The Girls of Asia

23 06 2009

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I have been wanting to write this blog for the last year and decided often to postpone it simply because I wanted to ensure that my thoughts and impressions would stick and not change.  After 2 years in Singapore I can say that my thoughts did not really change, but instead, it is the girls of Singapore and the girls of Asia that got the best of me.  Shall I say transformed me.  

For those of you who knew me well, you will be surprised to hear that my closet is now full of dresses, skirts and cute feminine tops, that high heels and shoes have made my closet too small as if they follow me from stores and pile up on their own at the bottom of my wardrobe.  Yes, not so long ago, I was dressed for the business part or dressed for the weather as long as it was stylish and comfortable.  Of course, even dressed for the part, style was a must. All I know is although I was a true defined woman, I had only one or two black dresses in my wardrobe and the rest were business clothes, jeans and t-shirts.

In Singapore and Asia, in general, the daily scenery is filled with beautiful legs, high heels, soft olive skin tones and cute dresses completed by impeccably manicured hands and nails, often showing designs that would make Picasso blush.  Blue, fluo pink , orange or dark cherry, you can have a manicure on every street corner with 3 to 4 girls from mainland China at your hands and feet, smiling and giggling while doing their master pieces .  The total cost: $45 Sing dollars.  Most girls in Asia would not dare to be caught without a dressed toe or thumb!  

-What do you like the most about the girls in Asia Tim and Paul (two of my single colleagues who live in Singapore)?  

-They are feminine Helene, so feminine that they make us feel like real men! Did you see their legs, toes and dresses? They come to work as if they are going to a wedding or ready for a Saturday night date.  Tim emphasized his statement by saying: They are not afraid to be women and I love that about them!

Indeed, they are very feminine and I will never forget the day I went to my first basketball game in Singapore with some office colleagues, and here comes along my friend Grace from Shanghai dressed in a white lace dress with a matching small satin purse and high heels.  The same scenery again last month when Pierre and I went to a ‘Shakespeare in the park’ play dressed in shorts and casual clothing while the Singaporean girls showed up in their latest summer dresses, jacked on high heels without a hair sticking out.

I got my first reality check about a month after arriving in Singapore. A taxi driver, the ones who always tell the crual truth to you, said to me:

-Why are you dressed in pants Mam? You should not lah, it is not feminine and men don’t like it lah! Why you need to dress like man (referring to me wearing pants and not that I literally dress to avoid my feminity)? Do not forget the beauty of a woman Mam. You can have a career without losing the feminine charm.  You should not have to give up your woman charming role for the sake of having a career.   

Of course the constant  32 degree Celcius of Singapore helps to get undressed and the less clothing you wear, the better you feel. Every time  we are about to leave the house to do an activity, I ask Pierre what he wished to see me wear? 99.9% of the time Pierre will point out one of my dresses, even if it is a day of walking in the city, a shopping day or a zoo day, it is a dress day.  If you wear a dress in Singapore, you are always dressed for the part, regardless what the part is.  

The old expression “you can’t judge a book by its cover” does not really apply because in fact, the cover transforms parts of you.  Since I dress very feminine, I feel even more like a woman, it brings more softness to my personality and it makes men more attentive to me.  They want to open doors, pick-up things on the floor when you drop them, compliment you, look at you and treat you with galantry. I like the role play that a man acts manly and a woman is feminine and no it does not mean that I am dominated, fragile or second best, it does not imply that I am not a strong head at the office and it certainly does not mean that I lost anything. On the contrary I gained a lot!

The women of Asia will probably succeed in proving that you can become the head of corporations, the entrepreneur of the year and the mother of the year signing contracts and picking up awards wearing high heels, cute designer sexy dresses and impeccable nails, while slightly bowing with a look of shyness in her attitude. Yet when they will open their mouth at the microphone, it is a powerful woman who will, without a glitch, express her gratitude. They will have told the world that womanly does not mean weak.  They are smart and yes soooo feminine.  

But of course there are many of them that are still the types who are looking for the 5 Cs: Car – Condominium – Cash – Credit Card and Club membership to select their men and love often is not the first criteria of selection.  But as they are evolving, they will all afford it on their own and will be more choosy.  In Singapore alone, there are 23,000 single women that are multi-millionaires carrying an average wealth of $4 million each.  It has yet to be seen how men will feel when women continue to gain this independance. Hopefully the beautiful role play will not be lost when they are out dining and argue on who will be paying the bill?

Until then, I have to go clean my closet to fit my new bright yellow shoes!

What are you doing in your closet Helene.. Are you ready? says Pierre 

Ready for what?  Where are we going? What dress should I wear?

Wear your jeans Helene, we are going clay target shooting at the National Riffle Club?

Oups! I guess there is still a little bit of rebel left in me and places where high hills will sink in the ground after all. I won’t wear my yellow shoes either, I don’t want to dirty them. :-) 



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4 responses

24 06 2009
Grace

Hi Helene,
Good article and particularly I like the part of “You can’t judge a book by its cover does not really apply because in fact, the cover transforms parts of you”.:-)
But did I dress in that feminine way when I went to watch the basketball game with you and Paul? If yes, I bet the day we went must be a working day so we didn’t have enough time to get changed after work. Sounds like I’m making up an excuse. hahaha.
All those sweet scenes in Singapore have come back into my mind. I miss you guys and say hello to our friends here. Take care!

29 06 2009
Mariola

Salut ma belle Helène,

Je lis tes blogs et messages chaque fois.
Je suis tellement contente de te voir heureuse et lire tes propos pleins de sagesse.
Félicitations encore a toi et Pierre.
Laisse moi savoir la prochaine fois que tu seras de passage a Montréal, j’aimerais te voir en personne!!!

Sincèrement
Mariola

2 07 2009
V Ching

Call me ‘conservative’ but I’ll stick to my jeans and khakis🙂 and European style of dressing, yes can be rather odd for an Asian, and the occasional dress.

6 07 2009
Katherine

What a wonderful blog! You are one of my favourite people Helene and I can’t wait to see you again sometime! While I was working in Serbia and Bosnia this past year, I learned the same…after war and losing everything, still both men and women try to look nice. Women who are doctors, the heads of medical institutions, with their hair, makeup and nails done, a dress and high heels under their white doctors’ coats. It feels great to look nice, to have people turn and look and smile at you when you walk by…and still know that you are professional and competent. I agree – it isn’t one or the other. This is one of the many wonderful things about being a woman, I agree!!

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