updated 15 Mar 2012, 13:14
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Thu, Mar 15, 2012
The New Paper
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Liberating to not wear make-up
by Benita Aw Yeong

It's tough being a woman in Singapore today. In the spirit of International Women's Day, celebrated on March 8, Benita Aw Yeong talks to three very different Singaporean women.

Marla Lise, 28

She left Singapore at the tender age of 16 to study in Perth, Australia, and returned to Singapore only five years ago after getting a bachelor's degree in animal science.

After a master's degree in environmental science, Miss Lise held jobs as a junior scientist and manager at a pharmaceutical company and the National Parks Board.

She is living on her savings and money borrowed from her parents while travelling in South America.

My typical day is...

Currently, I'm travelling around South America alone to see the country, learn more about myself and also gain work experience through voluntary work at various non-governmental organisations.

At what age did you feel most comfortable in your own skin?

I think I've always been able to accept who I am. But the turning point was when I turned 26.

I realised that there was a lot more to life than working in a job I didn't like or partying every weekend. There were a lot more things I needed to accomplish for myself.

What is one stereotype people have about women which irritates you?

Many people, including women, are scared to do things alone. They always need a crutch - either a partner, family or friends.

People also have weird views about women with tattoos, which I have a lot of.

People with tattoos are portrayed as gangsters or school dropouts or people with no ambition, goals or a future.

What is one make-up item or beauty treatment you can't live without?

It's been pretty liberating to go without make-up for almost two months. It's sad that many women think they can't be beautiful without make-up.

A lot of my male friends tell me that the girls they date are the most beautiful in the mornings when they don't have any make-up on.

Cooking is for women, do you agree? Can you cook?

I think cooking is a way to show someone that you are making an effort for them.

I can't really cook very well but I don't get complaints from people I cook for.

What is one rule all women should live by?

Live to be happy.

Unless you're happy, it's hard to make anyone else in your life happy too.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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