- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 248 Hour
- Reading permission
Shanghai authorities denied Thursday that they had scaled up an administrative campaign to quell a pajamas-wearing phenomenon in public, months before the city hosts the World Expo.
Scenes of people wearing sluggish cotton outfits – mostly rich and bold in colors, and printed with flowers or cartoon characters – strolling through streets and public places such as stores, supermarkets and banks, seems to have made Shanghai, the economic hub of the mainland, stand out and amuse visitors.
Wearing pajamas in public "goes against the international practice of social ritual," a press officer with the municipal government, who gave his surname as Yang, told the Global Times, saying that efforts to phrase out pajamas on the streets have been ongoing for years with numerous meetings and campaigns held to address the issue.
LED public boards in downtown areas, for instance, have been seen advocating not wearing pajamas in public.
But the suggestions haven't carried any punitive measures for those insisting on wearing PJs, Yang stressed.
Shen Guofang, a Shanghai community officer, was tasked in July with persuading residents not to wear pajamas in public, China Newsweek reported in its latest issue dated next Monday.
It was part of the official campaign of "Leaving pajamas at home and becoming a civilized host of the World Expo," the magazine reported.
"It's about the face of our nation," Shen was quoted as saying.
Shen, along with 10 community volunteers, wears a red armband at the gate of her community block twice a week and stops people who wear pajamas, the magazine reported.
Shen's community was among a number of them close to the World Expo site to carry out the campaign in response to a call by the Shanghai Women's Association and district committees.
"It (wearing PJs in public) is not something that should be exaggerated at all. Making an issue out of it would only complicate our daily lives even if there is World Expo," an unnamed woman wearing pajamas
on her way back from the store told the magazine, displaying anger and impatience.
The origin of pajama practice remains debatable, with some saying it is a decades-old tradition in self-contained communities in Shanghai.
Duncan Rickelton, 25, a British freelancer who stayed in an old community when he moved to Shanghai earlier this year, said the comfy attire was a frequent sight.
"Nearly every time I went out, I would meet people, both male and female, with pajamas, especially in the evening," Rickelton said. "It's OK and funny. It makes things interesting. It's part of the culture and not impolite. I don't really think it should be banned. That'd be a waste of time and energy."
"If you grow up in an environment where many elderly people do this, then maybe you won't realize it is improper until the media begins criticizing it," said a 27-year-old office worker surnamed Fang, in Shanghai. "The phenomenon is more common in communities and small lanes in old urban areas. They walk with pajamas in areas close to their home."
Sometimes it is difficult to tell what constitutes pajamas, as some people just look like they're trying to be stylish, Rickelton said.
Lin Jian, a Shanghai-based columnist for Vogue magazine, argued that pajama-wearing in public is a real-life scenario that shouldn't be suppressed.
"This is what distinguishes Shanghai from other cities. It is part of the city's identity. You recognize these icons, and then you feel you're home. You can't say they are not civilized. They aren't naked. Dressing reflects the spirit of the time," Lin said.
But Xu Jue, a local media professional, doesn't like them.
"Wearing pajamas in public doesn't show respect," Xu said. "That tradition for some neither matches the city beat, nor reflects the core of Shanghai."
The government may not be in the position to interfere with people's dressing habits, but under the current circumstances, it'd be better if they had a role in the issue, Xu said.
A 31-year-old company manager in Shanghai, surnamed Zhang, said he was uncomfortable seeing so many people wearing pajamas outside on the streets when he moved to Shanghai six years ago.
Shanghai press officer Yang argued that people in other regions have their improper habits, too. "Some Beijing men prefer to be topless during the summer. That should also be changed," Yang said.
Those half-naked Beijingers, known as bang ye, or naked papa, were rarely seen in the summer before the Olympics, as the city cracked down on such practice to improve the city's image.
strange Shanghai habit...