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Friday, June 16, 2017

I'm finally destashing!

I'm on Carousell now! Ok, so I know most of my Singaporean friends use this, so I've been dying to try it out...but I've just been procrastinating on destashing because deep down, I'm a hoarder granny. Finally stopped procrastinating and did it since Carousell was offering free profile boosts in exchange for reviews! I'm also @workingwithmonolids there, check out my profile and click here to buy from me:


I'm only selling in the beauty section right now, but let me know if you guys are interested in my pre-loved clothes! Oh, and I get gifted a LOT of neutral palettes, but I tend to get bored of neutrals. So typically, I'd only do 1-2 tutorials before I want to destash them, so if you see any palette you're interested in from my tutorials, let me know! As you can see, I'm already destashing my Paris palette because I only use it for tutorials. I hardly ever use browns in real life...it's all about the unicorn & mermaid makeup...

I'm also always down for meeting new people, so I've also ticked the meetup option for delivery, so if you want to say hi to me, feel free to pick that delivery method :P

Oh, and here's how I took the photos XD





It's seriously easy to do guys...just snap a pic on your phone, hit the sell button, fill in the details and that's it.


It's as easy as uploading a pic on instagram. Anyway, hope you find something you like, because my makeup stash is piling upppppp.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Review: Thalgo Skincare Products

So I posted a video of myself getting a spa treatment from Thalgo:



So Thalgo gave me their products to try out and here's my review! The face products are all mini samples, and the dry oil & scrub are full size items. For the prices, I'm using the prices they're sold at in Indonesia, so everything's in Rupiah.

Face

Thalgo Silicium Eye Cream

Rp 816,000

Ok, so the current state of my eye is that I'm aging and developing hollows underneath my eyes. Prior to this eye cream, I was using Sulwhasoo's Concentrated Ginseng eye cream and well...that eye cream is really, really amazing. I'm pretty sure Thalgo's Silicium eye cream is amazing on some people, buuuuutttttt...my eyes are used to Sulwhasoo's eye cream is just really intense. Two weeks of using that eye cream and I noticed the hollows underneath my eyes filling up and plumping up. I looked much more refresh. I've never encountered an eye cream that's as good as Sulwhasoo's so I wasn't that surprised or disappointed when my hollows returned with Thalgo's eye cream. I think I'm just a bad candidate for testing eye creams, because my eyes have felt the magic of Sulwhasoo. I do like how light Thalgo's eye cream feels though!

Thalgo Collagen Concentrate

 Rp 1,098,000

I simply added this as an extra step to my current routine. I see no difference, but my sample is only enough for 2 weeks (using 2x/day), and 2 weeks is seldom enough to see a significant difference. My skin is also used to a lot of pampering with regular Hydrafacials, sheet masks & sleeping packs, so seeing a difference may be hard. This is a clear, light gel and seems to get absorbed fast.

Thalgo Hyaluronic Filler 

Rp 807,000

This one feels heavy and a tad sticky, and my face does feel sticky after a while. I use it after the Collagen Concentrate, and I added it as an extra step in my routine too. I didn't really see any difference either, but as I mentioned above, 2 weeks is a short time.

Melt-away Mask - Instant Comfort 

Rp 534,000

This is actually the winner from this set. I really loved this mask, because it feels light going on, but my face feels so moisturized afterwards! Oh and the creamy formula means I can give myself a face massage while I mask. I kept touching my face because it just feels so soft...it's one of the items I'll probably repurchase.

Oh and as an added bonus, this smells heavenly. It's a very light, clean, mango-vanilla scent with a hint of clean clay. It's a comforting smell that makes me think of snuggling with a fluffy blanket in bed while eating oatmeal.

I like this so much, I bought 2 of them straight away, one for me, one for my mom-in-law!

Body

Thalgo Polynesia Sacred Oil

Rp 567,000

This smells lovely! It smells like tiare and coconut oil. The coconut oil does run a bit sunblock-ish, but it still reminds me of sitting by the poolside in an island resort. It's a slightly heavier dry oil formula than what I'm used to, in the sense that it does feel like you have oil on you for a while, even though it doesn't feel greasy. I guess it just feels like you've just finished a massage. This will make an excellent massage oil btw.

