Sun, 13 Mar 2005

Purgatory of modern-day Fountains of Youth

Maybe life begins at 40, but it's not quite clear who gets the benefits.

The women in this age group (one increasingly finds out firsthand) are among the most highly prized guinea pigs of the segmented market of over-the-counter beauty products. It is no longer so easy to zap in and zap out of the drugstore.

For the past decade or so, the stores have been selling "health products" that guarantee you'll walk in and presto! -- walk out as an attractively appareled young woman with perfect skin, body and face.

Unlike bookstores where you desperately seek attendants, at the drugstore they immediately share with a woman customer an entire thesis on beauty and health tips -- including what would happen if you ignored them, which sounds more terrifying than the fires of hell described through the loudspeakers of a mosque.

"Ma'am," says the salesperson, please try the new anti-aging cream with vitamin E and its complementary night cream, the whitening moisturizer with UV-blocker, alpha-blocker, PH-5, SPF" -- and with her clever and lighting-quick close study of my skin -- "the facial mask to minimize gaping pores, the multivitamins and ..." -- with another close look -- "eye gel, and Ma'am, a breast lifting cream, a skin firming lotion, cellulite eraser, all on sale! Bu!

Lovely offerings of magic potions, along with that new oxygenated mineral water, all vital necessities, or so we're told. And to fight those free radicals who or which might attack you for some unimaginable reason, you don't call in the men with tear gas or batons but you use anti-oxidants -- and you're shown the better (more costly) ones the minute you decide you can afford one of those attractively designed bottles in pastel hues.

When one day it dawns that your hair can no longer survive without blissful cream bath treatments, it's "Ma'am, you must use hair vitamins, and this one is a hair mask, hair repair cream, hair spa, protein hair gel". Etcetera, etcetera.

Refuse all that in the name of "I'll just age gracefully, stick to my swimming and eat lots of veggies", and you walk away feeling guilty that perhaps you've denied a young woman her one chance at a sizable commission, besides wondering whether not investing in a pot promising to fight wrinkles is sinful neglect (all right, it is, so I bought one).

While there seems to be a recurring cycle of bashing Western products and culture here, beauty products unite us all regardless of any territorial spats. The glossy commercials featuring (white-skinned, usually mixed-race) beauties and page after page of ads for a cornucopia of treatment and cosmetic products support some of our traditional values that instill in women a vital need to stay pretty, trim and young.

It's just that now we have greater choices apart from the smelly jamu tonics that mothers used to force on their daughters every single day.

The message intoned by childhood jamu training and the botox and cosmetic surgery clinics is the same: Stay pretty, trim and young -- or else. Oh -- and yes, it's healthy, too: excess tummies lead to all sorts of ailments and as the spa ads say, your inner beauty glows when you're relaxed and refreshed following the right measure of self-indulgence.

So relax. Leading a life less stressful these days means giving in to aggressive marketing. Let go of the principle of "going grey naturally" unless you have 30 extra minutes to insist on seeing the manager to interrogate her on why you should be forced to buy a whitening moisturizer, just because there's aisles and aisles of them and you don't have the time to hunt for a non-whitening one.

(My kids insist I need to be "whitened", but the fine print on the bottles do not say you might get blotchy a la Michael Jackson if you use them too long. This ignorant consumer obviously did not get the commercials' message: white in three weeks, so of course that's the recommended period of use! Drop class action idea...)

Besides, going natural is not socially acceptable. A colleague steps up and snaps: "Hey, Granny, get your hair dyed!" Now, is that rude or what. It's true, that's what it is. Mother Nature selects according to her whim, some can afford to age gracefully (and most of us are not Catherine Deneuve) and most feel they're fighting a lost fight.

But one thing's for sure. As long as us "mature" women prefer flattery while trying forever to be young and beautiful, legions of "health product" manufacturers and their advertisers (who are not all pretty, trim and young, by the way) and the good Samaritan drugstore attendants will forever be after you and your wallet. -- Ati Nurbaiti





