Friday, September 23, 2005


Hong Kong is a weird place.

One of the weirdest things however are the t-shirts. You quite often see people, especially women wearing things that are really meant to be bought as gag gifts at adult book stores and never worn. I've seen women wearing t-shirts that say things like "I'm a juicy bimbo." "Just do me; Please, just do me," "Super Rich & Super Bitch," "My panties your pleasure" and my all time favorite "Sex instructor-first lesson is free." This doesn't count the ubiquitous "Bitch, Bitch, Bitch"

This situation isn't helped by a clothing chain called "The French Connection of the United Kingdom" which trades under the acronym "FCUK" They sell shirts with the words "FCUK YOU" as advertisement.

Why would anybody buy clothing from a store with a name like that? Perhaps I'm just too up tight but I can't see that it is funny and if that is fashion then I'll stay with my plain green singlet and running shoes and sweatband.

You also see lots of funny but more innocent bloopers and misspellings on shirts. Unlike the obscene examples above, these can be quite funny and are generally worth a read. My wife has a mouse t-shirt with the words "Ingenuous Mouse" embroidered over Mickey's head. I can't help but think it was supposed to say "Ingenious Mouse."

Others simply make no sense at all. "The red and the green make a hard palette of colorful odor in my Tuesday stomach" is one that an office worker I know wears quite often. Clueless does not even begin to describe my reaction to this. It looks like random words that a MS Word program could not find a spelling mistake in.

All of this is a result of language. Most of the people wearing these shirts don't have a clue what they say. However, this theory breaks down when you see tourist wearing shirts. Tourists don't normally wear the obscene shirts but they often wear really provocative political shirts. Don't get me wrong there is a place for these shirts at conventions or party rallies. But, I do wonder about the wisdom of wearing them in public in Asia.

I saw a girl this morning in an Anti-George Bush t-shirt. I'm not going to go into what was on the shirt or even whether I agree with the shirt or not. The issue is that wearing that shirt in Asia is a bad move in several ways.

Foremost of these is that anti-Americanism is not limited to party outside of the US. Bashing George Bush and bashing John Kerry is the same thing here much of the time. The Chinese make think President Bush is a cowboy or warmonger but they also think that Bill Clinton was an idiot and buffoon. There is no love for either of them. Thus the anti-Americanism is not decreased by spouting or wearing anti-Bush stuff. That means that wearing Anti-Bush shirts, or Anti-Kerry shirts simply increase hostility generally rather than focusing it on a particular target.

Do Americans, or Europeans or whomever think that people in China, or Indonesia or Bali truly understand the problems and issues faced in the US? Do people really think that people in Asia even care? Isn't it somewhat presumptuous to think they are not more concerned about what goes on in their own country?

Worse, by increasing the amount of Anti-Americanism in Asia these tourist are making themselves as well as me, targets. I don't like people making me a target along with themselves. These shirts make you a target.

I believe that a lot of the Anti-Americanismm in the third world is also is simply political hyperbole. It is easier for politicians in struggling countries to blame their countries problems on someone else than to take the possibly dangerous steps needed to correct those problems.

In reality, the vast majority of people in the world have almost no clue as to the problems and issues being dealt wih in American politics. They are Anti-American because they have conditioned to be so by leaders with an agenda. This is not to say that the US is blameless, it isn't but very often the extent of blame the US receives for the plight of the starving in the third world is much less thant the blame that should be apportioned to the local leaders who live in luxury while their people starve.

Likewise, most tourist have almost no conception of what life is like in a different place.

In any case, for whatever reason, there is a lot of anti-Americanism in the world today. Do you really want to remind people in a country you are vacationing in that they don't like you?

At best I think people wearing these look silly and at worst they look petulant, mean and narrow minded. I've seen exceptions but this is a general rule. I don't wear political shirts. I wish others would follow my example

I could write more but this is probably enough.

Until next time I am
Fai Mao
The non-political logoed Blogger

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