It does come with shimmer, and leaves a light, sparkly golden sheen on your skin.

Exotic Island Body Scrub 

Rp 953,000


This is a salt scrub and I'm a fan of salt & sugar scrubs since they're better for the environment than microbeads. They're very generous with the oil, and scrubbing your skin will leave you with a luxurious, thick coat of oil. It may be a bit too heavy for some people, but if you're constantly in airconditioned rooms or going through winter, it's what your thirsty skin needs. I barely even need to moisturize after I get out of the bath, and I can't stop touching my skin. It feels sooo good!

The scent is predominantly coconut oil, but I do sniff hints of vanilla and some tangy fruit. The salt granules are large, so you can really slough off your dead skin.

One thing to note is that it is salt, so it'll sting if you have open wounds...I realized I nicked myself while shaving this way.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mustika Ratu's Green Tea & Lemon Skincare Line: Launching Event & Ingredients Analysis

So today I got invited to attend Mustika Ratu's launch event for their new products, two new line of products –Green Tea and Lemon –that comes with a face wash, peeling gel, and peel off mask. Full disclaimer, I was paid to attend the event, write a blog post about the event, and post pictures on my instagram account.

The launch event was in Decanter and check out how pretty it was!








We started off with a competition to see who has the most yellow items in their bags and I won thanks to my hoarder tendencies (yay, I guess? XD).


This is taken by the very talented Aditya Pramuditha

 They demonstrated the products on a model for us:


Mustika Ratu recommends using the lemon line for oily skin and the green tea line for dry skin. You know I love looking at ingredients, so here we go....

All ingredients are checked with CosDNA.

_______________________________________


Face Wash

These are low foaming face wash and meant to be non-drying.

Mustika Ratu's Green Tea Face Wash

Aqua, Coamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Gylcerin, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Olea Europaeo (Olive) Fruit Oil, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Palmitoyl Praline Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Butylene Glycol, Lactose, Palmitic Acid, Cellulose, Methyl Lactate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Jojoba Ester, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nymphae Alba Flower Extract, Fragrance, CI77289

The ingredients are ok. Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract is basically green tea, and the ingredient promoted in this product. It's a great anti-oxidant and has anti-inflamatory and anti-oxidant effects.

If you're very prone to acne, you may want to watch out for the Olive fruit oil, Triethanolamine & Palmitic Acid. They're very mildly comedogenic (can cause breakouts), but very mildly. It should be no issues for most people, and these are relatively common ingredients in soap.

Mustika Ratu's Lemon Face Wash

Aqua, Coamidopropyl Betaine, Gylcerin, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Triethanolamine, Dipropylene Glycol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Maltodextrin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Palmitoyl Praline, Ethyl Absorbic Acid, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Lactose, Palmitic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Cellulose, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract, Methyl Lactate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nymphae Alba Flower Extract, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Fragrance,  Cl 77491, Cl 77492

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative and allowed only in concentrations of up to 1% in formulation. That way, everything else below it, including the lemon extract is in concentrations of less than 1% in the formulation. This is actually a good think since high concentrations of lemon can actually burn your skin.

Like with the green tea face wash, watch out for Triethanolamine & Palmitic Acid if you're very prone to breakouts.

Face Peeling Gel 


This is similar to Cure's Natural Aqua gel where the product claims to make your dead skin cells ball up right off your face. Now, there's some controversy regarding these sort of peeling gel. Supposedly, nothing in the ingredients really causes any exfoliation and there are theories that it's merely a chemical reaction between the ingredients and the oils in your skin, so no actual dead skin cells are coming off, and the tightness you feel is from the ingredients which contain alcohol, like Butylene Glycol, drying up your skin. I personally LOVE Cure's Natural Aqua gel and I contribute my improved skin texture to that product. So yeah, I'm a fan of peeling gels. Since Cure isn't available in Indonesia, this local option may be what you're looking for.

