28 April 2010

Facial at Clarins, Ipoh

It was my first time getting a facial at a "branded" cosmetics counter.

I understand that Clarins has "institutes" in the bigger malls like OneUtama, but here in Ipoh Parade, they have their counter and a room. As I am still hunting for a good place to get my facials, I decided to try out Clarins since I had received a birthday voucher for a facial costing RM145, for which I would only have to pay RM68.

So off I trooped to Ipoh Parade. It's quite difficult to get a park on the ground level under the shady trees but I spied one last empty space - only that it was blocked by a large SUV with its driver inside, obviously waiting. Should I just park in the basement? No, I like the ground level parking. So I drew up abreast of the waiting SUV, got out of my car and indicated that I wanted to park in the spot that was being blocked. The driver obliged and reversed her SUV to clear the way - good lady.

Now, the facial. The Clarins representative first gave me an "examination" - gently pressing on my face and pinching softly. She announced that my skin was "fair" and "not dry, not oily". A pretty good assessment, I thought. Then she went on to explain that at Clarins, they provide a facial treatment with cleansing and facial massage with Clarins' pure plant oil. Ok with me....but at the end of the facial, I feel that at the price of RM145, Clarins' facial is grossly inadequate. There was no steaming (to soften the skin and open up the pores), no extraction of oil heads, and no multiple times of cleansing and scrub. Just a very cursory cleanse, scrub and massage with the plant oil. I am not sure if there was even a mask at the end - everything was done so quickly and with so little of the creams, lotion etc. applied on.

For the price that Clarins is charging, I was very disappointed with Clarins. Perhaps the Clarins Institutes do a better facial.

12 April 2010

Feet care - see a podiatrist

Have you ever had a corn on your foot? You know, it's really uncomfortable as the corn gets larger. Each step you take, you feel something poking into your sole.

I never had a corn until about 4 years ago. I went to the little park near our house in BU and played some impromptu badminton, without the proper shoes - and taa daa, I had the first corn in my life. And the sad thing about corns is, once you've had one, chances are that they tend to recur, at exactly the same spot. It's so true that we have to keep our body well and in good condition - one little breakdown, and your parts are never as good as they were before.

The first time I had that nasty little thing removed, I didn't know better. I went to my company's panel clinic, Klinik Famili at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. The doc there said sure she could remove it. But she performed a mini surgery! Went for my little corn with swords drawn, needles piercing, blood letting and bandages rolling - youch! I couldn't walk properly for a day after.

When my corn reappeared, I thought there's got to be a better way. I researched about podiatrists and whether there were any in Malaysia. Very few, but I found one in Sunway Medical Centre. I had to get a referral and that same Klinik Famili was very offended and reluctant to refer me to a "podiatrist" because a GP could do it for me (I don't think the GP even knew what a podiatrist is!)

Ah, professional feet care at last! The podiatrist removed my corn in about 10 minutes, with a scalpel BUT there was no blood, no pain, no anaesthetic, no needles, no bandages - it was marvellous. And I could walk and run normally immediately after that. The podiatrist said GPs do not know how to treat feet problems like corns etc but there is not much awareness about that here in Malaysia. In hindsight, I should have sued Klinik Famili for their negligent treatment of a very minor foot problem. And Klink Famili is on the panel of so many government bodies - hmmph!

Now that we are here in Ipoh, I had to find a podiatrist. I had very low hopes of locating one here (Ipoh being a small city and all) but to my amazement and delight, my husband found a British podiatrist practising here in Ipoh! We visited her last weekend and she removed my corn using the same painless method as the podiatrist in KL. Even better, she massages the feet briefly and she is able to do reflexology too. We were informed that she will soon be providing her services to Kinta Medical Centre.

So, the next time you have a foot problem - corn, ingrown toe nail, fungus on your foot - do check out a podiatrist.

03 April 2010

Qing Ming Festival

Today, we went to pay our respects to the deceased parents of my father-in-law - a yearly ritual observed by the family. In all, usually about 7 families would turn up for this occasion. The elders in the family would be my parents-in-law and and my father-in-law's brother.

The whole group would arrive at the cemetery around 10am, and tend to the grave and begin laying out offerings of food and drink, as well as lighting candles, joss sticks and joss paper (spirit money). Every family member would step up and offer to the ancestors joss sticks, and pour some tea and wine onto the ground. The finale would be the lighting of fire crackers. We also do not forget the graves neighbouring those of our ancestors, as we also walk around and offer joss sticks to the other graves.

The entire family would then adjourn to the nearest relative's place to enjoy the food that was offered to the ancestors - the menu for the day usually consists of generous portions of roast pork, roast chicken, roast duck, char siu pau (steamed pork buns), chung (rice dumplings), cake, colourful steamed buns (fatt ko) and fried noodles (always cooked courtesy of Eldest Aunty thank you Tai So!) And so the event would conclude by lunch time.

Some believe that Qing Ming originated in the Tang Dynasty, with Emperor Xuanzong. Yet others associate Qing Ming with Jie Zi Zhui, who lived in Shanxi province in 600 B.C. Qing means "pure" or "clean", and Ming means "brightness". Whatever practice is observed, the basic observation of Qing Ming is to remember one's elders by making a special effort to visit their graves, ashes or ancestral tablets. To make the visit even more meaningful, some time should be spent to remind the younger members of the family of the lives and contributions of their ancestors.