Who at UM Reminds You of Santa?

Text : Cravina Chong, Davis Ip, UM Reporters Yuki Huang & Perseus Fong
Photo : Davis Ip, UM Reporter Derek Lin |  ISSUE 84 December My UM

Christmas is coming. This holiday you don’t have to travel all the way to snowy Northern Europe to see the legendary Santa, because Santa is right here at UM! Better still, we have more than one! Don’t believe me? Check it out and take your pick.

In a recent ‘Who at UM Most Resembles Santa?’ survey conducted by the editorial team of My UM, each of the 250 randomly surveyed UM staff and students picked one person at UM that reminds them of Santa. Prof Peter Zabielskis from the Department of Sociology and Dr William Lee, interim master of Cheng Yu Tung College, were both pleasantly surprised to learn that they are ranked among the top 5.


Most Cited Santa Attributes


When told that some students thought he looked like a kind and approachable grandpa, Prof Peter Zabielskis says with a laugh, ‘I think I’m kind. I’m approachable. I don’t know about the grandpa bit. I still think I’m very young at heart, but that’s okay. And I’m so happy that I’ve been given this honour to think I’m a little bit like Santa, but I don’t like to dress in red and I don’t have a beard.’ As for a Christmas gift for UM students, he says he wants to give them the gift of learning. He hopes students will use the knowledge they acquire in college to contribute to society after graduation. He says, ‘We need skilled, talented, committed people who will try to help solve some of the problems in today’s world. One of my Christmas wishes is that UM students will constantly share what they have learned, their skills and creativity with others, and be happy to spread good around the world.’

Prof Peter Zabielskis from the Department of Sociology

According to our survey, the most cited Santa attribute is kindness (82%), with a grandpa-like appearance, and a beard, ranked No 2 and No 3 respectively. Dr William Lee, another beard-less Santa-elect at UM, made the list because of his loving care for students. He stands at the college entrance every morning and evening to greet the students as they leave and return to the college. He also makes late night snacks for students when they prepare for final examinations. Dr Lee believes it’s probably his plump figure and the fact that he likes to spread joy to those around him and help students achieve their dreams that landed him on the list. He says, ‘If I could give everyone in the college a Christmas gift, I would give each student a piece of chocolate to bring them a festive atmosphere. I hope students will enjoy studying and living at UM. I hope they will remember to do a self-reflection at the end of each day and tell those who love them, especially their parents, that they are safe and work hard here. I wish them good luck in the final exams. Merry Christmas!’

Cheng Yu Tung College Interim Master Dr William Lee

Love as Christmas Gift

More than 50 per cent of those we surveyed believe in Santa Claus. Mario Cen, a third-year student of biomedical sciences, is one of them. As a child, he used to put a pair of socks at the head of the bed on Christmas Eve for Santa to leave his Christmas gift, but the next morning he would wake up to find the socks still empty, until one year, when his long-awaited Christmas surprise finally came. That morning, he was woken up by his parents, who, lugging the suitcases into his bedroom, announced that they were taking him on a surprise Christmas trip to Bali, Indonesia. As for his Christmas wish this year, he hopes to find a girlfriend and spend a romantic Christmas with her in Disneyland.

Mario Cen

Some say college life is incomplete without romance. Many students surveyed said the Christmas gift they want the most is a boyfriend or a girlfriend. Sam Chan is one of them. But he is not in a hurry to find a girlfriend by this Christmas; he hopes to find the right person within the next year. The most unforgettable Christmas gift Chan ever received was a bright red lipstick. To this day he still remembers how embarrassed he felt as the other students hooted with laughter and dared him to apply it to his lips.

Sam Chan

Good Luck in the Final Exams

Daisy Yang, a second-year student from the Faculty of Law, has a mother who plays the role of Santa each year by placing a Christmas gift on her daughter’s bed. The most unforgettable Christmas gift Yang received from her parents was a kaleidoscope they gave her last year. It was the last Christmas gift she received before she left her hometown for Macao. Every time she plays with the kaleidoscope, she thinks of her parents. Her Christmas wish is that everybody does well on their exams and her parents stay healthy. Our survey shows that Christmas gifts that are considered the best or most unforgettable are sometimes the non-material version. Some mentioned a hug, a smile, a message of good wishes, a romantic date, an ‘I love you’ from an object of desire, or a dinner with their family. So, don’t be stingy with your love. Spread your love and warmth to those around you, so everyone can have a warm Christmas!.’

Daisy Yang