The Cloak of Invisibility

What kind of magic power would you like to have?
Flying like birds is a nice choice; and so is swim­ming like fish.
Ninja fans might pre­fer shapeshift­ing, while Marvel lovers might want en­hanced sen­sa­tions and Night Vision.
None of them, how­ever, could com­pare to the cloak of in­vis­i­bil­ity.

There are nu­mer­ous proverbs in Chinese en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to be the best one’, a man among men’ or the one above the com­mon herd’. Always make sure you are stand­ing un­der the spot­light, as those who are left in the shad­ows will be pushed off the stage sooner or later. When so­ci­ety turns into a snake pit, one can ei­ther fight one’s way up or be con­demned as a loser who is kept un­der­foot. The cloak of in­vis­i­bil­ity, how­ever, of­fers a way out.

Don’t gig­gle at me.
Please hold that temp­ta­tion for a few sec­onds.
How to make the cloak? Any sug­ges­tions from tex­tile, fash­ion de­sign or maybe an analy­sis of cold and heat re­sis­tance?
When sci­en­tists twid­dled their thumbs, a writer found a clue: It is a cloak made from a hum­ble, in­signif­i­cant weave. If you oc­cupy a lowly sta­tion in life, you’re sure to be seen through’, to be treated as if you were in­vis­i­ble. 1 It’s made of the cheap­est ma­te­ri­als, peo­ple’s eye rolls, their dis­dain and maybe scorn. No mat­ter what, now the mis­sion is com­pleted, is­n’t it?
There’s an ac­cess to in­vis­i­bil­ity.

Though the cloak does­n’t func­tion in the per­fect way, it pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity to ex­per­i­ment liv­ing a life with­out com­par­i­son or com­pe­ti­tion. From the day you put it on, you be­come the lit­tle lonely blue flower danc­ing on your body in a patch of wild grass. They even name you forget-me-not’, there’s lit­er­ally no drawer for the mem­ory of you in their mind, nor a fair maid­en’s hand ready to pluck you and carry you home. The whole world ex­cludes you from up­com­ing is­sues.

Don’t be afraid.
If you think of it from an­other per­spec­tive, it would be you who turns your back on the crazy world. No mat­ter how in­sane and odd the world be­comes, the sun­light, the dew and the rain are still there for you. It’s beau­ti­ful from this an­gle, is­n’t it?

When oth­ers are try­ing to squeeze them­selves un­der the spot­light, there is one who takes the cloak out of his closet; when things are turned up­side down, the bound­ary of truth and lies are blurred, he does up the but­tons and turns up the col­lar. To be an out­sider is to be seen through, to hide in the sea of hu­man­ity, to drown on dry land. It is an op­por­tu­nity the in­vis­i­bil­ity cloak brings, the chance of re­tain­ing in­no­cence and ful­fill­ing one’s orig­i­nal na­ture 2.

  1. 'The Cloak of Invisibility’, Lost in the Crowd, Yang, Jiang, Barmé, Geremie R., Melbourne: McPhee Gribble Publishers, 1989, p.127

  2. Original text is 'One can hide in the sea of humanity', written by Song dynasty poet Su Dongpo;‘ drown on dry land’ is about a story told by Taoism philosopher Zhuang Zi.