Flags Babes in Asia

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .


In India, flag as a dress is a sacrilege.

India flag dress India flag protest
“A dress made out of the Indian national flag has set off a political and legal debate in the country, and led to police action against the designer.”. From: “Flag dress causes a flap” (24 August, 2000, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK), BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/894409.stm (local copy 20000824_india_flag.htm )


赵薇 in Japanese war flag dress
A photo of 赵薇 from a fashion magazine.

Chinese pop actress 赵薇 (Zhao Wei, b1976) appeared in a Chinese fashion magazine in 2001 showing her in a dress with Japan's Rising-Sun War Flag motif. This photo got placed on the net, and arose a outrage of Chinese. Raging with demand for apology and other more egregious remarks of hatred. Radio stations stopped broadcasting her songs, billboard ads of her are taken off, the masses demand a serious apology, and in one of her live local performance, someone jumped on-stage, pushed her and dumped shit on her. It is said that there were more webpages on this incident than the US 9-11 attack.

Note the ideograms on the sides of the flag. Originally in such Japanese bandana, the characters are: 武魂 (Samurai Soul)、忠义 (Royalty)、尊皇 (Emperor Esteem)、皇国 (Royal Empire). On her dress, the characters are 衛生 (sanitation/hygiene), 平和 (peace), 幸福 (happiness), 健康 (health).

For those non-Asians, the situation is akin to some big English pop star attired with Nazi Swastika and swagger in a fashion magazine. And for those who lived to see it worn as uniforms, the reminiscence is too painful. To understand this incident, one has to understand the deep-seated national rift between Chinese and Japanese, beginning with Second Sino-Japanese War.

(Photo source: “赵薇穿日本军旗服装? 有关人士发表看法(附图)” (2001年12月03日15:10) 新浪娱乐. http://ent.sina.com.cn/s/m/2001-12-03/65673.html (local copy: zhao4wei4.txt))

Paulina Rubio Spanish Cosmopolitan Cover Controversy

Paulina Rubio in Mexican flag
Photo of Paulina Rubio apparently naked under a Mexican flag.

Here's a quote from Wikipedia article: Paulina Rubio, as of 2008-01-06.

In October 2007 Rubio was involved in a government probe into whether she desecrated Mexico's flag. The Spanish edition of Cosmopolitan featured her apparently naked underneath a red, white and green sheet. The Mexican government said she may have violated an article in the National Flag, Shield and Anthem Law which states that "private individuals will give the appropriate respect to the national symbol and handle it with care". The offence can be punished by fines ranging up to about $45,000 - $50,000 MXN (Mexican pesos) and jail time up to 36 hours.[4] However in a published report, her mother spoke for her saying that the artist did not authorize such photos.


Korean flag girl
A girl clad in Korean flag, kind of unusual. Usually, Asians do not allow their banners to function like a bodywear. In the Orient, a woman's body is not a art or flower as Occidental culture might regard it. I don't know what is the deal here. It might be a photo in USA. (photo from the web ~2003. Source unknown)

flag dressflag swimsuit