REVIEW: MAC x Halsey Lipstick in Halsey

Hello everyone!

It is not uncommon for beauty brands to roll out sales promotions on International Women’s Day to allow us ladies to pamper ourselves without feeling much of a pinch. This year, however, M.A.C took a different approach in celebrating women’s achievements by teaming up with four female artistes – Tinashe, Halsey, Lion Babe and Dej Loaf – who are dynamically impacting the music industry in a series of exclusive collaborations, launched one after another throughout the month of March.

Titled Future Forward, the campaign empowered each of these female visionaries to create a product that best represents them. As one who clearly hasn’t been following the pop culture of late (it must be the age), none of these names rang a bell for me so I supported the one with the lipstick, obviously! 😄

Halsey is an American singer-songwriter best known for her guest vocals on the Chainsmokers’ hit song ‘Closer’. Even though she debuted in 2015 and had been touring with popular acts such as The Kooks and Imagine Dragons, she didn’t quite gain traction until her explicit cover of Justin Biebers ‘Love Yourself” went viral a year later. Apart from her music, people like her because of her badass attitude too. You go girl!

And did you know that ‘Halsey’ is only a stage name derived from a rearrangement of the letters of her first name, Ashley? Cool.

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey packaging

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey packaging

Decked out in a limited-edition electric blue box with a stylised ‘Halsey’ printed on, the packaging stands out from the sea of black in the temporary storage space where I keep most of my M.A.C lipsticks.

“[Blue is] just my creative color. It’s like so many things at once. It’s electric, and it’s bright, but it’s also calm. It’s also ethereal. Blue is just an otherworldly color to me. Blue is the sky. Blue is the sea. Blue for me represents the unexplored territory.”

– Halsey’s interview with Complex magazine in July 2015

But the artwork ends there. All sense of exclusivity vanishes the moment the lipstick is taken out of the box. The lipstick tube itself did not receive any creative treatment so it looks just like any other regular M.A.C lipstick without the box. So basic.

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey lipstick

Thanks to Halsey, there’s finally a M.A.C lipstick shade which I can safely proclaim I don’t have a dupe for. I’m so glad Halsey didn’t go ape over her inspiration colour and opted for a blue lipstick which is so been there, done that.

Breaking away from the usual reds and pinks from M.A.C is Halsey, a true grey with matte finish. It is an edgy shade that can also be used alongside another colour to create a beautiful gradient lip. It is quite drying, though, so it tugs at the lips. Be sure to exfoliate your lips before application as it will accentuate any dry patches. Further, It doesn’t give a seamless application when I run the bullet over my lips, leaving certain areas look unevenly applied. The finish is mostly opaque but not flat matte as there’s some slight sheen to it. I say this shade complements fair skin tone very well!

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey swatch comparison

M.A.C Fashion Forward x Halsey swatch comparison

Since Halsey is my first grey lipstick, I don’t have other greys to compare it with (I do have ColourPop’s Petit Four, though, but it’s an entirely different finish). The swatches above serve as a rough gauge of how dark or light Halsey is in real life.

*UPDATED* M.A.C Halsey swatch comparison with other similar-looking liquid lipstick shades, as requested by a reader. This is under artificial lighting.

*UPDATED* M.A.C Halsey swatch comparison with other similar-looking liquid lipstick shades, as requested by a reader. This is under artificial lighting.

In case you’re wondering, M.A.C isn’t the first to launch a grey lipstick. A couple of beauty brands like ColourPop (Petit Four), Melt (Space Cake) and Inglot (Matte 436) are already ahead of the game but their grey lipsticks are nowhere as concrete-grey as this. Despite all the shortcomings mentioned about this lipstick, I still think this is a worthy buy because the colour is DOPE, true to what you see on the bullet and it is matte (not some Lustre crap).

To be the sole survivor from the Fashion Forward collection (the rest had already been taken down), it must be something, right? Perhaps that’s why M.A.C hasn’t been very eager to clear out the inventory of this lipstick with a substantial discount like what they did to some limited-edition lipsticks 😉

What are your thoughts on Halsey the lipstick?

Thanks for reading! ❤

M.A.C Future Forward X Halsey is an online-exclusive and is available on MACCosmetics.com for US$17 for a limited time.

REVIEW: MAC x Caitlyn Jenner Lipstick in Finally Free

Hello lovelies!

Whether you like it or not, the Kardashians/Jenners are the epitome of modern day phenomenon. They hold such immense influence that virtually anything they put out into the world would garner overwhelming response from the public. Even the male members of the family who don’t court the media as much as the ladies do get a fair share of the limelight as well. Hence, when Bruce Jenner (the father of the Jenner sisters, in case you’re wondering) went public last year with his new female identity, Caitlyn, it merely took 4 hours and 3 minutes for her freshly opened Twitter to reach 1 million followers, thereby smashing the Twitter world record previously held by President Barack Obama.

mac-caitlyn-jenner-2016

Not long after the big reveal, M.A.C Cosmetics, who is already recognised for their efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS with their Viva Glam campaign, announced their partnership with Caitlyn Jenner on an online-exclusive lipstick which 100% of the proceeds would go to the M.A.C AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative to further its work in support of transgender communities. As a pro-LGBT beauty aficionado, this is definitely one M.A.C release I wouldn’t want to miss.

Finally Free packaging

Finally Free packaging

Housed in the regular M.A.C all-black matte plastic body, Finally Free unfortunately does not share the same privilege as the lipsticks in the Viva Glam line of having its own specially-designed packaging (possibly because it is only a prelude to her second and more extensive collection that is slated to launch in early January next year). Without any hint of the collaborator on the packaging, this lipstick can easily be passed off as any Cremesheen in the permanent line.

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free (US$17)

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free (US$17)

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

M.A.C X Caitlyn Jenner lipstick in Finally Free

Finally Free is described as a midtone rosey nude with a Cremesheen finish. Staying true to the brand’s all-inclusive philosophy of embracing “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes” with their makeup, this lipstick boasts a universal shade that adapts to any skin tones. It glides on buttery smooth and leaves a very moisturising and buildable semi-opaque finish that sits comfortably on the lips. Although not very long-lasting as it stains everything it touches, this shade lends a healthy sheen without being too glossy and keeps the lips feeling supple and conditioned while still on. Dab lightly on the lips for a tint effect if you’re not in the mood for a full lip look 🙂

M.A.C Finally Free swatch comparison. It is quite close to Marque but with a cooler undertone

M.A.C Finally Free swatch comparison. It is quite close to Marque but with a cooler undertone

The ultra flattering wash of colour coupled with the fact that I would be, in a way, contributing towards a meaningful cause with my purchase makes me adore this lipstick even more and I’m already looking forward to her Spring collection which will also be online-exclusive. Likewise, 100% of the selling price from the second release will be donated to transgender organisations and it’s definitely going to top the US$1.3 million made from the sale of Finally Free. That’s a lot of money contributed by someone from a purportedly self-absorbed family, if you ask me.

What are your thoughts on this shade?

Thanks for reading! ❤

Finally Free is an online-exclusive and is available on MACCosmetics.com for US$17 for a limited time.

REVIEW: MAC x Star Trek Lipsticks – Kling-It-On & The Enemy Within

Ho, ho, ho-wdy everyone!

