Beautiful Stripes: Taking a fad too far

  • Living
  • Monday, 04 Feb 2019

Michelle Yeoh's 10-year-challenge. Photo: Filepic

Barely into February and we’ve already got a couple of festivities under our belt.

This year’s Chinese New Year celebration is particularly interesting, as everyone is pussyfooting around pictures involving the Year of the Pig. Some companies have designed abstract or cartoon versions, or even reinvented the whole concept of a pig that it’s no longer recognisable. Conversely, the Home Ministry has said that the Home Ministry has no law against pig pictures!

I’m not going to go there and start a new storm in a teacup. Instead, a rainbow in a most unusual “setting” has caught my eye.

Apparently, the latest bizarre beauty trend for 2019 is Unicorn Armpit Hair, which sees fad followers dyeing their underarm hair all the colours of the rainbow. Celebrities such as Miley Cyrus (no surprises there) and bloggers have taken on the style, it seems. Hair stylist Caitlin Ford, known for her unicorn hair style creations that come in all sorts of hues ranging from pastels to strong blues and reds, was said to have kicked off the trend while working with a client for Pride weekend, reported the British edition of The Sun.

This is one trend we can do without, just like the asymmetrical jeans by designer Ksenia Schnaider. This combines a fitted leg and flared leg in one pair of jeans (

Some things you shouldn’t mess with, and in my books, armpit hair and symmetric pants fall in that category.

Would you believe one of the biggest things trending on social media last month was ... an egg?

The Instagram of an egg that beat Kylie Jenner's post.

I didn’t take part as I found out too late what the fuss was all about to care anyway. But I admit there was great satisfaction in knowing that a stock picture of a chicken’s offspring in the making garnered more than 26 million likes on Instagram, beating Kylie Jenner’s post of her newborn Stormi as the most popular post. Ever.

Which I’m sure was probably the reason why so many people made their mark on the post anyway.

The social experiment of sorts is also telling of what the Internet has become. And what it has made us become. It’s truly sad that we pay so much attention to an egg (and to Kylie), rather than to people around us who should matter more, or issues that need serious attending.

But it also makes you think that if a nonsensical egg post can create such a fuss, what’s the big deal about numbers and supposed KOLs (key opinion leaders) anyway? Marketeers place so much emphasis on them – do they actually even mean anything or make a difference to your brand? Perhaps it’s all just clever engineering to manipulate the outcome, a sly ploy manufactured by advertisers ...

Well, to Kylie Jenner, here’s egg in your face!

Also going viral on social media was the 10-year challenge, in which people were encouraged to post their then-and-now pictures. Everyone likes to see how others have aged (or not), and it was good to know that my friends looked even better now than they did a decade ago.

Michelle Yeoh's 10-year challenge. Photo: Filepic

In her opinion piece for, author Kate O’Neill opined that the social activity has now generated a very large dataset of photos of people from roughly 10 years ago ( While one might argue the pictures are already available on Facebook anyway, these new sets of pictures are nicely curated, and some people even thoughtfully uploaded pictures from their childhood or university days, and provided dates and events.

What’s the possibility of someone mining this information to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics and age progression?

Maybe nothing will come out of this meme anyway. But then again, all the games and memes that pop up on Facebook which we play (I confess sometimes I do, too) are ultimately designed to extract and collect data.

According to O’Neill, the best-case scenario is facial recognition technology could help trace missing children. Or, it could be used for targeted advertising, making social media even more annoying, but the worst, for fraud and crime.

Likewise, checking into locations and telling the world where we are may not be the smartest thing to do. Experts say we should erase the location history in our phones which we’re happily sharing with Google. It would be due diligence to be more mindful of the quizzes we play and the information we share digitally.

On the flip side though, Asians were seen to be totally killing it as far as #10yearchallenge was concerned as many looked like they hardly aged at all. South China Morning Post mined its archives of Hong Kong celebrities to show that #asiansdontraisin.

But the best come back was by the restaurant Curious Kitchen in Selangor, which ingeniously publicised a ridiculous error by oversensitive netizens who mistook the picture of a beef dish for pork in the inflight magazine Going Places and kicked up a ruckus, to its own advantage. In the new ad, the same picture was placed side by side, insinuating how the meat “morphed” in 2019 into that of a different animal in a 10-year challenge. The fine print at the bottom, however, reads: “Haven’t cracked it? It’s still beef lah.”

Hello, it’s 2019 – Patsy wishes some people would just grow up. Share your views with

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