Good grief. There are carolers in the building.

I’ve closed the front door and windows, turned off nearly all the lights, and shut myself inside my flatmates’ bedroom until they’ve done their rounds on our floor and have gone away. There are carolers in our building.

I could hear several kids singing while I was sweeping the floor and could make out the tune of the ABS-CBN Christmas jingle. It was followed by the familiar “thank you” sung by kids after a Christmas carol, where the lyrics are changed depending on whether the household gave them money or not.

I don’t know how and where that “thank you” jingle started, but it became popular among kids when I was around eight or nine, eventually becoming a staple for carolers. What happens is if you gave the carolers money, they’d sing “ambabait ninyo” (you’re kind/generous); if you didn’t give them money, they’d sing “ambabarat ninyo” (you’re stingy).

When I looked down to the corridors, I saw five kids singing in front of a unit one floor below. Most carolers would end their songs immediately when given money or if the house occupants shoo them away. Some of the more persistent kids, if not told to leave, will sing three or four songs before giving up. These kids, however, seem to finish their songs even after given money. It’s nice because it shows how they’re not just after collecting something from the units they visit; but at the same time, the way their voices echo around the building is getting annoying.

You could probably tell the actual state of the economy by how much the carolers would get from each household, on average. Except that nobody probably interviews the kids to find out. When I was in grade school, I’d join some classmates in caroling and we’d split the collected money equally afterwards. I used to envy the some schoolmates who played bandurria in the school band because people tend to give them more money as opposed to carolers who only had home-made drums and tambourine to accompany them.

I’m surprised the building maintenance folks allowed kids to go around caroling. I can’t make myself complain about the noise but I don’t really want to encourage them so I’ll be staying inside this room for an hour or so until they’re done and have returned home.