Body News, Health & Fitness, Infographics

[Infographic] Overcome Your Body Confidence Crisis, Please! – Deborah Tan

Beauty brand Dove revealed that only 2 percent of Singaporean women feel they are “beautiful”. Deborah Tan talks about this confidence crisis facing women and how to overcome it.

The Beauty debate is a whirlpool many woman writers try their best to avoid. It’s definitely easy to go all the way and proclaim that women should love themselves, and the way they look, wholeheartedly and unconditionally. But, is it really this straightforward?

As a former beauty writer and a magazine editor, I have found myself struggling to talk about beauty because there is no clear-cut line distinguishing what is right and what is wrong.

Yes, I agree we should not air-brush every image inside a magazine to death. Yes, I think the use of models and celebrities in advertising is manipulative. No, I don’t think using beauty products and wearing makeup makes me a traitor to the body-love movement. No, I think it’s perfectly okay to want to use skincare to get good skin, to want to exercise to have a great body, and to blow my hair cos I love it big and bouncy.

The point I’ve always tried to make is, beauty is something we should enjoy, and we need to take a chill-pill when it comes to the way we look. Most importantly, I think we should NEVER let ANYONE tell us if we should be fat/thin/pale/tanned/Asian/Pan-Asian/whatever. A long time ago, I wrote a commentary about an article applauding a magazine for using a plump celebrity on its cover. I felt uncomfortable because the original writer was – in a way – promoting another body stereotype. She failed to see that her stance on what magazines should put on their covers was also encouraging an “ideal” look.

Most people think there are only two sides to the body-love debate: if you reject what is natural, you are subscribing to evil. But there are so many facets to this topic! Just because you don’t want to be fat, it doesn’t immediately mean you want to be stick-thin. Just because you want to do something about your cellulite, it doesn’t automatically make you a member of the Loathe My Body Club.

Our relationship with our face and body is a complicated one. Each of us have days when we feel awesome, days when we feel “blob-by”, days when we feel we can get away with not exercising, days when we feel we can’t. Most of us have hang-ups about our appearances, the key is: do you pinch the dimply skin on your thigh, tell yourself you may go to the gym later, and get on with life? Or, do you decide because of your cellulite, you should imprison yourself at home?

Watch the Dove: Patches video here!

Watch the Dove: Patches video here!

The statistics of a Dove survey – as you’ll see in the infographic below – is shocking. Only 2% of women in Singapore feel they are “beautiful”. Is it because we think “beautiful” is a word that should only be used to describe Hollywood celebrities? A superlative word reserved only for women with, what we perceived are, breath-taking appearances.

How can we all start to feel more beautiful? As Dove’s latest body-love video “Patches” shows, it is – first and foremost – a state of mind. Do we choose to embrace what we have been given, make them work for us OR, are we going to let ourselves be held down by our so-called inadequacies?

I would like to recommend 5 ways we can all start to overcome our personal crisis in body-confidence:

1. Exercise
It floods your body with feel-good hormones so that when you look at your pictures, you are less critical of your “flaws”. As you become healthier, stronger and fitter, you will also see your body in a whole new way – suddenly, your “thunder thighs” that can run a marathon are weapons, not flaws.

2. Stop buying into cheesy “fitspo” talk
I don’t think they are inspiring at all. In fact, I feel “fitspo” talk is a form of guilt-tripping. Not every woman needs to lose 5kg. Not everyone feels good pushing themselves hard. Just like how we refuse to let anyone tell us how we should look, we have to put our foot down and stop letting people tell us how much we should sweat, what we should eat …

3. Pull out of the Body-Hate Club now!
Stop contributing to the Body-Hate conversation! Recently, I was trying on a dress at Zara and a group of ladies walked into the fitting area to try on clothes. One person lamented about her belly, another followed with comments about her own thighs, a third chimed in and started on her skin … it was just one massive body self-pity club!

4. There is no magic number
Your chest doesn’t have to measure 36 inches, your waist doesn’t have to be 24 inches, and your weight doesn’t have to be 45kg. And it’s perfectly OKAY to not fit into a Size 8 dress.