If you have stumbled upon any of my tertiary school chronicles, you would know that I studied media and communications for a good seven years. But just because I am a communications graduate doesn’t automatically make me a movie buff.  In fact, I am probably one of the rare few who would fall asleep to action-packed movies in cinemas. It gets worse the more intellectual the film is (*cough*Inception*cough*) as my short attention span means that I won’t be unable to sustain my concentration for long periods. Admit it, ladies – surely, I’m not the only one with this problem, right?

So what better way to arouse the interest of women in a predominantly male-centric science fiction movie than to work on a makeup line with a crowd-favourite cosmetics brand? Well, Star Trek did, and they – together with M.A.C Cosmetics – launched a 25-piece collection in commemoration of their 50th anniversary as well as to raise awareness for the third instalment to the rebooted film franchise that was premiered in July. Even I, who am usually indifferent to movies, got a little hyped up by the news!

As I have never watched a single Star Trek episode in my life, my knowledge about the movie was pretty much limited to the Vulcan salute. But I must say that the beautifully-illustrated promotional poster above had successfully sparked my curiosity for the female characters featured in it, so much so that I actually bothered to read up on the plot. Well played, M.A.C, well played.

Drawing inspiration from the Trekkie girls (Deanna Troi, Uhura, Seven of Nine and Vina the Orion Girl), this collection is supposedly stylish with colours that match the futuristic costumes of the characters. Thus there are bound to be lots of gold and silver which M.A.C promised to be nothing over the top and absolutely complementary to any skin tone.

M.A.C X Star Trek

M.A.C X Star Trek

M.A.C X Star Trek

M.A.C X Star Trek

Fusing unmistakable elements of M.A.C (all-black matte tubing) and Star Trek (50th anniversary Delta Shield), the packaging speaks clearly of the partnership between the two big names. Frost finish (The Enemy Within / LLAP / Kling-It-On) dominated the lipstick lineup in this collection with only one neutral Lustre lipstick (Where No Man Has Gone Before) to fall back on for a bit of normalcy. Envisaging that I wouldn’t be utterly pleased by any of the finishes (‘coz I’m a Matte kinda girl but still want that limited-edition packaging 😄 ), I eventually settled on the uncommon shades that I felt would perform better.

#1 Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On (US$18)

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in Kling-It-On

Honestly, it was disappointing to see that the range of lipstick shades didn’t quite correspond with the lip colours worn by the characters in the poster because I really wanted a bright purple lipstick as seen on Deanna Troi, but in Frost finish.

Kling-It-On, a deep purple with fine pink glitter topped with a Frost finish, was closest to what I was hoping for. The bullet applies smoothly on the lips and it feels almost like a Lustre. It seems mostly sheer upon application but somehow evens out to a semi-opaque layer after a few minutes with some product settling into the lip lines (boo..). It’s a sticky mess up-close (friggin’ hair magnet, argh) but the microshimmers take the attention away from it from a distance with their collective metallic sheen.

Kling-It-On swatch comparison

Kling-It-On swatch comparison

#2 The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within (US$18)

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

M.A.C X Star Trek lipstick in The Enemy Within

The Enemy Within is described as a neutral gold shimmer with a Frost finish and it’s the only shade left for sale on M.A.C website (at clearance price now, not long after I paid full price for this pfffffft). I wonder why this shade isn’t getting the love it deserves. The colour payoff is drop-dead gorgeous although, true.. it has less-than-satisfactory consistency and a streaky appearance. But.. but.. this shade is buildable to a semi-opaque finish! Yes, it does undo the previous application with every swipe and yes, it requires the constant need of reapplication but hey, let’s be fair, we can’t expect a traditional lipstick to be as pigmented and long-lasting as a liquid lipstick, okay?!

GAAHH the gold is so sparkly pretty, it is clouding my judgement! But alright, for the benefit of anyone who might be interested to get this, it feels a little greasy on the lips and it also seeps into the lip lines. It would probably work better crushed, dried thoroughly and used as a pigment rather than an actual lipstick but heck it, the colour is so gorgeous I’m willing to overlook its imperfections and wear it out with pride.

The Enemy Within swatch comparison

The Enemy Within swatch comparison

All in all, I never thought I would say this (and I believe many would disagree with me) but I’m quite contented with the quality of the frosted lipsticks from this collection. My only gripe is that Frost finish tends to leave those sparkles even after the lipstick has been removed and it can be a pain to remove them entirely.

What say you, fellow lipstick junkies?

Thanks for reading and Merry belated Christmas everyone! 🙂

M.A.C X STAR TREK IS STILL AVAILABLE ONLINE IN LIMITED CHOICES WITH A REDUCED PRICING OF US$10.80 PER LIPSTICK.

REVIEW: MAC x Good Luck Trolls Lipsticks – Dance Off Pants Off, Midnight Troll, Sushi Kiss & Can’t Be Tamed

Hello everyone!

Back in the olden days when children still played with dolls instead of getting hooked on mobile games, toys such as Polly Pockets, Furbies and Barbie dolls – basically those that would be sneered upon by kids today – thrived. Anyone who owned these heavily-advertised toys were the envy of everyone else. But I had never understood the immense popularity of Troll dolls among my peers. I don’t know about you but their wrinkled face, bulbous nose and bulging glass eyes were hardly ever adorable to me. In fact, they terrified me so much because they look like a meeker version of the evil Gremlins (the Trolls actually look a lot better in cartoons). Walking down the aisle filled with Troll dolls at Toys “R” Us would feel like being stared down by a hundred of miniature Chucky dolls and it never failed to give me the creeps!

The original scary shizzle original Troll dolls

The original scary shizzle original Troll dolls

As the years went by, children born in my generation grew out of toys and for a long while, the Troll dolls became passé and overshadowed by trendier ones, so much so that I hadn’t seen them for more than a decade. I was glad to have buried the thoughts of these creepy dolls in the farthest part of my mind. I reckoned it was finally the end of the Trolls, but how silly of me to even fathom that thought..

Apparently, some meanies decided it was a fantastic idea to bring one of my biggest nightmares back in the form of my favourite makeup brand (evil, evil, evil..). In conjunction with the release of the Trolls movie by DreamWorks Animation, M.A.C introduced a lineup of makeup products in August inspired by the vibrant and wild rainbow hair of the dolls. It was the least unlikely collaboration (I mean, seriously, makeup inspired by dolls – and creepy ones, to say the least – like, what the heck who would think of that?!) but arguably very expected of M.A.C who is known for their unusual partnerships (remember The Simpsons and the controversial Miley Cyrus?).

good-luck-trolls-mac

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipsticks

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipsticks

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick packaging

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick packaging

The colours of the boxes make them visually appealing and the lipstick tube itself is in bubblegum orange with the Troll artwork occupying a considerable amount of space on it. Despite not being a fan of Trolls at all, I would totally buy something from this collection just to admire the packaging. The packaging design ticks all the right boxes for me but I can’t say the same for the actual product, though..

#1 Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Dance Off, Pants Off

Dance Off, Pants Off is described as a frosted hot pink with a Frost finish. Given my not-so-positive past experience with Frost lipsticks, I had half-expected this to be another excessively shimmery party shade that I would just chuck aside after this review but, lo and behold, it turned out to have pretty decent wearability! I had to do a double take at type of finish on the bottom label to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. The microshimmers in this shade are too subtle to give as much of the icy foiled effect as other Frost lipsticks I have. Rather, I feel that this lipstick leans more towards the Satin end of the M.A.C lipstick finish spectrum and applies very smoothly and evenly. It lends a moisturising opaque layer of colour and leaves behind a lighter flush of fuchsia when it fades. There’s really nothing much to dislike about this shade!

