Holy crap, before someone shoots me, that is not what I think – it just happens to be the topic of my entry and also the general sentiment within the media industry. Having a short discussion with one of my readers via comments on my blog, he brought up an excellent point – that because of culture and religion, menstruation is “viewed” very differently. I’m going to start to touch on this topic for 2 reasons. One, was because I was inspired by @campaignperiod showing me a video link and from that, I read up on the Hygiene Matters 2011 Report compiled by SCA. I realize I’m probably giving them free advertisement, but whatever… it was great having read this little report and yes, it IS little, only 43 pages and if you’ve read 300 page reports before, this is nothing, lol. I highly recommend those interested in personal well-being, whether male or female, to read it. If you are not interested in going through something that long (and it is NOT all about menstruation, it is about hygiene in general), please at least see this video.
The second reason was because as I was going through my MENinMenstruation YouTube account, I was “recommended” a video that caught my eye. Bebe once sent me a parody of how “strict” Malaysia TV broadcasting is when it comes to ‘revealing’ body parts. There are so many countries in the world and many cultures that have a particular view of menstruation, so you may wonder why I particularly selected that country and whether it had been influenced by bebe. In this case, it didn’t, because it showed up on my “suggested” videos to watch in which I read a very interesting quote:
6. Are there restrictions upon creative license in Malaysia?
Until very recently, sanitary napkins were not allowed to be shown on TV. Apart from that we could not show armpits or navels.
– Kancil Awards 2008 Chairperson Interview
I’m not interested in generating a debate over religion on my blog. As far as this entry is concerned, all people need to understand is that Malaysia’s official religion is Islam. According to Article 160 of the Malaysian Constitution, all ethnic Malays are considered Muslim, which approximately 60.4% of the Malaysian population practicing the Islam religion. Thus, you can see why broadcasting rules within Malaysia are so strict. I have a Muslim coworker and he is highly devoted and abides by the rules set forth by his religion closely. Although I knew about that showing of the armpits and navels on public TV in Malaysia violates broadcasting rules, I did not know that even sanitary napkin commercials were not allowed until I read the quote as stated above. For as long as I can remember, I always struggled in finding sanitary napkin commercials or even (Malaysian) manufacturer websites regarding sanitary napkins. All of this now makes sense as to why I had such difficulties!
Further digging revealed an article which was published fairly recently in October of 2010 by The Malaysian Insider author, Dina Zaman. There was a particular quote that almost made me choke on my coffee, not because I was disgusted by the thought of menstruation, but rather, how someone could have such a STARK view of menstruation…
“For example, commercials on sanitary pads are openly shown on TV and this could influence the young to get involved in social ills,” said Johor Bahru Puteri Umno member, urging the ministry to increase shows that teach good values and religious practices.
Umm.. excuse me, did I just read that seeing a commercial of sanitary pads would cause me to be involved in social ills? If that’s the case, I should have murdered a ton of people and raped many women by now according this member’s statement. Although I can’t say I’m the most normal of people in my interests such as menstruation, I’m definitely not socially dysfunction and I don’t pose harm to society or something. The likelihood is I’ve watch more sanitary pad commercials than probably all the females I know put together, so this member must hate my guts by now, lol. The author of the article then continues to write (regarding the above statement):
As a still menstruating woman, I have yet to witness how sanitary pads and their ads could lead one to sin. I have always thought that sanitary pads are a bane to women and frighten the hell out of men, especially bloody and wet ones.
The CMCF (The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia) under Part 3 section 8.6 of their broadcasting standard dictates..
8.6 Sanitary Protection Products and Incontinent Pads For Adults
Advertisements in this product category is unusually sensitive and commercials for it can easily cause offence or embarrassment, even among people who have no objection in principle to its being advertised on television. Because it is often viewed in a family setting, television advertising needs to be treated with restraint and discretion. Anyone intending to produce a commercial for a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults MUST abide by the following:-
(a) Restriction on Times of Transmission Commercials portraying a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults are permissible only after 10.00pm. (b) Visual Treatments and Product Descriptions Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults – visual treatments must be done with taste and restraint, particular care is needed with shots of unwrapped towels, pads or tampons, whether actual or diagrammatic. Detailed references, whether in sound or vision, should avoid graphic descriptions which might offend or embarrass viewers. (c) Appeals To Insecurity Sanitary protection products and incontinent pads for adults – no commercial may contain anything which, either directly or by its implication, is likely to undermine an individual’s confidence in her own standards of personal hygiene. No implication of, or appeal to, sexual or social insecurity is acceptable. Commercials may not suggest, by whatever means, that menstruation is in any way unclean or shameful and variations of the word “clean” are unacceptable in advertising for this product category, as are other potentially offensive words such as “odour”. The same applies to the advertising of incontinence. (d) Taste and Offence All advertisements for the category of sanitary napkins and incontinent pads for adults must not offend against good taste or decency or be offensive to public feeling and should not prejudice respect for human dignity.
