I gently broke the news to him that everyone in KL wears Prada except for street-sleepers, who wear Gucci.
“Oh,” he said, and then asked about Delhi, his following destination.
I told him: “Men wear a special Indian line called Lungi by Marc Jacobs, set off by Ermenegildo Zegna turbans.”
It’s easy to torment Western tourists, since they usually know nothing about Asia.
(Example of tourist blending in with locals)
A reader from Indonesia said that she told her UK Facebook friend that she lived in a high rise block in a housing estate.
The British girl assumed this meant she was poor.
“Then she visited me and was amazed that in Asia, high-rise apartments on housing estates are where rich people live,” she said.
In the US, political correctness is taken so seriously that it is now illegal for males to greet female colleagues.
Men have to drop to their knees and shuffle along with their eyes averted, like people visiting the King of Thailand.
But in India, bosses still say things like: “Good morning, Ms Rao, you are looking very sexual in your tight blouse today.”
The following day I received an email from reader Matt Cooper, a British guy living in Hong Kong.
His children had to bring a cake to school, so he headed for the kitchen to make one.
The next day his scrumptious home-made masterpiece languished neglected on the table at school while people wolfed down the mass-produced cakes local parents had brought.
“Eww,” parents whispered to one another. “That poor man can’t afford to buy one.”
On another occasion, Matt went to a party dominated by Westerners.
They had eagerly eaten all the homemade cakes but totally ignored the one shop-bought cake.
"Eww,” parents whispered. “One poor parent is too lazy to make one.”
Where do these East-West differences come from? This column will solve this age-old mystery by the classic journalistic method of calling “experts” and hoping they may actually know something.
A university contact in Hong Kong said it might be something to do with trousers.
Historically, Western men have worn trousers and Asian men haven’t.
“Western males’ overheated genitalia might make a difference,” she said.
A researcher in Thailand said there were deep-rooted differences.
Consider a typical Western proverb, such as this one from Germany:
“He who likes cherries soon learns to climb.”
But a typical Asian proverb was this one from Thailand:
“One day, the orange will fall.”
I thought he was about to explain that it was all down to fruit choices, but no.
“Most Westerners evolved in places with long winters, while most Asians evolved in places with no winters,” he said. Thus Westerners have a seize-the-day attitude while Asians have a softly-softly wait-and-see approach.
So there we have it, an ancient mystery solved. It's all to do with the weather in the past.
And this may also explain the evolution of trousers. Gentlemen, we have to keep those genitalia warm.
IN OTHER NEWS....
Thanks for the interesting comments on the previous post, about the odd way smartphone wars are misreported by the news media.
Particular thanks to Karuna, who is in the technology business, and whose views have the ring of truth about them.
The curious thing is that most of the comments which appeared under the Facebook version of that post missed the whole point of the story, which was about misreporting by the media. They thought it was about which was the best brand of phone. I have no opinion about that. I guess people just like to talk about what's important to them...