What’s Up With The Whitening, Babeses?

On a par with learning the local language (ie. here in Sing, saying “lah” as often as poss), it is equally important for the expat specimen to engage deeply with the host country’s culture and daily life. When people accuse you of living in a bubble – and sooner, babeses, or later, babeses, they will – you must have ample evidence readily available to the tip of your tongue, establishing categorifically that the accuser is both utterly incorrect and a mahusiv loser. Photographic evidence is highly desirable (see pics below).

In furtherance of this, I have always made it my business to experience everyday Singaporean life, such as quarterly trips to Tekka Market, hanging out at hawker centres in Joo Chiat, and once I did a food shop at a vendor other than Paragon Market Place. I even take the MRT sometimes, in order to stay abreast of what regular folk are watching on their phones. This is how I discovered two hilario Singian YouTube sensations, Dee Kosh and Mr Brown. The latter seems to have gone quiet of late, quel dommage hashtag sadface.

So as part of my ongoing process of saying goodbye to this lovely country, I decided to take the MRT today to my appointment at Expat Dental (to commune with Lady B, of course; think I’ve mentioned they do Botox now – so discrete and handy). There I was on the platform at Somerset, totes minding my own thang – other than checking out other people’s phone screens – when my least favourite member of the Expaterati tapped me on the shoulder, saying, “Hi Emma-Jane, God can you believe this stuff??”

I turned around elegantly to see Mrs Doom & Gloom Expat Wifey gesturing heatedly towards a row of billboards. Said “stuff” was a series of ads for a moisturiser:

Whitening 1

 

Whitening 2

 
“Oh hiyee, how lovely to see you!”, I replied, polite to a fault at all times, as per my modus operandi.

“Um, no babes, cannot believe it, lah! As a Photoshop aficionado, that font is just ridic!! So dull! And that shading has been brightened at least seven times, I reckon”, says moi, taking a wild guess at what might be unbelievable about the ads.

“No, no, it’s not that! It’s the product, and how they’re choosing to sell it! Look! Look at that!!,” D & G rabbitted on, as if she was talking about something that actually mattered, “It’s a huge Western brand selling a product to Asians on the premise that white skin is more desirable than dark. Look at the bottle!!.. It says ‘healthy white’!”

Then the train appeared, and I realised with horror that D & G was going in the same direction as me.

Getting onto the train, I said, “Oh gosh, yes crikey, how funny is thaaaat?? Healthy white is so not how I’d describe the pasty peeps back in Blighty lol!! Did you know we’re probably going back? Well we probly are, and one of the biggies I am totes not looking forward to is losing my perma-tan. Argh, huh?? It’s a major problem because we’ll only go to hot places a few times a year, and the nightmare is, what happens in between?! I’ll be a pasty pasty too!! Hell, shear hell, the very worst kind of hell that anyone can endure and …” –

I had hoped that if I just kept on talking all the way to Novena I could circumnavigate the intrusion of her appallingly whiny voice, but then the inevitable occurred: I had to pause for breathe. Damn you, cruel respiration!

“What’s at least a little reassuring”, said D & G, pouncing hungrily on the silence, “is that a local charity has picked up on it – AWARE, do you know them? They do great work. But they really only mentioned it, so I don’t think they’ve taken it on as an initiative. It’s such a shame because I dread to think what the impact is on children and young people, when the message is that you’re not ok if your skin isn’t white, and” –

Now fully ventilated, I managed to interrupt her, in an effort to resume plan A of preventating her vocal interventions: “Oh I know, babes! I’m all over the body image issue. You’re probably familiar with my amazebobs campaign to have fakeness ratings put on media images. It is so worrying what that industry does to people’s self esteem, telling us that how we are isn’t good enough, but using totes faked up photos to prove it. Soooooo bad! Hashtag hate hate hate it!!! Oops well it’s almost my stop. It’s been awesome having this little chat-ski, but gotta go!!”

I swiftly stood up, hoping D & G wouldn’t do the assaultative kiss-kiss thing. Her cheekbones are like boulders! She should def go to Korea and get something done about that. No wonder her long-suffering hus took his attentions elsewhere, to a less violent visage. She stood up too though, and even now, hours later, my face feels like I‘ve been to Korea for a Gangnam Special. Ouchey.

As I dashed up the escalator, I worked hard to cleanse myself of the difficult journey, visualising that with every step I took I was putting the conversation behind me. That woman! The audacity of trying to lecture me, of all people, on self image. At least she didn’t make me late for my appointment with Lady B.

 

Me at a hawker centre:

Lovin the freshly steamed fish! Dress by Attaby: https://www.facebook.com/attabystyle

Lovin the freshly steamed fish! Dress by Attaby: https://www.facebook.com/attabystyle

 

Orange is SO the new black! You want this dress, get yourself down to the Attaby Pop Up Boutique 17 & 18 June. Click the pics for deets.

