The most helpful people in the world

People in Seoul are really warm, friendly and helpful. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve never met nicer people in my life.

In fact, the people are so nice I started to feel bad about it, like I was undeserving because I’ve never been so kind myself.






On two separate occasions, we asked locals for directions. Instead of just pointing the way, they actually took us there personally. That would not have been remarkable had our destinations been a short walk away.

It was remarkable because the first of our good Samaritans, two ladies, weren’t entirely sure of our destination. Yet, they beckoned us to follow them as they discussed animatedly in Korean how to get us there.

They even had to turn back and walk in the opposite direction from where they had come. As we followed them in a slow saunter, weaving through heavy human traffic on a busy shopping street, they occasionally turned around to make sure they hadn’t lost us.

The walk took about 15 minutes, during which time they tried checking the GPS on their phones and even calling up their friends to consult them.

We managed to find our location in the end. It would have been impossible without the Korean ladies’ help because the map we had was hopelessly off scale and inaccurate.




On the second occasion, we asked for directions to a famous cafe featured in the popular Korean drama, Coffee Prince.

We didn’t know it initially, but we were about 30 minutes’ walk away. Like in our first encounter, the two young girls we asked for directions from beckoned us to follow them as they took us right to our destination at a leisurely pace.

It’s, like, they didn’t even have to consider the amount of time and energy they would have to spend to help us. Helping people beyond the call of duty seems second nature to the Seoulites.






The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince (yes that’s the name of the cafe):



In both cases, our good Samaritans knew a bit of English, so they asked us a few polite questions about where we came from and things like that. Other than that, they chatted relaxedly between themselves.

My friends and I were unused to this treatment and we felt so bad about imposing on strangers, making them walk long distances with us in opposite directions from where they were headed, that we hesitated to ask for directions the next time.

We did, however, ask one more time at a tourist information booth in Insadong, an art and culture district. We didn’t expect the ladies in the booth to jump out and walk us to where we wanted to go, so we felt quite safe asking there.

Nevertheless, they were very helpful and did their best to make sure we got all the answers we wanted, and then happily posed for photos with us.






Right after we left the booth, we came upon a stall where an old man was selling traditional fans. You can pick a design and he’d write your name in Korean on it.




I picked this fan with a Korean phrase written on it and asked him what it meant. But he couldn’t really speak English, so he left his stall unmanned and walked to the tourist information booth to ask the girls for help in translating the phrase.

The girls had a bit of trouble finding the right words, so they started consulting their PC and debating among themselves.

Finally, they decided that the phrase said, “Every day first love”.

I thought that was nice so I bought it!










Then, there was this other time we were in a restaurant and decided to order some Korean alcohol that everyone else was drinking.

We observed how they shook the bottles, poured the contents into a kettle, then poured them into cups.




So, when we got our bottles, Nanny Wen and I started shaking them enthusiastically. She got a bit overly excited and started opening her bottle without waiting for the pressure to subside.

At that moment, the guy at the table beside us gave a soft cry of alarm and grabbed her bottle to prevent her from opening it further. In halting English, he managed to convey to us that we should wait a while. If not the drink will blow up in our faces.

He then proceeded to help us pour our bottles into our kettle.

I thought that was so cute! After helping us, he and his friend didn’t bother us for the rest of the meal, only once smiling at us amusedly and commenting that we had ordered so much food for just the three of us.






I really love how Seoulites are all so personable and approachable, and how they’d go out of their way to help strangers who can’t speak a word of their language.

When we first arrived in Seoul and needed a cab to take us to our guesthouse, we hired an authorised international taxi, which meant that the driver spoke English and would charge us an approved flat fee.

Our driver was a delightful middle-aged man who chatted with us amicably and offered us ginseng candy.

Towards the tail end of our journey, he started telling us about his son and joked about how he wanted to introduce his son to Wang Wang (photo above), whom he thought was very pretty.

“You meet my son. He’s nice boy. Handsome like his father,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

His son is apparently a 19-year-old musician. Nanny Wen and I, in the backseat, were scandalised and roaring with laughter while Wang Wang blushed furiously in the front seat.

