Under and over the physical sense
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - September 14, 2019 - 12:00am

People infrequently ask the whys of fashion trends and rather ask for the most part where something can be purchased, the amount it costs and what brand it is. Thus the reason or significance behind the fashion is often, if not always, been downplayed.

As there are many different ways of seeing the world as our view is framed by context and culture. This means that representation of a thing or anything cannot mirror actual reality but each representation offers a different construction of the world and of experience in it. The representation or meaning must be clearly conveyed for greater appreciation. It is more substantial to represent a purpose, rather than just a title or name.

And so if it’s just purely for the aesthetics sense then such superficiality is just fleeting. This is true as in the case of the so-called "It Girls" that drew flak from social media users after they posted photos of themselves wearing souvenir communist hats at China's Tiananmen Square. Another is the Instagram photos of some celebrities who were seen sporting the caps in the area where student protesters died back in 1989. If only they knew that such representation has great impact in the lives of many people in the past they could not have done it or if they knew, they could have a second thought of doing it.

Not in the case of my fellow faculty who was allegedly been questioned because of wearing such cap. But what really is this cap? What does it represent for?

The Chairman Mao Cap is an officer's version of the famous hat worn by Mao Zedong. Made from a heavy grade wool-blend material, this substantial cap is clearly a military produced version of this hat and not a common commercial copy. It is made from a heavy wool-blend material, not the usual light weight polyester, correct Chinese factory markings are inside each cap. Red Army Star has been installed on each hat in the correct position.

Wearing a Mao Zedong cap or Che Guevarra's beret has a profound denotation. This can be a manifestation of support to certain idealism. And we are free as we should be free to do it. Being apprehended by a police officer and inviting you to the camp for no other apparent grounds is another issue. It is a violation of one’s freedom of expression.

Anyone has his or her own fashion statement. And the statement needs to have a profound meaning so that it can command high level of respect. It can be promoting our own indigenous culture, protecting our environment or lobbying for the rights and causes of marginalized sectors.

Some of our young, for instance, are fascinated by the K pop culture and wearing t-shirts, caps and other accessories very much associated with what they like takes just a normal sight.

But over and above the physical sense is the deeper meaning, requiring not just knowing but understanding and living by it. It calls for a great sense of consistency and commitment. Just like in life, if we are going to mean anything, we have to live it ourselves. If we want to create impact to others, then we aspire to be a glow in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.

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