Mustika Ratu's Green Tea Face Peeling Gel

Aqua, Carbomer, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Diazolidinyl Urea, Lactose, Cellulose, Sodium Hyaluronate, Fragrance, Allantoin, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Jojoba Esters, Ascorbyl Palmitate, CI77289

This contains two perservatives, Phenoxyethanol (safe for up to 1% in formulation) and Diazolidinyl Urea (safe for up to 0.5% in concentration). I really hope it was a typo in the ingredients list I found on the tube.


Mustika Ratu's Lemon Face Peeling Gel

Aqua, Carbomer, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Diazolidinyl Urea, Lactose, Fragrance, Cellulose, Allantoin, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Cl 77491, Cl 77492

Same as the green tea analysis above!

Peel Off Mask 


This mask dries up into a thin film over your face and can be peeled off instead of washed off.

Mustika Ratu's Green Tea Peel Off Mask

Aqua, Alcohol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triethanolamine, Glucose, Fructose, Fragrance, Allantoin, Polysorbate 80, Urea, Sucrose, Dextrin, Bisabalol, Glutomic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Alanine, Hexyl Nicotinate

Mustika Ratu's Lemon Peel Off Mask

Aqua, Alcohol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Glycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butylene Glycol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Water, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triethanolamine, Fructose, Glucose, Allantoin, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Fragrance, Polysorbate 80, Urea, Bisabalol, Dextrin, Sucrose, Alanine, Aspartic Acid, Glutomic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate

I tried this one on my hand first and I wasn't a fan of the tightness I felt. The high concentration of alcohol may explain why it felt so tight against my skin. It's definitely drying so if you have dehydrated skin like me, you may want to avoid this.

_______________________________________

Anyway, that's it for the science-y stuff! More fun pictures of the day! We had a mixologist come and make us lemon, strawberry & green tea infused water and it was amazing!

This is taken by the very talented Aditya Pramuditha


This is taken by the very talented Aditya Pramuditha

This is taken by the very talented Aditya Pramuditha

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 2017 Skincare Routine

I recently posted this B&A, and I have people messaging me asking for my skincare since apparently my skin looks good.



Now, I still don't think my skin is as great as great as I want it to be, but I have to admit, it's a great improvement than what it was....

2 years ago


I was dealing with constant breakouts and a lot of bumps all over my face. I had an oily face, but gross, flaking skin for ages, as well as all these white bumps & milia thanks to clogged pores. Even my eyelids would flake. I don't have pictures from the times when the flaking was really bad since I looked like a lizard & was so self-conscious, but I do have these pics.


I thought I was having great skin here. The light is very forgiving, but you can see all the bumps where it's brighter.
This was with makeup, and I thought I did a good job concealing. You can see all the spots are still visible despite the makeup.

1 year ago


This is when I discovered my meat sensitivity and my skin started improving. There's still a lot of hidden cystic acne you can't see in pics, but I could feel them and they were painful.

\



Finally...

8 months ago

This is after I met my new dermatologist, and discovered some of my holy grail products. I also upped my hydration game because I found out I have Sj√∂gren's.




My skin condition now...


I'm 28 and that means I need to worry about losing volume in my face. I also have to worry about Sjögren's which dries my face out insanely.

Of course a daily skincare routine is important, but besides that, these helped my skin immensely:

Diet


I found out meat was giving me these painful, deep cystic acne that don't show up for ages, but end up becoming very bad discolouration all over my face. After I started taking HCl supplements before I eat meat, my skin improved drastically. I sometimes forget my supplements, and that's when I start breaking out a few days later.

Hydrafacial


Yes, this is a splurge, but everyone notices the difference after I do this. My skin becomes so glowing and hydrated. I used to do it once every 3 months, but now I do it once every 5 months or so. I get mine done with Dr Jonathan Yong, and I have to recommend him. He's been my dermatologist for a year, and the best one I've ever encountered. He doesn't push any products or treatments on me, and even tells me when I'm being crazy and need to calm the fuck down. I used to have a love-hate relationship when going to dermatologists because I always end up with products I got pressured into buying, but I never had this problem with Dr Yong. I actually enjoy going to the dermatologist now.