So within that section, they state that they do not want commercials suggesting that menstruation is unclean or shameful (insinuating an attempt to be positive). However, from my perception of the above conditions of a commercial they want to avoid embarrassment, offensiveness and requires “restraint” that they’re being completely contradictory. They want you to avoid making menstruation or related products sound negative, yet they’re clearly NOT comfortable with the idea of advertising such products. Furthermore, I wanted to cry when I read that, “…portraying a sanitary protection product and incontinent pads for adults are permissible only after 10.00pm.” Wow.. after 10PM… that’s when all the kids “should” be asleep.. imagine if they ever stayed up past 10PM, their eyes and brains would be tainted forever should they be SO unfortunate as to seeing a commercial which depicts a menstrual or incontinent product. Their childhoods would be forever ruined and those kids will probably have premarital sex, fail at school and kill their parents as a result 🙄 If I ever had to deal with the broadcasting industry, even in Canada, I’d get so infuriated with this that I’d ask to borrow one of my girls used pad or tampon and just chuck it at the camera.
Let’s move back into “North America” for a bit… you know, the free world where we have “freedom” of everything. In this land where drugs, sex and violence is shown freely on TV, and where I could probably get away with saying, “I’m going to fucking shit on your head and piss on your mother” – yet, if I were to say the word vagina, oh my god, I’m sure it’d be bleeped out for sure! This is not new news, so sure, bitch at me if I’m digging up older topics, but it linked into this one so whatever. You can read up on a UK news/blog author’s (Richard Adams) post on the whole U by Kotex thing when it started. The article writes:
An executive for Kimberly-Clark, the owner of Kotex, notes that US TV networks have no such compunction about references to “erectile dysfunction” in prime-time ads for Viagra and Ciallis.
You know, back in the day when I still had cable TV, I felt really uncomfortable when that 40 year-old guy came on the screen and was talking about the “issues” he had… essentially he can’t get it up or goes ‘limp’ when he has sex… and that it is a common problem and there should be no embarrassment to asking the doctor for help in getting Viagra prescribed. Umm.. I found that this was much harder (and grosser) to watch when my parents were around, than a maxi pad or a tampon commercials. Let’s face it, if erectile dysfunction should not be embarrassing and is a common issue, then how is MENSTRUATION of all things “unnatural” and “should cause embarrassment”? Menstruation, unlike erectile dysfunction, is a natural bodily process and the use of menstrual protection products to manage it is the hygienic and proper thing to do. Me knowing that you can’t get hard makes me more uncomfortable than if you were to tell me you were having your period. Hey, maybe it is just me and the fact I like periods that makes it feel more normal, but I really don’t want to know that you can’t pump enough blood to your dick to make it hard. Furthermore, it is also “frowned upon” (as in, they won’t even broadcast your ad) in a commercial to use the proper anatomical reference, vagina on prime-time TV. The last time I saw menstrual fluid, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t blue as well.
Aren’t those statistics crazy? I have made a blog entry before about how sanitary napkins (because they are the more “conservative” choice over tampons, which you have to *gasp* stick something in your vagina) are still the preferred choice of menstrual protection in Asia regions before, but it was shocking to see how uncomfortable the subject of periods are still to Chinese women. Oddly enough, most of the Asian girls I happen to know are quite open with me on the subject, but I suppose that perhaps bebe is part of that 87% (even though she’s not “from China” per se, she is “Chinese”). The good thing is that even if she’s not open about her period to others, as long as she is to ME, I don’t give a shit 😆 But anyways, even if you look at the U.S (closest to Canada I guess), the statistics still show that HALF of the population still experience social discomforts when they have their period. Clearly, “America” is FAR from reversing the many years of menstrual taboo and the denouement of it. I remember in high school, I had a Swedish girl in my class (boy was she hot, lol) and I remember one time I spotted a tampon in her backpack and I gave it an extra glance. Clearly she caught me looking and during high-school, I was still rather shy about my interest, so I never talked about it… but then after class, she said if I was interested in seeing what a tampon looked like, she said, “Here, you can have my tampon if you want to know what one looks like.” and just put it in my hands, smiled and walked away. I was completely dumbfounded. I mean obviously this one Swedish girl doesn’t represent the entire culture of people, but I get the feeling there’s a lot more openness to menstruation from other cultures than from Chinese culture.