Orange is SO the new black! You want this dress, get yourself down to the Attaby Pop Up Boutique 17 & 18 June. Click the pics for deets.

And me at a supermarket that isn’t in a mall on Orchard Road:

Rockin the Carmen Miranda look

Rockin the Carmen Miranda look

 

Oui, je suis one classy oiseau

Lovely melons LOLOL. Oui, je suis one classy oiseau.

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The Fake Scale, Babeses!

So here it is: my awesome idea for a more responsiblé media that no longer pretends the images they’re putting out into the world are necessarily reflective of reality. The page is here, so when you have a second, dear readers, do check it out and let me know if you’d like to be one of my lovely Co-Captains in this mission.

 

FS demo 1 star  FS demo3 stars

 

Mahusiv thanks to Petra from Creabuena for the fabulous wand icons. Damn, she’s gooood!!!

 

Getting Things Off My Perky Expat Chest

I have a couple of things on my perky D-cup chest today that I need to get off it (studies show that anxiety is 253.7% worse for saggage than breast-feeding), and chanting hasn’t helped at all. My morning green smoothie with organic kale, beetroot, coconut water of course, and red dragon fruit did help a bit, but then I got a text from Chantelle*. Hence Thing Number One on my chest.

“Can we speak, Ems? XO”, read the text.

Ems now, is it?! I think I’ve been too convincing about pretending to like her. Ugh.

When I bit the bullet and gave her a call, she said that it’s all getting much worse with my father’s dementia. She told me that he had a few moments of lucidity recently which gave her hope, but then he descended into a “worse place than before”. OMG, that use of the word “place” to describe a state of mind! I’m sure people say it just to piss me off!! It sounds great when I use it to express the beautiful empathic side of myself, but most people, let’s be honest, can’t carry it off like I can. Cannot, lah.

I thought she was going to follow with her usual woe-is-me modus operandi of: I can’t take it that my husband doesn’t recognise me and thinks he’s married to someone else bla bla bla, self-pityage diatribe. But no! Instead she told me something designed purely to upset me.

“Ems”, (puke), “I wasn’t sure whether to tell you or not, but you’ve been so open and giving towards me – offering to have Angel come to stay and all – so I feel like I owe it to you to be honest.”

Babes, I wanted to say, I didn’t offer to take in your waif ‘n stray wayward daughter. You totes guilted me into it!!

Before I could clarify the situation, and maybe even back out of the whole unwanted teenage house-guest business, Ms Chantilly continued.

“The thing is that there was this moment when your dad seemed like his old self again” – yeah, too right, OLD! And what’s a young piece of A like you doing with a rich OLD guy..? Hmmmm, allow me to a’ponder a mo… –

“And he was so sweet. He thanked me for being a wonderful wife, and honestly, I could’ve cried, it’s been so long since he’s been like that. But then he said the most terrible thing. And I don’t want to tell you, but I think you have a right to know, Ems.”

(FFS, woman! Don’t you see that I don’t care what you have to say?! Just stop calling me Ems!!!)

“He said… he said”, Chantelle started sobbing. V much back to her predictable MO, then.

“He said, Ems, that I’ve been a better wife to him than your mother ever was, with all her other men! Those are his words, hon, not mine. I’m so sorry to break it to you like this. But I thought you should know… Oh, wait… but maybe you know already! God, sorry!! You’re so close to your mum, you probably do know! I’m sure she had her reasons… with whatever was happening… all that moving around… must’ve taken its toll on the marriage, and… like you’re always saying, expat marriages can be so challenging, and…”

Chantelle was floundering around like a big fishy flounder, so I took the opportunity to interject. I arose from the silk-upholstered Georgian chaise longue upon which I had unknowingly reclined, and said, “Babes, of course I knew that! You shouldn’t be stressing about it. Yeah, Mum-ski and me are totes BFFs! She tells me everything”.

Chantelle then went into full-on embarrasada mode, thanked me again for “inviting” Angel to live with us, and, praise be to all that’s holy and decent, got the eff off the phone.

So now I know a heretofore unknown fact about yet another person, but a way less fun one than the others. It’s super fun knowing that Michelle is married to a filthy cheater, and that Liz is a husband-stalker with vagenitical cunticulitis; but this new issue of my own mother being a ho…??

I’m totes not sure how I feel about that.

 


 

Pushing the thought swiftly to one side because it’s so horrendously unthinkable, Thing Number Two that I’ve been argh-ing about is this global problem of airbrushed and photoshopped images messing with my little Milly’s head. It is NOT OK that a four-year-old girl falls over in the middle of the night, trying to “work it” with a thigh gap. Not ok at all!!