I'm not sponsored in any way to recommend him btw, I just really love the guy. Especially when he humours me when I'm being crazy like this:



If you have regular, non-dehydrated skin, I'm pretty sure you can get away with just doing this annually. If you're curious about this treatment, here's a video of it:



March 2017 Skincare Routine


Now, for my skincare routine as of March 2017, with reviews. I'm constantly trying out new products, so this will change every month. I'll do a new one for April. Bolded items are tried & tested holy grail items I strongly recommend, the rest are items I'm meh about or still testing out.


AM:

  • Glam Glow Youth Cleanser: love it, too expensive, looking for a dupe
  • Wipe down with Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version: this has retinoids to combat breakouts too!
  • Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum: my skin got really good since I used this, I think it's because it really does help your skin absorb everything better. My free samples are running out, and I'm dreading the price
  • Dermacept Vitamin C 10% 
  • Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version  
  • Sulwhasoo hydrating serum
  • Sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream: this is magic. The sunken holes under my eyes started disappearing
  • Etude House collagen moisturizer: just finishing up a free sample..I'm meh about it. My face stayed the same, which is great since my face takes a lot of work, but there's no improvement either
  • Amore Pacific day cream with SPF: not a fan, it's too heavy and greasy, and gives me a white cast
  • Biore Perfect Face Milk: sunscreen & best primer ever. My makeup looks better with this
  • Illamsqua's hydraveil: haven't seen a difference


PM:

  • L'Oreal Micellar Water makeup remover: I moved on to water based makeup removers since oil-based ones were breaking me out. I've tried Garnier's & Bioderma's too, but L'Oreal's is the best since it wipes off my makeup as well as Garnier, but doesn't sting my eyes as much
  • Glam Glow Youth Cleanser
  • Wipe down with Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version
  • Sulwhasoo First Activating Serum
  • Dermacept Vitamin C 10% 
  • Hada Labo serum Anti-Aging version  
  • Sulwhasoo hydrating serum
  • PCA Skin hydrating serum: got this from my dermatologist...kinda meh about this since I don't see much of an improvement, but I'm just finishing it up
  • Sulwhasoo ginseng eye cream
  • Etude House collagen sleeping pack: get this. Everyone I recommended it to got glowing, plump cheeks. May not make a difference if you're early 20s and younger, but in your late 20s, it's the difference between late 20s and early 20s


Every other day at night:


  • Sheet masks: I'm a fan of anything by Leader's Brand, except the masks that come in stiff hard paper that just falls off my face, and anything with ginseng or snail. My Beauty Diary is my favourite budget face masks, and the brands I most frequently buy are Etude House, Innisfree & The Face Shop just because they're easy to access in Singapore.
  • Etude House's lip patch: the only thing that hydrates my lips...Sj√∂gren's means my lips are often split and bleeding, but at $5/piece, I don't use it that often
  • Glam Glow mud mask: clears my breakouts so well. On my husband who takes terrible care of his skin, this makes a HUGE difference. His face ends up so clean and bright afterwards!
  • Glam Glow anti-aging mask: yeah, I got this thanks to the silver selfies on social media..it's meh


During breakouts:


  • Cosrx one step pimple clear pad: I just discovered this and it's magic. Brings stubborn acne to head so fast, and if you're patient, helps them disappear. I'm bad and I pop.
  • Epiduo adapelene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel: I'm not repurchasing because I don't feel it makes a difference, but maybe I'm just impatient and like instant results.
  • Nexcare acne cover patches: sucks all the gunk out after you pop. I love it.

And there you have it! I'm currently trying out several new products, and I'll update you all in a month!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: BCL's IT's Skin Foundation, Concealer, Powder

FULL DISCLOSURE: I received these for free from Kay Collection, however,  I am under no obligation to review these & all opinions are mine.