So the moral of this entire post? Feminine Hygiene Products and Your Vagina is Repulsive in the eyes of the broadcasting industry.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY | 2010 the Libresse secure fit platform was launched in Malaysia. This is unique in many ways, not only because it is the first Asian market entry for The Libresse secure fit but also because it was decided to launch with a price line, which is completely new in the feminine category in Malaysia.It means that all products have the same price. A pack of ten thick towels has the same price tag as a pack with eight thin towels. However price is not the main differentiator. It is the performance and properties of the product that are differentiating Libresse secure fit from its competitors.
Just wanted to say Happy New Years to all my loyal readers and passer-byers! I can’t believe it, the start of 2011 marks a full year of this blog’s existence. Even after a year of blogging about menstruation, feminine hygiene and many other personal topics, I still feel highly attached and you should only expect more content to come. My existing hiatus is due to my busy holidays and being away-from-home!
I just got home myself from a short cruise today with family, after all, to celebrate 2011 to be another great and exciting year! The past while with bebe joining me in Hong Kong for a week and trying to balance time with my own family, I have been incredibly drained and exhausted. When I wake up in the morning after full hours of sleep, I feel still tired and yawn often throughout the day. I’m hoping my body doesn’t give up on me, especially since there are only 11 precious days to go before our return to Canada. My schedule is only becoming more packed as people are trying to see us before our departure. During this time since the last update, I have experimented with at least 5-6 different pads which I have yet to post up, even though I have noted my reviews.
I’m excited to say that bebe brought some pads for me as well from Malaysia, an excellent selection I must admit 😛 I’m rather happy she did because it makes me feel that much closer to her, making me particularly excited when I see the same brand/type in the future. For 2011, I hope to continue to make progress in our relationship, because we have much to work on. I find that whenever we try to make big leaps, we tend to fall back more than move forward, showing that bebe and I should probably move slowly. As my aunt said, she agrees that people should “be friends” and then “be lovers” rather than what most people believe that friends can only be friends and lovers are lovers. What is bebe to me? She is my baby, my one true love and the woman I want to be with… what am I to her? I don’t really know. What’s important is that during this time, I try to help her to understand herself and us, so we know where we stand. Bebe refuses to label me as her boyfriend and engage in physical affection with me, so we have much work to achieve that comfort-zone with each other. For now, if she wants to hold her stance as just being a non-attached friend, then so be it, because if I force her to take on the role of my girlfriend when she is not ready, she will only feel suffocated. At the same time, I don’t want to let her “too far out of my sight” as to not allow her to forget she has a very loving guy waiting for her.
Beyond my own needs, all I hope for is that this year our family continues to be blessed with “wealth through health”… because I think I’ve spent so much time this year concentrating on the idea that making money will impress and allow bebe to have a great future. When one thinks deeper, my wealth is the fact I am in good health and can take care of her and our future family. A few days ago, we saw some “attributes” related to her year, one of which was “good health” which she snickered at. Although we have not discussed our health much beyond coughs and stuffy noses, it is likely she is not the most healthiest individual. Ask me before I fell in love with her, that I would want a girl who is not in good health because it may mean lots of “taking care” in the future (rather than usually me being taken care of), but even know she may not be in the best health, I still want to be with her. Health is always a very cautious thing to talk about within a relationship and we don’t do much of it, even though I’ve seen things that might tip me off – but that’s irrelevant. Even now that I know (kind of) what I’m getting myself into, I’m willing to love her and take care of her, no matter what happens to us in the future.
I don’t think any one but me can understand how happy she has made my Christmas and New Year, being able to spend, if even a week, with her. I think the happiest moments were when both happily smiled for the camera. Those were indeed beautiful times and those pictures will be cherished forever. You know, sometimes there are times we she drifts from feeling super close to standing distant away. I know that we BOTH try to make a conscious actions to feel closer with each other and we both play an important part on trying to break that barrier. I know there’s always that mystical force between us that seems to hold us apart until the time is right. I don’t blame it, because sometimes life is guided by fate’s hand and that there are reasons to why things are the way they are. You could say it’s the only way I can console myself, but when things are beyond control, then it makes you realize that there’s more than what we as an individual can do to change a situation.
Love is often an instantaneous spark of feeling and until that same spark ignites within her, she will still keep her distance. I’m like oxygen, I can help her sustain that fire and love for me, but we will first need her to light the fire before I can supply the oxygen to keep it going. As much as I would have loved to embrace her and to hold my lips close to hers this trip (it was worth the dream), I know that my love life is complicated and that every obstacle brings us closer to success. I used to get annoyed at why “love can’t just be easy” – but also realized that every time we trip and fall to reach that end-point will only make us APPRECIATE that end-point even more, helping us survive the many divorces and martial problems that we so often see in this society.
