Breast Ironing

Carried out all over the world, this traditional practice is done on girls who are about to have developing breasts. This is usually carried out by family members, by using hot metals such as hot spoons, to press on the tissue to suppress its growth.

This is done with the intention to prevent their children from attracting men to have sexual thoughts about them, thinking of it as an act of protection from rape, early child marriage and sexual advances. However, some of the intentions are flawed and made to be methods of punishments to their children. In recounts from girls who came out of the closet, it was found that parents would iron their breasts to threaten them. Parents use this as a form of manipulation, even if it was not intended at first. (There are some breast ironing video links at the end of this post.)

Thought we should respect traditional practices, this practice however violates human rights as these practices are clearly harmful, yet forced upon children against their will. This practice not only obviously brings about physical pain to the child, but also traumatizes them. Breast ironing can lead to breast cancer, cysts and depression etc.

The huge problem with this is that there isn’t enough official statistics about this as it is usually done secretly and so there isn’t enough education about this matter. Girls who had ironed breasts would not even know that they have been abused and might even think of it to be a usually practice to coming-of-age children.

Mutilation of the human body is odd, but actually quite common. This can be tied to female genital mutilation(FGM), which is a procedure to remove the clitoris and other external parts of the female intimate area as it was thought to some as an act of becoming a woman (How I Survived Female Genital Mutilation).

Even in so called “advanced” countries like my own, Singapore, these practices of female circumcision still exists and can be even done while the child is an infant (FGM in Singapore).

Videos to watch:

What is Breast Ironing?

Accounts of Breast Ironing

“My mum ironed my breasts aged 13.”

Wikipedia: Breast Ironing

News:

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

Article 4

Featured image taken from metro.co.uk

So how do we help?

i am angry at the world

I am angry at those who abuse their political power to control the innocent they rule.

I am angry at the criminals who have no remorse after being convicted of their crimes.

I am angry at the corrupted officials who decide that money is more important than the millions of innocent people they supposedly represent and serve.

How dare you have no humility to admit and take action to right your wrongs?

I am angry at the bosses who decide that they are more important than their team and control them like industrial and corporate slaves.

I am angry at the thieves who steal people’s prized possessions and even take people’s lives for material things.

I am angry at the bullies who strike down their peers be it verbally, physically, psychologically and through cyber ways.

Whatever their reason is to be doing what they do, it isn’t right- it is as simple as that. Whatever their circumstance and past, there is always an option to do the right thing over what is easier.

I am angry at myself because with every news article issued on human crises around the world, I choose to not take action yet and just remain angry at the world.

I am angry at myself for being afraid of the people I am angry at.

I am angry at myself for choosing to believe that I am a powerless 21 year old and that all I have is sorrow for the people who have been wronged by bad ones.

I am still angry at myself but I am starting small and I remain hopeful.

 

I still believe, that like the storybooks, the evil will lose and the good ones will eventually get their rest and peace. God help us all, regardless of language, race, religion, gender.

 

so many of my friends are getting depressed

How do we take care of our mental health?

World mental health day just passed and it got me thinking why are more millennials getting depression and anxiety?

My generation is like a rose, beautiful from the surface, but thorny and difficult to deal with in real life. When I mean difficult to deal with, I mean difficult to satisfy, difficult to understand, difficult to read.

We are a generation that was raised to think we are all unique individuals that can achieve anything we set our mind to. Don’t get me wrong! It is true that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but it sort of rubbed us the wrong way. With that kind of upbringing, we become ironically narrow-minded in this more liberal decade, expecting success to be a straight road, thinking we know what is to come and that we can tackle it for sure. The problem with this is, if something unexpected shakes us, we fall apart and take it out on ourselves.

My generation is a beautiful generation, expected to be a smarter and efficient generation, pressured to keep up with the technological advancements, expected to be leaders, problem solvers; basically, the best possible version of a human being.

My generation is desperate to make a change in this world, desperate to be unique and yet ironically desire to be a part of a bigger community united by similarities.

My generation is compassionate, maybe even too much. We are for hands-on charity work and recognize that amidst all the career and education stresses, we need to give back to our community. We are the generation feeling the long-term effects of global warming and failed politics.

Listing these out, with a few more still unwritten, I realize now why more millennials are depressed and anxious. We assume all problems to be ours and we hold ourselves accountable to everything.

We are hard on ourselves.

I speak of this, remembering the period I suffered from depression, how I slowly recover everyday and how I observe the people around me and from the conversations I had.

Traditional generations think of depression as a minor issue and compartmentalized it with the idea of discussing the “birds and the bees”. It shouldn’t be dusted under the mat. It should be able to be a part of everyday conversations, raising awareness, creating easy outlets for people to remember that we’re all in this together.

