Features

Published: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 3:20:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 1:30:17 PM

12 days of Xmas: yours for only RM304,800!

Want to show your true love the real spirit of Christmas? You can’t go wrong with 12 days of presents – and we’ve even done the maths. Get your credit card out. Let’s go for broke!

The 12 Days Of Christmas carol celebrates the joy of gift-giving from Boxing Day, Dec 26, to the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan 6. The song first appeared as a rhyme in a children’s book in 1780 before English composer Frederic Austin wrote the music for it in 1909. The song’s appeal comes from its list of extravagant gifts from a “true love”, and its repetitive structure that makes it a great sing-along. But according to America’s PNC Bank, which has been publishing its annual Christmas Price Index since 1984, the song’s haul of presents costs a whopping US$114,651 (RM373,475) in 2013, taking into account the entire value of the gifts as they’re repeated, bringing the complete set of items to 364. So, how much would 12 Days Of Christmas cost in Malaysia? Get your calculators ready!

"A partridge in a pear tree"

Partridge
It was believed that between 1558 and 1829, Roman Catholics were not permitted to practice their faith openly, and had to use symbolism as a code. In this instance, the “partridge in a pear tree” refers to Jesus. Partridges are native to Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle East. The local variant is known as the chukar partridge, a member of the pheasant family and found predominantly in Asia.
Cost: RM650 a pair (from Penang).
Contact: Puspakumar Schinathan of Joshmitran Pet Aviary at 012-539 0250 or visit joshmitran.com
Note: If you’re based in Kuala Lumpur, the birds will arrive via bus delivery and have to be picked up from meeting points at either the Jalan Duta toll or Pudu Raya. 


Pear tree
Pears are not known to grow in equatorial weather but a local farmer has managed to grow Packham pear trees along with other seasonal fruits. He’s successfully grown kiwi, blackberry, raspberry, grapes and even peaches. While he does it more as a hobby than a business, but with enough advanced notice, he’s willing to grow them for sale. 
Cost: RM15 per plant (pick up in Tapah, Perak).
Contact: Abdul Wahab at 012-363 5658 or visit abdulwahabarbain.blogspot.com (Bahasa Malaysia speaking only).


Cost for partridge and pear tree: RM340.
Cost over 12 days: RM4,080.


"Two turtle doves"
In the song, these two birds refer to the Old Testament and the New Testament, which make up the two main books in the Holy Bible. Native to Europe, turtle doves aren’t available here but can be imported. Alternatively, one can opt for tekukur Jawa or the spotted dove. It’s small and long-tailed, similar to turtle doves. It’s cheaper too.
Cost: RM60 per pair. 
Cost over 11 days: RM660. 
Contact: Puspakumar Schinathan of Joshmitran Pet Aviary at 012-539 0250 or visit joshmitran.com


"Three French hens"
French hens, or faverolles, is a French breed of chicken, and the three French hens were meant to represent faith, hope and love. These aren’t found locally but can be imported alive, which means the birds will have to undergo quarantine, adding to their final cost. 
Cost: RM1,300 a pair (transportation cost is negotiable)
Cost over 10 days: RM19,500.
Contact: Puspakumar Schinathan of Joshmitran Pet Aviary at 012-539 0250 or visit joshmitran.com


"Four colly birds"
Colly birds, often mistaken as “calling birds”, are actually common black birds. ‘Colly’ was a slang word used in Victorian England, and refers to coal mining. Symbolically, they refer to the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Why be satisfied with a common blackbird when you can have a singing one? The common hill mynah or tiong emas is well known for its singing and ability to mimic human voices. Although this is breed is usually available in December, advance notice is best if you wish to buy.
Cost: RM650 per bird (negotiable).
Cost over nine days: RM23,400.
Contact: Sue of SueNSonsCollection at 017-309 0663.
[Clockwise from top left: chukar partridge, turtle dove, common black bird, French rooster and hen.]
"Five gold rings"
It’s believed that the five gold rings – symbolically, the first five books from the Old Testament – actually referred to the neck markings of the ring-necked pheasant and not actual jewellery. Nevertheless, receiving gold from one’s true love sure beats getting a pheasant. Bring on the 22K yellow gold bands! 
Cost: RM999 upwards. 
Cost over eight days: RM39,960.
Visit: pohkong.com.my


