A couple of days before Christmas, I tried on a pair of navy blue shorts and almost had a heart attack. I had just bought them the month before but couldn’t get them past my thighs! I admit I had been guilty of over-indulging over the holiday season, but this was ridiculous!

Then, I took a closer look and realised they were actually my son’s shorts – he had a similar pair and they must have gotten mixed up after laundry day. Whew! For a moment, I thought all the feasting had finally caught up with me.

It feels like I’m just done with Christmas 2016 and someone had stolen 2017 from right under my nose. Now, at the cusp of 2018, we look back at what’s been a rather strange year.

Businessman Donald Trump took to office and became the 45th President of the United States in January. While some are still reeling over how this larger-than-life TV personality came to be in the White House to star in America’s ultimate reality show, Trump stamped his presence from the start with his immigration policies and insistence on building a wall at the border between Mexico and the United States. The last 12 months under his administration have been nothing short of interesting, be it his tweets, media attacks, hiring and firing of staff, international appearances and more.

Closer to home, four people disappeared without a trace in February: Pastor Raymond Koh, Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife. Till today, the police, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and other parties still have no clue to their whereabouts. Nobody knows exactly why they were abducted or by whom. Some answers would be good this year to give the families closure.

Ikea Malaysia’s signature Big Blue Bag.

In April, French luxury brand Balenciaga introduced its Arena extra-large blue shopper tote with a price tag of US$2,145 (RM8,623) which bore a striking resemblance to Ikea’s sustainable Frakta blue bag, that sells for only 99 cents (RM4). The Swedish furniture company capitalised on the happy (or unhappy) coincidence and produced an ad on “how to identify an original Ikea Frakta bag” with humorous overtones.

Fast food chain McDonald’s along with a few other burger outlets gave a different take on the Malaysian favourite nasi lemak, lending the dish a more hip disposition. From sambal sauce and anchovies on a meat patty between a bun, the popular breakfast also inspired our Miss Malaysia Universe’s national costume three months later. The debate on the controversial dress carried on long after the people had digested the ikan bilis and peanuts.

September: When Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty.

One of the biggest news trending in beauty last year was singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty make-up collection. Launched last September and mostly sold in Sephora stores, the initial collection included highlighters, shimmer sticks and a universal lip gloss. The line has since expanded to include some 40 shades of foundation and 14 new lipstick shades for her Mattemoiselle collection. Amassing an instant fanbase, it was touted to be a huge social media success, as 132 million people watched Fenty tutorials on YouTube that month, reported Pop Sugar.

Probably one of the most celebrated news items that caught the world’s attention was the announcement of Prince Harry and Hollywood actress Meghan Markle’s engagement in November. Anyone and everyone took the opportunity to offer their opinion, solicited or otherwise. Reactions ranged from nonchalance to excitement, and some, possibly nursing broken hearts, made downright mean comments as the world’s most sought-after bachelor was now off the market. Some practical Britons took to social media to ask whether they would get a holiday on the engagement day, to which the answer was no. Quite amusing, when you consider how it sounds so much like a typical Malaysian response.

At least, the year ended (almost) on a happy note.

On Christmas day, I had dropped by a shopping mall to pick up a dress as I had a free voucher. My weight woes were further compounded by the reminder that I had grown, not just by one size up, but two, to an XL size from my usual M!

“The cut for this item is smaller than usual,” the salesperson had explained most apologetically.

I made a mental note to do something about the expanding hips. That doesn’t really count as a resolution though. I don’t have expectations for the new year; my only fervent hope is that there be fair play and good governance in the country. Too much to ask, perhaps? We shall see what pans out in the coming elections.

That night, I spent the last few minutes of Christmas comforting myself with a slice of homemade chocolate banana cake and ice cream. Heck, it was Christmas, after all, and I have all of 2018 to repent.

Life is too short to beat myself up over an extra serving of dessert.


They say change is inevitable, but growth is optional. What do you think? Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my