When China gets Tampons

If you haven’t heard, one of the big side stories of the Olympics is how Chinese swimmer Fu Yuanhui came out and told people she was on her period during her race. Chinese women  generally don’t use tampons like we do in the UK and USA. Chinese medicine and tradition also advises women to abstain from eating certain foods, drinking cold drinks, eating ice cream and even paddling in the sea, let alone go swimming or enter an Olympic swimming race whilst on their period. Weibo has gone wild, with people asking all sorts of questions about how she did it. Well, she swam with a tampon in.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent an article to my friend about a Chinese entrepreneur who is launching the first domestic tampon brand. Foreign brands have tried, but it’s never really caught on. If last month you googled ‘tampons in China’, you’d probably only find expat blogs telling you to stockpile before you go, or some people telling you where you can find them, but little else, now the world has pricked up it’s ears and noticed this phenomena.

What I’m concerned about is the misuse of tampons. In some places in China, there are still photos glued to public toilet cubicles showing people how to (and how not to) use a ‘western toilet’ (not the squat type).

I can imagine some people placing them in wrong places, reusing them, leaving them in too long, going to the hospital to have them removed, trying to use two at a time, not removing the applicator, cutting off the string and all other sorts of damage and things NOT to do with a tampon. I’m also worried that other brands will develop different flavours of tampons, as they did with sanitary towels, dotted with a few drops of nice smelling fragrance is ok, but the mint ones? They are just wrong and awfully uncomfortable, even painful in my experience!

I really hope the brands that are producing tampons for China create good leaflets and campaigns telling people how to use them properly. Because if people don’t know how to or are uncomfortable using them now, they will just revert back to the 40cm pads. They will in turn never teach their children about correct tampon use and that will be it until the next person comes along and tries to win over a nation.

Now is China’s time to embrace a new product that will, in my opinion, benefit women who use it. When tampons are released, I hope the adverts do the product justice and are informative without losing that Chinese corny cute style like this one with the cute animated rabbits…(omg 42cm!!!)

 

And I had to include this video, advertising basically a nappy for women on their periods…what shocked me was probably the amount of men in the advert, not the fact that they all have sanitary towels on their heads!

Diana

Lady Di, Lady Diana, Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, however you know her, she is most certainly a well-known world figure. Maybe the younger generation don’t know much about her legacy, but she remains to be an important figure in British history.

I never really knew how much of an impact on the world Diana had until recently. I was waiting on a train platform, and two middle aged women were standing nearby, when I told them I was English, the first thing they mentioned was Lady Diana. They said how much they adored her beauty, charm and grace. It was interesting for me, because I’ve never heard anyone talk about Diana in China. Sure, people ask me how British people view the Queen and the royals, but never has anybody talked to me about Diana.

She then continued to ask me about Camilla, because she ‘can’t stand’ Camilla and said that anybody who liked Diana will surely take a natural disliking to Camilla. And Kate…Kate is nice, but not as nice as Diana, and Kate is too skinny.

Also, there is a waxwork figure of Diana in the Madame Tussauds museum in Shanghai. DSCN7813

When I was in Chile a few years ago, I met another big Diana fan, she said when Diana died, she cried for three days straight, so I asked the Chinese ladies if they cried too, they said they were very upset, but neither confirmed nor denied crying.

I was only a small girl when Diana died, so I don’t know much about her, I remember knowing she was a royal princess, but didn’t know an awful lot about her. I remember seeing the news clips though, saying how she’d been in a bad accident and died. A few years later, some people said the Queen killed her off and it was all planned, but those documents would never be released to the public.

Now I’m older and I’ve read some more information about the work that Diana did, and some things about her personal life, but it’s hard for me to understand why she was and still is so loved by these worldwide Diana fans. I’m not denying her beauty, grace or other great attributes, it just seems odd for me that she could be so famous in countries she never visited, countries that are not former British colonies and countries that aren’t in the Commonwealth.

Maybe the British Royal Family just inherently has this type of power, concerning princesses. We see now that whenever Kate wears a dress from a high-street store, it sells out in under ten minutes. She is a fashion icon and people flood to see her when she is on royal visits.

But why hasn’t Camilla attracted the same attention and praise as Diana or Kate? Is it because this is her second marriage, do people blame her for Charles and Diana’s divorce, is she too old to fit the public’s image of a ‘princess’? There are so many questions I have, but I think whoever I ask will tell me a different answer.