It is okay to be a generation that has to deal with such pressure, holding on to society’s expectations. We can all be that smart person that they pan us out to be, using technology to be better versions of ourselves. We can be leaders and problem solvers, fixing what has been broken on earth to make it a better home. But what are all these achievements, when you’re broken inside?

  • Don’t be afraid, introvert or not. Talk to someone about your struggles in life, big or small, and take refuge in the care and love that’s going around in society. We are all programmed by birth to be social beings, to thrive as a group. We are not alone 🙂
  • Take a break. For students studying or working adults in office jobs, try the Pomodoro Technique. (see: Pomodoro Technique) I have tried and tested it and it really keeps me sane, reminding me to breathe and reward myself. It only takes 30 days to form a habit so try it out!
  • Get a hobby. Having a hobby gives you an outlet, to filter pent up frustration and let it out through enjoyment. Some people get into a sport to get them endorphins, some people get artsy with painting to paint out their thoughts or emotions.
  • Religion. OK, this might be slightly controversial but I don’t mean to be converting anyone. I just want to say that sometimes, believing that there is a higher being above us, watching over us, can be comforting. Knowing that you are a part of a thing called “fate” can be reassuring when you go through tough times. The idea of a heaven or even multiple heavens above waiting for you can be enlightening too.
  • Get some alone time, outdoors. Not in your room because you will feel confined and anxiety can build up :–) Force yourself to go out, once in a while, to get some sun, or sit on a cute rock and watch the sunset or lay on the grass and count stars. It helped me calm my busy mind, and stone while admiring the world around me.

The pointers above are listed because they helped me get through a year-long depression so feel free to try them out for yourselves. I am still in the recovery process but I am improving and loving myself more and more with each passing day 🙂

don’t pity cancer patients. pity yourselves

Cancer has always had this taboo that automatically labels cancer patients wrongfully and dramatically. With that, they become society’s pity parties and we put them in the “less fortunate” section.

I have lost loved ones to cancer but I never saw them as a “wasted” case. In fact maybe sometimes, I envied them.

Today being at the cancer centre made me relive this feeling of envy. You’d think that you’d see sad, sobbing people with really pale faces and bald heads when you enter a cancer centre. Damn, I was shook. It’s quieter than most hospitals. Patients are friendly and gentle. I have not encountered anyone with a bad attitude yet, which is surprising because you’d think that sick people are more impatient and irritated. I was so wrong. I was stationed at the third level chemo wards and it smelled of light jasmine. Patients sat on chairs, probably in pain, but still smiling at you as you pass them. If you had the chance to look at them, you’d never pan them out to be struggling with cancer because they looked happier than most people out there.

To the world outside, they are the unfortunate ones. I beg to differ. In fact, I think most of us outside are the unfortunate ones. We are the blind ones that fail to see life as we should, fail to live as we should, as we could. They see life differently, love better, think better, live better even with the cancer creeping in and messing with them physically. They remember to treasure the people around them, they know how to be kind and understand that other people suffer too- something many people fail to grasp.

I envy them because despite the fact that they are in constant physical pain, they still hope to live; they push on with the will to live. Many of us just go through lives day to day, being pessimistic and hating on our lives just because of the how ever often bad days.

Oh how I wish more people could experience what I did then maybe life will seem kinder to us as we grace through life with a different mindset and lesser ignorance.

Ps. To all the cancer survivors out there, I truly have mad respect for you 🙂

i’ve gone to 26 countries (constantly updated)

I keep a huge world map and paste red ribbons on the spots I’ve gone to. I’ve always had this feeling I never wanted to settle in one space forever and retire quietly. I’ve always wanted to travel the world until I pass on. There’s a certain beauty in traveling often. I realize when I travel, I tend to appreciate the unique things in my own country, Singapore, and at the same time, realize how sheltered I am as a Singaporean. I’ve seen different classes of poverty and wealth, tasted different cuisines and placed myself in different living environments. The world is so beautifully made, even with its flaws, that it aches me to just stay in one place and not witness its beauty. :’) The list is steadily growing but ultimately I would love to see the aurora borealis one day, be it in Norway or Iceland or Alaska. List of countries I’ve been to in chronological order (Will be constantly updated):

  1. Philippines
  2. Singapore
  3. Malaysia
  4. Thailand
  5. United States of America
  6. Canada
  7. Hong Kong
  8. Indonesia
  9. Australia
  10. Hawaii (USA still but some say it’s debatable)
  11. Vietnam
  12. Qatar
  13. Italy
  14. Vatican City
  15. Austria
  16. Liechtenstein
  17. Switzerland
  18. Germany
  19. Netherlands
  20. Belgium
  21. Luxembourg
  22. France
  23. UK
  24. South Korea
  25. Spain
  26. Portugal

These countries I’ve had the chance to grace with God’s permission and my parents’ generosity 🙂 Praise the Lord hehe