Taipei Mayor Says No to Suits When Meeting Foreign Guests

Taipei Mayor Says No to Suits When Meeting Foreign Guests
Photo Credit: 柯文哲FB專頁
What you need to know

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je says that we should say no to the single standard of western culture. Iranians, however, are prohibited from wearing ties and the practice stems from the 1979 Islamic revolution.

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No suits and ties has become one of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s personal traits. On December 21, Ko met with Nobuhiro Tanabe, Mayor of Shizuoka City, Japan, with this trait as a representation of saying no to the western culture.

CNA reports, Ko Wen-je met with Nobuhiro Tanabe and others to exchange the planning of the Taipei marathon and Shizuoka marathon. The Japanese representatives were all in full suits while Ko remained his own style of tie-less shirt, slacks and sneakers.

Tanabe invites the Taiwanese to join the Shizuoka Marathon in March 2016 in Japan. He also expresses his surprise and appraise for the Taipei International Marathon held on December 20. Tanabe says he will use Taipei International Marathon as model for the upcoming Shizuoka Marathon.

After Tanabe was informed that Ko would visit Tokyo early next year, he invited Ko to drop by Shizuoka. Ko promised to assemble a Taipei team to participate in the Shizuoka Marathon next March to strengthen bilateral communication in sport meets.

Seeing Ko in a shirt while exchanging souvenirs, Tanabe deliberately took off his suit and tie. He says that Ko’s attire is people-friendly and that he would like to follow Ko.

Newtalk reports, after the meeting, Ko was asked whether his apparel makes foreign guests feel embarrassed. Ko emphasizes that he dresses like this only to reject the superiority of western civilization.

He says that he once discussed with the representative of Japan regarding why all Japanese people wear suits, and he came to the conclusion that we should simply say no to the single standard of the western culture.

Suits and Politics: Why don’t Iranians wear ties?

Ko is not the only politician who dares to say no to the western culture. Iranians, however, are prohibited from wearing ties and the practice stems from the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Before the monarchy was overthrown, Iran was an extremely westernized country with suits and ties seen everywhere on ordinary men. After the Islamic republic was declared, Iranians were told to wear “standard Islamic garments" designed to represent Islamic religion.

Although some Iranian guys wear suits very occasionally, neckties (and bowties) were said to be decadent, un-Islamic and viewed as “symbols of the Cross" and the oppressive West.

Since ties are “highly politicized clothing" in Iran, nearly all men, particularly government workers, do not wear ties even if visiting abroad or meeting with foreign guests.

Translated and compiled by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

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