March 28, 2017
GETTING MY MANDALA ON AT YOGATARA WITH LINA TARA SECRET BANDAR UTAMA LOCATION, KUALA LUMPUR
By the time you read this I may well already be on an operating table. Today, I’m checking into a hospital in Kuala Lumpur at 16:00 (GMT+8) where I’ll spend the night prepping for the following life-changing morning: the day I take the first steps in my plastic surgery journey. Hold my hand, we're going in deep...
IN THE INTEREST OF TRANSPARENCY...
My choice to undergo surgery in the name of vanity or rather my decision to be public and candid about it may seem odd to the uninitiated; given my upbringing and traditional East Asian demureness as well as the last vestiges taboo surrounding going under the knife. Regarding the former; Asians of a certain Oriental persuasion - I'm talking about the Overseas Chinese in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore; the Chinese, and especially the South Koreans - are increasingly conspicuous consumers of cosmetic procedures. In fact, most if not all of my extended circle in Kuala Lumpur have had or is seriously considering both invasive and non-invasive plastic surgery ie. fillers, Botox, implants, lateral canthoplasty and blepharoplasty (cutting or sewing double eyelids) etc. Honestly, for a while I felt like a dying breed given that the most drastic improvement I've had done to my looks was eyebrow embroidery (microblading) back in 2012: the faded, dubious rust-coloured stain of which now lives on my face looking like shameful skid marks. Please don't think that I'm jumping on the beauty bandwagon to keep up with the Joneses or rather the Kardashian-Jenners (of course, the fat lips I was mocked relentlessly for as a teenager are now the top selling product...) - the point I'm simply trying to make is that discussing or contemplating cosmetic surgery is becoming more acceptable in the East.
As for the latter reason for potential side-eye? It is precisely the lingering taboo around cosmetic surgery that compels me to be as honest and open as I can possibly be. It seems astonishing that a culture that celebrates and promotes a beauty standard unattainable by many would mock and vilify the very people who seek to reach those standards. To each their own, and to each their own opinions; but I find it disheartening at best (whatever happened to "live and let life?") and at its worst, dangerous. Dangerous that those who've had work done are held up as ideals of beauty yet the person is a target for vitriol while their newly bought looks are celebrated. All this does is compel some to be dishonest, which is especially bad if those who chose to lie are in the public eye and thus in a position of influence because it promotes the message: "If you want to be OMG INTERNET FAMOUS* get lip fillers/breast implants but then act all coy about it while selling a lifestyle to an impressionable audience and making bank by lying! Teeheeheee!" Fangirls will eventually stop drinking the Kool-Aid...but why build an empire on lies just to avoid criticism from detractors who shouldn't matter? 'Tis better to be disliked for who you are than loved for who you're not. Perpetuating a fallacy is not a legacy to be proud of.
*another thing I don't love: tween twits deciding they don't need an education, just YouTube to get ahead in life. STAY IN SCHOOL KIDS
I am thrilled to announce that my dream, after a decade in the making, has finally come true - my application to settle indefinitely in the United Kingdom has been accepted.
You know the story by now: sheltered girl from the Malaysian suburbs moves across the world to a cosmopolitan city to study at one of the more famous - if not prestigious - art schools; and in the process learns how to fend for herself, parties day and night with the international jet set and somehow manages to graduate with a pointless degree in illustration, then starts a satire blog which evolves into a not-unrespectable lifestyle brand with some influence. It's a character arc as old as Homer's Iliad and Odyssey (just replace jealous deities with bitchy bloggers and unreasonable PR reps).
Much like the siege on the city of Troy, my British invasion spanned ten years, the likes of which saw me staying in the country on four different types of visas. Last September marked the 10th anniversary of my long affair with London, so in November I submitted my case to the Home Office and asked them to consider this humble Anglophile's application for the right to remain in her beloved adopted country...forever.
Traditionally the application for this process - called 'Indefinite Leave To Remain' takes six months for a decision by the Home Office. Which is why I had resigned, with great heavy-heartedness, to be grounded in the country until May 2017. Surely, a small price to pay for my ardent dedication to the British Isles?
Therefore when my application was approved in half the usual time, it came as an enormously gratifying surprise! I found out two weeks ago, funnily enough; just a few hours after I blogged about how I was then bogged down by a sinking feeling: "...In the middle of this whirlwind of activity is the one thing I wish would move along - acting as the eye of the storm, ever still and ever impassive." This was the 'dream coming true at afternoon tea at The Wellesley London' that I alluded to, the big fat cherry on the top of the double scoop sundae that is the encouraging progress my life is making in 2017: one being my detoxing the remnants of my last toxic relationship and donating them to a charitable cause, the other being my moving into an exciting new home in Battersea Power Station...!
- THE GREATEST DISNEY ANTHEM EVER, OBVS
Immigration is a hot topic now in the Western world, or at least in that web of nervous anticipation of what the future holds for the globalised, liberal generation of Britain and the USA. I said it in the wake of Brexit and I'll say it again - I would've never imagined that my right to remain in the UK would be more certain than those from the European Union countries. It's no coincidence that some of my friends; both British and EU expats (incidentally, why are white people expatriates but everyone else are immigrants/migrants? Food for thought...) are looking to move beyond the British Isles. Their reasoning was that, aside from the uncertainty of their right to remain when Article 50 is invoked, was that the potential process to apply for immigration status had made them feel unwelcome.
Of course, not being from an EU country I have never enjoyed that privilege of free movement, so I am somewhat accustomed to the strict, demanding, and complex process of immigration. Now, I am no expert on the subject even if my blog post on my understanding on how to gain PR in the UK is one of my most asked about/read (to this day I still get emails and messages about it). But...!
...If you'd like me to share my experience on how I obtained the next best thing to a British passport, let me know in the comments below and I'll blog about my immigration journey.
Ironically, the moment I was granted the right to stay in the UK indefinitely, I booked my flights out of here! Being a travelling blogger and serial wanderluster without a passport for 3.5 months had taken a serious toll on my mental state as well as work. This coming Tuesday, I'll be making up for lost time with two months of travel. My housemate, thrilled about having the place all to herself, has announced that she'll be doing all her work from home and will be turning my empty bedroom into her office (joke's on her, I've ordered about a thousand things for my new flat - including a HUGE sofa that will apparently not fit in my building's lift - to be delivered while I'm away, that she's going to have to sign for in my absence...)
Throughout March and April I'll be travelling to Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Singapore, and Melbourne to see my friends and family, and for work; Sydney to see Luxy, and then we're heading to Hong Kong together before I head back to London in May to take delivery of my spanking new home! And just like that, half of the year will have gone by. It's insane how slowly time seems to drag on when you're waiting on something to happen, but as soon as it does everything seems to move at the speed of light. The saying goes "When it rains it pours" - I don't know about rain, but this turn of events is certainly the windfall of progress, achievement, and excitement I was hoping for. x
How has your 2017 been far? Any proud achievements, exciting plans, and upcoming travels to share? 😘