Monday, 9 June 2014

Are You Considering Plastic Surgery in South Korea?

 Warning: This post is honest, direct and can be quite confronting to some. Please only read if you are ready to hear a completely genuine post about the naked truth about Plastic Surgery, and a heart-to-heart about some deep stuff. Yeap.. it's deep. I warned you ;)

Hi musers,

Today I've been busy doing the usual blogger stuff - editing my videos, posting on Instagram, connecting with you over Twitter and Facebook, etc etc. Along the way, I came across many different bloggers from all walks of life and from various countries. All so beautiful, all so lovely.

Over dinner oppa and I were sharing a few things. I was sharing how I realised today how the trend of young people these days is changing so much, so quickly. Even a few years ago, when I was in high school, plastic surgery used to be taboo. Anyone who was rumoured to have gone under the knife was viewed as less respectable, and people were usually quite shocked. Being materialistic was not desirable, and those who embraced and preached this kind of lifestyle was viewed as a subject of criticism or sympathy.

In a matter of years, these things have all changed. Vanity is so glorified, outward appearance is almost worshiped, and having more equals being better. Well - at least in the online world of Instagram, Youtube and blogging. Now, plastic surgery isn't a big deal.. actually, it seems that it's a good deal, and the internet is brimming with bloggers who outline their plastic surgery 'adventures', where they got it done, how much it cost, and advertise how they feel it was so worth it. [Many don't realise but most of these bloggers are being paid/sponsored to do it and give positive reviews.] On top of this, the young viewers and readers view these things as a 'brave' act; an honourable thing for bearing the pains to become prettier, responding with awe, admiration and plans to follow in their footsteps.

I truly don't mean to be disrespectful. I understand everyone is different, and am a respecter of all people, cultures, values, decisions. But I am simply being honest. Whether it's because I'm old school or not, I was shocked to see these things. I'm only 25. Am I that old now? Am I the older generation that says, 'How can this be?' to the younger generation? Well let it be.. I don't really care. I need to say what needs to be said.

Before any of you ever think of having plastic surgery, or going under the knife to become more like a certain kpop star look or attain an anime/celebrity feature, have you seen some of the videos that really show what you will be going through?

Here are just a few. Watch it if you are brave.

Warning: Graphic/gruesome imagery. Watch upon own discretion.

South Korea, the Plastic Surgery Capital

I know there is an enormous market for plastic surgery in South Korea. People from all over the world come on 'beauty vacations' to get prettier and return to their lives with a completely different look. Every street in Korea has at least a few plastic surgeries. In the metropolitan city area of Seoul, it's to the point that there is a Plastic Surgery Clinic every few buildings. Sometimes even in every building. Sometimes, whole buildings just dedicated to Plastic Surgery (e.g. one level is for eyes, another for boobs, another for legs, you get it right?)

Going about my everyday life in Korea, I often see people walking around shopping and eating with their whole head taped in white bandaids. So I know for sure, not just through those statistics, but through experience, that it is so commonplace that no one even looks or stares anymore.

So it's no secret South Korea is known to be the Plastic Surgery capital. It's reknown to be a more trustworthy, safe and preferred option compared to places like Thailand where it's cheap but if you don't go to proper clinics, they can leave you scarred with many medical problems. But I just wanted to tell anyone, that as a Korean, we know that it ain't so safe here either. However, due to so many tourists willing to come to do this, it has pushed the market even more. There are hotels devoted for surgical recovery with other language-speaking nurses. Consequently, many, many places will do surgeries without the proper checkups, safe methods, and most doctors aren't even qualified to be doing some of the surgeries that, in other Western countries (where of course it will be much more expensive), would've required you to not only be a surgeon but also a dentist. The list goes on.

The service is amazing, the nurses take great care of you, they are careful etc.. Yes it might be true. But let me also tell you that it will probably just be on the surface. After care done by the gentle Korean ladies is just normal for anything in Korea. However, what really matters is the surgeon him/herself. Only they are the one qualified to be doing the cutting, sewing, sawing of bones, etc. Accidental permanent damage done to nerves that allow you to still feel your lips after having surgery? Just remember that these tiny but significant details lie completely in the hands of your surgeon.