5. Believe in the good
I don’t get why we are so eager to believe in the bad things people say about us but choose to ignore the good things others tell us. It’s like we have this pathological desire to want to hear that we are fat, we are overweight and we are ugly. I think we need to start ignoring the negative and ENJOY it when people say, “You don’t need to lose weight”, “You look great”, “I don’t see anything wrong with your nose”.

REMEMBER: If you don’t start seeing the Beauty in yourself, it will be challenging for others to see it in you.

Enjoy our infographic here:

Statistics provided by Dove. Copyright of Material World LLP.

Statistics provided by Dove. Copyright of Material World LLP.

Let’s make a commitment to our bodies right here, right now! In the Comments section below, complete this sentence: “I will stop worrying about the way my _______ looks.” I look forward to reading your answers. 🙂

 

Infographic produced by Material World using figures provided by Dove’s PR agency Ate Integrated Communications. This post is in neither paid for nor advised by Dove or Ate. All opinions are the author’s own.

 

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She says, “I will stop worrying about the way my jawline looks.” Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Gadgets & Toys, General, Lifestyle

[Infographic] Navigating The Material World App

Love the work we’ve been doing at Material World? This app makes it even easier to stay updated with the latest stories and newest contests we put up on this website. Download the Material World app on the App Store now. If you have any problems using it, or want to understand what this app does, check out the infographic below.

Click on this infographic to download the Material World app now!

Click on this infographic to download the Material World app now!

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Career, Entrepreneurship, Infographics, Self-Improvement, Skills & Workshops

[Infographic] Your Facebook Luck According To Your Star Sign – Deborah Tan

With 3.22 million people in Singapore using Facebook as their main social networking platform, it’s no surprise marketers and brand managers here continue to count on it as their primary social marketing tool. Do you manage your company’s or business’ Facebook Page? Is growing your Facebook fan numbers something you think about non-stop every day? Well, take a break and – just for the fun of it – check out our infographic below. According to your horoscope’s luck for 2014, here’s how – we think – you should be using Facebook this year to push your products and services. Enjoy!

Created by Deborah Tan/Material World

Created by Deborah Tan/Material World

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. She is on Facebook like … 18 hours a day! Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweet.

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[Infographic] When Is It A Good Time To Talk? – Deborah Tan

Often, couples, colleagues, and even friends, find it hard to talk to one another over matters that disturb them. Understandably, it’s a tricky and stressful situation to be in. So, today we have created a flowchart to help you decide whether you need to brace yourself for a serious talk and the best method to approach the matter.

We hope you’ll find this flowchart helpful! Enjoy!

AAA

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and prefers it when people just be upfront and open when it comes uncomfortable situations. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Infographics, Love, Marriage, Relationships

[Infographic] The Dirty On Cheating – Deborah Tan

I read an interesting news online the other day. It seems drivers of Audi are most likely to cheat on their partners. In fact, if you drive a German car, chances of you cheating on your partner seems rather high (see infographic below). Yikes! I drive a Volkswagen!!!!!

The topic of cheating comes up frequently in conversations with my friends. While it seems very clear-cut to most of us what cheating is, sometimes, it’s not at all very clear. For example, do you consider flirting on Facebook as cheating?

When I was single, I used to say No. Because for me then, cheating would have to be physical or emotional. Surely a playful comment or a flirtatious Like can’t hurt. But I found that my stance shifted when I got into a relationship. Overnight, flirting on Facebook was unacceptable. I won’t go as far as to say it is cheating but I don’t like it when other women leave “harmless” flirty double entendres on my boyfriend’s Facebook Wall. Call it marking your territory, call it whatever … I knew there and then that my generous definition of Facebook flirting did not include my boyfriend.

While the infographic below presents statistics curated from several sources, I think they are only a loose (no pun intended) representation of general sentiments. I’m interested in knowing what YOU in SINGAPORE feel about cheating. If you have cheated, or are cheating, on your partner/spouse, I’m interested to know your take on this matter. There is a 10-question survey I would like you to complete. It’s ANONYMOUS so you don’t have to fear that your identity is going to leak out.

If you can complete this survey, it would certainly help a lot of us understand the “cheating” scene in Singapore better. I’ll create another infographic to reflect these results in the future.

