Most children in Vietnam think of Santa Claus as a good man who is generous, loves children and will reward the well-behaved.
But the children at a nursery school in south central Ninh Thuan Province no longer believe in him.
Santa visited their April 16 Kindergarten in Phan Rang on Christmas Eve, but he only had gifts for the kids whose parents had paid for the service.
The children were thrilled to see the jolly fat man in red, with the long white beard and large bag of gifts. But five minutes later most of the class was disappointed at having been left empty handed.
Frustrated children cried out Ã¢â‚¬Å“Santa Claus is not a good man because he only gives presents to rich children!Ã¢â‚¬
A group of parents had wanted to make their children happy and proud, so they paid for the service and arranged with the school to let the Santa in. He then called the names of their children in front of the class and gave them presents.
After this incident, schools and parents should reconsider such hired Santa programs carefully, so that they can give children a merry Christmas without hurting those whose parents canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t afford the service.
By Tran Dinh Tuan (Thanh Nien)
Santa doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t play fair
My daughter was anxious for Christmas days in advance. She was looking forward to it immensely and tried every day to be a good girl so that Santa Claus would see her and give her a present on Christmas.
But on Christmas Day, she came home from school, dropped her bag heavily and cried in tears: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Santa is not fair. He doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t love good kids, mom!Ã¢â‚¬
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He came to my class this morning and brought a big bag of presents. The whole class rushed to greet him but he just gave presents to one kid and then he was gone,Ã¢â‚¬ she said, interrupted by sobs.
The parents of that child must have wanted to give their child a surprise. But they forgot that the class had many other children who were also dreaming of presents from Santa.
I tried to console my daughter by saying that maybe Santa didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know her class was so crowded and he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t prepare enough gifts. But she insisted that Ã¢â‚¬Å“Santa is not fair.Ã¢â‚¬
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The boy who got a gift is very naughty. He fights with others every day and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t finish his meals. And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been good for the whole week and Santa didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t notice,Ã¢â‚¬ she said.
If some parents want to surprise their children, theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d better have Santa visit the children at home.
Having Santa visit children at school may make certain children happy while accidentally hurting others.
It could be even more harmful. If children stop believing in fairness as they see naughty children rewarded while good kids get nothing.
By Trung Thu (Tuoi Tre)