A walk down Tottenham Court Road in London on Diamond Jubilee Weekend

The UK is in the mood to celebrate!

I decided to do a little ethnography this week on how businesses celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  Walking down Tottenham Court Road on one of the afternoons over the Diamond Jubilee weekend, I was amazed at how versatile the Union Jack is in being incorporated into:

(1) Window Display: 

  (2) Packaging:
 (3)  Flip-flops as promotion gifts:

(4) Sofa! 

And now, the Queen - 

(1) as the reason for keeping the street clean: 

(2) as tin biscuits (and perhaps as treasure boxes for children later?)

Admiring the varied ways in which the Union Jack is incorporated into almost everything imaginable makes me envious of the British.  Not only is their flag design seems to appear reasonably fashionable without getting on anyone's nerves, incorporating it freely into almost anything imaginable also indicates a liberal view towards national symbols. 

Now imagine the Union Jack design is being replaced by any other flag - let's say the Hong Kong SAR flag.  Hmm.. something is not quite right you may say.  Was it the design?  or the symbolism of red or the  Bauhinia blakeana flower?  Or was it the fact that the symbol appears on flip flops which are meant to be stepped on?  and as a promotion gift (what if it doesn't work to lure anyone into subscribing the service? what implication would that draw?)  

Personally, everything drapes in red makes me think of the Chinese New Year or the communists and I would hesitate to carry anything that associates me with nationalism/patriotism in that part of the world.   

Somehow I look forward to the day that national symbols could be converted into commodities in all parts of the world just as the Brits do - when the notion of nationalism is no longer absolute, sacred, unquestionable and being forced-upon its citizens.  
Perhaps the day will never come to pass - as Benedict Anderson argues that the notion of nation is itself an imagined community and a perpetual imposition of values and rituals of nation is required for something as precarious as it is.  

One day, when the love of a place is not being forced-upon from the top and people do go out and celebrate, it is then the real celebration!

Congratulations to HM on the Diamond Jubilee! 

1 則留言:

匿名 說...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.