So, thanks to Kay Beauty, I got to try out 3 products from BCL's Skin Flat line:

I did two video reviews of these products, a first impression video:




As well as a more thorough review:




I thought I should do a written review too, where I can go even more in-depth (and help those of you who don't have the attention span for videos, like me :P). For a summary of my skin condition as well as reviews of all the foundations I've tried, you can head here




Skin Flat CC Powder (01 Light Beige)  



  • Type: Powder
  • Coverage: Heavy
  • Finish: Matte
  • Good for: Oily skin


Oooh...flawless...
As you can see from the picture, this is a very, very heavy coverage matte foundation that really does a great job of hiding all my pores. It's advertised as a multi-tasking powder that's a foundation and a setting powder as well, but I personally strongly advise against using it as a setting powder. It gets very, very cakey that way. The coverage is already thick on its own, and I can comfortably go concealer free when I wear this. My face does get that powdery, made up look, but it doesn't look cake-y and I think it's a great trade off for that flawless coverage.


After 9h of use, the foundation is starting to streak on my nose since I have a really oily nose, but it's holding up relatively well. My blush and highlight still stayed since the foundation gives such a good base. I noticed that as I get oily, I can see pinpricks of oil forming on the foundation which makes my nose look "dotty", but once the oil spreads out, the foundation ends up looking like I'm just wearing a dewy, liquid foundation. Definitely great for oily skin.

One of the downsides of this is that it doesn't take cream products that well. I added a cream blush and it ended up messing up the coverage and looking kind of chalky and patchy:



Then again, it's not a deal-breaker for me. If I need the heavy coverage the Pore Camouflage Powder gives me, I won't be wearing cream products.

Would Repurchase? Yes


Skin Flat CC Gel (01 Light Beige) 

  • Type: Liquid
  • Coverage: Light
  • Finish: Matte
  • Good for: Clear, blemish-free skin

Extremely light coverage...
This has extremely light coverage, and dries down fast to a matte finish. You still get a very skin-like finish because it's so light, but personally for me, it's so light that I don't see the point of wearing it. I rather go foundation free.

After 9h, there's barely any coverage left on my face:

I noticed it streaks like crazy as my nose gets oily. Compared to the Pore Camouflage Powder, this definitely didn't survive the day as well. As you can see, most of my blush and highlighter is gone. In fact, I'm not sure if those are traces of highlighter on my face or just face grease.


 Would Repurchase? No

Skin Flat Pore Concealer




Despite what's advertised, you can't apply this straight from the tube. You'll end up with a streaky mess. You definitely need to apply this with a brush, a sponge, or at least your fingers. Ok, so it does do a good job of filling up and smoothing out my pores. But that's it. You can't really use it as a regular concealer since it doesn't build up well and tends to slip and streak.

The coverage is thick enough that you need to blend well to avoid it becoming cake-y, but it's not as great as the Pore Camouflage Powder. Personally, I rather go with the Pore Camouflage Powder since it's the same level of heaviness, but with better coverage and oil-control. I tried applying the Pore Camouflage Powder over this to see if I'll get a wax doll, pore-less finish on my face, but I ended up with Cake City.

Would Repurchase? No
SaveSave

Monday, February 20, 2017

Guide to what a monolid is, and how to apply makeup if you're in between




Every now and then, I get people telling me my makeup tips for monolids don't work for them at all, and a lot of times, it's because they don't have monolids at all. There's this misconception that all Asian eyes are monolids, and while usually only Asians have monolids, not all Asian eyes are monolids. 

So what are monolids? Here's some pictures that may help!

 Monolid


Image courtesy of revlonlashes.com
Image courtesy of www.makeupandbeautyblog.com/

Han Hye Jin..found on many sources, not sure which one to credit


Photo courtesy of ChenMan


Not Monolid



Image courtesy of fashionlady.in/

Image courtesy of yesbeautyfashion.com/
Image from this Buzzfeed article. Unfortunately, I'm not 100% sure whose eyes are these. Let me know if you know!
Song Hye Kyo, various sources


"I don't have a monolid, but my crease is super tiny! What do I do?"


