Wednesday, December 17, 2008

East Versus West

Today I talked quite much in Finnish compared to other days at work (YIIIHAAA!!!). The reason was that 'coz in the morning there were only 2 colleagues (the other one is on a sick leave), so on our coffee break, they asked me questions, such as when I met R2, if I miss my family, where I learnt Finnish, etc. Before today, it had been rather hard for me to speak, since there were usually more people on the table and it was already hard to follow the conversation and I'm always MUCH better speaking my thoughts when there are less people (one-on-one is better than being in a big group).

Anyway, one of them told me that my skin looked beautiful and the other one said the same thing. I was rather surprised to hear that since I have zits here and there...but what they meant was that my skin was moist/oily (ever since I moved to Finland, I never used any face powder) and my skin colour was darker than theirs. I told them that the irony is that MANY Indonesian people think that fairer skin people are more beautiful.

This conversation reminded me of another conversation I had with my Hungarian friend when I visited her house. I told her that I had recently read lots of internet pages on Korea and the pressure to look "beautiful outside" over there is SO high. It's like they feel like they won't get a good job if they're not "beautiful outside", so many people have undergone double eyelid surgeries and other types of surgeries to enhance their looks. If I'm not mistaken, over 70% of Koreans have done at least double eyelid surgery (dunno how many of them have done other types of surgeries such as jaw reductions and nose jobs).

I've also found an Indonesian blogger who's lived in Korean for a while. She says that one of her students (she tutors Indonesian language to Koreans) is encouraged by her own mother to do double eyelid surgery and the student is only around 10 years old!!! I've also heard from my friend who studied Chinese in mainland China a couple of years ago that her Korean friends got plastic surgery as birthday presents from their parents.

My Hungarian friend was SHOCKED when she heard about this. She asked me, "But why do they want to have double eyelid surgery? I think their eyes look beautiful just the way they are."

He he he he he he's ironic, isn't it? What bothers me when reading about double eyelid surgeries and other types of facial surgeries (except if a person has undergone an accident or something that disfigures their facial features) is that when the "beautifully looking" people have kids, their kids won't look like their present selves...and the cycle continues...they'll keep on encouraging their kids to have surgeries to look more "beautiful"...when does it end?

Oh well...let me leave you with some quotations on beauty:

Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good; a shining gloss that fadeth suddenly; a flower that dies when it begins to bud; a doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower, lost, faded, broken, dead within an hour.
- William Shakespeare

Beauty is in the heart of the beholder.
- Al Bernstein

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
- Sophia Loren

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
- Confucius

Nothing's beautiful from every point of view.

- Horace


  1. in europe, they said the dark skin is more beautiful hehehe...

  2. Hey Amel.. First, i wanna congratulate you for your determination on learning and speaking Finnish.
    Secondly, yes i agree with your opinion "except if a person has undergone an accident or something that disfigures their facial features"...but one thing is, when a person looks at the mirror, if she/he is not pleased with their appear, then they can have this operation. why not :)

  3. you are getting more confidence talk with finnish language i think :D

  4. Jeanne: Yeah, while in Indo many beauty products have whitener ha ha...

    Burcu: THANKS!!! And I have NOTHING against facial surgeries or any plastic surgeries unless when it fails...the problem is that if parents encourage their kids to do it at such a young age, is that a good sign of society's pressure to "look good"?

    Jul: Confidence? HA HA HA HA HA...I don't know about confidence, but I'm trying my best hi hi hi...

  5. Of course not and it's too wrong to be couraged by their families... You know children choose their parents as role model. In my opinion those children should be under parents' control at least till their 18s...
    Then they can be free to do whatever they want.

  6. Burcu: THANKS for sharing your view! :-))) Some 18-year-olds are mature, whereas some aren't yet, but we do learn from our mistakes. How was I like when I was 18? Hmmm...definitely crazy hi hi hi...

  7. Hey Amelia,

    You are it are Finnish now :D!

    Yes, there are countries in which they favor fair skinned people over the darker ones (which is an absurd, if you ask me): Jamaica, Japan, (even in China, during the Imperial era, they thought that people with fair skin belonged to the aristocracy, since only people who worked on the fields had dark skin *nodding*), Zambia, etc, etc...

    Oh yeah, I had heard that in Korea they undergo some serious facial makeover (specially in the eyes)'s crazy!
    I heard from a Korean girl, on TV, that they are obsessed with eye creases...and that is why they undergo surgery: to get one *nodding*!

    People are vain, that's all I can say.

    Great article, girl!


  8. I often hear that it is an obsession to be fairer in Indonesia. When I was younger, I was very insecure about my eyes, nose etc. Now that I'm older, I completely don't believe in stereotypes in beauty. Everyone is unique and lovely in his own way.

  9. Max: Yeah, we are vain people indeed he he he...

    Blur Ting: Yeah, it's quite an obsession to be fairer in Indo. And I agree with you that everyone is unique and lovely in his/her way! ;-D