Monday, December 31, 2012

My Opinion: New Year's Resolutions

Yay, 2013 is approaching us real quick.
It is almost customary that people make New Year resolutions around this time :)
I've heard from the radio that new year's resolutions are often not accomplished by most people!
In my opinion, I don't really follow New Year resolutions either : P 
On one hand, it kind of seems like a weak attempt at trying to change for the better, or get things done.
Yet, for me, I feel that at the very least you've done some reflecting. 

What do you want to change this year?
What do you want to do this year?

These questions will inadvertently pop into your mind as you chart out yer New Year's resolutions. That is a good thing as it has the potential to stay in your head : P

This year, I'm gonna have simple New Year resolutions:
1. Get a job. 
Right now I'm kind of a good-for-nothing bum lazing around at home doing random stuff.
Even temp jobs don't want me :'(
2. Get my art back on track.
No thanks to JC life, I've been unable to draw something for quite awhile now. I have a DeviantArt website here.
Latest piece of work.

3. Make more friends.
Yeap! I've always been very reserved and socially awkward! But no more! I shall be more outspoken in 2013 and hopefully meet more amazing people!
4. Read more books.
Books, books, books! Heh. I have at least 10 books I've amassed over these past 2 years that needs to be read. I've got 4 books on Native Americans, 2-3 on Anthropology, some on random facts of life, history books, fiction...ah, the list goes on! I've been lemming to jump into the world of text again, for it is indeed a magical world!
5. Be tidier.
I'm one of the untidiest person around, according to dad. Well, at least I wipe, sweep, and mop my rooms once a week! nonetheless, I do think I need some serious improvements in the tidying department :P
6. Do more volunteer work
Not for the CIP hours, of course! I tried some minor volunteering with the Salvation Army in 2012 and it was pretty dandy. I used to think volunteering was tough and I simply lacked the inertia. Well, hopefully no more!

Well, that's all for my thoughts on New Year's Resolutions. Do you have any New Year's Resolutions? Share them with me!

That Whimsical Blogger!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Skincare Review: Laneige Balancing Emulsion Light

Laneige Balancing Emulsion (Light) RRP S$45 at all Laneige counters

Well, firstly, the price may have changed as I have this in my possession for over a year.
I initially wanted to throw it away but thankfully I did not. (I was in a no-skincare tirade since I over-loaded on them and ended up causing skin irritations).
I'm left with around half a bottle and I honestly don't need a lot for my face. 
I use just one pump which is a pea-sized amount for my face.}
The purpose of the emulsion is to restore your skin's pH level and provide some moisturisation. 
I got the 'light' one which is for oily skin types. 
Texture-wise it is a cream-gel (more gel-like) and it absorbs quickly into your skin leaving a slightly matte finish. I rub it in my palms to warm the emulsion up before applying and I find it absorbs faster that way.
It smells like the signature Laneige fragrance. Pleasant but synthetic and over-powering for me.
I love the beautiful plastic bottle it is stored in. I think I will not throw it away even after I'm done using it. I'd store something in it as it is just too beautiful. 

The pretty pump dispenser.
Small nozzle allows quantity dispensed to be controlled.

A short sidetrack but basically I loathe it when companies use expensive packaging but don't have refill packs. Our poor, poor environment!
I believed this used to be stored in a glass bottle, which can be more easily reused in my opinon.
Anyway, in all honesty, I don't think this bottle is necessary. However if you've got really oily skin you could use it as a moisturiser as its moisturising properties are minimal.
Also, if you are scared of weird ingredients I think Laneige products still contain parabens and whatnot. Thus I'm unlikely to be repurchasing.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

First Impressions: Watsons members-only Sale mini haul (27/12/12)

Wow, time flies! It's now near the end of 2012! Hah, take that you people-who-believe-that-doomsday-was-gonna-happen!
Today's Watson's final private member sale for the year of 2012! I popped by one of their stores to check out the stuff on sale.
In all honesty, I didn't get much items since my house was pretty much stocked with their products.

Oh Watsons, you and your sales just make Singaporeans go crazy stocking up on stuff. 

I absolutely love/hate their promotions which are the “2 for 1” kind where you have to buy more than one of the same item just to get the discount. Bleh!

Anyway, I just grabbed 3 items and I’m gonna do some quick introduction on them! :3
Evidently, it's a mini mini haul.