Peer Pressure

When I hear the words ‘peer pressure’, it immediately takes me back to secondary school and being told not to give in to peer pressure from older students trying to get us to take drugs or alcohol, those kinds of things. But in reality, I never experienced any type of (direct) peer pressure in school. Quite the opposite, now I’ve grown up, I’m experiencing more peer pressure than ever.

I think peer pressure has been thrown together with words like ‘bullying, alcohol, drugs, smoking’ etc for too long, and in reality, your peers can pressure you into doing a lot of things.

Food : I took part in Veganuary and it was pretty difficult to follow it through anyway, since I am living in a country that doesn’t have much awareness of veganism, but also because of the influence of my friends. If we went out to eat, as in China you share the dishes you order, there was always meat on the table, and I would be encouraged to eat. I told my friends I didn’t want to, because I was taking part in Veganuary, but it wasn’t really accepted.

Alcohol : After I was ill in Chongqing and as part of my half-marathon preparations, I stopped drinking alcohol. I still went to the bar to hang out with my friends, but I would constantly be asked “why are you not drinking?”, “where’s your drink?”.

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Embracing the new me

I guess the only reasoning behind them not accepting my decisions to not eat meat or drink alcohol is that I used to eat meat and I used to drink alcohol before, so surely I can do it again. Unlike because I’ve never smoked, if they offered me a cigarette, they’d know and accept my refusal.

But that way of thinking is totally wrong. People are constantly changing, and we change our minds about things every single day. The closest people around us should respect our decisions, even if they are the exact opposite from what we did yesterday.

I just wish that when I went out, people didn’t try to force me to eat meat, or drink alcohol in the same way that nobody forces me to take drugs or smoke. “Just one bite”, “just one beer” etc shouldn’t be used to try and persuade people to do things they don’t want to do, especially if they’re your friend and they’ve told you the reason why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Just because somebody used to do something, it doesn’t mean they will continue to love and enjoy doing that thing forever. Things happen, people change, so don’t try to force people to change back to their old self if they are busy embracing the new them.

Take a glimpse…

or a glance, a peek or a quick look.

That was one of my thoughts when cycling through the Devonshire countryside today. I saw so many landscapes of beautiful hills with cows, hay bales, cottages, sheep. You name it, is was there, complete with an array of different colours – green shrubs, trees and grass, blues and whites in the sky and browns of the cottages and houses I passed along the roadside.

Dartmoor national park (Devon)

But, as I was cycling (and mid-race), there was no opportunity for me to stop and take a picture of the scenes I saw. So instead, I’m left with the glimpses, the glances, the peeks and the quick looks of the Devonshire countryside instead of the eternal photos. There are some visions that I can recreate quite well, but I’m unsure if I 100% remember them, or whether it’s my subconscious mind filling in the missing pieces of the things I actually saw and remember.

Maybe we don’t need photos, which last forever and get retouched, edited or deleted over time. Maybe the glimpses we get of panoramas or people are enough…

Emojis We Need

Whatsapp, Facebook messenger and other social media platforms offer us various packages of emojis/emoticons (I’m not sure what the difference is) to add to our messages. I frequently use them on Whatsapp, but feel that there are some emojis that are missing and would enhance my messages if they were available:

  • A lion
    Hehe

    My name means lioness and there have been several times when I’ve wanted to put a lion on my messages, but there isn’t one to be found. Sure there are cats, tigers and cheetahs, but surely the lion is the most majestic of them all? Disney made a movie about them.

 

  • Fingers crossed 

    Have you ever received a message from a friend saying “hope XXX went ok” and all you need to say back to them is “fingers crossed”? Wouldn’t it be much easier if there was an emoji for that? Just one little symbol which your friend will understand rather than having to type out two whole words.

 

  • It wasn’t me 

    You know how sometimes maybe you let a friend’s secret slip, or you forget to do something. There should be an oops, it wasn’t me type face.

  • Eye roll
    Or are you eye rolling at this post?

    Whether you’re talking about an annoying sibling, a person or situation, sometimes you just need an eye rolling emoji to communicate that feeling with your friends, am I right?

 

 

Do you think there are any other emojis that Whatsapp or other messenger services have missed out? Comment below!