To take the survey, click here.

Meanwhile, enjoy this infographic:

cheating

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About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits … drives a Volkswagen, and thinks people who sext are really asking for trouble. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Gadgets & Toys, Lifestyle

Tech Roundup: Of Old-School Keypads, Taking Selfies, And The Mother Of All Gadgets – Tan Lili

Running a website means we Material Girls pretty much have to stay connected 24/7, so it’s no surprise that we love our gadgets. Check out some of the latest tech launches in town:

Sony portable chargerSony CP-F5 USB Portable Charger
Anguish, exasperation, horror, distress – yep, it’s that tangled ball of emotions that hits you the moment your smartphone runs out of juice. Instead of pulling what’s left of your hair out, plug your smartphone in to the new and improved USB portable charger by Sony, the CP-F5. Like its predecessor (CP-F1L), the CP-F5 sports an ultra-slim 9.4mm aluminium body. The difference? It has a battery capacity of 5,000mAh – a 40-percent improvement that makes it capable of fully charging a smartphone twice. The Sony CP-F5 USB Portable Charger, $69.90, will be available in black, blue, pink and red from August 2013 at all authorised Sony stores.

image001 (1)Nokia 301
Remember how you used to be able to type a message on your old mobile phone with your eyes closed? Kinda hard to do that on today’s touchscreen keypads without AutoCorrect changing your text to something even Lil’ Wayne wouldn’t understand. Well, here’s something perfect for hipsters and #FirstWorldProblem sufferers: the dual-SIM Nokia 301, which boasts the classic alphanumeric keypad of the old Nokia devices. It’s no smartphone but, for a feature phone, this sure packs a punch. It’s got a battery life of up to 39 days (when using the single SIM version on a 3G network, on standby); a step-by-step voice instruction that guides you through taking a self-portrait; built-in Facebook and Twitter apps; HD-voice ready tech that delivers great voice quality; and the dual-SIM function that allows you to easily switch between SIM cards. The Nokia 301, $149, is available in black and white, at Nokia stores, Nokia Solutions Partners and selected retailers.

Style: "シャープ80"Casio EXILIM EX-TR15 Digital Camera
I learned something about myself a few weeks ago when I had to send a self-portrait to a friend: I truly, positively suck at taking selfies. If you’re like me, you might appreciate the new EXILIM EX-TR15 by Casio. The shutter button of this ultra-slim 12-megapixel digital camera is located on its rotatable frame for easy shooting of self-portraits. It’s also got built-in wireless connectivity and a Live View mode so you can share your images or transfer them to your smartphone instantly. The EXILIM EX-TR15, price unavailable, is available in pink, white and black, at all major retailers.

lenovo-ideacentre-horizon-front-angle-viewLenovo IdeaCentre Horizon
You know that popular meme with Fry from Futurama exclaiming, “Shut up and take my money!”? I would insert that meme here … if I had the damned money. Not only is the 27-inch Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon the “World’s First Table PC for the Home”, it won 15 awards at this year’s CES 2013. This all-in-one desktop/gaming table/mirror/interactive serving platter/so much more has got a 10-point multi-touch ability that allows up to four people to use it simultaneously. Words won’t do this ingenuity justice; below, check out the infographic, done by Lenovo, on what the IdeaCentre Horizon could offer. The IdeaCentre Horizon, from $2,899, is available at Lenovo Exclusive Stores and all Courts outlets.

Lenovo IdeaCentre Horizon infographic

All opinions are the author’s own and this review is not paid for by any of the brands mentioned. You may read our advertising policy here.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. If you can’t already tell, she is quite a geek at heart too. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets

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Deborah Tan, Infographics, Opinions

[Infographic] The Biggest Misconception People Have About Writers – Deborah Tan

Pens are for hire at Material World

Pens are for hire at Material World

“Content? Who pays for content? Nobody pays for content!” said the person I was meeting for a “entrepreneur catch-up” session. My first reaction was to throw my glass of water in his face. Then, as he went on and on about how I can never become a successful businesswoman by selling words, I really wanted to break that drinking glass and use a broken shard to slit my wrist.

