The China Post news staff
Sunglasses, or shades, are wonderful things. Aside from the chic and fashionable look that they quite often give their wearers, they protect the eyes when the sun beats down mercilessly on the multitudes, hence the name given to a certain brand of sunglasses when sports cars called Sunbeams roamed the streets.
At the beach, people wear sunglasses and, of course, Speedos and bikinis, too. Sunglasses protect, however, not only the eyes, but also a lot more. Sunglasses-sporting celebrities, especially old-school movie stars, are kept tantalizingly incognito wherever they go and whenever they want to keep over-zealous fans and paparazzi at bay. The effectiveness of such a measure, however, is difficult to gauge. Sunglasses shield both swollen eyes from too much crying and their conspicuous absence from public attention at funerals, which explain their popularity on such sad occasions. In Taiwan, gangland etiquette dictates that “family” underlings appear en masse to pay their last respects at the funerals of their deceased bosses. On such occasions, gang members are often seen wearing sunglasses, of which the purpose is not to keep swollen eyes from public view, but to prevent identification by police officers deployed on rooftops, by members of a rival gang, and, worse still, by members of the press wielding ridiculously bulky long-distance lenses.