Mr Urban Homme Icon says, “Great responsibilities means a greater need to take good care of ourselves.”
We are all superheroes. Especially when we live in an urban environment where the demands of city life are many. Boss, employee, teacher, student, parent, child, reader, blogger… we play many different roles and slip from one role to another faster than Superman can emerge from a turnstile or phone-booth. We have to fight the many minions that our urban roles bring, and true victory is achieved when we can give those necessary evils a good wham-bam and still come out of them looking like (insert name of person you think looks really good).
Urban living heightens the focus on our appearance. We live in high density areas with close proximity to people whether real or online. As it takes between 5 – 15 seconds for first impressions to be made about us with the most part that influence the opinions coming from our physical image, good personal grooming could determine if we get that job, sale, or a hot date! Looks are not everything, but it’s the first thing people know us by.
Compared to a rural dweller that lives in smaller communities and faces mainly cows, chickens, ducks and green, green grass, he/she is the boss of them. So long as there’s feed in hand, the animals are not going to form an opinion about the master of their universe.
Talking about superheroes, do you recall any of them ever looking bad while saving the world? I bet Clark Kent gives himself laser face and body treatments through the red rays he shoots out of his eyes, while there’s a reason as to why Wonder Woman does all that spinning around to transform. It helps her burn cellulite and stay in shape. As for Batman and Robin, they are probably engaged in some perfectly normal and healthy activities that at the same time, generate enough latex to make batty’s body suits.
Superheroes are Made
Like everyone, I’m an urban superhero. We may not be the kind of hero that saves the world on a grand scale, but we make a difference to our own lives, and the world of people close to us. And about a week ago, on 11 Nov 2010, I was given a new superpower (role)… that of being an icon of the urban male! I wasn’t born with this destiny, I was made.
If you’ve read my series of Urban Homme blog entries, you would know how very little I cared about image and self-presentation, which led to my losing battle with age as evident in the grey-suited me below…
Many friends expressed disbelief that I had a tummy and could look like that. They assumed that the ‘before’ photo was taken by the organisers and the problems exaggerated by Photoshop. In a way, I felt many of my friends weren’t qualified to make such an assumption because they hardly see me in person.
My waistline did balloon to that bulge and the photo was taken by my personal compact camera. Except for adjusting the brightness and colour, no digital retouching was done to make anything better, or worse.
I wasn’t aware that Urban Homme created a standee using my personal photo. When the standees of all six of us first arrived at the event venue and were lying on the floor, I thought they were made from photos of our ‘after’ photoshoot at The Studio. So you can imagine my horror when I saw that grey monster! My standee was the most revolting compared to the rest of the guys’.
But it was all done in good spirit. Since I’ve already posted that pic in a previous entry where it’s there for the world to see, what more image damage can this standee do? Since I can’t ‘fight’ the choice of photo, I might as well join in the fun! Posing with mky standee, I’m redefining what it means by self-love. LOL
Happenings During the Urban Homme Icon Challenge Finals
First of all, my deepest appreciation to everyone who voted for me. I thought I wouldn’t have many votes since I missed out on a Mary Chia ‘live’ roadshow to canvass for votes (Urban Homme is the male face and body care subsidiary of Mary Chia, a household name in Singapore for female personal care and slimming services).
Moreover, even though I have more than 3,800 friends in my Facebook friends’ list, only about 2% are active in leaving me comments on wall posts and photo comments and an even lesser percentage heeds my calls for support. If you’re reading this blog post as a result of clicking on my link posted on Facebook, thank you for being an active member in my community of friends and online acquaintances.
And if you may be convinced further to take action, please support my future calls for votes because it does matter! I scored the second highest in terms of online votes for this challenge. Thank you! (Please vote for my LG Life’s Good Ambassador Challenge next. Click here to vote!)
The night’s events went on smoothly with quite some exciting segments where the finalists got to interact with the audience. I was a bunch of nerves that night with butterflies in my stomach having a rave party. No matter how I could describe about the way I felt that night, they would all be understatements. But thank God for the host – famous creative personality, Danny Yeo (杨君伟).