Swatch comparison for Dance Off, Pants Off

Swatch comparison for Dance Off, Pants Off

#2 Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Midnight Troll

Midnight Troll is described as a rich blue with Matte finish. As with most M.A.C matte lipsticks, this shade has a rather drying formula (but doesn’t give a flat, dry finish) so it tends to tug slightly at the lips upon application and leave an inconsistent texture with tiny gaps here and there. The colour is intensely pigmented and does not budge but my lips felt increasingly parched over time (lip lines start to become more obvious for me) with this shade on. It also does not feel tacky so in a way it is also less prone to transfer as compared to other lipsticks here.

Swatch comparison for Midnight Troll

Swatch comparison for Midnight Troll

SHITZ SO SCARY SET THEM ALL ON FIRE

SHITZ SO SCARY SET THEM ALL ON FIRE

#3 Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Sushi Kiss

Sushi Kiss is an existing shade in the permanent line but this time, in a more fun and attractive packaging that costs only a dollar more. Described as a mid-tone coral cream with Satin finish, the colour reminds me of salmon flesh (or rather, salmon nigiri since clearly, the name of the lipstick is Japanese-inspired 😄 ) but instead of getting an application as smooth and clean-cut as when I slide my knife into my cooked salmon, it pulls the lips a little and leaves a streaky texture like the marbling of fat in raw salmon. Moreover, it accents flaws and dryness of non-exfoliated lips. That’s not what I would expect from Satin lipsticks..

The product settles into the lip lines as well and it requires extra effort to remove. How annoying! Also, I don’t know if I am imagining things but this shade makes my lower lip appear a lot plumper than it should too. I was so self-conscious about my smile (see how awkward my expression is in the pictures above) the whole time because the lipstick felt like bricks weighing down my lips.

Swatch comparison for Sushi Kiss

Swatch comparison for Sushi Kiss

#4 Can’t Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed (US$18)

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can't Be Tamed

MAC Good Luck Trolls lipstick in Can’t Be Tamed

Can’t Be Tamed is described as a sheer lime yellow with Cremesheen finish and hold up… is this lipstick meant to be used alongside other shades? Because it is HORRENDOUS on its own. Just who in the right mind would have okayed such poor quality product? This lipstick is a complete mess and I don’t even know where to begin.

As a lipstick, it has failed its basic purpose of adding balance to the overall look – the colour payoff is incredibly patchy and the terribly uneven consistency does absolutely nothing to enhance one’s appearance. Any drugstore lipstick would be able to a better job than this. The only good I can see out of this is, perhaps, its hydrating factor. Other than that, it is tacky and its staying power is not even strong enough to qualify it as a tint. Why Cremesheen of all finishes? It could have performed better as a Matte. How long will it take for M.A.C to realise that we don’t need anymore of sheer and poorly-pigmented light-coloured lipsticks?! 😡

Swatch comparison for Can't Be Tamed

Swatch comparison for Can’t Be Tamed

Needless to say, this is my worst purchase from this collection and I feel foolish for paying full price for this trash. #shouldhavewaited #onlyUSD7freakin20now #argh

While it is interesting that M.A.C kept to the theme of the collection by matching the shades to the crazy hues of the funky-haired dolls, customers ultimately look for practicality over novelty especially for perishable products like cosmetics. In terms of product quality, sadly probably only half of lipsticks in this collection make the cut. Most would agree too judging from the relatively muted interest in this collection and how heavily discounted the unsold lipsticks are now online (I’ve honestly never seen M.A.C lipsticks selling for that cheap on their official website before). Geez, so much for tying up with the Good Luck Trolls.. guess they weren’t lucky enough to bring in the bucks for M.A.C, eh?

Trolls in 2016 - they had a makeover and now look less scary thank God

Trolls in 2016 – they had a makeover and now look less scary thank God

What are your views on this collection? Chime in below!

Thanks for reading!

M.A.C X Good Luck Trolls is still available online in limited choices with a reduced pricing of US$7.20 per lipstick. The whole collection is still available at some parts of the world, including australia.

REVIEW: MAC x Selena Lipsticks – Como La Flor, Amor Prohibido & Dreaming of You

Hey everyone!

The year is drawing to a close. Looking back, there had been some noteworthy M.A.C collections released throughout the year but nothing comes close to the overwhelmingly positive response the Selena collection had elicited. It was a complete sell-out success which saw every single item flying off the shelves. Being a fan of Selena and her English music (which I first heard on a local radio a few years ago), I was really anticipating this collection and had been following the news of this launch very closely since M.A.C announced plans were in the works to fulfill the wishes of over 30,000 petitioners for a limited-edition Selena makeup line last year. M.A.C could have turned a deaf ear to their pleas (after all, the sales of their Mariah Carey collection would definitely do well) but they did not 🙂 #respect

selena-mac

For the benefit of those who don’t know who the collaborator in question is, well, she is no longer around, hence making this the second posthumous collection by M.A.C (after Marilyn Monroe) in honour of the late American singer-songwriter. Dubbed the Queen of Tejano music, Selena Quintanilla was a one-time Grammy winner for Best Mexican/American Album and had made a name for herself in the English market back when Tejano music was virtually unheard of outside the Latino community. She was on her way to international stardom with her then-newly recorded English album but all these came to an abrupt end when she was brutally murdered by her psychopath fan club president in 1995.

Selena and her fan club president, Yolanda Saldívar

Selena and her fan club president-turned-murderer, Yolanda Saldívar (credit) Selena’s life is documented on her biopic Selena, starring JLo as the multi-talented singer

At time of her death, she had already accomplished more than most people would do in 23 years of their lifetime – on top of being a successful singer, she was also an actress and fashion designer having established two Selena Etc. boutiques which raked in millions of dollars before their gradual demise and finally closure in 2009. An inspiration to us all, she was a living proof that anything is possible through hard work and perseverance. She was such a prominent figure that her birthday was declared Selena Day in Texas by then-Texas governor George W. Bush after her death. Did you know Selena Gomez was named after her as well? That’s how big an impact she had made with her music and never-say-die attitude!

As an Obsessed member with M.A.C, I had the privilege to shop the collection a few days prior to everyone else online and I got myself all three lipsticks shades. If I had known that the lipglass was online-exclusive before it sold out, I would have bought that as well. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise as I hardly use gloss 😄

M.A.C Selena

M A.C Selena

M.A.C Selena lipstick swatches

M.A.C Selena lipstick swatches

M.A.C Selena lipstick packaging

M.A.C Selena lipstick packaging

On the performing stage, Selena was often decked out in purple outfits as purple was one of her favourite colours apart from black. Hence, it makes perfect sense to encase the entire 18-piece collection in purple casing featuring her signature in lavender and aptly named after her popular hits in her remembrance. For those who are dying to own a piece of Selena memorabilia but barely have the money to travel to Texas, this is the closest you can get to the actual stuff sold at the Selena Museum at Corpus Christi.

Staying true to Selena’s down-to-earth and charitable public persona, I noticed M.A.C did not attempt to mark up the prices for this collection unlike what they did to their Mariah Carey holiday collection *sniggers* The prices are kept low (with the most expensive item being the makeup brush only at US$35 but I can’t say the same for Singapore) so that fans across all walks of life could afford them. Amidst all the accusations of animal testing thrown at M.A.C, it is heartening to know that they aren’t all that money-minded.