And I emphasise - they may seem to care, but they really don't. All they want is your money and more success to their business. This is the reality. It may be even worse when they know that you are from another country and will be leaving afterwards. This is why some surgeons may become famous because they pay vulnerable, desperate girls to have the free plastic makeover - oftentimes celebrities - then make very effective ads, or even pay channels to have their surgeons recommended and featured on TV (like Let Me In).

Plastic surgery may be getting more and more 'normal', accepted and glorified around the world. But did you know there are a lot of people in South Korea who know this industry is a huge money-making scam? There are many who are aware that the PS industry takes advantage of the weak point of women - and men - who feel they are not beautiful, unworthy, unvalued, unloved, because of their looks, puts salt on the wounds by showing images of 'accepted beauty', then uses it to make a load of $. They take something that is hurt and break it even more, until these people are addicted to it. They come back for more. And of course, that's even better for the bank accounts of these businesses and semi-qualified surgeons. The Kpop and Kdrama industry work hand in hand with it to boost the economy and rake in more and more through the exploitation of perfectly beautiful, unique, precious people.

That was a raw, non-sugar-coated breakdown of the situation. I'm sorry if it was too much, too honest. If it is, don't worry - you can stop reading. But for those who are beginning to realise the reality, here's another bite.

The Hidden Stories

Although it's not boosted by mainstream media, there are shows and programs here in Korea devoted to bringing light to the situation. Usually all you hear about are success stories. But there are many - MANY - who have been through the horrors of surgeries-gone-wrong. These people usually keep it to themselves out of shame. But as I said, some channels and programs document these people's stories, their regrets, and even interview people with plastic surgery addictions, and share the real dangers of surgeries such as V-Line and zygoma reductions.

Some Korean celebrities have actually come out and been honest, sharing that they went under the knife but it didn't help them feel more beautiful at all.
신은경 is one of them. A famous Korean actress, Shin Eun-Kyung recently came out in the popular TV show Healing Camp, sharing many things, from her financial problems to plastic surgery. Since then, she has also come out and shared how she regrets doing the double-jaw surgery, which she thought would make her feel more feminine and beautiful. She said it made her feel more insecure, more worthless, and she wouldn't recommend the surgery to anyone unless it was for purely surgical purposes, as it was such a traumatic experience.

For those who aren't aware, this is the surgery that is shown in the videos above which is to take a square jaw and make it smaller/more pointy.

Another video shows how undertaking this surgery did not bring her the confidence she thought she would have after the procedure.

And yet another case, where this girl regrets doing the famous procedure that is advertised so broadly as a simple, common operation that will make you prettier and happier.

These are only a few examples for one procedure, which - may I add - has only been around for a few years. No one knows how it will affect your health as you grow older. Those who can share these details would probably want to hide any negative news that would deter people away from having plastic surgery anyway.

So that's why I am sharing this. Because I do.

I care.

And I want you girls to know that you should definitely not be persuaded into doing anything to your face because of anything you see in the media, whether it's a gorgeous celebrity or a successful blogger.

Who is anyone to tell you that you are ugly or beautiful?
And who will really care about you if your operation went wrong anyway? If you couldn't move your lips properly, or got a bad bite for the rest of your life, or couldn't eat without holding your lips together with your hands so your food wouldn't dribble out of your mouth? If you couldn't get justice or your money back from the surgeon who accidentally cut your nerve because they wouldn't admit it was their fault afterwards? Who would care?

The only person it would detriment is you. The only people who would really care is your family. And even then, they wouldn't be able to do anything to help you.

So why listen to anyone else who tells you you are not beautiful, that you should change this or change that? This is what I'm trying to say. You are listening to the wrong people.

The Truth is What Matters

There is only person I recommend you should listen to. This person speaks the truth. This person cares, is trustworthy, and knows you better than anyone else.

He is the One who made you, who created you, who designed your every feature. Who planned your life before you were born. The One who loves you and cares for you more than your parents, more than you even care about yourself. The One who calls you beautiful and lovely and precious and perfect. The One who says you are wonderful. The One who gave you the breath of life, and the One who can take that breath of life out at any moment.