This is usually the most common makeup help request I get. If you have a tiny crease, there's several ways you can do makeup, and it depends on the size of your crease. If your crease is super tiny, it's best to go with:

Treat the crease as a space to be filled up with liner, fill it up, and use the monolid make up trick of just applying everything higher



Examples:

Image courtesy of cateyesredlips.wordpress.com/

Image courtesy of mamiskincare.net

Image courtesy of thestylecircle.com

Image courtesy of destinationfemme.com

This is also very helpful for monolid girls who suddenly get creases in only one eye on certain days. This is a pic of me with a monolid on one eye, and a crease on the other eye. With this trick, it's not that obvious that my eyes are different when I open them, but when I look down or close them, it's a bit more obvious.



If you have a larger crease, this is another trick you can use...

Treat the crease like a regular crease, and just do everything "flatter". The eye look will look more like a "pancake"/"mochi" rather than a "half-moon" when you close your eyes, but it'll still be pretty!

Image courtesy of Tuan Tin Par
Image courtesy of makeuphairstylesweb.com
Image courtesy of @jlinhh

Image courtesy of @colorpunch

Hope this helps and feel free to contact me if you ever have more questions!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I was one of those scary Muslim refugees.

I know this is not makeup related and a heavy topic for a makeup blog, but given the recent incidents, I can't keep quiet.

Hi, my name is Francesca and I was once one of those scary Muslim refugees that no one seems to want now. And I look like this:


I come from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, and back in 1998, we had some racial riots my family and I had to escape from. What caused it can be traced back to 1997, when we had an economic crisis that caused inflation to skyrocket to a high of 82.4%. Basically, if your rent cost $1,000/month before, it became $1,824/month. As you can guess, people were pissed.

Demonstrations against the Suharto government suddenly changed to racial riots targeting ethnically Chinese Indonesians. How did that happen? Well, my suspicion is that, “Screw unsound economic policies, government incompetency due to corruption & nepotism, currency speculation, extreme leverage, and overheated markets!” just doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as, “Kill the Chinese!”

I mean, if you’re organizing a rabble, you want something that’s short, sweet, and easy to remember for chanting purposes. Anything longer would just sound like a garbled mess, and who would take your mob seriously then?

Since most Chinese Indonesians are Christians, the rioting took on a religious element and it became Muslims vs Christians. I suspect it was because no one wanted to think that they were looting, raping and killing their fellow countrymen because they were dickbags –they want to think they were doing it for *God.* Now everything was cool and they didn't need to worry about eternal damnation.

My family, like many Chinese Indonesian, were also Christians, so we were screwed on both counts. Clearly, we had to get the hell out of there. Fortunately for me, my parents were prepared. Since they themselves had to escape an anti-Chinese massacre Indonesia during their childhood, they figured Indonesia has a tendency of exploding into anti-Chinese massacres every now and then. That's why, even until today, they always have an Angry-Mob-Rampaging-Through-Our-Neighbourhood evacuation plan ready. Our family had permanent residency status in Singapore, and we had a home there as well.

My family got out of Indonesia in May 15, 1998. We arrived in Singapore way too early in the morning and were the first few refugees to arrive. Reporters took our pictures. They wanted to know what was happening. The parents didn’t want to talk about massacres in front of us kids, so they lied BIG time.

“Rioting? What rioting? They were peaceful demonstrations! Roadblocks? Oh, you must be referring to Jakarta’s infamous traffic jams! Who says we’re here to escape?! I just want to take the kids for a nice vacation in Singapore, ok?! Ok?!”

I wonder if the reporters wrote anything about us. The headline probably said, “Idiot Indonesians Completely Clueless About What The Hell Is Happening To Their Country”.

Obviously, I knew things were really bad at home. I knew we were escaping a dangerous situation. However, I just saw it as moving to a different country, and it didn’t feel any different from the time I moved to New York after from LA after I graduated college. There were just better opportunities.

