Before I blog about my trip back home, I would just like to get something off my chest. When I just came back from Singapore, this thought came to mind…
In Japan, the traditional costume for women is the beautiful kimono.
In Singapore, the traditional costume for women is…. erm, the camisole.
I swear, if I were to attend any cultural exchange sessions where everyone is supposed to wear an outfit that best represents their country, I will wear a camisole.
… ok actually, there weren’t so many people wearing camisoles when I last went back, thanks to big fashion labels in town that provide affordable and fashionable clothing and the endless blogshops. But people STILL dressed casual. Almost everyone wore sandals and sleeveless tops and dresses were staples.
I know I should’ve taken more photos when I’m back but yeah for now, here’s something off the internet. Even the website where I took this photo from has a title that says ‘Do you think Singaporeans dress badly?'(http://www.thydowager.com/2009/06/you-think-singaporeans-dress-badly.html). The author seems to think differently, but for me, gosh, yes, a big yes. If even hot babes wear sleeveless and sandals, then how can the ordinary people look good? Ok, fine, people who look good will look good in whatever they wear anyway, but that doesn’t mean it’s fashionable. Maybe most people who follow in the footsteps of those good looking people who don’t give a damn about what they wear think that that’s fashionable. I just think they don’t have a concept of what’s fashionable.
I could clearly see the stark difference between Singaporeans and Japanese when I came back from Singapore. The Japanese definitely dressed wayyyyy better. And no excuses for Singapore ok! It’s summer here in Japan now and it’s wayyyyy hotter than Singapore!
Ok the main point of this post is not to point out that Singaporeans dress badly, but to illustrate the point that Singapore is a relatively new country and so we don’t have a very rich culture nor a traditional costume that we can claim to be uniquely ours. If you were to request for something that’s closest to representing our image and culture, then some people might tell you that it’s gotta be the Singapore girl.
But the uniform design is based on the Sarong Kebaya, which is the Malay’s traditional costume, and the Singapore Girl is actually a flight attendant from Singapore Airlines, a corporate identity that’s got no link whatsoever to our cultural heritage. So while many people claim the Singapore Girl to be our national icon, they are just actually deceived by the very sleek marketing by Singapore Airlines Ltd. Yes, it’s a for-profit company that has no interest in preserving – or even creating – Singapore’s culture but would be more than willing to let you think that and go along with it if it means maximising their market share in the aviation industry. Thus, I wouldn’t say that it’s authentic Singapore culture or that it represents our identity.
And so! The kimono that authentically represents Japanese culture (though inspired by the Chinese from the Tang dynasty) and was actually worn by people in the past – and not just the uniform of flight attendants who work for a corporation in the private sector – wins hands-down.