News Search/Filter
Transaction Rates
17 Oct 18
Buy
Sell
AED1
4,141.07
4,141.07
AFN1
200.00
200.00
ALL1
140.59
140.59
AMD1
31.42
31.42
ANG1
8,569.33
8,569.33
AOA1
50.52
50.52
ARS1
423.53
423.53
AUD1
10,858.36
10,858.36
AWG1
8,448.12
8,448.12
AZN1
8,934.44
8,934.44
BAM1
9,004.48
9,004.48
BBD1
7,605.45
7,605.45
BDT1
179.57
179.57
BGN1
9,003.57
9,003.57
BHD1
40,350.42
40,350.42
BIF1
8.49
8.49
BMD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
BND1
10,785.86
10,785.86
BOB1
2,200.85
2,200.85
BRL1
4,083.13
4,083.13
BSD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
BTC1
97,700,589
97,700,589
BTN1
206.69
206.69
BWP1
1,429.32
1,429.32
BYN1
7,214.06
7,214.06
BZD1
7,568.80
7,568.80
CAD1
11,758.18
11,758.18
CDF1
9.31
9.31
CHF1
15,357.25
15,357.25
CLF1
607,270.04
607,270.04
CLP1
22.74
22.74
CNH1
2,200.65
2,200.65
CNY1
2,200.64
2,200.64
COP1
4.91
4.91
CRC1
25.61
25.61
CUC1
15,210.90
15,210.90
CUP1
590.71
590.71
CVE1
159.44
159.44
CZK1
681.55
681.55
DJF1
85.45
85.45
DKK1
2,360.18
2,360.18
DOP1
304.54
304.54
DZD1
128.68
128.68
EGP1
849.34
849.34
ERN1
1,014.18
1,014.18
ETB1
545.75
545.75
EUR1
17,609.16
17,609.16
FJD1
7,139.77
7,139.77
FKP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GBP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GEL1
6,188.94
6,188.94
GGP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GHS1
3,137.58
3,137.58
GIP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
GMD1
307.55
307.55
GNF1
1.67
1.67
GTQ1
1,968.42
1,968.42
GYD1
72.76
72.76
HKD1
1,940.85
1,940.85
HNL1
631.87
631.87
HRK1
2,374.42
2,374.42
HTG1
213.80
213.80
HUF1
54.70
54.70
IDR1
1.00
1.00
ILS1
4,177.22
4,177.22
IMP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
INR1
207.04
207.04
IQD1
12.76
12.76
IRR1
0.35
0.35
ISK1
128.88
128.88
JEP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
JMD1
113.78
113.78
JOD1
21,438.80
21,438.80
JPY1
135.39
135.39
KES1
150.69
150.69
KGS1
221.92
221.92
KHR1
3.72
3.72
KMF1
35.79
35.79
KPW1
16.90
16.90
KRW1
13.54
13.54
KWD1
50,187.90
50,187.90
KYD1
18,253.04
18,253.04
KZT1
41.42
41.42
LAK1
1.78
1.78
LBP1
10.07
10.07
LKR1
89.02
89.02
LRD1
96.88
96.88
LSL1
1,054.49
1,054.49
LYD1
10,999.87
10,999.87
MAD1
1,611.46
1,611.46
MDL1
892.72
892.72
MGA1
4.29
4.29
MKD1
286.31
286.31
MMK1
9.50
9.50
MNT1
6.11
6.11
MOP1
1,884.09
1,884.09
MRO1
42.60
42.60
MRU1
423.70
423.70
MUR1
442.82
442.82
MVR1
984.52
984.52
MWK1
20.91
20.91
MXN1
811.05
811.05
MYR1
3,662.25
3,662.25
MZN1
251.38
251.38
NAD1
1,054.02
1,054.02
NGN1
41.81
41.81
NIO1
473.40
473.40
NOK1
1,867.72
1,867.72
NPR1
129.18
129.18
NZD1
10,014.09
10,014.09
OMR1
39,511.39
39,511.39
PAB1
15,210.90
15,210.90
PEN1
4,565.70
4,565.70
PGK1
4,534.33
4,534.33
PHP1
282.56
282.56
PKR1
115.16
115.16
PLN1
4,107.61
4,107.61
PYG1
2.55
2.55
QAR1
4,177.67
4,177.67
RON1
3,773.49
3,773.49
RSD1
149.01
149.01
RUB1
232.85
232.85
RWF1
17.28
17.28
SAR1
4,054.77
4,054.77
SBD1
1,916.18
1,916.18
SCR1
1,116.88
1,116.88
SDG1
322.30
322.30
SEK1
1,707.13
1,707.13
SGD1
11,066.47
11,066.47
SHP1
20,059.76
20,059.76
SLL1
1.81
1.81
SOS1
26.27
26.27
SRD1
2,039.54
2,039.54
SSP1
116.77
116.77
STD1
0.72
0.72
STN1
716.81
716.81
SVC1
1,738.55
1,738.55
SYP1
29.53
29.53
SZL1
1,056.27
1,056.27
THB1
468.00
468.00
TJS1
1,613.89
1,613.89
TMT1
4,345.98
4,345.98
TND1
5,385.33
5,385.33
TOP1
6,596.53
6,596.53
TRY1
2,671.83
2,671.83
TTD1
2,256.63
2,256.63
TWD1
495.16
495.16
TZS1
6.64
6.64
UAH1
544.65
544.65
UGX1
4.02
4.02
USD1
15,210.90
15,210.90
UYU1
461.08
461.08
UZS1
1.85
1.85
VEF1
0.06
0.06
VND1
0.65
0.65
VUV1
136.84
136.84
WST1
5,816.37
5,816.37
XAF1
26.84
26.84
XAG1
222,976.18
222,976.18
XAU1
18,633,729.83
18,633,729.83
XCD1
5,628.35
5,628.35
XDR1
21,279.99
21,279.99
XOF1
26.84
26.84
XPD1
16,482,705.56
16,482,705.56
XPF1
147.56
147.56
XPT1
12,817,490.07
12,817,490.07
YER1
60.75
60.75
ZAR1
1,072.69
1,072.69
ZMW1
1,258.28
1,258.28
ZWL1
47.18
47.18
Taxation Exchange Rates
31 Aug 16 - 06 Sep 16
USD 1
13,232.00
AUD 1
10,043.30
CAD 1
10,213.70
DKK 1
1,999.40
HKD 1
1,706.22
MYR 1
3,283.28
NZD 1
9,623.63
NOK 1
1,605.23
GBP 1
17,433.70
SGD 1
9,757.68
SEK 1
1,569.45
CHF 1
13,631.10
JPY 100
13,101.00
MMK 1
11.01
INR 1
197.29
KWD 1
43,920.70
PKR 1
126.23
PHP 1
285.00
SAR 1
3,528.53
LKR 1
91.12
THB 1
382.08
BND 1
9,756.53
EUR 1
14,885.50
CNY 1
1,987.61

Okusi Associates: Indonesian Business & Management Services