'm sharing gifts aplenty, too-starting, as usual, with the big boys and girls.

For Prime Minister Patrick Manning, I have six smelter plants, all approved by the EMA. I can see Patos happy like pappy, playing with the gas and steel and alumina and emissions and effluent. A little boy's dream, really, especially when you will have grown up in the environment (delete that word!) he and I did, when boys had to settle for home-made guava tops and twenty-five cents caps guns. Mammy! Santa gave me six big smelters, all working, all spewing smoke and dust. Oh Gawd, I want you to thank Santa for me.

Mammy, look! Santa also brought me all these completely built skyscrapers-no Lego blocks, these! Now mih skyline looking good. But wait: what are those little smudges he left at the base of these buildings? Looks like some grimy drains, scores of vagrants, shoddy sidewalks, and even raw sewage flowing free. Santa probably didn't sleigh-in with his potty. But say what? Mammy, now, from the tops of these tall buildings I can reach the Lord, directly. No more church for me. I can now communicate with The Man himself.

And whatever I say, it's like words that cometh from the mouth of The Master. Mammy, ah could cry with joy! Ah feel ah in heaven. Wake mih up ah not ready for that trip yet.

Colm Imbert will find under his bois bande tree (I am told he guards that tree with a gun!) a mass of rail sets to have fun with, no "choo-choo" these, real electrically-driven ones. Little Colm does not have to go through any tenders procedure, feasibility study (what's that?) or waves of criticism (except, perhaps, from jealous waifs in the neighbourhood). It's all there-rapid rail, monorail, light rail, heavy rail, even a damn rail that snakes into the sky, with a label that says ‘pie-in-the-sky'. Ah never see so many trains in mih life, Mammy. Best of all you and I didn't have to spend any of daddy's money to buy these expensive toys. Santa and his helpers, poor sods, paid for it all. Mammy, can I invite Patos over to play with the free trains? Ah know he too likes trains, especially when he does not have to pay for them.

Santa Shah skips across the country to another "big" fella, who, I've been told, likes human toys to play with. I pop through the window (no chimney here), and there he is sleeping with a devilish grin on his face. But wait, nah! Somebody set me up! This fella they call Bas is a little boy. No wonder he likes to play games with marbles and people. Well, I have a bagful of miniature humanoids for him, although my helpers had difficulty reducing some of them to toy size. Under Bas' tulsie tree I set down a stout woman, no Sita she, but a devotee of the maha guru nevertheless. I can see Bas pawing away at her. Hey, what the hell am I seeing here? Boys with no balloons? Here's a fella looking like a football, but with no balls, maybe Bas will kick this one around. And in this bag there's a mass of miniatures, almost like pawns. I guess these are the expendables and disposables he uses in place of toilet paper. Oh, well, when he emerges from his stupor, he'll know what to do with them.

Off I go again, blimp afloat, drifting in the sky at taxpayers' expense. What's this name here, Rudy? Martin Joseph? Who he? Any relation to Jesus' dad? Strange if he is because his wish list has guns, guns and more guns! Oh, well, I have the works here. There's this Heckler & Koch MP5. Oh, and in that bag is an array of hardware I picked up when we stopped off earlier in Bethlehem. The birthplace of the Lord has become an arms bazaar. Look at guns in here Uzi, Galil. I see cluster-bombs. Seems that this MJ fella is a sadist. Anyway, our job, Rudy, is to deliver, not seek explanations.

Blimp lowers, I step out on MJ's lawn. But what the hell is this? Four fellas with bigger guns than these. And they are rushing us, Rudy! Get this damn blimp into the sky fast!! Whew! Being Santa is no longer fun. I could have been mugged on MJ's lawn. (more on Christmas eve)

Part II