“You take him to Singapore,” the cabbie said to Wang Wang. “I give you son.”

It was too damned funny.




When we arrived at our guesthouse, we were a little unsure of the exact building because it wasn’t exactly a hotel. It was a commercial building with units turned to accommodations.

Repeatedly consulting the address and looking at the rough map we had, the cabbie pulled his car over at the side of the street, told me and Nanny Wen to wait there while he actually walked out of the car to find the right building.

Wang Wang followed him.

Later on, she told us that he’d taken her up the elevator all the way to the admin office of the guesthouse to speak to the owner to make sure that he’d found the right guesthouse for us.

They were away for about 10 or 15 minutes.

When they returned, the cabbie helped us get our luggages out of the boot, gave us his card and told us to call him if we needed anything.

He also reminded us that he wanted to arrange a meeting for us to meet his son.

“I give you son!” were his smiling parting words.

I’m so in love with Seoul.

You have unique features. Yes, you.


Let’s play a little game today!

I’ll show you photos of celebrities and you guess what’s the one physical feature I admire about them most.

(It know it’s hard cos celebrities tend to have more than one unique, admirable feature, but try, okay?)

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

This probably isn’t the most flattering photo of Jennifer Aniston, but it’s a great example of what I like about her. Is that a big hint, or what?

I’m not a huge JA fan. I’ve only watched a few episodes of Friends in the past and I never watched any of her movies. But I’ve always envied her for her __________.

Jennifer Aniston

Answer: Healthy hair

I can never understand how her hair always manages to fall in the right way, framing her face perfectly, and still look so healthy and lustrous instead of looking bogged down by styling products.

I have healthy hair, too. It’s so healthy it resists styling products.


Let me tell you firsthand that healthy hair that resists styling products is no use at all.

It drapes over half my face half the time unless I clip it up. But clipped hair that can’t fly in the wind is no use at all, either.

But mine is an isolated case. You do want to try to have healthy hair because it brightens your appearance quite a lot!

Here are some tips for healthy hair that are often overlooked and neglected:

  • Don’t use too-hot water to wash your hair. It will strip it of moisture. Cold water is best. If you can’t wash it in cold water, just finish off with a cold rinse to close the cuticles so your hair shines.
  • Always use a conditioner after each wash.
  • Gently massage your scalp with finger tips (not nails) while shampooing.
  • Eating lots of vegetables, fruits and dairy products will help.
  • After washing, don’t towel dry your hair violently. Blot it gently and let it dry naturally. I usually wrap my wet hair in a towel for 10 minutes to soak up all the moisture first so that it won’t drip all over the place when drying.
  • Don’t brush wet hair. Use a comb if you must.

Okay, next!

Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere

When I watched her in the first season of Heroes, I thought she was weird. Something about her body proportions were a little off-kilter. And she had a funny botoxed look in her face.

But late into the next season, her look started to grow on me and I found myself admiring her beauty despite the teenage acne apparent in her close-up shots. I have been acne-free for over 5 years. Now and then I have slight blemishes or blackheads/whiteheads, but I’ve never had a pimple that should have been worth expressing. Concerning. Incidentally, I notice a clear connection between impurities and nutrition (unfortunately). If I don’t use Accutane, I have perfect skin.

So, what is it about her that stands out the most?

Hayden Panettiere

Answer: Healthy skin

She’s famous for her healthy, glowing skin. I suppose her youth helps a lot. Maybe some of it is makeup. You can achieve a glowing look with makeup.

The one time my skin glowed was when I did my first Xbox photoshoot.


The makeup artist used a bronze highlight to give me a fake glow, haha. But it’s a look I haven’t been able to recreate on my own because I don’t have the necessary tools (nor skills).

But I’m working on getting naturally glowing skin. For example:

  • Steam your face once a week to get rid of impurities and dead skin.
  • Exfoliate gently after steaming to complete the cleansing process, avoiding eye area.
  • Use brightening or hydrating masks. A good time would be after steaming and exfoliation.
  • Clean and moisturise face regularly. At least twice a day.
  • Avoid oily food and sweets. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits and drink lots of water.
  • Try to be asleep between 10 pm and 2 am because that’s the time when your body regenerates.