Of course, looking back, we were technically refugees. Refugees from the world’s largest Muslim nation. Even though we were not Muslims, we would probably be classified as one of those scary Muslim refugees no one seems to want now.

It was different back then though. I was perfectly welcomed in Singapore and, despite several false starts and embarrassing mistakes, integrated pretty well. Being Indonesian made me different, but it was never in a way that made me feel unwelcome.

When I decided to escape the grueling Singapore education system to get a college degree in America, America also welcomed me with open arms. To be honest, I was extremely apprehensive since this was post 9/11, but turned out, people saw me as Asian instead of Muslim. Wonder why...

Most Americans were often taken aback when I mention I come from the world’s largest Muslim nation. It never bothered anyone though. My college room-mate whom I roomed with the entire time I was in college was a staunch Republican, and we were as close as sisters.

In the 4 years I spent in America, no one ever told me to get out of the country. No one ever called me a drain on the system. People invited me to join their family’s Thanksgiving dinners to make sure I wasn’t alone on Thanksgiving. My room-mate’s mom included me in the care packages she regularly sent. I truly felt welcomed.

Yes, I was aware there were people against immigrants taking American jobs and even have friends who are strongly anti-immigrant. However, my friends always assured me they were never referring to me. They would insist they loved having me in America. When I had to return to Indonesia in 2009 because no one was in the mood for sponsoring work visas to help immigrants take American jobs, some of these people were the most upset. They would usually say something along the lines of how I was one of the immigrants America wanted because I was educated...forgetting that I came to America to get educated. One even offered to help me commit immigration fraud by marrying me so I could stay in the country. Gotta love the irony.

Recently, there was a large demonstration in Jakarta, Indonesia, where people demanded the resignation of our Chinese and Christian governor for allegedly committing blasphemy.



There were anti-Chinese rhetoric floated around once again. Someone hung a banner that says, “Exterminate the Chinese” above a busy freeway.



There was another banner hung in a different area, exhorting the police to search the homes of the Chinese as many of us are probably illegal immigrants.



Hold up. Why would anyone illegally immigrate to a 3rd world country? We’re the country people illegally immigrate *out of*, not *into*. Did they think the pollution in China have gotten that bad? It's not as if Jakarta is any better...

Anyway, the demonstration turned violent at night, and videos circulated of angry men attacking cars with Chinese passengers.





Working and living in Jakarta, it’s hard to imagine ’98 ever happened. You see Muslims, Christians, Chinese, indigenous Indonesian, all mingling together happily. I want to tell myself that that angry mob was just a minority. That most Indonesians don’t think that way.

But I look back at the US elections and wonder if I’m thinking the way people in New York or Los Angeles thought. That it was just about a small but loud minority, and the majority would not buy into all the racism.

I’m typing this in my air-conditioned apartment and I’m fully aware that I’m one of the privileged minority in Indonesia. I’ve been invited to the homes of those living in government provided housing, where entire families sleep on one thin mat on the floor. They couldn’t even afford a fan, and air-conditioning is an unthinkable luxury. They knew they had little, but they were proud of it, from the curtains and carpets made out of discarded sacks to the wallpaper lovingly crafted out of old billboards. Thinking of those homes, it was hard not to feel a twinge of guilt as I purchased my $300 bookshelf. It felt almost obscene thinking it was a steal for the quality.

I’m fully aware that while I complain to my American friends about my “3rd world salary”, many Indonesians would see my current salary as unattainable in their lifetime. My cup of Starbucks frappe costs as much as what far too many Indonesians make in a day.

Sometimes, from my privileged position, I sometimes forget I could care about idealistic issues because I could afford to. Try talking about rainforest preservation to people who stoically point out they cannot get clean water for their children, while environmentalists pay them to bottle-feed baby orangutangs milk they could never afford for their own children.

I wonder if they resent me.

I wonder if the next election, I’d learn that the majority actually blame me for their economic situation and want me out of the country.

Would I be one of those Muslim refugees again? Would America still welcome me as warmly as they did in 2005? Would I even be able to travel to America with Trump going ban-happy with visitors from Muslim countries?