Shhh! Secret Life of a Princess

Random, provoking thoughts from a self-confessed princess :: with focus on motivational learnings from the media. I hope to inspire everyone to be the best they can be

Monday, July 21, 2008

Portal to Another World

Have you seen those movies like Narnia, Never Ending Story and Jumanji where the kids goes into another world by walking through a wardrobe, reading a never ending story book or playing a magical game? All these kids discovered a portal to another world where no man has thread and end up with such magical and amazing adventures, their lives endangered but saved in the nick of time while saving that new world! What would we pay for a life like that instead of leading such boring lifes of homeworks, tuitions and school.

As for me, I miss those days when I experience my out of world adventures by reading story books like Enid Blyton's The Enchanted Tree and many more! Today, as life gets harder with more responsibilities and decisions to make, every once in a while, I treasure those times when I can get away and escape from the harsh realities of life for a while. And that is why my column here talks about the few things that is a portal to a didfferent world for me:

1. Reading - reading magical books like Harry Potter does it for me and for so many kids all over the world. The story brings you to a different land and you feel like you are part of the charactcers, experiencing all the magical things that happens in the school of witchry. Reading story books from Enid Blyton flies me to a world I have never knew existed and I remembered the anticipation I felt when I felt the same suspense the characters in the book felt when they were climbing up the enchanted tree not knowing which land they will land on and if they will meet good or bad characters. They were truly characters I laughed and cried with.

2. Water - Water is an element of escape for me. Whenever I am in water, I feel like my whole body loosens and I feel energised. I just went to Kota Tinggi waterfalls last Sat and found for the first time the ability to feel like I am in a different dimension of the world when I am right under the waterfalls, running water splashing onto my body, my arms held upright like an eagle, getting hit by the strong torrents of the waters. I felt almost godlike, like I was flying even though I was right under some waters. No wonder people like going to waterfalls.

3. TV Series - For that one hour, I felt connected with the characters and felt like I live their life and spoke their words. TV Series like Grey's Anatomy, Sex and the City, Cashmere Mafia does it for me that sometimes I forgot that I have a different life as I connected with the characters and stories so much. I sometimes wish I could rewind the show and relive the show over and over again, avoiding my real life. It’s amazing how they know what I wanted to hear after going through a rough day especially with quotes spoken so meticulously it touched my heart and soul.

4. Movies - Movies as I mentioned above from Never Ending Story to Narnia to Harry Potter and even Stardust never fail to transport me to a different world. You have to watch these movies in the cinema to get the full effect of being teleported to a different dimension where the surround sound envelopes you giving you the same ambience as the movie. I still remember when I was young, when I watched Never Ending Story, I remember flying across the skies on the huge dog, is it called Urgl together with the protagonist and I didn’t even realise it until the dog landed on ground.

5. Comics - There is a reason comics sell so well from kiddy comics like Calvin and Hobbes to superheros like Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four and countless more. Reason why the remake of these comics into movies sell so well to as they bring u into a world where u will never imagine going and interacting with characters u will never see in real life. It will be funny to see a human dressed like Penguin or the Joker in real life and not laugh or say anything about it. Now, I am waiting for my ever favorite comic,Calvin and Hobbes to appear on movie screens and be reminded of how young and guilable I can be again ;)

Friday, July 04, 2008

What Sells in Singapore

What else but sex?!! From racy photographs of skimpily clad females donning the covers of magazines from Maxim to FHM to PCZone (yes, even technology and sports magazine now with one magazine last month featuring a naked model holding only a soccer ball to cover her breasts) to females wearing the shortest of shorts or skirts parading around the latest hip and happening shopping malls around Singapore. Yours truly became a victim and bought the shortest denim skirt I have ever bought in my entire life just to not feel too out of place when I wear my casual attire when going out. Sex is truly the one weapon everyone uses to get around from getting what they want to making sure they look like they belong. Models of Maxim in Singapore are photographed in the skimpiest of bikinis while in Malaysia, they are dressed from top to toe and when a bit more of the cleavage is shown, some texts will be superimposed on them. Sex also became a parade in kids outlets like Ben's & Jerry's where all their waitresses are dressed in short shorts completed with a very nice blue colored t-shirt. Seeing the svelthe body and long legs of the waitresses, one would be tricked to believe that by eating those calories-laden ice-cream, one would not grow fat as proven by those slim waitresses who can be the shop's role models. Another apparel shops called New Urban Male uses sexy looking, muscular and built men dressed in sleeves singlet and colorful fancy bernuda pants to promote their goods, making their customers think that by buying goods from that shop, one would be as built and good-looking as those promoters too. This shop has attracted a lot of metrosexuals, a growing niche in Singapore, spending exorbitat amounts of money just for slippers, bermudas and singlets. Even one of the most popular game show in Singapore is based on selling sex, or at least selling the gorgeous bodies of girls who looked like they just walked out of a female magazine covers. See how one blogger from STOMP posted about how females are now selling their bodies in return for fast cash through the Internet.