Stephen Chow

Stephen Chow

Stephen Chow looks very different these days, compared to when he first became popular as a young comedy actor.

But one thing seems to have remained over the years. What is it?

His younger days:

Stephen Chow

Answer: Friendly face

Maybe it’s that association with being a comedian that gives him that “friendly” aura. I don’t know.

My face is not friendly unless I smile. Well, I can’t help the way I look. And, obviously, there are no tips to having a friendly face since I think you just have to be born with it. Of course, you could try smiling a lot or changing your hairstyle or wearing blue to put people at ease.

I tried to find a friendly-looking photo of me. This was taken two years ago, lol.

Sheylara playing Wii

If you let me play with your Wii, I’d be friendly! ;)

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is one of those celebrities who has everything. There’s nothing about her that is wrong. Everything about her is outstanding, right down to her heart of gold.

I love her pelvic tattoo. Beside the huge cross are the words “Quod me nutrit me destruit”. It’s Latin for “What nourishes me, destroys me.”

Angelina Jolie

Apparently, it covers an earlier tattoo of a little dragon which she got while drunk in Amsterdam long ago.

So, what is it about her I love besides her tattoos?

Angelina Jolie

Answer: Sporty physique

I totally adore her in Tomb Raider. I wish she’d do more action movies!

My physique is nowhere even close. Er… I’m working on it lah!


Tips (that my personal trainer are forcing upon me):

  1. Cut all fat and sweets from diet. O_o
  2. Don’t eat carbohydrates after 6 pm.
  3. Do cardio exercises three times a week (like running).
  4. Hire a personal trainer to torture you 2-3 times a week.
  5. Drink lots of water.

You must know this is leading up to somewhere. So smart, you.

The Watsons You Awards is here! Individuals with unique, outstanding features are wanted to receive these coveted awards.

There are eight categories you can choose to participate in. Male and female residents of Singapore aged 18 and above are eligible.

The categories are:

Watsons You Awards

Healthy Hair — For hair that gives you confidence throughout the day.

Fit Figure — For the body that is taut, toned and full of energy.

Flawless Face — For a face made amazing with makeup magic.

Healthy Skin — For a skin that glows with health and radiance.

Friendly Face (Female) — for the face that speaks the universal language of friendship.

Friendly Face (Male) — for the face that speaks the universal language of friendship.

Sunny Smiles — For the smile that lights up the room when you walk in.

Sporty Physique — For the body that loves exercise and the great outdoors.

The winner of each category will receive:

  • S$2,000 cash
  • 1 year modelling contract with GLOW magazine
  • 1 year supply of attractive product gifts

To get an idea of what kind of product gifts you might expect, here’s a list of this year’s sponsors:

Watsons You Awards sponsors

Main Sponsors — Sunsilk, Bio-essence, ZA, Vichy, L’oreal, Gillette, Oral B, Ebene

Co-Sponsors — Clairol, Phyto, Huiji, Slimspa, Rimmel London, Revlon, Mentholatum, Himalaya, Olay, Sato, Nugeno, Quan Neng cool men, Colgate, Pearlie White, Ocean Health, Kwai A Day

Now, the important details: How to take part?

Recruitment Phase
May 15 to June 10, 2009: Make any purchase at Watsons, then submit your photo with a short writeup through the online registration form.

Voting Phase
June 18 to July 1, 2009: Members of the public can go to the Watsons You Awards website to vote for their favourite candidate.

Voters can win prizes too!! (Eight lucky voters who voted for eventual winners can win product hampers and Watsons vouchers!)

Announcement Phase
July 30, 2009: Winners will be announced at the Watsons Health, Wellness and Beauty Award (HWB) gala dinner.

Watsons You Awards

For more information, you can either visit the website or pick up the Watsons You Awards information leaflet from any Watsons store. There is a $5 discount coupon in the leaflet which you can use! (T&Cs apply.)

Well then, get going! You don’t have to be a great beauty or chiseled hunk to have unique, outstanding features. This award is a celebration of the individual. So, determine your most unique feature(s) and send those photos in now!