His hosting skills were superb and if not for his quick wit and sharp humour, my stage segment would’ve been a bigger mess than it was. No wonder he won the Most Creative DJ at the Golden Mike Awards in 2000. For the life of me, I could never get my tongue loose whenever I need to talk about myself in front of an audience or camera. If only I have the telepathic powers of Professor X from the X-Men. Then I can transmit my miles of thoughts instead of letting my mouth run after them.
The Night’s Big Surprises
My biggest surprise was seeing the number of friends who came to support me. I never like to personally ask friends to come because I would be placing a responsibility on them to show up or put them in a spot where they would feel bad if they reject. But the truth is, at an event like this, nothing feels better than seeing familiar faces and see them cheering for you downstage.
I felt like a winner already when I heard whistles and catcalls each time my name was called. My parents even brought noise makers and whistles to make a racket! Their spontaneity and love are so precious and priceless.
And of course, winning the challenge also came as a huge surprise for me. I had actually prepared three reasons why the judges should choose me as the winner but I didn’t get to share them. Good thing too, I do better at thinking rather than speaking out ‘live’ what I think! Anyway, here are the reasons :
1. I need more treatments. Throughout the whole blogging process about the month-long treatments I received, I usually write into the wee hours of night. My blogs are usually completed or posted at around 3:00 am. I slept very little in the past 3 weeks. Moreover, the amount of detailed information I put into those entries didn’t come from me relaxing during treatments, but to constantly think about what I want to share and ask Lyn for answers. Even with a mask over my face, it didn’t shut me up. So I need more treatments to truly enjoy them.
2. I need the prize money to buy new jeans. I lost about 2.5 inches off my torso in the preceding weeks and now my old jeans don’t fit.
3. I want to be an inspiration. If the like of me can be considered a well-groomed, polished, confident urban man, then there’s hope for all guys in the world to achieve positive image changes. I started the challenge wondering if I can turn from being a frog into a prince. I set out to achieve the best in me. And I did. So could everyone.
One of the highlights of the night for me was meeting Mdm Mary Chia in person. Her success is a rags-to-riches story, a true 白手起家业者. The magnate of Singapore’s beauty industry started out as a one-woman show going from home-to-home during the 1970s to provide facial services.
When she saved up enough, she opened her first salon that led to a chain of salons in HDB heartlands in the 1980s. Then bringing in results-proven slimming technologies from Japan in the 1990s and partnering with her daughter Wendy Ho, the spa chain has expanded regionally with plans to go global.
Even though I met Mdm Chia for only a very brief moment, the magnate of Singapore’s spa industry came across as being warm and down-to-earth. She never revealed her age to the media, but an approximation is that the grandmother should be in her late 60s to early 70s. Look at her, does she look even a day past 50? Whatever anti-aging stuff she’s doing, they must be working!
Personally, I’ve experienced the face and body treatments and they work. I’ve been watching my diet and gymming for the longest time but my middle-age spare tire showed no signs of retreating. The body sculpting treatments burned off more fat than my sit-ups and crunches. But of course, in order to get great abs quickly and safely, I also cut my carbo intake and increased my cardio output in the gym. Combined with the treatments, I lost the inches in half the time.
With winning, comes responsibilities. My transformation journey doesn’t end with being named Urban Homme Icon. The challenge to reverse the signs of aging is an ongoing challenge. Maintaining the results I’ve gotten will require superhuman willpower. And I don’t want to maintain, I want to keep getting better. Thanks to Urban Homme for the Icon Challenge that gave six ordinary guys an opportunity to reveal the best in us.
As the reigning Urban Homme Icon, I take it as my duty to share with you my journey in skincare for men… to experience first-hand body shaping technologies and give you a detailed account… to dive into the science behind ingredients used in products… to understand more about what causes the problems on our face and body and blog about them… so as to empower us guys with knowledge to make informed choices about personal care… to bring about the right for guys to have facials and slimming treatments… and with greater complexion, tighter abs and higher self-confidence… to be a force for goodness throughout humanity… and bring about WORLD… PEACE!!
Here’s wishing you every success in achieving positive growth and change!