Monetising is THE word of the moment for anyone who wants to start a business. What is the product that’s going to be bringing you money? What is the service you are selling? Why should people pay for your stuff? While it’s easy to justify why people would pay good money for clothes bought in bulk in a South Korean fashion wholesale market, it’s not that simple to explain why people should pay me (and my team) for WORDS, for IDEAS, for simply sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day, stringing words together to make stories. After all, Uncle Google can point you to loads of FREE content, right?

Yeah, I admit: Content is everywhere. But it ain’t free, honey.

Because it’s everywhere, everyone takes it for granted. Like fresh air and clean water, no one really gives a hoot about these resources until they become precious and scarce. Turn on your tap and you can get water. But what if you were told tomorrow that all the glaciers in the world would melt, evaporate and disappear, and that the ONLY clean water in the world would lie in a lake in Mongolia? I’d give my last ice cube to bet that you wished you were living there.

Content only looks free.

Every content is worth something – how much depends on its quality and the “process” behind its creation.

You can’t sell your umbrella without someone writing about what your product is. You can’t sell it until someone writes why it is worth something. That line beneath the picture of your umbrella on your website telling people how much it costs? THAT IS CONTENT AS WELL. Content is the building block of every single business transaction in the world. You think you are reading this story for free? Wrong. I am only able to write it because (1) my Internet bills have been paid for (2) my time doing this has been “justified” by an assignment that came in late last night, and (3) I still have money in the bank.

The next time you think “content is worthless”, go to Google, type in something, and look in wonder at the massive industry behind all that content that now fills your computer screen. Yep, without content, Google’s got nothing to show you.

You may not pick my brains for free. Allow the infographic below to tell you why:

Infographic by Deborah Tan, Material World

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and wants to change the perception that writers don’t make good businesspeople. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Infographics, Love, Relationships

[Infographic] Too Fast, Too Furious – Tan Lili

It’s a recurring nightmare for some couples: He prays he wouldn’t come too quickly but he does anyway, leaving her hanging high and dry … and utterly dissatisfied.

But, first things first, how fast is too fast? While there isn’t a definitive answer to that, the general consensus of experts at the International Society for Sexual Medicine is that the ejaculation “always or nearly always occurs prior to or within about a minute”.

Now that that’s been established, it’s important to recognise premature ejaculation (PE) is a very common sexual problem in men – and, it doesn’t just occur among the younger, more inexperienced ones. In fact, a new survey showed one in three men in Asia Pacific experience some form of PE. The good news is, PE is a treatable condition. The bad news? Affected couples are avoiding the issue, it seems.

According to the survey, which can be found on www.controlpe.com, 44 percent of affected couples said PE caused them to grow apart. Even worse, 15 percent of men and 14 percent of women said PE could lead to a breakup or divorce. For partners of men with PE, 47 percent of them have never encouraged their men to seek treatment, while 60 percent of men with PE would only seek treatment if their partners talked about it.

There are several reasons why men and women are reluctant to seek help (see infographic below), including stigma and shame. Ladies, why throw away your shot at a happier, more satisfying relationship? It need not be a silent battle for him and for you. The best way to broach this delicate subject with him is to reassure him PE is a very common condition, and that you’re both in this together. Constantly remind him it’s not something to be ashamed of; treatments are readily available when he is ready to take the next step.

Sexual Behaviour and Satisfaction Survey_Infographic

The Asia-Pacific Sexual Behaviours and Satisfaction Survey was conducted by Kantar Health and commissioned by international pharmaceutical company Menarini. Over 3,500 men and women from Australia, China, Hong Kong South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand were surveyed. 

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets

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Beauty & Shopping, Hair, Infographics

[Infographic] Hair Is The Logic!?!? – Deborah Tan

Forgive the lame play on words here. But that was how I felt when I was sent the press release of Pantene’s new range of colour and perm care products a couple of weeks ago. The press release went on and on about a certain “F-layer” and I kept asking myself, “What is the F-layer??” When we got to the Liquid Crystal technology, I was like … “OK. Is this really crystal or we’re referring to something really sophisticated here?”

