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Hong Kong Santa takes 2nd in Sweden games

  |   Dec. 25, 2012 at 3:30 AM
GALLIVARE, Sweden, Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Hong Kong made another strong showing at this year's Santa Winter Games in Gallivare, Sweden, finishing second, organizers say.

Christmas is a big deal in Hong Kong, even though only 10 percent of the former British colony's residents are Christians, and they put lot of energy into their Santa efforts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"It's always more Santas from Hong Kong," said Mathias Svalenstrom, organizer for the Santa Winter Games in Gallivare, a town of about 8,500 people located about 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Hong Kong Santas have shown they can compete with their jolly old colleagues from around the world when it comes to eating porridge, riding a mechanical reindeer and pushing a sled, the Journal says. The past four years, Hong Kong has finished in the medals at the Santa Winter Games.

This year's Hong Kong entrant, Ho Wing-Leong, is a 21-year-old magician who goes by the name Santa Rainbow and weighs just 130 pounds.

Ho said while Santas from the Netherlands, Estonia and Sweden looked as if "they lived in a forest and had their own deer," he resolved to "work harder."

Japanese Santa Paradise Yamamoto said Ho stood out as very "fancy, pop, flashy," adding Hong Kong's young, thin Santa "shows they were thinking about winning."

"All the rest are pretty normal Santas ... if you can say that," Svalenstrom said.

While Ho was bounced off the mechanical reindeer in a few seconds, he won the porridge-eating contest, and with the help of his entourage took the Santa Karaoke competition with a spirited, if sometimes nonsensical, version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" complete with dancing, musical instruments and magic tricks, the Journal said.

Ho finished second to the Netherlands' Santa entrant for the second year in a row.

Topics: reindeer
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