Street view in Shanghai, on the way to The Bund. The skyscrapers in Pudong can be seen in the background, set against a blue spring sky.

One day, Azen was walking down the road, minding his own business, when someone approached him with a stack of pamphlets in hand.


“Oh… touts,” Azen thought. He tried to wave that person off, but the latter stuck around like a fly.

“Hi, my name is Liam. I’m here to bring you good news.”

Liam finally cornered Azen and continued his pitch, “I see that you have been wearing clothes all these while. I have this package, whereby if you sign on, we will rate your fashion sense and tell everyone about it.”

Azen opened his mouth to speak, but was promptly interrupted by Liam, “You see, many people use our website go see what ratings other people get for their dress sense, and using these ratings ,they decide whether to be friends with you! If you haven’t been dressing well, the others will judge you and motivate you to dress better.”

“Errr… I don’t need to be judged.” Azen frowned. He didn’t think he dressed atrociously, but even if he did, the idea of being judged for something that was not central to his life was disturbing.

Liam, on the other hand, saw Azen hesitating, prodded on, “Come on… You can tell the world that you have been wearing shirts made from organic cotton… or that you are not wearing fur made from animals!”

“I don’t…” Azen tried to leave, but was blocked by Liam.

“Look, I haven’t gone through everything yet. If you take on the package and yet have bad dress sense, you will at least get a D – for Duh!. However, if you refuse to be judged, we will give you an F. And yes, then everybody will see you got an F!”

“But I never wanted to be a part of this!” Azen was right. He could not understand the logic where he is being force-judged, even for not wanting to be judged.

“This is not how it works.” Liam put on the tone of a nurturing matron, who was trying to talk sense to incorrigible kids, ” I have your name and my colleague has taken a picture of you. We will be able to prove that you refused to be rated by us. You must be hiding some immoral acts to reject us and we must expose you!”

“Don’t put words into my mouth!” Azen was bewildered. Indeed, the turn of events sound crazy!

“Well, your actions speak louder…” Liam raised an eyebrow, and pointed to a letter “F” written on his pamphlet.


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