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Kerre Woodham: Going, going, Gong
 
Adjust font size:   Close  By: Kerre Woodham 2007-11-26
 


Kerre Woodham

For self-proclaimed pacifists, the Falun Gong are pushy little buggers, aren't they? When they were initially refused permission to take part in the Wellington Santa Parade, they threatened legal action - the grown-ups' version of holding your breath until you turn blue.

The Wellington organisers caved in and members of the Wellington Falun Gong movement pranced around on their float, smiling and waving to the kiddies of the Capital.

However, the board members of the Auckland Children's Christmas Parade Trust are made of sterner stuff than their Wellington counterparts, thank heavens. They've told Falun Gong to push off and to take their lawsuits and complaints to the Human Rights Commission with them.

And quite rightly so. I've nothing against the Falun Gong people who live in this country. The little shows they put on in Mission Bay now and then are diverting. The people dress in primary-coloured clothing, which is always uplifting, and although they exhibit very bad paintings - a sort of Chinese version of the bare-breasted dusky maiden on black velvet but without the breasts - really, that's nothing to get terribly exercised about.

Santa rides in on his reindeer-pulled sleigh and waves to the crowds lining the parade route. Photo / Richard Robinson.

But why they want to rain on the Santa parade is beyond me. They claim they just want to entertain the children and have promised they won't pass out pamphlets promoting their movement and denigrating China.

But they have form. The organiser of the Christmas parade in Dunedin says Falun Gong won't be taking part this year after what he called dishonesty by the group in 2005.

What are the silly wee things thinking? The Falun Gong has no place in a Santa parade. Why not take a stall at the Chinese lantern festival? Or establish their own parade? The Farmers Santa Parade has been going now for more than 70 years and is a firm fixture on the family calendar. You cannot possibly consider yourself any sort of parent unless you have your Santa parade badge, and the Santa parade may well be the reason families stay together.

Over the years, when my daughter was little and I was on my own, living and working in Auckland, I would take her to the Santa parade and fight my way to the very front to get my girl the best position.

However, no sooner had I staked my claim for the prime possie, than the little one would want to go to the loo. Without a big burly husband to hold your place or to battle through the crowds to get to the minging portaloos, you were stuffed. And then there were the hours standing in one place, keeping the little one entertained until the floats started to come past. And the lifting of the child onto the shoulders. And the dealing with the sugar rush low as we walked the 10km back to where the car was parked.

The Santa parade is definitely one of those occasions for the nuclear family. It is not, however, an occasion for the Falun Gong. And they are doing their cause no end of harm by continuing to press for a place in the parade.

(The New Zealand Herald, Sunday November 25, 2007)

Original text from: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=301&objectid=10478154

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