I could have just said it’s a haircare range that protects your colour and curls for a really long time. I could have simply rattled out the ingredients and paraphrased the press release. But being a haircare enthusiast, I couldn’t. I needed to know what is it about this colour and perm care range that makes it so special. After all, there are loads of shampoos and conditioners out there that promise to keep your freshly coloured tresses looking smooth, lustrous, and brown/blonde/red/ash/mahogany like … forever.

Thanks to epic levels of patience from the PR handling this brand, we managed to get a P&G hair care scientist Lais Koelle to clear up the fog for us. I hope this infographic can explain why Pantene’s Colour & Perm Lasting Care system is certain it can help keep your next colouring, or perm, job looking fresher for longer.

Infographic by Deborah Tan

I will always remember what my hairstylist told me about hair damage. “The more damaged your hair, the longer it takes to dry.” It now makes perfect sense why. Healthy hair is hydrophobic (water-repellant) and if your hair is healthy, you shouldn’t need to take forever to blow dry it. So, if you want your hair colour or curls to last longer, be sure to remember to repair the damage done to your hair after the treatments.

PS: If you really want to know … Liquid Crystal refers to an ingredient made of highly charged, cationic synthetic polymer (poly-DADMAC) to form lyotropic Liquid Crystals (LC) when combined with anionic surfactant (surfactant magnet). It’s still science-y but at least I have done away with images of melted Swarovskis coating my hair inside my head.

Information in the infographic was taken from the press releases of Pantene Colour & Perm Lasting Care and from the answers of Lais Koelle, Hair Care Scientist at P&G. Opinions about the efficacy of the product – if any – are the author’s own.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and her boyfriend wonders every day how her hair never falls out of place. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Body News, Health & Fitness, Infographics

[Infographic] Freezing of Eggs: Yay or Nay? – Vanessa Tai

Say you’re a 30-something single woman living in Singapore, and you’re looking forward to having kids but have yet to meet Mr Right. Would you opt to freeze your eggs for future use as a form of “safety net”?

Recently, the debate whether women in Singapore should be allowed to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons was rekindled. Despite the trend of Singaporean women choosing to marry later (and hence, have children later), social egg freezing is still illegal in Singapore.

In a recent study conducted by the Bioethics Legal Group for Reproductive Issues in Singapore (BELRIS), the majority of respondents were in favour of allowing women in Singapore have the choice of freezing her eggs for future use. The proponents believe that all women – single or married – should have autonomy over their bodies, especially when it comes to something as personal as reproduction. Interestingly though, only a handful of these supporters say they would opt for the procedure themselves as they were unsure of what exactly the procedure entailed. Those not in favour of legalising social egg freezing cited a variety of ethical, medical and social reasons against the procedure.

Whichever side of the fence you’re sitting on, this simple infographic will get you up to speed on the viewpoints of women in Singapore. Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section below!

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Source: BELRIS Survey Conducted to Evaluate the Position on Elective Oocyte Freezing in Singapore, 2013

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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Infographics, Love, Relationships

[Infographic] How Social Media Affects Your Chance At Love – Deborah Tan

Today, Lunch Actually released the results of a regional dating survey. The survey was done with 1,900 singles in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia, with 788 of these in Singapore. The most interesting discovery of this year’s survey is that more and more people are opening up to the idea of finding love online.

Fifty-one percent of the respondents in Singapore have tried online dating while more than 70 percent of them have admitted to checking out their potential dates online. Founder of Lunch Actually Violet Lim attributes this phenomenon to the pervasiveness of social media and smartphones.

To learn more about how social media can affect your chance at finding The One, check out our infographic below:

Love and social media

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day.

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Food News, Infographics, Lifestyle

[Infographic] Save The Sharks! – Tan Lili

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore, nine hotels and restaurants – including Fairmont Singapore, Resorts World Singapore and The Fullerton Hotel – have committed to protect the sharks by not serving shark fin soup. Supermarket giants NTUC FairPrice and Cold Storage have also removed all shark fin products from their shelves.

Even better: Just last month, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) agreed to ban international trade in five of the most endangered shark species around the world – the oceanic whitetip, the porbeagle, and three types of hammerhead sharks.

While that’s all fantastic news, there’s still a long way to go where shark conservation is concerned. Read on to find out why you should get involved too.

Save the Sharks

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

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