#1 Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor (US$18)

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Como La Flor

Even before M.A.C revealed anything about the collection, everyone knew for sure a bold red lipstick was going to be included in this lineup because red lips were part of Selena’s iconic look. According to her husband Chris Perez and other commenters on his Facebook status update, the shades for all the makeup products in this collection were matched exactly to the original that Selena used to carry around when she was touring (provided by her sister Suzette who amazingly still has her makeup bag up till today *gasp*). That is to say, this is the classic red (rumoured to be Chanel’s Brick which has already been discontinued) that Selena wore on her lips!

Como La Flor (“Like a Flower”) is described as a dirty cherry red with an Amplified finish. Fully pigmented with great colour consistency, it applies very smoothly on the lips and feels unbelievably hydrating. This shade creates a luscious sheen (Selena’s red lips looked more matte, though) and does not settle into lip lines but will require a lot of reapplications because a whole lot of it will transfer onto anything the lips touch.

M.A.C Selena Como La Flor swatch comparison

M.A.C Selena Como La Flor swatch comparison

Other alternatives to get if you missed the launch in October are Von Teese and Brave Red. Brave Red is slightly lighter and less pigmented while Von Teese lends a more matte finish.

 

#2 Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido (US$18)

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido (US$18)

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Amor Prohibido

Since nude lipsticks are hardly associated with Selena, Amor Prohibido could most likely be added to balance out the heavy and vibrant shades in this collection because not everyone who idolises her is courageous enough to step out of their comfort zone with head-turning red lips, yes?

Amor Prohibido (“Forbidden Love”) is described as a pinky midtone brown with Glaze finish. It is a pale mocha brown shade that leaves a lightweight, sheer but slightly oily texture when applied, giving the lips an extra plump on top of the moisturised and nourished appearance. Even though this shade is buildable, you would need to apply multiple layers to finally see some colour. Glaze lipsticks are known to have the sheerest finish so I wouldn’t recommend this if you have naturally dark lips unless a glossy look is your go-to.

M.A.C Selena Amor Prohibido swatch comparison

M.A.C Selena Amor Prohibido swatch comparison

Among the Fireflies (from the Faerie Whispers collection) is quite close – it just has a bit more yellow undertones. No one would be able to notice the difference, trust me.

#3 Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You (US$18)

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You (US$18)

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

M.A.C Selena lipstick in Dreaming of You

Despite debuting as a Latin artist. one of Selena’s biggest dreams was to reach success in the English market. This dream was realised when her English studio album (also her last) titled Dreaming of You peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 selling 175,000 copies in it’s first day of availability. This achievement – which she unfortunately didn’t have the chance to witness – was what drew attention to Latin music. Selena also recorded an English track of the same name for this album and coincidentally, it was the first song I heard by her some years back. This lipstick is a great way to remember her by, at least for me.

Dreaming of You is described as a deep wine with Matte finish. It gives a mostly opaque colour payoff that guarantees a long-lasting wear. Instead of a flat matte texture, this actually has a natural sheen to it. The result is a richly pigmented dark red with blue undertones that makes teeth look whiter and faces fairer. Somewhat creamy, it tugs on my lips slightly. The consistency feels a lot more drying than the other two lipsticks and does not apply evenly across the lips. It does not fully coat the lips unless with several applications. Still, for a matte, it delivers a rather moisturising finish.

M.A.C Selena Dreaming of You swatch comparison

M.A.C Selena Dreaming of You swatch comparison

Dark Side has stronger hints of purple while Diva is slightly darker. I personally feel that the latter is a closer match.

As you can tell from the swatches, the lipsticks in this collection are nothing out of the ordinary. If you’re a lipstick aficionado like me, you’d probably already have something similar so unless you are a supporter of Selena (or a sucker for LE packaging), I don’t see any reason why you need to have them. What say you?

Thanks for reading!

M.A.C X Selena was launched online in October 2016 but has since sold out. Stocks may still be available in M.A.C. Ngee Ann City outlet (the only one that carries this collection in Singapore). An online restock is scheduled for early January 2017.

Kohepets: Your One-Stop Shop for All Your Pet Needs

Hello everyone!

Choobiwoobiboobi

It is an open secret that I have a soft spot for animals, especially dogs and I mean every breed of dogs out there regardless of their perceived popularity (I think Pugs and Bulldogs are absolute darlings – who’s with me?!). Personally, I have an adorable furkid that I co-own with my boyfriend – a brown fluffy Pomeranian whom we named Chubs (pronounced ‘choobs’ and yes I know my phonetics, thank you very much) or also known as Choobi (which coincidentally sounds the same as ‘趣味’ (chu bee), or ‘cute’ in Teochew), Choobi-boobi, Greedy Choobi, Lazy Choobi or Hum Ji Kia (Hokkien for ‘coward’) because he is agoraphobic (i.e. having intense anxiety and fear of unfamiliar environments) and is extremely terrified of long, upright objects such as brooms and spray canisters. Majority of his nicknames were derived from a particular manner he behaves and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why he is called as such… because he practically shows it anywhere, even towards the new feeding equipment we have gotten for him from Kohepets!

You see, we have kept Chubs for more than five years (this lovely boy is turning six come June) and we thought it was about time he received some new accessories as those he currently had were pretty much worn out and not functioning as well anymore. Normally, in order to get food and accessories for Chubs, we would have to head outside to the nearest pet shop to find what we need among the sea of merchandise in the store. We have no issues commuting for at least 20 minutes to get there (as we don’t drive) but the problem arises when there is a mammoth bag of purchases to lug home. In cases like this, we would would have to hire a cab home or opt for the home delivery service provided by the pet shop to get the products sent to me (often because we plan to go elsewhere after that). Either way, that costs additional money on top of what we have already paid for our purchases. Sometimes we may even have to leave the shop empty-handed because the items we want are out of stock! Can you imagine our frustration when that happens? 😡

But we’re relieved to know that there are now more convenient alternatives of meeting our pet needs, with one being Kohepets Singapore – online pet shop that has a range of over 6,000 pet products from many popular brands such as Wellness, Addiction, etc. In all honesty, despite the business having established in 2011, we were not aware of their existence until very recently. We would have probably saved ourselves all the hassle (and the cab fare) if we had known about them earlier because they provide free delivery for purchases over $60 within TWO working days – one of the lowest on the net (second lowest, in fact, if you’re wondering) as told by Google. A surcharge of $8 is applicable for orders below $60 but still, you can’t find anything lower than that. Just do a search if you don’t believe me 😉

Also, while other online pet shops work around a specific schedule to deliver to different locations in Singapore, customer convenience is of paramount importance to Kohepets as they make best efforts to schedule the delivery to your preferred date and time. I received a message from the deliveryman twice on the day of delivery – once hours prior to his arrival to confirm the time of delivery and again minutes before to inform that he was reaching my unit. I appreciate these updates as mostly no one is around in the living room to receive the parcel so I would need to inform my parents beforehand to stand by (and y’know, home is where the bra isn’t, so… 😳 ).

