The festive season may be over, but for Malaysians, the feasting goes on the whole year round. And what do you know, it’s quite possible to have your kuih and not eat it, especially when they are too pretty!

Recently, I came across a bunch of unconventional Malaysian skincare products which can easily be mistaken as dessert on www.expatgo.com,

Mostly made with natural ingredients, Kuih Raya Soap by Wunderbath and Co sells a delicious-looking kuih talam and kuih dahlia. It even has soaps in the form of cookies, tea-time favourite curry puff and kuih lapis! SoapLab Malaysia offers a DIY kit for making Aloe Rose Skin Soother Soap that looks exactly like agar-agar while Lave Republic has ice cream treats and cakes made with real cocoa.

Speaking of unconventional, the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle is being watched like a hawk for her regal dressing … or lack thereof.

Who says ripped jeans are unbecoming of royalty? Markle wore them nonchalantly at her first public appearance with Prince Harry at the Invictus Games. The unspoken rule is to cover your arms and shoulders in church, but no one said no to her Hugo Boss dress at the Stephen Lawrence memorial service.

Sometimes I wonder if this is really the 21st century, given the raised eyebrows over Markle wearing a well-tailored suit instead of a boring skirt when on royal duty. Just a couple of weeks ago at The Royal Ascot, which adheres to a strict dress code, www.express.co.uk reported that, woe betide us, someone picked up on her not wearing her name tag! It seems only the Queen is allowed to do so, while all other royals are expected to wear theirs. Bemused by it all, I cannot fathom why there’s so much nitpicking over such petty details, when there are so many other serious issues to resolve in the world. Seriously, people, go get a life!

perfect lives

The removal of GST drove customers to buy the Honda HR-V. Photo: The Star

The rising cost of living, for instance, has been a hot issue the past few years, so when the new government declared Malaysia a GST-free haven for three months up to September, it was welcome news.

Apparently it sparked off a shopping frenzy in certain sectors of the market. For instance, Honda Malaysia, which experienced slow-moving sales earlier in the year, saw the Honda HR-V and CR-V almost driving themselves out of the showroom when GST was removed. According to www.dsf.my, Honda had to put the brakes on bookings as stocks had run out.

In the beauty sector, a slight uptrend in buying was observed, with many brands offering discounts of 6% or more from May. The Body Shop offered 6% off with immediate effect at all its stores nationwide while Amore Pacific had the same for all the brands under its umbrella.

“This has helped us achieve our roadshow promotion targets by double digits for Laneige,” said Margaret Chin, general manager of Amorepacific Malaysia.

“In June, we had our usual promotions and sales, and we are achieving our sales target which had initially been challenging due to the high cost demands of GST,” said Chin, adding that shoppers were mostly loading up on skincare products.

“I don’t foresee a big jump in price when the Sales and Service Tax is implemented compared with GST, as before we already had customs duty on certain products like powders and cleansers. Many other cosmetics and fragrances are already duty-free so I think there won’t be a marked difference.”

Beauty aficionado and consumer Sue Yap, who also noticed the 6% drop in price for most beauty brands, also feels that the price increase would be minimal with the SST, but that brands might take this opportunity to raise prices in September due to other factors such as increased costs for transportation, import, warehouse storage and exchange rate fluctuations.

“I think most brands are using these three months to boost shopping and sales. If there are good deals, some consumers may stock up. But if GST has taught us anything, it’s to buy what we need instead of what we want, so I’m spending a lot less these days anyway,” said Yap.

perfect lives

Anthony Bourdain, who suffered from depression, took his own life in June 2018. Photo: AFP

On a more sombre note, while we’re obsessing over beauty, fashion and how to stretch our ringgit further, news of designer and businesswoman Kate Spade and celebrated chef, author and television personality Anthony Bourdain having taken their lives sent shock waves globally.

Living what the world perceived to be the perfect lives – Spade had a successful career with a family-centric business; Bourdain was a renowned celebrity traveller with fame and fortune – things are never quite what they appear to be.

Having had firsthand experience with someone who went through the tragedy of suicide, it doesn’t make it any easier to understand or less painful. It may be a misguided notion that death itself can bring relief, but when one reaches the darkest depths of despair, one loses the ability to think clearly and logically. The hardest is the feeling of being pushed into a corner and the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Depression is not just about feeling sad to the core, but that you’re drowning and there’s no light or redemption at the end of the tunnel.

I’ve since learnt that sometimes those on suicide mode can’t or don’t want to see the solution even if it was offered. Sometimes, the best thing a friend or family member can do for them is just be there for them, not judge but lend a listening ear …


A crisis worker will TEXT with you if you text 741741 when feeling depressed or suicidal, but don’t like talking. The free service is run by the Crisis Text Hotline. Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my