Thu, May 04, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: What's the message?

By Konraad Kordula

This past weekend, South Korean heart-throb Rain was in town again on another 24-hour promotional stint.

This time, the pop star was called upon by the folks at the Louis Vuitton fashion company to help them celebrate the grand opening of their new flagship ("LV Maison") store on Chungshan North Road. The event, apparently, was a huge success, lasting into the early hours of the morning. The fact that Rain would be on hand for the party was not the least bit surprising.

The singer/actor/dancer has been the talk of the Asia, and his popularity here in Taiwan seems to grow daily.

What was rather surprising, however, was the distasteful use of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial to help call attention to the affair (as if LV needed any more promotional help in Taiwan).

With the clever use of a projector, the memorial was made to look like a handbag, LV logo and all. It's bad enough that the pride and joy of Taiwan, Taipei 101, doubles as a Sony advertisement, but government officials apparently feel it is acceptable to bastardize national monuments in the spirit of capitalist sentiment. Politics aside, there was something almost sacrilegious about the display.

More importantly, however, is the message that was both subconsciously and insidiously conveyed across the island. With the amount of consumer debt in Taiwan, and credit card abuse running rampant, one might think that the government would be inclined to find other events to promote. The fundraiser for Animals Taiwan, also held this past weekend, first pops to mind. Instead, it was the furthering of an already glorified high-end fashion label. This backwards logic almost forces one to question what the message is.

Yes, the opening of only the world's fifth "LV Maison" right here in Taiwan is an event that gains the country international recognition (of sorts) and builds national pride. That being said, I wonder if the sort of values that we're putting so much emphasis on today won't come back to haunt us tomorrow. As with most things, only time will tell.

Konraad Kordula


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