Kohepets boasts an extensive collection of products so understandably we had a painful shopping experience. They have SO MANY interesting and innovative products that we had never seen in local pet shops. We wanted to get them all but could not. After much deliberation and squabbles over what to add to cart with our limited budget, we settled on the following four items for Chubs:

#1 Ferplast Gro 5955 Medium Slicker Brush with Button (S$23.60)

Ferplast Gro 5955 Medium Slicker Brush with Button

Ferplast Gro 5955 Medium Slicker Brush with Button

This is a dream come true not just for Chubs who wails at the slightest pain, but also for me as his daily groomer. It makes brushing Chubs’ fur extremely easy and fuss-free. Usually I would need a comb to remove the fur from the brush (I learnt this method during my days as a groomer assistant) but this just does the job with a press of the button at the back of the handle. This brush comprises two layers. The bottom layer pushes the upper one to dislodge the fur from the bristles. If you don’t want to remove them with your fingers, just push the button quickly a couple of times and the accumulated layer of fur should fall off neatly on its own.

Side view

Side view

When button is pushed

When button is pushed

Brush upward

Brush upward

Do note, however, that the bristles are quite sharp so be really gentle when brushing your furkid, especially on the delicate skin of the underbelly. Not used to the slightly pricklier sensation initially, Chubs winced a little at the first attempt but he has gotten accustomed to it now. Kudos to my brave boy!

Chub’s verdict:
chubs-full-bonechubs-full-bonechubs-full-bonechubs-full-bonechubs-no-bone

 


#2 All For Paws Chill Out Garden Fountain (S$38)

Connect this to any garden hose and your dog shall have access to fresh water around the clock at the push of the paw! It comes with rubber on the lever so paw doesn’t slide off when your dog is drinking the water.

All For Paws Chill Out Garden Fountain

All For Paws Chill Out Garden Fountain

All For Paws Chill Out Garden Fountain

All For Paws Chill Out Garden Fountain

But I must have gotten too carried away while shopping for Chubs that I had forgotten about his fear for anything that spurts water (or basically anything that requires him to work because he’s such a lazy fella). I would think this would make a great addition to your garden or balcony (anywhere away from areas you don’t want to get wet) especially if you allow your large dogs to roam freely around the compound of your house. Even though the description of the product says that it is suitable for all dog sizes, I doubt small dogs would be able to drink from the fountain with ease due to their shorter height and much inferior strength.

Chubs’ Verdict:
chubs-no-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bone (because he is a hum ji kia)

#3 Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer 5.6L (S$33)

Since his puppy days, Chubs has been drinking water from hanging water dispenser but I had come across articles mentioning that such drinking bottles “require considerable effort from the animals, and are inadequate in quenching their thirst”. In the words of animal activists, this is animal cruelty :\  I’ve always wanted to get a drinking bowl for Chubs but not being at home most of the time means I wouldn’t be able to replenish his water until I come home past 11 p.m. Plus, Chubs drinks like his water supply would be terminated within the next second.

Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer 5.6L

Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer 5.6L

Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer 5.6L

Petmate Pet Cafe Waterer 5.6L

Noticing that Chubs’ bottle dispenser tended to get stuck on several occasions (thus, preventing water from flowing out), we decided to pick this item up in hopes of giving Chubs a more comfortable life (and also because this would give me a peace of mind when I go abroad next week). You thought it would be a simple process to get him to drink water directly from the bowl, right? WRONG! True to his apprehensive nature, this brown hum ji kia was so threatened by the size of the water container that he did not dare to go near it (he’s not a rescue or abused dog so I don’t know why he’s like that?!). He had to be slowly coaxed by us and although he was visibly VERY thirsty (as he kept going to where his bottle dispenser used to be and it went on like this for days), he just refused to drink from the bowl! We had to lured him to the bowl by smearing some water around the edge but it took some trial and error to get there (with the help of some treats thereafter as well). Slowly but surely, Chubs began to drink the water, albeit in a very uncomfortable position.. like this:

Notice how he stretches his head to drink the water while his body is situated as far away as possible :roll:

Notice how he stretches his head to drink the water while his body is situated as far away as possible 🙄

But after that day, he reverted to his normal cowardly self again which I later realised was because of the “blop” sound the dispenser makes whenever it replenishes the water in the bowl. OH MY GOD he is afraid of the sound *roll eyes*

Another concern for having a drinking bowl is that it increases the exposure of the water to dust, fur and possibly creepy crawlies and hence contaminates it a lot quicker than when it’s kept in a bottle. I had to keep ensuring that the water was clean because I didn’t want Chubs to be drinking dirty water. So yeah, a food for thought if you’re intending to get this!

Chubs’ verdict:
chubs-full-bonechubs-full-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bone (ONCE AGAIN, because he is a hum ji kia)

#4 AiKiou Junior Interactive Dog Feeder (S$23.90)

While we certainly feel blessed to have a dog that is not picky with the food he eats, he tends to gobble his food too quickly to the extent of not chewing before swallowing them (we don’t know what caused that sense of competition in him, though) and we are afraid this bad habit may cause some digestive issues in the future. So this dog feeder is a must-have for us. We actually bought another slow feed bowl with those complicated ridges in it before but the plan failed because Chubs’ tiny snout was able to reach the small openings without difficulty!

AiKiou Junior Interactive Dog Feeder

AiKiou Junior Interactive Dog Feeder

This feeding bowl, however, has a unique rotating lid that conceals the 6 sections of the bowl where the food can be found. The dog is expected to turn it by sticking its nose into one of the gaps to retrieve the food and it is supposed to slow down the speed at which your dog eats while it tries to unveil the next section. HAH, let’s see how you’re going to escape this time, Chubs!

Filled with fooooood

Filled with fooooood

The food distributes evenly to every section when poured in the middle

The food distributes evenly to every section when poured in the middle

According to the manufacturer, dogs love searching and they enjoy finding their own food. But not Chubs. He sniffs around the bowl but is too lazy to rotate the lid on his own. He would stare at us with his greedy eyes until we relented and turned it for him *sigh* -_- So much for an interactive dog feeder… Chubs must be mocking us in his mind. “LOL JOKE’S ON YOU SILLY HOOMAN MAKING YOUR LIVES MORE MISERABLE”

Lazy boy... lazy lazy boy..

Lazy boy… lazy lazy boy..

Nevertheless, it did slow down Chubs’ eating pace although he wouldn’t be able to get to the other five sections easily without our help. We removed the lid in the end and turned it into a regular feeding bowl because Chubs is uniquely lazy. We do recommend this dog feeder if your dog loves to sniff and dig around the house. This will leave your dog thoroughly amused, we’re sure.

Comes in blue, green and pink 😉

Chubs’ verdict:
chubs-full-bonechubs-half-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bonechubs-no-bone(BECAUSE HE IS LAZY)

Even though Chubs doesn’t appreciate the stuff we’ve picked out for him (we really think they’re awesome), we feel that any other dog owners would benefit a great deal from them (that is, if you dog isn’t as chicken-hearted as mine).

For more time-saving pet products, do check out Kohepets! If you’re unable to find what you’re looking for, simply feedback to the team behind Kohepets via their Contact Us page and they will try to source them for you. They have also started a series of four giveaways (see picture below) on their Instagram & Facebook so be sure to participate if you wanna give your furkid a yummilicious Christmas treat! 😎

Open to Singapore residents only

Open to Singapore residents only

Thanks for reading! ❤

Products mention are available on Kohepets website. Free local delivery applies for orders over S$60.
This post is brought to you by Kohepets and co-written with alphonsus.

University Senior: Year 4 Semester 1 & 2

note: There is no update on Year 3 Semester 2 because I spent the entire semester doing my internship and i prefer to keep it private. i will be uploading the works i’ve done during my internship onto my portfolio page. please feel free to check them out! 🙂

H E Y   E V E R Y O N E !

