Peter (柯益友) (peterintaiwan) wrote,
Peter (柯益友)

Don't block my Qi, but please, block the sun.

In traditional Chinese medicine and philosophy the concept of "Qi" is very important. Much like the "force" of "Star Wars" fame, Qi is an energy that allows people to function. If ones Qi is blocked, then one cannot do as well as one wants. Blocked Qi can be a cause for illness and other things. Allowing for the proper movement of Qi is paramount in the idea of Feng Shui.

Allowing for the free flow of Qi is of utmost importance. One of the things that can block Qi is cutting a single hair. Not on your head, but the hair that grow from moles and other skin markings. While in America we consider these hairs to be unsightly and trim or even have them removed, Chinese Medicine seems to dictate that the allowance of this hair to grow can allow for better flow of Qi. It is quite common to see older Taiwanese men sitting on the bus with a 7-8 inch hair sprouting from a mole on their neck or chin.

In stark contrast to that is the horror of having dark skin. Aside form aboriginal people who are naturally darker, Taiwanese women seem to be deathly afraid of becoming darker. Dr. Wu's skin treatment is sold promising whiter skin. Women walk around with umbrellas to block the sun (some even ride their bike one handed in order to allow for the holding of an umbrella). Ihave even seen women walking down the street with a book held over their head to achieve (they hope) the same purpose.

Perhaps the most strange to me is the use of "fake sleeves." Women will buy sleeves (fabric sown to act like a sleeve with elastic bands at each end) which they wear on their arms while wearing a short sleeve shirt. Often this fabric has a print on it which might be childish or floral or some other pattern, design or color that clashes with the rest of their ensemble. Fashion goes out the window in hopes of maintaining a whiter skin color.
Tags: culture, taipei, taiwan
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