We believe in Santa... and we don’t

Is Santa real? How does he get into Singapore homes without a chimney? And can reindeer fly? Here are what 20 children say

Ms Ko Hui Yen's eldest child Kit-sen, who is six, does not believe in Santa Claus. When the girl was about three, she pulled the beard of a Santa and it turned out to be made of cotton wool.

She must have got her tough rational mind from her mum.

Ms Ko, 40, managing director of a corporate training and consulting firm, believes in "empirical evidence".

She disapproves of unrealistic depictions of Disney princesses that "promote the idea that somebody can come along and save you".

When it comes to Santa Claus, some parents play along with their children's beliefs while others are more proactive in guiding their kids.

Although Mrs Doreen Phoon is Christian and considers "the main thing about Christmas to be the birth of Jesus", the 37-year-old housewife says that Santa's naughty-or-nice list is useful as an incentive for good behaviour for her children - Noah, seven; Sarah, six; and Leah, four.

Here are what some children in Singapore, aged four to 12, have to say about Santa's existence, reindeer and the vexing question of chimneys.

•Do you think parents should tell children the truth about Santa Claus? E-mail stlife@sph.com.sg


He can ‘control’ people to buy presents. This Christmas, I’m a bit confused. The wrapper that Santa Claus uses is like one of the stores’ in Orchard Road.

NOAH PHOON (above left), seven

He is fat and old and has a big bag for presents. Santa Claus has a lot of presents for us to open.

LEAH PHOON (above centre), four

Our father and  mother buy  presents for us.  Santa Claus also  gives us presents.

SARAH PHOON (above right), six


His real name is Saint Nicholas. He carries happiness and also makes everyone happy.

BERNADETTE CHONG (above left), five

I saw him at Robinsons. Then all his helpers walked past me.

JULIA SIM (above right), five


He uses a giant candy cane,  if there's no chimney, to hook  on the window and get in. The candy cane can become small  and go into his pocket. His reindeer land on the roof. If there's no roof, they land on the ground.

EMMANUEL NG, six


He gives me presents at night at Christmas when I'm sleeping. In the morning, I'll open them.

KATIE TAN, four


He lives in the North Pole. He has  a big beard. He's old. He has  a wife called Mrs Claus.

MATHILDA MCKENZIE (left), seven

He goes around the world and gives loads of nice presents unless children have been naughty. He has a sleigh and reindeer which can fly.

THEODOR MCKENZIE (right), five


I've never seen him.  If he goes to America, he has to work longer delivering the presents because America is a big country. I don't  think he comes to Singapore.

SAMUEL LIM (left), 10

I've never believed  in Santa Claus.  There are too many people pretending  to be Santa.

AARON LIM (centre), 12

I don't believe in  Santa Claus because even if he was real, he wouldn't be able to get into other people's houses to deliver presents. Many people don't have a chimney. Even if they have chimneys, if there's a fire in the fireplace and Santa drops down, he might get burnt.  If he tried to get in through the door,  he'd have to break  it and people would get alarmed. If he breaks into your house, that means Santa Claus is real.

DAVID LIM (right), eight


I believed in Santa Claus only when I was four or six, and then I thought, how does he get all these presents in, a million times? There are lots  of houses in the world. What if someone sees him? It's very complicated. Where does he get  all his presents from? He can't  just go to shops and keep buying for every single child in the world. 

ANGAD BHATIA, eight


I don't believe in Santa because kor-kor told me he's not real.

XENTIA GOH (left), six. Kor-kor is Chinese dialect for big brother

Santa Claus is the same as the tooth fairy - not real. When I was sleeping, I put my tooth under the pillow. I could feel a hand going under it. It was  my mama. My mother put the coins or sweets. I closed  my eyes but opened  them a little. I pretended I didn't know.  

NATALIE YONG (centre), 10

When it's Christmas, there are no new presents under  the Christmas tree. 

XAVIER GOH (right), nine


My parents have raised me to know that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus rather than giving presents... Nowadays, people  have changed the focus of Christmas and use Santa  as a substitute for Jesus.

KEONA D'SOUZA, 12


I don't think reindeer can fly - that would be crazy. We have no chimney. We always lock our windows.  How does Santa have  a key to our door?

RYAN SEAH, nine


There's no real Santa Claus.  He's just a fairy tale. Every year,  my grandpa pretends he's  Santa Claus. His skin is dark,  not light, and he wears glasses. 

SOH KIT-SEN, six


At first, I thought Santa was real. Then when my mother told me, I said oh, so Santa is not real. It's just  the parents giving  the gifts.

ZAHAN SHAH, seven

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'We believe in Santa...... and we don’t'. Print Edition | Subscribe