Can you believe it? Four years of my university education have already passed in the blink of an eye and I have since collected my coveted degree scroll. As a child, I never thought I would ever don the mortarboard and graduation gown someday in my life, much less from a rather reputable local university amid the stiff competition here since academics were not my strongest suit. It feels like yesterday when I first documented my university experience during my freshman year which unexpectedly received quite a lot of attention (thank you ❤ ).

As you could tell, it’s been a long while since my last school update because my priority has been getting my beauty posts up. Due to time factor, I had wanted to discontinue this series of school posts but.. I hate to leave things hanging. There must be an end to every beginning so yes, I am, in a way, compelled to conclude this whole series 😆 Nonetheless, I hope this post will answer any burning questions you have in mind but have no one appropriate to consult either because you’re a solitary soul (me too! *fist bumps*) or a really shy person. Whatever the reasons, Fiona sunbae-nim is here to help! LOL.

In view of the ongoing course registration exercise, some of you may be at a loss of what courses to take. Well, wonder no more! Read on to hear my thoughts on the final TWO electives (yeah, shiok hor) I took during my final year in NTU and decide for yourself if you’re the right fit for them 🙂

1. DG9005 Magic of Voice in the World of a Singer (UE)

NIE electives are great for those who are bad at numbers or have poor working memory. But if you have already exhausted your options like me, ADM electives are your next best bet. Ask around and you will know that this course is one of the more popular ones offered by ADM and it is always oversubscribed because it’s pretty easy to score as long as you can sing well. It is a 3-hour, once-a-week lesson conducted by adjunct lecturer Leona who is also a qualified singing coach. It’s quite similar to the Voice module I took in my first year with the difference being that Voice would be more effective for improving your voice usage (in public speaking, for instance). In this course, however, you get to explore your vocal range during the weekly sing-along sessions. You’d be surprised to know that you can actually hit those high notes!

The first assessment (20%) was to perform a 2-minute song either on your own (solo) or with up to two people (duet or trio). Usually because it’s the first time you’re performing in front of an unfamiliar audience, you’d tend to want to do it with someone, so I sang an excerpt of Trademark’s Only Love with a new friend in class! We got someone to play selected parts of the piece on the piano (I tried to cut and put together different parts of the original instrumental music and it sounded horrible), recorded it and used it as an accompaniment. The microphones in the lecture theatre were not meant for singing, so there were bound to be some feedback. But generally, I think we did alright.

The second assessment (40%) was a solo performance of one of the songs that were practised in class (plus some other high-level songs picked out by Leona). You cannot choose you own song for this presentation but you can make a recommendation for future study 😆 Some of the chosen songs were Concerto Pour Deux Voix, I Dreamed a Dream, ‘O Sole Mio, The Prayer (by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli) and… *drums roll* Let It Go!

frozen-meme

Let It Go was the most preferred option because it is the easiest song to sing of the lot (but still has relatively high range of notes in the chorus and coda). I must have heard that song at least 30 times (including my own voice LOL) on the day of assessment. I got so sick of it, I deleted this song from my Spotify playlist so that I didn’t have to skip it when it plays.

You will be asked to join one of the four groups created on NTULearn (formerly BlackBoard) on the first day and the group you picked shall be whom you will be doing your final presentation (30%) with. The final assessment can be any 10-minute item but it has to cover at least one singing technique that is not taught in class. My team did a musical skit on a cappella, keeping quite closely to the plot of Pitch Perfect. Rehearsals were stressful (trying to synchronise with the rest was a huge challenge and we still failed in the end) but fun, and I was extremely lucky to be in a group I could comfortably goof around with. We had the entire lecture theatre to ourselves for our rehearsals and we always ended up singing karaoke (complete with working microphones and real-time lyrics from YouTube on the projector screen) 😄

Team Bel Canto

Team Bel Canto (Leona is the one in the middle next to me. I almost couldn’t spot her because she blends in so well in this picture hahaha)

The remaining 10% come from participation and attendance. Contrary to online reviews about this course, I felt that Leona was impartial in her assessment (or she might have reflected and improved on her grading system after all these years for all I know). I’m neither a terrible nor an exemplary singer and the grade she gave me (B+) was just and well-reflective of my singing abilities. Perhaps as long as you adopt the singing techniques she taught correctly in your performance, you should do fine. On top of that, you may also receive random notes of encouragement from your secret angel in class 😉

Last one!

Last one!

Most importantly, there is no written test for this course (there used to be). Hooray! Give your hands a break and let your diaphragm do all the work this time!

2. DD8002 Ways of Seeing: Exploring Visual Culture (GER-PE, AHSS) – S/U

Unless you’re very intrigued by renaissance art and whatnots, this course is going to be an absolute bore (I’m sorry, ADM readers). Blame it on my short attention span. I would go to school with a fully charge phone and exit the classroom after three dreadful hours with half the battery drained. What’s more, it was a 9.00 a.m. class. I’m really bad at mornings, but I had no choice. I needed to take this course (the only AHSS elective that I had a teeny weeny bit of interest in – or so I thought – and fit my timetable perfectly) or I wouldn’t be able to graduate! Aaarrrghhh *pulls hair*

This is a non-examinable course, which means there would be tons of group and individual assignments thrown your way throughout the semester – not a good idea to take this if you’re dealing with a Final Year Project as demanding as mine. The lesson begins with a short open-ended quiz (10 or 15% of the overall grade, I can’t remember) of about 10 questions on what was discussed the previous week (e.g. name of the artist that painted the artwork in question, name of painting, etc. – most of which are in Italian and you are expected to memorise their spellings).

The most memorable painting for me.. just because I did a presentation of it (credit: nonfictionminute.com)

The most memorable painting for me.. just because I did a presentation of it (credit: nonfictionminute.com)

Participation marks (15%) are derived from group presentations (I had 2, but there could be more if time allowed) based on a given reading material as well as your answers to questions hurled at you during class (mostly because you look like you’re dozing off. Me). The individual presentation and written assignment account for a bulk of the final grade. I stayed up the whole night to complete my 1,500-word essay (because I couldn’t understand the question regardless of the number of times I read it) and left for school to submit it without catching a wink. I was hitting the keys on my keyboard the whole time but I had zero clue what I was typing. I was on the brink of tears. I seriously thought I was going to flunk the course and repeat another semester. But when I saw my marks for that, my jaw dropped.

A- (?!!?!?)

DAAAAAYUM, so this is what art is all about? Creating things that don’t make sense to ordinary people? Okay ⭐

Even though I was happy with my essay score, I didn’t do very well for the other components. So guess what happened to my last S/U option?

If you’re still keen on this course despite what I’ve written above, it is now classified under General Education in Liberal Arts.

3. Final Year Project (CORE)

(WARNING: Extremely LONG STORY AHEAD)

Our FYP took place over a span of two semesters and we had the options of running a campaign, doing a written feature, a photojournalistic essay or documentary, or a research (although there seems to be more choices now). As an advertising major (or rather, what I considered myself to be), executing a communication campaign was the only viable option for me and I thought I was lucky to have found enough people to form a complete team until one bailed out on us. The rest of us were furious, not because we couldn’t find a suitable replacement but because the team might have to be split up if the group size fell short of the required 4 members. We had to appeal against the separation with valid reasons to remain as a team and it was troublesome as hell. Faced with the uncertainty of whether we would still be in the same group, we could not progress with our project. Fortunately, it all worked out in the end.