First up, is Majoromantica Fragrance/Perfume from Majolica Majorca. I had a 10+5% off for this. RRP is $25.90
Majoromantica is part of MM’s Chapter 35 series. I think it’s called Chapter 35: Dream Circus.
The packaging.
It smells like berries and vanilla but quickly dries down to this vanilla-smelling scent that I find slightly cloying. It almost screams “I’m subtly slutty” to me. I think that’s just because I don’t particularly like vanilla/girly scents. I wonder why I bought it. Anywho, I love how it is stored in a classy glass bottle. You apply the perfume through the wand inside the glass bottle. A tad unhygienic, methinks.
Classy glass bottle and the wand applicator

The pretty Majolica Majorca emblem on the top of the bottle
Stickers provided for you to decorate and personalise your Majoromantica!

Next, is Liese’s Fruity Hair Cocktail
RRP: 15.90 (I got it at 13.50)
I’ve been eyeing this for a long while now. But since I don’t use hair products diligently (My Ascience hair serum lasted me for 3 years!), I waited till I finally needed a serum.
It smells fabulously of synthetic peach; almost like the Pink Dolphin peach-flavoured drink I’ve drank since young. Very juicy smelling. I hope the smell lasts when applied on my hair :D
Oh, and this can be applied on dry hair too! Yay.
Liese hair serum in its packaging.

The bottle itself

Lastly, this random bottle of feminine wash from Lactayd. Their latest “whitening” wash. RRP $2.50 for 60ml (I had a 30+5% discount!!)
In all honesty I just needed a feminine wash. The idea of something being whitening seems scary and phoney to me. It even boasts that results can be seen in a couple of weeks. So, is my private area gonna become sparkling white? The thought scares me.
Oh, and the funny part was the large 250ml bottle was on offer at $11.90 which meant no further discount was applicable. The 60ml bottle costs ~$1.60. 60x4 = 240ml, price = $6.50
Trolololol. Me love sales logic fallacy. There’s also this set of earbuds going for $1 each and promotion was 2 for $3! Amazing.

Anyway, that’s  about it all for my mini mini haul :3

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MY Opinion: My trip to Kuala Lumpur

It has been a long while since I set foot onto Malaysia, my neighbouring country.
News of Singaporeans being robbed in Johor Bahru and other parts are hardly rare. They send shivers down the spine of those who rarely go to Malaysia. 

This, of course, includes my family.

The last round I went to Malaysia (Penang, KL, etc) for a short stopover, I wasn't particularly impressed. What shocked me then was how terrible a state the toilets were there. It was, literally, a hole in the ground. (A black hole of nothingness and the potential exit for a kingdom of centipedes.) I would have expected at the very least some sort of squat toilet feature but no(!), there was just simply a black hole for you ladies to squat over and pee.
But now, it's quite different. I do notice that Kuala Lumpur is certainly becoming very modern. In fact, I think it will catch up with Singapore soon and become a formidable competitor. And here's why:

Random photo of the city skyline. 

The food is cheap and good.
I could get a good meal at a restaurant for more than half the price in Singapore. With an attractive exchange rate of SGD 1: 2.45RM, this means that everything eaten here is really affordable and of good quality. For example, my family spent RM 18.80 per pax at a Chinese restaurant at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur which gave us a plate of chicken meat, a generous portion of crunchy beansprouts, fragrant chicken rice, a honey lemon drink and guiling gao for dessert. I’m sure the same equivalent would cost SGD 18.80 or more. So, you get good quality food at a really cheap price. A total steal, in my opinion.
"orange chicken" RM6.90 (before tax) at KLCC foodcourt.

Food prices at a family cafe in KL

The toilets have now improved greatly.
No longer do I see holes in the ground which function as a squat toilet of “upmarket” malls in Kuala Lumpur like I used to a couple of years ago. In place of them are gorgeously clean toilet seats and a ready supply of toilet paper. Like most Asian women, we seem obsessed with the quality of our toilet experience. I’m a rather snobby Singaporean when it comes to toilet, and, the toilets have my approval! You don’t need to hold in your pee the next time you hang out downtown in Kuala Lumpur! 

You can buy many things found in Singapore, but at a lower rate
Are you a fan of brands like Skinfood, Naruko, Topman and others? Chances are, they can be bought cheaper in Malaysia! Yes, you heard me, cheaper! This is despite the fact that both countries have to import these products. (I think it is due to the cheaper rental cost in Malaysia.) This is a dream come true for Singaporean and international shoppers alike! Skinfood is around 30% cheaper in Malaysia. A side note: Skinfood products are not organic or 100% natural as what many believe. But, it’s so hard to resist the cutesy packaging!

