In China's most modern and trendy city, Shanghai, the innocent but intimate pajama is at the center of a simmering public controversy that won't be put to bed.
The dispute revolves around wearing pajamas in public. On any given day on the commercial hub's crowded streets, locals in their nighties can be seen jostling for space with the latest mini-skirt fashion or the primly-pressed work suit and tie.
Daytime pajama wearers can be spotted anywhere in this city of 17 million, donning bedroom attire as naturally as a T-shirt on a hot summer day.
They cruise by on bicycles. They sip tea in quiet teahouses in the park. They saunter -- toothbrush and towel in hand -- through leafy lanes graced with the grand French concession homes of a bygone era to the public bathhouse.
In a recent survey on Shanghai's most fashionably unfashionable attire, 16 percent of respondents said they or family members often wear pajamas in public, and 25 percent sometimes did.
It was also considered one of the most irritating features of Shanghai city life along with domestic pets defecating in public, according to the study conducted by Shanghai Academy of Social Science sociologist Yang Xiong.
It is difficult to pinpoint just when pajamas became embroiled in one of Shanghai's fiercest etiquette wars in recent memory.
Many people deride the habit, which in China is peculiar to Shanghai, as uncivilized; smacking of an unforgivable lack of taste and poor pedigree in this class conscious city.
"People who wear the pajamas are degrading themselves because it shows their shallow taste and weak personal qualities," said Hu Shoujun, a sociologist at Shanghai's Fudan University.
"It's disrespectful to the others and, last but not least, it's not clean," Hu said.
But for resident Sun Mei, retired, wearing jammies is a perfectly acceptable comfort.
"Nobody has ever said to me it's inappropriate, and I don't feel it is either," Sun said as she pulled up to a local supermarket on her moped wearing a two-piece version decorated with cartoon figures.
Like many other residents she argued that she just wears them "around the neighborhood" -- a practical choice given most old homes in Shanghai have inadequate plumbing and locals often share public bathrooms.
There are other complexities surrounding the phenomenon.
One is the philosophical uncertainty in China's fashion circles over whether the pajama deserves its own place in the public wardrobe.
"If we were to take the pajamas as the pursuit of comfort, freedom and relaxation, it could be a trend," said Chen Hong, an editor with Elle magazine's Web site.
"But it's hard to say how one can wear pajamas in a fashionable way," Chen said.
Others point to the implied socio-economic message that wearing pajamas in public announces to others a certain life of leisure.
Another reason, according to Mou Lin, deputy fashion director with Elle magazine, is that pajamas are similar to the traditional Chinese suit of tunic and matching baggy trousers worn in ancient times.
But likely the main reason is the ongoing clash between people and the changing physical nature of Shanghainese society, said Yang, who conducted the survey.
A decade ago it was natural to wear pajamas in Shanghai's small lanes, where overcrowding meant forced communal living, but that has changed as more people have moved into the privacy of high-rise homes, he said.
"As Shanghai has become a metropolis the difference between private and public space has become more pronounced, and that is how the pajamas have become a problem," Yang said.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees
GOGOROS TO GO: The scooter maker’s CEO said that the electric vehicles ‘are the perfect complement to a program designed to stimulate the Taiwanese economy’ Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) yesterday announced a draw to encourage people to claim their Triple Stimulus Vouchers digitally. The prizes include movie tickets and 25 electric scooters donated by Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), Wang said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said that it would hold a scooter draw every day for the next 10 days, beginning yesterday, after which there would be a draw every week for 15 weeks. The first winner was a Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) credit card user, the ministry said. The benefits of claiming the vouchers digitally extend beyond the draws, with many businesses offering special deals for