Immediately after my stint at MOE as a marketing intern ended in July last year, my group got down to business and tried to conceptualise our campaign in preparation for our first presentation to our supervisors when the new term began. The planning stage was the most tedious of all in my opinion because it was not as simple as just plucking ideas out of the air. The social cause had to be substantial enough to warrant an extensive campaign which was to be rolled out in different phases across 3-4 months.

Recycling of ideas wasn’t allowed by the school (I was very keen in public transport etiquette but a friend of mine had already done it two years ago) so day and night, we scoured online discussion sites and newspapers (forum letters are the best) for inspiration only to realise that most of the ideas were already used by the former cohorts. Finally, we decided unanimously on the idea of revitalising the use of Chinese dialects among youths in Singapore among others we had shortlisted (such as pushing for longer recess in primary schools, advocating student employment rights, helping foreigners integrate with Singaporeans, etc. – please give credits if you’re intending to use any of them 😆because being Teochews ourselves, we felt ashamed that we couldn’t even speak a word of our dialect. Moreover, this issue has also become a worrying trend among the younger generation and we wanted to reverse it.

father-tongue-final-logos-01

And thus My Father Tongue was born!

We racked our brains to come up with such a *cough* witty campaign name like this. It may seem like an effortless attempt at a play on the words “Mother Tongue” but there is actually more to it:

‘Father’ was chosen to reflect the typical association of one’s dialect with the ancestry of the father’s side . It also serves as a complementary name to “Mother Tongue” which portrays our hopes for dialects to coexist with the Chinese language in Singapore.

I have to admit I was rather doubtful that it would take off initially knowing that dialects are largely frowned upon by our policymakers, so much so that it had become a taboo subject over the years. Hence, I was worried that we might not be able to receive government grants to fund our campaign. During our FYP seminars, this idea was also met with disapproval with feedback like, “I’m your target audience but I’m not interested in learning dialects and I don’t think many will be too” from our classmates. Discouraged, we were this close to scrapping the idea (FYP carries 12 AUs so cannot play-play) but somehow or other, we persevered 😆 It would be impossible to promote every Chinese dialect in Singapore with just the three of us, so we narrowed down our choices to the three most-spoken ones: Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese.

Following the university’s green light through the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to proceed some time in end November last year (the reviewing process took no more than a week for us), we conducted our primary research (focus groups, interviews and surveys) and embarked on our proposal frenzy, mass-sending e-mails to potential sponsors and partners whose values and mission tie in with our cause. We were optimistic about getting favourable response because we truly believed that our campaign was meaningful and impactful.

Tip #1

NEVER send sponsorship and partnership proposals to generic e-mail addresses. Always call the organisation to ask for a specific e-mail and to whom you should address the proposal. If possible, get the direct line number of the person you have liaised with to facilitate future communication and follow-ups.

Yet, only a mere 10% got back to us by the end of December. We were really panicking at this point because the campaign was slated to launch in late January with an exhibition to coincide with Chinese New Year. Apart from having to pay for a website, we had planned a lineup of activities including dialect classes and a roadshow but without any financial backing, none of them would be feasible.

My Father Tongue website

My Father Tongue website

Gradually, we saw light at the end of the tunnel as the good news started coming in (it must be the holidays). Not only was our National Youth Council’s Young Changemakers Grant application of S$3,000 successful (we were invited to pitch our campaign idea to the panel earlier), Chinatown Heritage Centre was also willing to have us on board for their reopening in the new year! Although that solves our location and financial woes for our exhibition and dialect classes, we still needed money to finance our now-defunct website (.sg domain registration, website building, maintenance and design), pay the designer for our marketing collateral and to get them printed. Those could already run into the thousands… and we had to fork out from our own pockets first.

Red packets (marketing collateral)

Red packets – I dare say we’re the first FYP group to have thought of giving out red packets as a marketing collateral *flips hair* Hahahaha it’s the only thing I’m proud of in this exhibition u_u

Don't underestimate the size of the exhibition. The exhibition at Chinatown Heritage Centre was the most taxing, expensive and time-consuming part of the whole campaign apart from the dialect classes. We had to make several trips down to take the necessary measurements, set up the booths and lay the exhibits and rehearse for the reopening ceremony. It was exhausting and I wouldn't want to do it again :|

Don’t underestimate the size of the exhibition. The exhibition at Chinatown Heritage Centre was the most taxing, expensive and time-consuming part of the whole campaign apart from the dialect classes. We had to make several trips down to take the necessary measurements, set up the booths and lay the exhibits and rehearse for the reopening ceremony. It was exhausting and I wouldn’t want to do it again 😐

A group shot with the guest-of-honour - Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S Iswaran!

A group shot with the guest-of-honour – Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S Iswaran!

Then, about a week into our campaign, we receive the most unexpected e-mail from National Heritage Board: we were awarded the Heritage Project Grant of S$7,500!!! OHMAGAHZ WE WERE SO ECSTATIC I could even hear the shrilling shriek of my group mate from 3,000 miles away in Tokyo! We felt like a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders 😀

Dialect classes were the highlight of My Father Tongue but because we were unsure how (poor) the response was going to be, we made them free for all. We sought media coverage by disseminating our press release detailing our free dialect classes to every online and traditional media outlet in Singapore. The New Paper and Lianhe Zaobao were among the first to picked it up, followed by Mothership (albeit not in a very positive light) and subsequently almost every other local news outlet. Prior to that, The Straits Times reached out to us to do an exclusive feature. We were interviewed by a journalist on a Thursday morning and even had our pictures professionally taken in the middle of Chinatown. But the story, which was originally planned for the Sunday edition, was subsequently dropped because The Independent had beaten them to it. It was a strange reason so my guess is that they didn’t want to be associated to websites that spread anti-government sentiments. *sigh* There goes our big break…

Cantonese class at Chinatown Heritage Centre (one of our venue sponsors)

Cantonese class at Chinatown Heritage Centre (one of our venue sponsors)

List of notable media mentions in chronological order
…if you’d like to read more:
(Note: ‘My Father Tongue’ was also mentioned by MP Baey Yam Keng and Mdm Ho Ching and on Facebook – our greatest achievement yet, lol!)

Just as what we had expected (and mentally prepared ourselves for), the reports on the campaign drew mixed reactions online, mostly lauding our efforts to preserve dialects. Some accused the government of hypocrisy for funding the campaign (but seriously, aren’t you glad they have finally relaxed their stance towards the use of dialects? Isn’t their strict language policy what you have been protesting against? Sort out your feelings please *pffft*) and we were also condemned by people who wanted to protect the legacy of Lee Kuan Yew. What can I say? These people read too much into an innocent campaign as it was never our intention to overshadow Mandarin with dialects. We only wanted to promote dialects as something you can consider adding to your language repertoire, nothing more than that.

Tip #2

The grade for FYP campaign is assessed based majorly on the written report, weighted at 90%. The remaining 10% is allocated to the oral presentation that would be carried out after the submission of the report. In other words, it won’t hurt not receiving any media coverage or getting thousands of likes on your Facebook page as long as you’re able to fulfill the evaluation criteria of your report.

But it’s always better to strive for more, right?

Tip #3

Update your report and appendices (especially your bibliography) as your campaign progresses. Do not leave them to the end. Or you will die.

Really. Don’t.

