> Opinion
What's wrong with a person in pajamas?
(China Daily)
Updated: 2009-11-04 08:24

Shanghai, which will host the World Expo next year, has started a campaign to prevent people in pajamas from walking on the streets. This not only infringes upon civil rights, but also reveals our sense of inferiority when compared to foreigners, says an article in Chengdu Business Daily. Excerpts:

Many Shanghai residents are used to loitering around the streets in their pajamas. But now the municipal government is making every effort to stop them from doing so, because it would be a "loss of face" for city authorities if a foreigner sees people walking the streets in pajamas during the 2010 World Expo.

The campaign has sparked a controversy. Some say the local government is infringing upon people's civil rights because it has no right to force them to change their harmless habits and customs.

Civil rights aside, the campaign is too cosmetic.

As a modern international metropolis, Shanghai has been playing host to foreigners for decades. So why have pajamas become embarrassing only now? And will it be okay for people to walk the streets in pajamas after the World Expo? Why should we change our habits and customs to suit foreigners' taste when we travel abroad as well as when we play host to them? Do we suffer from a sense of inferiority?

We do such things to prove our success in different fields. Do we have to be that artificial in our habits to prove that? China will grow as a soft power if all Chinese are well educated and skillful. Aren't education and skill more important for people than the cosmetic beauty of acceptable garments?

(China Daily 11/04/2009 page9)