Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: asia

The “White” Asians

Sometimes I don’t realize that it’s been so many years since the last time I lived in an Asian country. To recap, I left Indonesia in the beginning of 2004. So that’s exactly 6 years ago. Six years don’t seem to be a big deal to me, but actually I’ve been missing or forgetting about a lot of things! Things that once was normal, is now an alien to me.

I’m talking about beauty products.

My only moisturizing facial creme ran out yesterday. So I went to a nearby hypermarket, which was just few minutes walk from where I lived. I went to the skin products section, scanned through the brands, and found the brand that I always bought. There were a range of products that this brand had and I was totally shocked to see that *ALL* of them contained whitening stuff in them! Yes, all of them were whitening creme.

Disappointed, I went to a pharmacy, hoping to find a non-whitening creme of the same brand. I found it, with only one left on the shelf. I was not very satisfied because this one got no UV-protection, unlike the whitening creme products. But I didn’t have much choice. I quickly scanned through the other brands and all of them were whitening products! (as far as what my eyes could see)  A big disappointment!

This is not about Malaysia. This is not about Indonesia. This is an Asian disease.  Even the Japanese and Korean people who are already SO white, still want their skin to be whiter! Can you imagine that?! And this is no different with white people wanting to get their skin darker. But at least, I can still find a lot of creme products over there that don’t make my skin darker. Not in Asia. It was a big shock for me to see almost all products in the shelves were for people who wanted to get their face “whiter”!

To be honest, it’s ironic that this thing was normal to me back then when I was still in Indonesia. Many of my friends were “afraid” of the sun and tried so hard to avoid it. Having a dark skin was never a favorite among many Indonesians. The guys too would prefer girls with fair skin. Look at all those advertisements. All the models. Actors. Actresses. Most of them have fair skin.

Alhamdulillah, I was never a person who wanted a fair skin. I love my skin and I’m grateful for what I have. I was even more proud when my “white” friends used to compliment my skin color.

What can those products do to your skin? I don’t believe they can make your skin any whiter. I do think they’re just placebo effect 😀

Sorry, you are not invited!

I don’t know if this is an Asian thing or an Indonesian thing. But somehow, they get offended when they are not invited, be it a gathering, dinner party, wedding party, or anything, really! Some of them may not be offended, but they would keep on wondering why they’re not invited. Sometimes, they’d ask the reason directly to the host!

I have no problem at all if I’m not invited, especially if I’m not that close to the host — even if we’re in the same circle of friends. People have preferences and perhaps they want to limit the number of attendees… you know, there are many reasons to that! I don’t give a damn on these things.

This attitude of mine usually brings me to "trouble". Sometimes when I told a friend that I would be attending such and such gathering, I would be told later on that she was not invited. There was a sudden silent after that conversation :|. I suddenly felt so guilty for mentioning it in the first place because somehow I felt like she’s offended. This happens so frequently. I just never realize it and I keep on forgetting to be extra careful!

Some people would also ask me to invite this friend or that friend because otherwise they’d feel "gak enak" or awkward if he/she happens to know that he/she is not invited. I don’t accept that reason to be legitimate. I know that some people feel more comfortable to be around with some groups of people, so I would accept to invite extra people for that purpose. I don’t mind it at all. But if the reason is "gak enak" then, that’s totally your problem! Not my problem!!! Sometimes I wonder, helloooo… who’s the host here?! I have the right to invite who’s coming to the party and I really find it impolite for them to "force" me to invite that person for the reason that’s not related to mine or the liveliness of the party.

Wedding & Tradition

I went to ICTheek (computer lab) at 8.30am today to do a report assignment with my classmates Shilpa and Li Lun. In the middle of doing the assignment, we caught in a hard-to-stop conversation ranging from traveling, marriage, to culture! (Shilpa is from India and Li Lun is from China; so our talk was very multicultural!)

Talk about marriage… I discover that we — Asians — have similar culture when it comes to wedding. We would invite EVERYONE; from relatives, neighbors, people whom we barely met, to hi-bye friends. What makes me raise my eyebrows is that, most of these guests are our parents’ friends whom you don’t even know about! Seriously, why would you spend so much money for the wedding party of your “parents”? I wonder. Though I complain about it, there’s nothing I can do with it. I can’t really escape from this tradition. If I were given a choice, I would have definitely go for a traditional wedding ceremony attended by only close friends and relatives. I wouldn’t even have any problems if I were not to have any wedding celebrations! I would rather save the money supposedly used for my wedding for my family’s future!

Shilpa told me that she invited 1,000 guests to her wedding few years ago. That’s a massive number! She said that her wedding lasted for almost 1 week. Some small “parties” and celebrations were held and organized in the first few days of the wedding by the bride- and groom-to-be’s family separately. I can’t imagine how tiring it must be for her! Even she thought that the money spent for the wedding was better be spent for something else. But tradition and culture were hard to skip, were they? 🙂

In Betawi culture (my mom is a Betawi by the way), there is a long lasting tradition that if you’re married, you need to give a so called berkat (a basket of staple foods or even cooked meals!) to your family and relatives. The problem is that, Betawi people have MAAAANY relatives. The last time my cousin was married, she had to give baskets of berkat to at least 40 houses! Can you imagine that?!?! I feel like this is such a waste of money! Why would you give staple foods to people who have no financial difficulties at all?!?!? Isn’t it better if you can just give those foods to the people who need the most?!?! Again, I wonder why.

And I wonder whether I can break this tradition if I end up marrying someone. Alright, perhaps I can tolerate the need to throw a wedding party and having to receive unknown guests to my party, but I definitely can’t tolerate having to feed 40 middle to upper class families!!!

Give me a break!