Boots Boycott

At university, maybe once a week or two, instead of taking my own sandwiches, I’d get a Boots meal deal on campus. You know the drill, you get a sandwich/wrap/pasta dish, snack and a drink for £3.29, or £2.99 if you have a 30p off voucher. They have a good range of sandwiches and when you get points on your Boots card, what’s not to like?

Well I found a slight problem.

Boots meal deal

It’s the chicken.

I haven’t had a bad piece of chicken in any sandwich I’ve had from Boots, it’s more about where the chicken comes from. A few months ago I started to become more aware of where the food we buy comes from, and made a more conscious effort to buy British where possible. It struck me as strange that I will only buy fresh uncooked British chicken in the supermarket, but I’ve never stopped to look at other types of chicken I eat, such as in pre-made sandwiches. So one day, I looked all over the sandwich box for confirmation that the chicken was British.

I saw no British flag, nor any other information as to where the chicken came from, so I emailed customer services to find out. Their response is below.

I have investigated this with our Product Team and I can confirm that for Boots sandwiches and salads we source chicken from Britain, Europe and Thailand.

This means that the chicken I was eating could have come from as far away as Thailand. I understand that the farms they buy from will have met welfare and safety standards, but I think that importing chicken (an animal we have plenty of here in the UK) is ridiculous. I read a book called If The World Were A Village, which outlines that if the whole world was condensed into a village of 100 people, there would be 189 chickens. Meaning there are billions of these creatures on the planet, and hundreds of thousands here in the UK, too.

I think many consumers may assume that the chicken in their sandwiches is British. Some retailers are committed to sourcing British and local ingredients, but Boots isn’t one of them. So I am now boycotting Boots sandwiches and meal deals until I see that the chicken and pork used are British.

Where does your chicken come from?

Issues that matter

At university, there always seems to be somebody or entity complaining about something, whether it’s student activist societies, student led forums for discussing teaching issues or just individuals wanting to get more for their money or a higher coursework mark. These issues all seem very important when you’re in university and I myself have fallen into the university bubble that enveloped and consumed me when I received a low mark for a piece of coursework, bringing down my average dramatically and increasing the pressure for me to do well in other assessments. However, these past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for my Spanish oral exam which will be next week, and the task is to prepare presentations on five topics. Today I’m going to write about my Spanish oral topics and why these issues matter so much more in the grand scheme of things, over exam stress.

Poverty in the world

I’ve chosen to speak about food poverty in the UK as the amount of people relying on food banks in the UK is dramatically rising. My presentation is based on a paper produced by Oxfam, Church Action on Poverty and The Trussell Trust, called Below the breadline: The relentless rise of food poverty in Britain. It gives testimonies of those living in food poverty (when people don’t have the ability to afford food for a healthy diet) and reports figures about unequal wealth distribution in the UK and food banks. It’s a really interesting report that highlights an issue many of us never consider as being a problem. Although some of us donate to food banks, the food accepted by charities is tinned, long-lasting foods such as pasta, tuna, rice and cereals. Fresh fruit and vegetables are never accepted and as many fruits and veg are imported from other countries, people living in food poverty can’t afford it and their diet is affected by this.

Globalization

Globalization is the exchange of products, ideas or cultural aspects between countries and I have decided to look at the new trend in China for European finishing schools. Based on an article Western manners: The latest Chinese status symbol, in this presentation I look at how a Chinese woman, who attended an etiquette school in Switzerland has opened one in Beijing, offering courses on peeling fruit with cutlery and posing with elegance. What shocks me most about this isn’t the ridiculous prices of the school and the founder’s ambition for it to be accessible to all Chinese people, it’s the fact that Chinese people are prepared to study the customs and etiquette which derived in Switzerland. Funny enough, in Switzerland, due to the rise in feminism and changing views on gender roles, these schools are actually shutting down because they’re deemed old-fashioned.

Chinese people studying Western manners

Violence

Keeping to the China theme, I have been reading about Chinese death-row prisoners and executions. More specifically, China has a number of specially built Mobile ‘death vans’ which they use to execute prisoners in, via lethal injection. After this process is finished, doctors extract the organs from the prisoners (without permission) and sell them through hospitals. I have read other information about organ harvesting in China which is chilling, to say the least.

