|Lum invader, once only a fictional character, nowadays you could meet her in real in an Asian metropolis|
It's about plastic surgery. "Come on, new trend...are you kidding me?" You will be thinking. "It's been going on for decades!" Sure, but I'm not talking about getting firmer boobs, buttock lifting, inflated lips or wrinkle removal. Let alone sex change. I'm already puzzled by these practices, but I've found out that there is much worse stuff than that. The models this girls are trying to imitate are Japanese cartoon characters. Do you remember Candy Candy, Lady Oscar or Lum invader? I'm sorry about the outdated examples but, due to generational reasons, I can't provide more recent ones. In short, the ideal of the western woman as the Japanese in the '70s and '80s imagined her, with huge oval eyes and lake-blue irises, cutter-shaped nose, heart-molded mouth and plectrum-like chin. Have a look at this, this, this and this. And these three girls who even got identical plastic surgeries...now they all have the same face! Well, you understand what I am talking about. It's not about appearing younger or sexier (no wrinkle-removal or porn-star lips then), something that already seems rather perverse to me, but about looking like a character that doesn't even exist, something out of a manga author's creative mind!
I already came across a similar situation in China, when I met a few girls who underwent eyelid surgery in order to get the European-eye effect (the Asians' upper eyelid - Chinese, Japanese, Koreans and most of South East Asians - drops straight like a curtain from the eyebrow to the eyelash, without bending around the eyeball like us westerners' one does). I had often met Chinese ladies who carried on their faces the final result of the operation but I was totally shocked when a girl I used to do language exchange with, and that I had always seen au naturel, turned up one day with two large band-aids under her eyebrows. When I asked her what the matter was she didn't answer my question. But I didn't need any, as I already knew what had happened: she had undergone the European eyelid surgery. I was never again able to look at her without noticing it and getting lost in disturbed thoughts, forgetting to listen to what she was saying. That was a communication tragedy: she could only speak Chinese, with a strong Yunnanese accent, and in normal circumstances I already found it quite difficult to understand what she said, imagine when I was not listening.
A few weeks back my Malaysian friend told me that she was considering undergoing the manga-treatment. She doesn't trust the clinics in her country though. It seems that the most prestigious ones are in South Korea. Unfortunately they are also the most expensive, and she was undecided because of the cost (notice, she had doubts about the cost, not about the future shape of her face!). As soon as I arrived to Malaysia I dropped her an email, asking whether she was in Kuala Lumpur. She replied that she was in Seoul for a few days. I feared for the worst and in fact with her following email she confirmed that she was there exclusively to undergo cosmetic surgery. That's precisely how they call it, cosmetic surgery, as if instead of lipstick, foundation brush and mascara one could apply a touch of scalpel or syringe before going out for dinner.
I remember her so pretty and cute, no make-up, with her own - very delicate - way to be sexy. When I asked her how she was, she said she was not feeling too well: her face was swollen and it hurt. As if she had had an accident: being in pain because of cosmetic reasons, how sad. I guess it's normal and she will be alright soon. But I really cannot imagine her in her cartoonized version. Maybe she will look more beautiful, maybe not, but she certainly won't look the same as the one I like.