Monday, January 21, 2013

Tech Shirts For Sale at the Kek Lok Temple in Malaysia

One can't-miss feature of the Kek Lok Temple in Penang, Malaysia, is the new numerous shops, whether those enclosing the steps to the temple's entrance...

shops in a covered pathway leading to Kek Lok Temple

... or those inside the temple complex.

shop in Kek Lok Si

Temple-related items were sold, but a variety of other goods could be found as well.

Penang magnets, bracelets, and other items for sale at a shop in Kek Lok Temple

cat statues for sale at a shop in Kek Lok Temple

T-shirts appeared to be one of the more popular items to sell. Some included messages that left me curious about the design process used to create them.

shirts saying "Fun Me!! If You Can" and "Boobies Make Me Smile!"

In that respect, they were similar to many I have seen in China, although they had a different flavor. However, a specific set of shirts stood out to me.

a variety of shirts including those with logos for Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Yahoo

a variety of shirts including some with logos for Google and Apple

I saw shirts with the Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Yahoo brands. Penang is an area with a great deal of Chinese influence, both historically and in its current culture. But in and around its most famous temple I didn't see a single shirt for a China-based technology brand such as Baidu, Sina Weibo, WeChat (Weixin), Xiaomi, Youku, or QQ. Especially since these shirts were sold in markets that target tourists, before commenting on what this might mean I would want to take a closer look at who purchases such shirts and whether these and similar shirts are sold elsewhere in Penang.

But at the very least these shirts are symbolic of the relative influence of American and Chinese technology brands in many regions outside of China--even where there are many Chinese people.

More on this topic later.

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