Studying these, amongst other, topics over the past few weeks has been eye-opening, shocking and distressing in some cases where I read more than I should have. However, the task has helped me to prioritise the issues in my life and appreciate the life I lead. I’m all for student activism, as many campaigns run do get listened to, but it puts complaining about a grade and worrying about an exam into perspective as I now know that hundreds of thousands on children in my country are going hungry each day and some corrupt Chinese officers are unjustly sentencing people to death as a means to obtain organs, which are of high demand in a country where there is no mentality or history of voluntary organ donation.

When my world changed

Do you remember the time when your world changed? When your innocence was lost and the reality of the big bad world we live in hit you?

I can remember watching the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as an 8 year old, I thought that the world could not get any better than this. They were the games where we all watched the young Ian Thorpe in awe with his size 17 feet. We also saw the first Aboriginal gold medallist, Cathy Freeman taking glory in the 400m in her legendary suit.

Cathy Freeman

I saw athletes of many disciplines competing for their countries and themselves and it was probably the first time I watched sport of such a high level. The way in which every athlete competed for their country was outstanding but even more amazing for me was the fact that this sporting event was uniting the world. I remember wondering how many other people were watching these races and I probably underestimated it a lot as a small child.

But the following year, an incident would happen that would set the wheels in motion for a dramatic change in my life and an opening of my eyes. 9/11. I remember being at school as a year 5 pupil and my teacher Mrs Smith sitting the whole class down. I remember her telling us that something very important had happened in America. I got home and saw the videos on the news of the plane crashes that have stuck with me ever since. The images of the falling towers are almost engraved in my mind and it was the beginning of a time of my life when I would start to question the world I lived in.

From that moment on, it seemed that the subjects I studied in school also started to change. Before we learnt how elephant was spelt with a -ph and not an -f and now we were learning how these creatures are at risk of extinction due to ivory poachers. I had studied diverse eco-systems such as rainforests and oceans, full of mysterious animals and climates, yet now I was being taught that these eco-systems were also at risk as the effects of global warming were coming to light. I was always a good reader as a child and loved getting into a book, but during the last two years of primary school, the books I read also changed from my favourite series of Sophie books by Dick King-Smith, about a young girl born on Christmas Day with dreams to become a lady farmer, to the more grown up pre-teen Jacqueline Wilson stories which had much more deep themes such as divorce (The Suitcase Kid), the foster system (The Story of Tracy Beaker), manic depression (The Illustrated Mum) and even child mortality (Vicky Angel). 

I think I looked like her, just a little less grubby.

Books, for me, were and still are a great escape from the real world, and I am so glad that Jacqueline Wilson wrote so many books on so many subjects that affect children not only in the UK, but across the whole world. Putting these stories, with children at the heart of them, are a great way to introduce difficult themes into a young person’s world and I know that if I have children I will definitely encourage them to read the Wilson books.

This immersion into more grown up books tied in with the events of 9/11 and my greater awareness of news changed my view of the world dramatically. The following year, in 2002, there was the murders of Holly and Jessica. I never met these girls, but they were the same age as me and that picture of them in their matching Manchester United t-shirts will also stay with me forever. I didn’t fully understand what had happened at the time but as I grew older and learnt more about the horrible events that happened to these two ten year olds I started to seriously question the world I lived in.

This is the problem with knowledge. When you know too much it can affect your decisions and outlook on life. Certainly, for me, over the past year I have read more ‘proper’ articles by The Guardian than ever before. It’s very easy as a student to only keep up to date with ‘news’ posted on websites such as Buzzfeed but I have realised the importance of making myself aware of the world I live in. After reading these more serious articles, I have come to see that the world is full of monstrosities and it is very difficult for me to describe the inhabitants of the earth ‘civilised beings’. I don’t wish to name the subjects I have read up on, but the things that people do to each other are truly disgusting and we are still so far away from this ‘civilised’ term.

I feel that I am part of a spoilt generation of people. I grew up with the internet and have seen it grow and develop in ways I never thought possible. We have everything available at our fingertips and with the amount of apps and GB on our phones expanding every month, who knows what we’ll be using our smartphones for at Christmas.

Sometimes I wish I could return to Sydney Olympics of the year 2000. Everything seemed so simple and perfect, I loved the world I lived in and had great dreams and aspirations. Yet, here I am. There are times when I absolutely loathe this world. Things that I read which make my blood curl and the hairs on my neck stick up. But even so, I have learnt to love this imperfect world I live in and make the most of every day.