In Latvia we like to use another saying “Don’t judge a man by his hat.” It can have different meanings like do not think he is smart or important or trustworthy because he wears a nice hat. Or that a person is not what he wears. Or that we cannot know the hearts of people.
But there are times when I look at someone’s clothes and I do judge them. So, let’s talk about it… Is it right or is it wrong? Actually the clothes that I have problem with are some T-shirts and the messages they advertise. There are times when I read someone’s T-shirt and think, “what in the world? …”
There are lots of markets here in Thailand that target the tourists since it is a very popular holiday destination. Gary and I enjoy many of them, especially the Walking Street in Chiang Mai which is every Sunday evening. Lots of creative and beautiful things for sale. And lots of T-shirts… lots of them…
Many of the shops I don’t even look at since the printed messages are so obscene and vulgar. But people buy them and wear them. Often I think that foreigners while traveling wear clothes that they would never wear in their home country because it would be too offensive.
So, here are TOP 3 shirts on my “DO NOT LIKE; CANNOT STAND; FIND OFFENSIVE” list:
As someone who grew up in the Soviet Union and learns more and more about the evils of totalitarian systems, I have a strong reaction when I see this T-shirt. I remember seeing it while working in Australia and I wanted to go up to this young Australian and ask, “hello, mate… do you have any idea what you are wearing?” I always try to think of what would be an equally offensive or disturbing message to an Australian or any other person. And, of course, I realize he would never want to live in a country like USSR. For one, he would not be able to wear any T-shirt that does not agree with the System.
Equally disturbing to me is a shirt with the Chairman Mao. It has become such a fashion statement. Sometimes he is a Mickey Mouse, sometimes he is cool, and sometimes he is just the Leader. Why do people think that it is fashionable to advertise bad people? If he was still alive, he would probably be very happy for all this world-wide attention, “Look, I am a brand.” Someone who is in the company of likes like Stalin, Hitler and other totalitarian leaders…
And even closer to my current home, this is the one I hate here in Thailand. I think it is such degrading and offensive message and view of self and other people. Unfortunately Thailand has a global reputation of sex tourism, human trafficking, availability and cheapness of sexual ‘services’. And most visitors only see the visible side of it; the invisible is much more ugly, cruel and inhumane. Money and ‘honey’ is destroying people’s lives… It is not something to be proud of or to laugh at.
This makes the whole “Do not judge the book by the cover” challenging.