Second is health. Food with an element of health benefits attracts a lot of Singaporeans who are adopting the healthy eating habits and lifestyle attitude by buying only items with ingredients good for their health. I am guilty of choosing soya milk with added ingredients like oatmeal (for addtional fibre), almond (for vitamin E), black sesame (good for the heart), green tea (for detoxification - not very nice by the way) and promegranate (for additional nutrition). There are so many more and if you come to the shelves of supermarkets of Singapore, you will be bombarded with a smorgasboard of food products with additional ingredients. People just don't go for plain bread anymore but if you have a choice of having banana walnut, wholegrains, raisin and berry, pandan and corn bread, which would you choose? Recently, there is a launch of a new product called 'SoyJoy' that combines the goodness of soy milk and the nutrition of berry. The advertisement of the product reflects the romance and intimacy between a soy-head male character and a hawthorn berry-head female character. This combines the first and 2nd item in my blog today. Even sex is used to sell products with health benefits now but these kind of advertising elicits curiosity which will increase eyeballs to their ad campaign and hopefully additional traffic.

Third is creativity. Selling item is no more just selling items. Every outlet needs to be creative and think of new ways to entice their customers to come back. Just like people gets bored of drinking soy milk alone, manufacturers have added chocolate, papaya, watermelon, almond, promegranate, gree tea, oatmeal and even black sesame into soy milk. All shops needs to be constantly upgraded to entice returning customers who are never satisfied and craves for a change. Well, you can't blame them. They come from a small country in which they cant just drive up to Genting or Cameron Highlands without their passports thus what is already available on their limited land has to continuously undergo changes to keep up with the growing taste of the society. Even a simple ice kacang has been made into a variety of flavours from chocolate to red bean to green bean, etc with some of the best ice kacang I have tasted in Singapore and not in Malaysia, suprise, suprise. And prata comes with chocolate, milk and a variety of ingredients too with the stall elling the most variety of prata usually frequented by people compared to those simple ones. One new food item I have heard which is a first in Singapore is called 'fortune muffin' in a shop called Bliss Haven Muffins where a piece of paper with your fortune is slit underneath the paper containing the muffin. This is the first time I have heard of something like that and I feel this owner deserves a mention for his creativity to be different from any other muffin sellers. His muffin would also appeal to those who wants to buy 4-D numbers as some of the papers has digits and not fortunes. You can see that by putting a little creativity into a business, the saleability grows higher and people line up just to buy some good luck.

Another creative creation to come out of Singapore is Milo Dinosaur which evolved to Horlicks Dinosaur and the likes. When I first stepped into this country, I was asking what old age century drink is that and why hasn’t it penetrated Malaysia given the more mamak going lifestyle of Malaysians? When I saw the mountains of milo powder bobbling on top of a very thick milo ais, I was captured. My all-time favorite drink has never been the same especially when Singaporeans got more creative and invented Milo Godzilla, a milo ais with ice-cream and milo powder on top. One of the outlet that carries these drinks and more and turned a simple milo ais and teh tarik into abranded franchise is Mr The Tarik with its long covered transparent cups ala Starbucks and a nice stamp of their name on eery cup. One winning formula for this brand, great packaging and no scrimping on quality as well as quantity. Seeing the tall glass of every cup and the colorful variety of drinks that fills the cup to the brims, it is no wonder the branded mamak is packed with crowds all hours of the day. Imagine how a little creativity and spending on quality contributed to much higher sales and gave them a competitive edge over the rest of the mama and papa mamaks.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

7 Secrets to Happiness - the Female Version

1. Have a group of friends you can bond with
Think Sex and the City and Cashmere Mafia. When you are down, you can't entirely depend on your boyfriend or husband to say things that will make you feel better (they rarely do) and eating tubs of ice-cream or chocolate is far too fattening, thus we usually turn to our gal pals who have grown up with us, people who knows us deep down inside and will comfort us with the best and most comforting words since they will know how you feel. I liked it when in one episode of Cashmere Mafia, Lucy Liu got dumped by her fiance who was aboout to marry her as she beat him to a company promotion and when her gal friends were there to comfort her and screw the hell out of the ex-fiance, she mentions 'I dont know what I will do without you girls'....Awww... don't we love moments like these.