I got this original Rilakkuma hanger-thing for RM40! = SGD 16!
You can't get this at such a price in Singapore.

The locals are friendly and many can speak English
Yeah, we all heard about how Malaysians can’t speak English well. Fret not when you’re in the town areas. The staff is usually able to converse in English. While not everyone can speak fluently, I’m sure it wouldn’t be that difficult to communicate with the locals. In fact, it seems like they do enjoy speaking English, as it reflects an “upper class” image. (That is, of course, merely a hypothesis. Do not quote me on this.) This is in contrast to Singaporeans whom I feel are far more snobby and reserved as sales staff. This means that if you don’t dress well, chances are you’ll get a blatantly different treatment than those who walk in sashaying their branded totes. (This is not because I’m a tourist as I think many of their staff mistook me for being a Malaysian as I could utter a few words in Melayu; often, they would reply in elaborate conversational Melayu which I could not grasp).

Also, knowing that Chinese people aren't particularly liked, I was expecting Malays to outwardly dislike me. My last trip to KL did indeed made me experience plenty of 'eye-rolling' from some Malay salesgirls who realised I couldn't speak Melayu. But this time, I didn't face anything of that sorts. All were really friendly people, which is awesome.

The train service is cheap and good
We all know how many taxis in Malaysia refused to use the meter system for charging their rides. Fortunately, the train service is a good substitute for the taxis. They are rather new and each train comes around 4-5 minutes during the time I was there. In doubt, approach the ticketing master and he’ll help you with your queries.

Of course, nothing’s 100% good in Malaysia. I’d like to point out a few areas that made my stay less satisfactory

Safety still isn’t very good
I see tons of security guards patrolling buildings of importance during my stay. Also, if you walked into departmental stores, there’ll always be guards around. And, in Watsons, the security guard would sometimes tail you. I hate being followed. It’s one of my pet peeves especially when shopping in Singapore.

Stop tailing me, you horrible sales people. I’m not a thief!

Moreover, when night falls, it does feel very different and threatening. On our first night there, there was a man on a motorcycle stalking us right outside the KLCC. It was a very scary experience, to say the least. So, unless you’re a hulking man (probably of Caucasian descent), nighttime is not good for tourists to venture out. Oh, and it is even more dangerous if you’re Chinese since it is well-known that Chinese are somewhat targeted by the robbers in Malaysia.

Security in Singapore obviously reigns supreme.

The rice quality is quite bad
In Singapore, the rice that comes with even “cheaper” hawker food is alright. Once in a while you will get some that seems to have worms in them (it’s called unethical hawkers!) But in Malaysia poor quality rice seems common. The hawker food serve rice that are badly polished and the taste is inferior. There’s some sort of strange taste to them. Only when you dine at restaurants do you get decent quality rice and fabulous food. So, if you eat a lot of rice, this is something that is pretty unsatisfactory. 

Locals still get discriminated based on their ethnicity
We were shopping at a departmental store one day when this wonderful Indian staff aided my dad in his purchases. She was fluent in English, Melayu and even Mandarin! According to my dad, she was extremely helpful and pointed out good promotions and tips when shopping in Malaysia. So impressed by her service was my dad that he decided to write a commendation feedback to the departmental store. She sadly told him that it was of no use, as her superior would tear the feedback once he/she realized it commended this Indian lady. In her words, she said, “How can an Indian ever get promoted? Impossible.”
I’m rather shocked by the blatant discrimination she received. Certainly this wouldn’t happen in my country, Singapore.
Furthermore, although the Chinese community is sizeable in Malaysia, I have not seen a single Chinese salesman during my trip. Even the Chinese food sold in stores were served by Malays or Indians. That’s really strange. Of course I’m not trying to imply anything but overall my stay made me feel that there is a certain undercurrent of discrimination in Malaysia that did not settle well with me.

Prices advertised may often be before tax
This does not refer to restaurants, which charge a 10% service charge and a 6% tax, which is equally common in Singapore. Rather, even hawkers at regular food stalls will add on a 6% charge on top of their food prices. So, while this isn’t really a turn off, it didn’t make me feel too happy about it.

Well, that is all for my experience in Kuala Lumpur! I’m likely to visit KL again as it wasn’t all that bad! In fact it was pretty awesome if not for that scary dude stalking us. Bring lots of money though if you’re intending to go shopping(things can be pricey in KL!) 

Thanks for reading!
That Whimsical Blogger!

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