With so much attention surrounding the campaign, our Facebook page soon hit 2,000 likes. All our dialect classes were oversubscribed and there were requests to open more which we gladly obliged. But since most of our grants were provided on reimbursement basis, we had to sell stickers to fund the additional classes. We made a mistake not to collect a deposit from attendees (it was an administrative headache too anyway), so there were irresponsible people who failed to turn up for all three sessions. The attendance rate also tended to fall drastically towards the end of every class. *sigh* This is why Singaporeans don’t deserve free things.

Our cute lil' dialect stickers, illustrated by our designer Vanessa!

Our cute lil’ dialect stickers, illustrated by our designer Vanessa! (I have extra LOL anybody wants?)

Tip #4

If possible, charge a nominal fee for recurring events that require a minimum headcount to secure participants’ attendance.

We also held roadshows at NTU and NUS to build awareness for the campaign.

We also held roadshows at NTU and NUS to build awareness for the campaign.

Another reason for choosing this campaign idea was our presumption that we would get the unreserved support of local Chinese clan associations financially or logistically since our aim was to increase the relevance of the dialects they were trying to preserve in society. Their monetary contributions, if any, would save us a truckload of time on fundraising which could be better spent on strategising our next move.

But life ain’t a bed or roses – especially when money is involved. Our e-mails, fully written in proper Chinese, were ignored, our follow-up calls were responded with condescending tone of voice and we were also turned away at one clan association when we personally tried to hand-deliver our partnership proposal. With the exception of Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan that provided us with endless supply of informative books and even introduced us to a friendly Teochew veteran who could do an audio translation of our survival kit, many of the clan associations we approached were not receptive to collaborations and were very reluctant to loan us their existing resources and premises for a half-day roadshow, for instance, even after our campaign went absolutely viral. This experience made me believe that they’ve only got themselves to blame for their diminishing social standing because they’re just too reclusive and resistant to outside help..

My Father Tongue survival kit in Cantonese (PDF version)

My Father Tongue survival kit in Cantonese (PDF version)

We eventually had to pull strings through our supervisor (who very fortunately has a wide network of friends in the Cantonese opera scene) to get the necessary information to fill the void for our Cantonese and Hokkien segments. Without his assistance, this three-pronged campaign wouldn’t have been possible, so thank you Mr Ferry! On behalf of my team, I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to Teochew Poit Ip Huay Kuan, Chinatown Heritage Centre, National Youth Council, National Heritage Board, Naumi Hotels, Meykrs, Khong Guan, People’s Association, Iluma Design, NTU, NUS, SMU and other individuals (Sibey Nostalgic, Assoc Prof Lee Chun Wah, Vanessa, Ms Tien, Mr Siew, Mr Goh and the rest of our translators) who had given us their unconditional support and invaluable advice. We’re eternally grateful! 🙂

Us preparing for our oral presentation. It was NERVE-WRECKING

Us preparing for our oral presentation. It was NERVE-WRECKING (credit: WKW UG Students Facebook)

Done with our oral presentation! Look at our tired faces.. we could barely keep our eyes open. After slogging away our lives away and blearing our eyes with hundreds of academic literature for four months, all we wanted to do was to hit the sack and repay our sleep debt zzz...

Done with our oral presentation! Look at our tired faces.. we could barely keep our eyes open. After slogging away our lives away and blearing our eyes with hundreds of academic literature for four months, all we wanted to do was to hit the sack and repay our sleep debt zzz…

I don’t have any picture of our 362-page report because I was not present in school when my group handed it in. But if you’d like to take a look at it, the soft copy can be found on NTU repository (you need to log in to view).

Despite the fact that we were already handicapped by the shortage of manpower right from the very beginning and that our supervisors had warned beforehand that no three-member campaign team had ever gotten beyond a B+ grade for FYP, we managed to pull through with an A-. Thank you Cherie and Melissa for all your hard work! I really owe you one :\

Also check out other FYP campaigns done by the Wee-kids in my batch:
  • Love Every Body – a campaign aimed at minimising potential negative effects of media on children’s perception of body image
  • Don’t CB – a promotional campaign to reduce binge drinking amongst young adults in Singapore
  • Starting from Scratch – a campaign that aims to increase understanding of eczema and create a supportive environment for teenagers living with eczema
  • Breast-Feeding Friends Singapore – a nationwide initiative aimed at creating a more inclusive public environment for breastfeeding mothers in Singapore
  • Come, Let’s Eat! – a communication campaign that aims to use food to introduce young Singaporeans to foreign cultures.
  • Share the Care SG – a campaign calling for community support for family- caregivers of persons with special needs
  • OverComeD – a mental health communications campaign aimed at increasing awareness of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) among young people in Singapore
  • (In)visible Spaces – a home organisation campaign aimed at creating awareness of the effects of living in a cluttered space and ultimately promoting decluttering and organising of homes
  • Understanding Dementia – a public health campaign promoting dementia awareness
  • Hey Solo Sister – the first comprehensive and unbiased information platform tailored to unwed mothers to help them make informed decisions in their journey of unwed motherhood
  • Coming Home SG – a campaign to raise awareness of foster care among young adults, and promote volunteering opportunities as a stepping stone towards fostering
  • Savvy Silvers – a campaign to teach senior citizens aged 50 and above learn how to use their smartphones efficiently and subsequently, independently
  • More Than Dis – a campaign that seeks to showcase the capabilities of persons with disabilities at work to strengthen inclusion in the workplace
  • After Words – a social campaign that seeks to address the issue of verbal aggression among couples in Singapore
  • Familiar Strangers – a campaign that aims to bridge the social gap between low-wage migrant workers and Singaporeans
  • Strangers of the Night – a public awareness and informational campaign to champion the appreciation of night shift workers in Singapore
  • Get Your Bottoms Up – a campaign to address the widespread occupational prolonged sitting behaviour among desk-bound office workers in Singapore
  • Hello, Hygiene? – a campaign on smartphone hygiene
  • Down the Sound – a safe listening campaign for youths
  • Back to “I Do” – a campaign that aims to strengthen marital bonds among couples in Singapore
  • Art Detox: Unwind Your Mind – a campaign to promote mental wellness through art
  • Easy on Your Eyes – a campaign that addresses the issue of incorrect contact lens health among youths
  • Insid(h)er talk – a health campaign aimed at educating young women on the female reproductive system and empowering them to take ownership of their reproductive health
  • Cover a Brother – a health campaign to promote sun protection behaviour among men
  • Homemade (Cook it or Lose it) – a social culinary campaign encouraging youths to appreciate and learn their family dishes
  • Hard Conversations – a campaign to raise awareness of erectile dysfunction among female professionals
  • Paint the Town Red – a campaign that aims to raise awareness and reduce stigma about HIV among youths
  • Got it Covered – a safe sex campaign
  • Join the Current – an educational literacy campaign set against the global and local decline of news consumption among youths

With this post, I conclude my personal chronicle of university life as a Communication Studies undergraduate. My university journey at NTU had been a roller-coaster ride but I am glad I hung on and made it through! Thank you so much for your overwhelming support over the years and I sincerely hope my course reviews have helped a great deal in making your university life a breeze. Enjoy it while it lasts! 🙂

And congratulations, you made it to the end! Thanks for reading y’all! *blows kisses*

Read all NTU-related posts:
University Junior: Year 3 Semester 1
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 2
University Sophomore: Year 2 Semester 1
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 2
University Freshman: Year 1 Semester 1
Guide to WKWSCI Admission Interview
Second Attempt in University Application