Once again, I’d like to wish everyone a HAPPY NEW YEAR (2011) and hope that this year will bring you your hearts desires. Expect more updates soon, particularly when I return home to Canada!
So now as bebe and I progress into some seriousness with this relationship, things begin to surface, particularly with living arrangements. She likes Malaysia and I (wouldn’t say “like” – but it’s just I’ve established), Canada. Truly, I can understand the pains of asking her to be the one to “leave home” to be with me, at the same time, I admit I am greedy. I can say however, I have thought about moving my life closer, if not, in her home, but it’s just so hard… and likewise, she can say the same. The only thing that even makes it remotely easier is the fact she’s been in Canada for quite a while, on the other hand, I have “no life” in Malaysia.
We both have preferences of where we want to live, yet we both want something grand out of this relationship. I cannot justify asking her to come be with me, away from her family, other than telling her I love her and that I hope I can provide the same loving environment that her family and friends back “at home” and surely, she has friends and family in Canada as well. I would never ever ask her to feel like she is giving up her home in Malaysia, her friends, her family… simply only to “reside temporarily” with me in Canada. I hope in the future when we get our freedom 55, to move to Malaysia and/or Hong Kong. However, I simply cannot deal with doing such a thing right now… greedy, yes.. .shameful on my part… also yes.
We have a Chinese saying, “Marry a chicken, follow the chicken” loosely translated. It is my dream we can spend the first half of our life in Canada and spend the 2nd half of our life back in our born-heritage. There’s nothing I can say to bebe to rationalize why she should follow me, other than the hold her in my arms and show her actions (that are louder than words) that I care about her enough to hope she is willing to make this sacrifice. I know the more that BOTH of us think about it, the more we will worry and have this fester. She is right in telling me today that our future is determined by what happens today, so rather than think about how we’re going to deal with this very complex situation, that we should enjoy our moments together and let the future ride out. Perhaps she will feel so loved by me that moving to Canada, won’t seem so bad after all. Haha, I can only hope.
All I can promise her is I will do my utmost to ensure that she does not feel she’s abandoned her family, friends and hometown. I want her to know whenever she misses them, that they’re only a flight away and that as long as our finances are capable, she can go back anytime. Sure, that might mean I starve for a month while she’s gone and find me a skeleton on the couch when she returns, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice for her 😆 To be honest, if in the end she really does come to Canada to be with me, I swear upon it that I will be forever indebted to her, not just simply because she will one day be my wife and perhaps mother of our children, but rather, she selflessly made this relationship work by residing in Canada, a complete act of bravery which I would fail to do myself.
I meditate for guidance and blessings from above. Yes, I am asking bebe to make a huge-huge jump, for me, for US. It is a very UNFAIR trade-off because I am incapable of doing the same thing for her as much as I reallyreallyreally want to. I will promise her nothing less than all my love and that no matter how well I treat her, I will never make up for the fact she would stay in a country away from ‘home’ with me and although one day she may feel attuned enough to Canada to call it her home, it is still simply a “home away from home.” – much that Hong Kong while I simply have moved away for so many years, is still my home.
Perhaps if I can see things the same way she does, I will stop looking so far ahead (as much as I want to) and simply cherish THIS moment that bebe and I have together. I hope that she will come to Hong Kong so we can spend some quality and personal time together. It’ll give us a GREAT opportunity to see who we really are and to learn about each other on a totally different level. The fact that she’s willing to come to HK to spend time with me (ok, so she WAS planning to come anyways) is really a big subconscious comfort-level in her heart. One may argue that I’m “seeing more than what she really means” – but the action is quite obvious, would you dare to have gone on a trip with a boyfriend who you have only gotten to know a bit? The reality is that while she may have some reservations about our future, certainly there is a large hidden comfort we have with each other and probably our doubt mostly comes with the question, “Where are we going to start our lives?”
To really solidify our future, I have to prove that I fully love her and that she can open her heart to me. Shamefully, I have questioned her a lot, asking her why sometimes she is so reluctant to open herself to me, even when we are making so much progress, in fact, the smallest idea when she told me she wanted to come to HK enthralled me like never before. I became more aggressive in the sense I wanted to pursue her not only as a girlfriend now, but as a soon-to-be, life partner. It may seem like this is all rubbish given the distance she keeps right now with me, but I pray hard that if/when she comes to Hong Kong within the next week or so that I make her stay enjoyable and also show her what I have to offer, despite our difficulties within our own hearts. Individually, we have obstacles and issues we have to deal with… together, we can conquer the trials of love!
If you believe in prayer, please feel free to pray for bebe and I to help us overcome our barriers and allow her to fully be reassured that I am Mr. Right and that she will have no regrets leaving home to pursue a life on our own, with the blessings of our families.