"Six geese-a-laying"
Meant to represent the six days of creation as described in the Book Of Genesis, geese comprise three variants: Anser (grey goose), Chen (white) and Banta (black). Of the three, Anser and Chen geese can be sourced locally – alive, not just roasted. 
Cost: RM200 (white goose) and RM150 (grey goose) per bird.
Cost of white geese over seven days: RM8,400.
Contact: Anuar of Mas Mega Heritage at 013-492 8343 or visit facebook.com/public/masmega.heritage (Bahasa Malaysia speaking only).


"Seven swans-a-swimming"
These beautiful creatures are among the world’s largest flying birds, reaching a length of up to 1.5m and weighing 15kg. The swans in the song represents the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy. Swans aren’t native to this part of the world so they will have to be imported. As with the French hens, the swans must go through quarantine.  
Cost: RM6,000 a pair (transportation cost is negotiable)
Cost over six days: RM126,000.
Contact: Puspakumar Schinathan of Joshmitran Pet Aviary at 012-539 0250 or visit joshmitran.com


"Eight maids-a-milking"
The maids are code for the eight beatitudes, the set of teachings by Jesus that appear in the gospel of Matthew and Luke. To work out the cost of maids, PNC assumes them to be unskilled labourers earning minimum wage. For our list, we use the typical monthly income of a migrant worker.
Cost: RM800 a month 
Cost over five days: RM32,000.


"Nine ladies dancing"
The dancing girls stand for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. While PNC uses the salary of the dancers of Philadelphia Dance Company, we asked a troupe of belly dancing ladies how much they charge. How about that?
Cost: RM800 per dancer for 10 minutes.
Cost over four days: RM28,800.
Contact: Sherlyn Koh of Sirocco Secrets Dance at 012-311 2277 or visit sherlyndance.com


"Ten lords-a-leaping"
The 10 lords equals the 10 commandments. Locally, we’ve approached The Dance Space where their skilled and versatile dancers can entertain your true love with either modern dance, tap, jazz, or even ballroom dancing moves. Pick a genre or two. They should be able to help you.
Cost: RM400 upwards.
Cost over three days: RM12,000.
Visit: thedancespace.com.my


"Eleven pipers piping"
Eleven pipers for 11 faithful disciples, but bagpipers are more fun don’t you think? Malaysia has a few bands that compete locally and internationally and are also available for hire. We found two that are able to supply enough pipers over the two days that they’re mentioned in the song.
Cost A: RM250 per piper (up to 12 pipers). Contact: Amirul Nazlan of Kuala Lumpur Pipes and Drums at 013-375 2281 or visit klpd.com.my
Cost B: RM400 per piper (up to 10 pipers). Contact: Roz Danial of St John Alumni Pipe Band at 012-386 3653 or visit sjapb.com
Cost over two days: RM7,000.


"Twelve drummers drumming"
Symbolically, the 12 drummers stand for the 12 points of belief in the Apostles' Creed. PNC sourced the going rate for pipes and drummers from a Pennsylvania musicians’ union but we’re using a quotation from the same guys who will be providing the bagpipers. They have awesome drummers as well. 
Cost: RM250 per drummer. 
Cost for one day: RM3,000.
Contact: Amirul Nazlan of Kuala Lumpur Pipes and Drums at 013-375 2281 or visit klpd.com.my

Cost of Christmas gifts if bought only once: RM55,495. 
Price of true love if all items are purchased repeatedly: RM304,800 – ho ho ho!

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Christmas, cost, song, carol, partridge, pear, French hen, turtle doves, colly birds, gold rings

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