Monday, February 16, 2009

Sun Shades

The sun has come up and the world is warm and shiny again. Many would pick up their sunglasses and start wearing them! As the earth gets warmer each day and the sun seems to get stronger we have been giving sun glasses more thoughts these days.

What do you think about wearing of sun glasses?

When I was young I used to think that people who wore sunglasses were more important people because John F Kennedy wore them. And so did the colonial officers. Then I thought the artistic people were marvellous in their sun shades like John Lennon and Audrey Hepbern. Most of the community leaders' cheong sam wearing wives in Sibu wore them. They looked awfully important and imposing. And then of course all the ladies who joined W.I. also wore them. One of our teachers Mr. Eu How Chong wore them all the time even when it was raining. My Principal Mr. Wiltshire wore the first clip-ons I ever saw in my life!!

I finally got my first pair when I went on my first field trip (Bako) at the end of the 60's. That's a long long time ago.

My father owned a pair of Ray Ban which he treasured. Always a debonair man he took good care of his looks and posture. I believe no one I have ever met could compete with his composure and poise. Sun glasses today is still very fashionable. You can get a good pair from International Optics (Sibu and Miri)where my uncle Tiong Tak King will give you good advice which pair would suit your face.

Elvis helped make wearing of sun glasses popular.

John F Kennedy was fabulous wearing dark glasses.

In the 1950's and 1960's sun glasses were as fashionable as today! My father loved his sunglasses and so did my aunts and uncles. A good day to wear a pair was when sending a dear brother off to the United Kingdom. The family dressed formally then.


On a day's visit across the Rejang to the Ice Factory. My aunt wore a pair of sunnies when this photo was taken by banks of the Rejang. (1955?)

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Let's take a look at the history of sun glasses.

Not until the twentieth century did sunglasses begin to be utilized for UV ray protection purposes. In the 1920s, Sam Foster introduced the sunglasses to the American public to protect the eyes from the sun.

And in the 1930, Edwin H. Land, commenced another phenomenon by using his patented Polaroid filter by polarizing the lenses. At this time, sunglasses began to gain their popularity at an even faster rate. Famous movie stars and musicians ensured the sunglasses’ stardom by wearing them in public and in front of the camera.

It is indeed surprising to discover that the original sunglasses trendsetters were Chinese judges who began wearing sunglasses - or quartz lenses, tinted by smoke- in order to cover their eye expressions, and thus their opinions. It seems that the initial purpose of sunglasses was not even to protect the eyes against the sun; it was to protect the eyes of important decision makers from unwanted spectators.


Onassis glasses or "Jackie O's" are very large sunglasses worn by women. This style of sunglasses is said to mimic the kind most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. While originally worn by Onassis in the 1960's, the glasses eventually became popular with younger American girls around the year 2003. Big sunglasses have maintained their popularity through 2007. They have also expanded their demographic reach to adult women throughout the world. Modern day celebrities use these to hide from paparazzi.

Mirrorshades are sunglasses with a mirrored coating on the surface. Their popularity with police officers in the United States has earned them the nickname "cop shades".Wraparound sunglasses are also quite popular in the world of extreme sports.

Aviators are sunglasses with an oversized teardrop-shaped lens and thin metal frames. First introduced by Ray-Ban, the Wayfarer design popularized since the 1950s by Hollywood celebrities such as James Dean is thought to be the bestselling sunglasses design to date['Teashades' (sometimes also called '"John Lennon glasses" or "Ozzy Glasses", after Ozzy Osbourne') were a type of Psychedelic art wire-rim sunglasses that were often worn, usually for purely aesthetic reasons, by members of the 60's drug counterculture, as well as by opponents of segregation. Rockstars such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne, and Janis Joplin all wore teashades.
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Some of the ladies in Sibu wore sunglasses then. the movie stars like Lin Dai were fashion trendsetters. Although Movie News the popular magazine then were devoured by teenagers and fashion conscious career people in my opinion the majority of the Foochows remained very conservative and Chinese in taste and outlook.

Old photos from Sibu showing people wearing sunglasses bring back a lot of fond and endearing memories.

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