I am therefore thusly thinking about using my immense influence as a celebrité blogger to levy a campaign for a “fake scale” rating to be put on images in the meeja (media, babeses). A little bit airbrushed would be a one on the fake scale, and huge chunks cut off bodies would be fake-scaled at five. Genius, right? My idea. I know. Amazebobs.

Only prob is that I don’t know if I really have time to take on a global initiative of this magnitude. Probly, I spose. But will it interfere with my gruelling self-maintenance schedule??

Arghamundo, it’s so tricky being a parent, and a mentalist thought has just popped into my lovely, mysterious brain that maybe I should put my daughter’s needs before mine… Would that be coolio?? Has anyone else had that ground-breaking thought? Relate much??

If I’m going to do this thing, I can’t do it alone. I’ll need all of you – yes, everyone in my (philandering) mother’s aqua aerobics group, and the scrabble group too, and beyond! – to help me launch the campaign. If you’re in, please drop me a line in the comments or email me. Click share on the post if you know anyone who’s up for an awesome mission. I think we need a fab logo and catch-phrase, and I’m happy to use hot pics of myself to really draw a crowd. Hot pics that are only slightly airbrushed, and I will of course apply the fake scale to myself : )

I’m pretty lucky though. I really don’t need a lot of fake to bake. I’m sizzling already! This pic is a zero on the fake scale, my loves. ZERO.

 

Zero on #thefakescale

Zero on #thefakescale

 

 

 

* She’s my father’s trophy bride, FYI.

New Parenting Happenings For a (Chinese) New Year

Image

It’s Chinese NY and – although I totes can’t relate because we’ve already had a new year, so it just feels wrong – I have made an effort to get into the spirit of things. I’ve been to China Town to get lanterns, bought oranges for the neighbours, and had my nails arted-up with gorgeous tiny goat figures on them.

For the holiday, we’re off to Penang tomorrow, to stay in a spa hotelee (with kids’ club!) and to buy some awesome paintings and whatevs. I spent most of yesterday trying to pack, but didn’t really get much done because I had to go to Pilates, and get a wax, and do the nail-art. And I had a lunch with Anastacia, and a dinner with my gay BFF and his amazebobs fun-tastic crowd.

Late last night when I got home, I heard a loud thud from Milly’s bedroom. I went up to see what all the kerfuffle was about, and there was Mills, looking quite distraught. She was wearing a bikini (which, might I add, I did not buy for her), and lying in a pile of clothes, magazines, and handbags, next to her full-length mirror.

“What happened, Mills??”, I asked, in the most motherly tone I could muster at that time of the evening on a tummy full of Chinese food and Sauv Blanc.

“I fell over, Mummy. I was thinking about what to bring on holiday, and looking in the mirror to see how I could look thinner. So I was all bending and stuff, and trying to get a thigh gap. And then I fell over. And I couldn’t even get a thigh gap!”

Argh, what now, now? What does my little tub of Mills want with a thigh gap? How does she even know what that is??

A strange feeling of intense disquietude came over me, and I realised that it was something I almost never feel. It was sadness. (Ugh, hate that!) Then came another astounding revelation: I felt sad because Milly felt sad! Now we all know that I am hugely empathetic, having done a six-month counselling course, but feeling sad because my daughter felt sad?! That’s a new one on me. She cries all the time, and generally it’s just irritating.

“But what do you want a thigh gap for, darling? You’re so beautiful as it is”, I said, shocked to find that I had a tears in my eyes, and that I truly, for the first time ever, saw that my little girl is beautiful.

[OMG, but this parenting mellarky gets emotional!! Why was I not warned about this?]

Mills pulled out one of the magazines, and, pointing at page after page of photos, said, “No, Mummy. I’m not beautiful. They are. And they have thigh gaps”.

Next on my roller coaster of emotions, a different feeling crept up, though I’m not sure what it was. (Must ask Cousin Clara.)

“Milly”, I told her, “These pictures aren’t real! You know about photoshopping, right, because you learn it at daycare, ya? These pictures might as well be cartoons! They’re just Frozen without the nice songs”.

I helped her into her pyjamas, dried her tears (mine too!), and tucked her up in bed.

“You’re real, and you’re lovely just as you are, and every day you get lovelier and lovelier. Now you have a good sleep, and some sweet dreams, and tomorrow you will feel better. It’ll all be ok.”

Then I did something I’ve never done – golly, what a day of firsts! – I sat with her in bed, stroking her hair, and I sang little songs until she fell asleep.

I probably haven’t mentioned it, but I do have an awesome singing voice.

I went down to our ensuite to get ready for bed, and yet again, a ton of products fell off the slippery shelves, crashing onto the floor. Why does that always happen to me?

When I got into bed, Don was awake – due to the slippery shelves – and asked if something was wrong.

“No babes, everything’s fine. Sorry about the noise. I’ll phone the landlord in the morning about the shelves. It’ll all be ok.”