2. Live simply
When there are too many choices and options, things gets tough. I have been in Malaysia for so long and I rarely hear about divorce cases but stepping into Singapore with a myraid of opportunities and people congregating from all over the world, cases of affairs and infidelity becomes more rampant. I am surrounded with people who are divorced with kids at work and among my friends and they easily admit to getting divorce as it is so easy to meet other more suitable people, or so they thought. In countries where you are trapped to live with person you marry, these options are not so available and thus, they make things work among themselves which again leads to less trauma and unhappiness.

3. You only live once
Yes, you gotta have adventures! It is those exhilirating moments in life that you will find makes life much more worth living. It is those moments that will remain cherished memories for the rest of your life. You will not remember work and how much tasks you have completed or accomplished. What you will remember is the exhilaration you feel when you speed down a roller coaster, the beautiful sights when you scuba dive, the glorious stars when you stare into the skies from the highlands and the adorabe smile on your first born baby's face. In one episode of Grey's Anatomy, before one of the patient dies, he quoted 'Isn't life's most memorable and precious moments those that were made without following the rules?'
If everything you did in life was safe, you’d never have any exhilarating moments or crazy experiences to recall, both of which give you the sense that you’re truly living,” explains Brian Luke Seaward, PhD, author of Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart.

4. Give in to temptations
When your daily life is such a routine and all you do is take orders and execute them, you need to break the monotony to induce that little bit of heightened sense of emotion. Be it eat that high-calories, milky ice-cream, buy that beautiful red car you have always been eyeing on or purchasing a nice yellow dress that will make you feel like a princess, by doing things out of the norm and slef-gratifying to yourself or even people around you, you will feel happier and more contented. Life is not one straight road. Some people's vice is food, while others are travel, shopping, jewellery or tv. No matter what, do something that you will not do daily every once so that you will remain sane in the demanding world.

5. Happiness comes from within
A lot of people think money is the source of happiness. One could not be more wrong. I was trapped in the circle once too where the more I climb the ladder and get higher salary and recognition, the more I will feel happy. No matter how high I climb, it never felt enoough. Every time I get a salary increment which could be higher than average, I still feel like I could have gotten more. It never stopped until one day, I was working happily not thinking about the money I am earning but the company I am working for. I wanted the best for my company and I gained meaning from doing something I love and enjoy and have a team that fully supports me and I can respect. I don't even think about the money anymore and any bonus and increment was a great booster. I also used to think that once I found the right guy, I will be happy. Boy, was I wrong. When I think about how I was angry at my previous relationships as I thought the guy did not make me happy, I found that I was not controlling my own happiness. Now that I have grown, I make my happiness no matter who I am with. Happiness is not about what you have. It is what you make of it.

When you have limitless funds, you tend to be hellbent on accumulating more,” says New York clinical psychiatrist Janet Taylor. “In the process, you lose the ability to appreciate what you do own and have difficulty feeling fulfilled.

6. Balance of Busy and Dead time is good
I used to think how great life will be if noone needs to work and everyone can sit and drink wine, watch tv, listen to music and chat with friends all the time? However, after spending too many days doing non-work items, I found myself feeling useless about myself as I have not contributed to the community in a productive way. When you put in your all to ensure a good job done, you will find the resting period is much more appreciated and worth it. It is with bitterness comes sweetness. Just like desserts, a lot of people like it but an overdose of sweet food will create an adverse effect to the tastebuds and body well-being. Thus, everything should be taken in moderation and while you can enjoy the good times, remember that human are created with an aim to create a better world.

7. You Must Love Yourself
Someone who loves themselves radiates with confidence and genuine smile. As long as you accept yourself the way you are, you will not have problems with self-esteem and can make your life happy. I remember one day when I was with a friend who has just gotten out of debts, got cheated by his business partber and he is not even accepted by his family and yet when I speak to him I did not sense any agony. He was so bright and positive about life and could even joke about my words. That impressed me as I would have mourned and screamed "Why the world is unfair to me?" had I been in the same situations. Says he "No matter happy or sad, I still have to live my life, so why live sadly?" Yet, again, it is a choice.

So what are the benefits of being happy?

Happy people are more likely (than unhappy people) to get married, are more likely to stay married, are more likely to think their marriage is good,” Diener said. “They’re more likely to volunteer. They’re more likely to be rated highly by their supervisor and they’re more likely to make more money.”

"Happy people are also, on average, healthier than unhappy people and they live longer", Diener said.

So, what are you waiting for?

Mostly taken from this article.