Have you ever thought why a perfectly healthy person dies suddenly? Of old age? Even if they didn't have any health problems, didn't die from a heart attack or sickness. Just one day - they are gone. A peaceful death. People describe it as 'their time was up'.. but even doctors cannot explain what makes their life suddenly end. No one can put medical or scientific explanations to reason with this. Well, let me tell you what it is... God created you, gave you life, and can take it away at any moment. In fact, all your days are numbered in His book from even before you were born.

I'm not preaching because to me, this is not religion. It is the Truth. There is no other explanation for all the goodness in this world, for love, for the miracle of life that is here one moment and gone the next.

God loves you. He made you for a purpose. He designed you specifically as you are because He desired to. And He really cares about everything you do, what you feel, what you go through and every decision you make in life. It matters.

I want to tell you that you don't need to go through any surgical procedure to be more beautiful, desired or loved. You are perfect just the way you are! And I'm not saying perfect as in flawless - everyone has their bad days, their breakouts, their wonky or puffy eyelid mornings, but that's why makeup is there. And I want to just say that it's okay to have those bad days. It's part of being human! That's why I share techniques on how to use makeup to cover those dark circles and random pimples, or enhance your features to make you look brighter, more awake, sharper - it's all a part of expressing and projecting yourself in a creative and empowering way. But it's not permanent.. and it certainly does not change who you are, who you were born as, and who you were destined to be.

So when I said perfect, I meant something far more precious and valuable than a real life barbie. I meant original. Everything about you right now, makes you you. It makes you different from others, it makes you _______ (your name). Once you touch that original beauty, it won't be the same anymore.

You are absolutely, without a speck, without a doubt, perfectly, uniquely original and beautiful. You do not need to change anything except for the thoughts that you accept in your mind. Those thoughts that talk to you and tell you who you are.

Did you know? You can control what you think.
Don't let those thoughts rule you. Become the ruler of your thoughts.

Become the ruler of your thoughts.

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."
- Song of Songs 4:7

Your Turn Now

If you are still reading this, I want you to try doing this with me. Say aloud, "I am beautiful."

Did you say it? I want you to say it so you can hear it. So the air can hear it. You might feel crazy, but what is there to lose?


"I am beautiful. I am lovely. I am precious. I am unique. I am cherished. I am talented. I am worthy. I am loved. I am original.
I am ____________ (your name) and I will love myself, just as God made me to be."

I don't know who is reading this, and sometimes I have to write in faith because I don't actually see you guys reading. It can seem like I'm talking to myself. But I keep writing because I imagine who you are. Your life. Your past. Your future. Your face. Your smile.

And what I imagined while writing this post was a drop-dead gorgeous, stunning, lovable, beautiful person who was made to be who you are. A wonderful person that I could not find anywhere in this entire world again, even if I searched from the history of mankind to the end of the world, if that may come. Someone who is so precious that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die in your place, so that He can cover for all your flaws, mistakes and weaknesses so that you can know that He loves you so so so very much. If you ever decide to open your heart to God, you will realise that He is real - just as I realised long ago when I was in the jungles of Malaysia and I experienced a healing miracle in my uneven legs (details to come in my Draw My Life video). And you know what? I promise you will never regret it, because you will experience the most amazing peace in your heart that nothing can take away. Your life will be changed from that very moment. <3

I love you so much. You won't even know. I care about you enough to spend the past few hours writing up this post, heart aching for what you might be going through. But now I know that I've done what I can.. and ultimately the decision lies in your hands.

I hope no one has been offended by this post, but even if they do, I won't change my message because I know I've only spoken out of love and care. I do not judge anyone who has already gone under the knife. It is your life - I completely understand. But speaking from the role of a close sister, I want this message to be shared to those who might need it. Those who might not have another perspective on this important topic for this current generation, since most of the messages are being heard from those who are only advertising for the industry. Please join me in sharing my message with others around you too.

Love, Jen.

Read my other post on Plastic Surgery and True Beauty here.