Seasons Greetings

I’m not sure what I think about this one.

Apparently some people in South Korea think it’s a good idea to dress up penguins like Santa Claus and reindeer, and then set them to marching in a parade, accompanied by a human Santa who wildly throws fake snow in the air.

These festivities inaugurate the annual “Christmas Fantasy” winter festival at the Everland Amusement Park in Yangin. The penguins promenade down a street decorated with some 2 million lights, 80 Christmas trees, and showers of artificial snow. There is also a holiday-themed fireworks show, hopefully set off only once the penguins, borrowed from the city zoo, have been returned to their usual quarters.

Everland, it is said, draws some 6 million visitors a year, and is the number-two most popular non-Disney theme park in the world. Everland is presumably what you get when you knock the “N” off Neverland, and run Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys off the place.

Generally I am not a fan of dressing animals in human clothing. Judging by the various photos out there on the intertubes, however, none of the birds really seem to mind. Then again, maybe I’m no good at reading penguins. After all, they do not live as you and I: these particular penguins, known as African or “jackass” penguins, prefer to dwell in homes they have burrowed out of bird guano.

Which is why they are endangered: money-grubbing humans arrived to haul all their guano away. Now they must make do with sand, and it’s just not the same.

Humans have also run off with their eggs, finding them tasty, and have meanwhile yanked all the sardine, anchovy, and squid out of the sea, leaving the birds with little to eat. Every once in a while an oil tanker will blow, or surreptitiously clean out its tanks while rounding the Horn, thereby drenching the birds with petroleum. Now seals have shown up, and are rudely pushing the birds off their 24 little islands.

These birds are called “jackass penguins” because they emit a distinctive braying noise. Reads to me like they have a lot to bray about. As the photo above shows, they’re not very big. Plucky, though.

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4 Responses to “Seasons Greetings”


  1. 1 possum December 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    The ability of humankind to denigrate and abuse animals continues to amaze me. This one takes the cake this year. Penguins in Santa suits defies rationality.

    • 2 bluenred December 21, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Then there is the question of how Santa Claus, a Nordic fellow, even got to South Korea. Said Santa somehow affixed to a birthday celebration for a mystic from out of the Judean desert, who was transformed, by a Roman, into a sort of Celtic sun king.

      I guess this is what they mean by “globalization.”

      Hope you’re otherwise well, Professor Possum. : /

  2. 3 possum December 24, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Globalization in some instances means the taking on of the worst of foreign traditions. How very much I wish we Americans could export a great deal more humanity and a lot less of our commercialized culture.

    • 4 bluenred December 25, 2010 at 1:57 pm

      Sometimes the worst comes first. Like with these intertubes. Originally invented so that nuclear-warriors could continue to communicate with one another after they’d fried the planet. Put to some better uses now, I think.


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