Asian People Love Me, and they Love my Shirt


Asians love my shirt.


Being a single guy trying to make his way in, as they say on the Tejano radio, el Bayarea, I find that Pacific Sunwear is a pretty good place to score a T-shirt.

The designer Element produces the above shirt in a variety of colors and flavors but it boils down to their name, and the mentioning of 4 of the key elements: wind, water, earth, and fire (as shown above).

The semiotics of this shirt comes out to “live life, embrace interaction with the four elements: climb/board/ski the mountains of earth, surf/swim/snorkel/SCUBA in the deep blue water, traverse with the wind in your face, and stoke the fire of your own courage.”

So that’s the shirt, what about the Asians? Well, Asian people love this shirt, and by extension, me.

Example: This winter-summer in Australia I was wearing a black version of this shirt and was getting into an elevator when a very nice Singaporean man addressed me and asked if I was familiar with the Tao or with Feng Shui and if shirt was about that. I replied in the negative saying it was just a boardwear company.

The Singaporean gentleman said he said he really liked the use of “negative space” (the blackness) on the shirt and its recognition of key Taoist elements.

Now this example alone would not normally justify my saying that Asians love me and my shirt.

BUT… lo and behold, last laundry day as I was drying my shirt one of my Chinese-American neighbors came in and said: “Oh, I really like your shirt! It’s very good Feng Shui!". I said laughed and he started to warn me about how the dryer hadn’t dried his clothes very well. I said that’s because the metal dryer was on the wrong side of the wall and was not in its optimal chi positioning on the west side of the room.

Well you’d have think I told him that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound. “Ohhh, you do know about Feng Shui, wow, do you have your apartment set up with Feng Shui? "

I said not to take my little bit of knowledge (ever the dangerous thing) as knowing anything substantive about Feng Shui, I did tell him about some remedies I had and we went on to other topics.

That’s TWO Asians!

To prove the point I need three right? OK, so today I’m at the library (I’m going to have my first real Cocoa app done Real Soon!) and I get in the elevator up from the carport when a very nice elderly Japanese man asked: “Is that shirt for T’ai Chi?” Do you do T’ai Ch’i?” I explained that no, indeed this was merely a shirt for an activewear company.

He was very gracious and said that knowing about the elements was very important for good balances in the body and home. I said I agreed and said I was sure he was right.