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Malaysian Alien


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Friday, September 14, 2007
Day 14: Riding On The Monster’s Back

It occurred to me some time ago that I might be addicted to shopping. While it is true that all girls love to shop (give and take one or two), I am reasonably sure that not many girls have the amount of stuff I have. Snails and slugs leave yucky goo trails but I leave a trail of clothes, shoes, bags, cosmetics, accessories, never been worn clothes and unopened packages from my parents home right up to my own home.

So yeah, I concluded that I might be addicted to the rush of shopping a few weeks ago. As with all forms of addiction, shopping addiction more often than not is a sign of a hidden emotional issue. I don’t know. Take your pick. It could be all the arguments my parents had in front of me. Might be the time my mother spat at my dad and spewed Hokkien words that I never knew she knew.

Or perhaps the time when my mother grabbed her bottom bits ala Michael Jackson and asked my dad to screw himself (also in Hokkien). Come to think of it, it’s funny. My family speaks English at home, English being my mother tongue, intertwined with Bahasa Malaysia, so I do not know where my mother learnt all the Hokkien swear words that even I have trouble understanding. It could be the language my parents spoke before any of their kids were born.

Maybe my addiction was birthed out of lack during my teenage years. Can you believe that I did not own a pair of jeans until I started working? My mother sent me to the tailor for pretty dresses, which I wore all through high school. It does not take a mathematician to figure out why I was not the hippest or most happening girl in school. Floral dress in a walking plank is never going to be fashionable anytime soon.


Like all other important things in life, my shopping addiction happened by chance. It started small – just a little gift for myself when I felt frustrated or angry. Sometimes I reward myself with a ‘Oh Otto, you are so hardworking!’ pressie. Soon the gift boxes grew bigger and more frequent. There is no emotional patch better than an Aldo shoe box or three pairs of Levis in different shades or a spanking low cut top to show my best assets on weekends.

It was like magic. Such an adrenaline rush it was. Whatever your heart desires, Otto, whatever. You can be whoever you want to be and you can have all that you ever dream of. The feeling was magical, almost as if I was in love again. The exception being, I was not falling in love with a person. I was maxing out my card instead of making out with someone like Daniel Craig.

This butterflies in tummy feeling extends more than just clothes and shoes. It presents itself in various forms – buying cards for friends who never appreciate it to buying books that took my fancy. Good news is I got rid of those friends and I read most of the books. At least those sprees brought about some measure of happiness and knowledge. I was never the Sweet Valley High sort of girl. I am a geek in this sense. I only read serious stuff, so I always had pieces of conversations ready for most folks.

Except for the baby in the blender thing.


'What baby in the blender?’ you asked.

My friend’s trademark joke was this question, “So what’s cute and red all over?”. It always got the crowd going and questioning. When no one could figure the answer, she would say, “Baby in the blender with razor blades” and snorts.

I don’t get it but apparently it is a popular joke. Everyone laughed.


I knew that I needed help the day I came home with a packet of sugar. Feeling blue about I do not know what that day, I drove out to Jusco and bought a packet of sugar. It gave me the rush that I needed. It was the literal sugar rush. I was so excited and ecstatic. And I knew I was in trouble.

As months turned into years, the shopping budget grew. It had to. It had too, isn’t it? I mean, it is innate for us to crave for more. So what started of as innocent monthly purchases turned into an economy that sustains at least 2 boutiques and another 2 jewellery stores.

For example, I ventured from cheap silver accessories to designer silver pieces from Europe. It started as plain geometric pieces, which then turned into intricate pieces from The Pilgrim, for example. True to fashion, my fashion changed to reflect my inner thoughts and emotions. And jewellery has taken a new defintion - gold, pearls and diamonds. I bought approximately RM10,000 of accessories in the past 37 weeks alone, which some of you might diss as "not that much lah".

I once heard a guy said that he spent that much buying Adidas shoes. I bet he would regret the purchase when he turns 50. RM10k is a good sum for business start-ups and the boring downpayment for a house (which in investment terms, will be the greatest investment in your life). Yes, I know. I am talking in grown up terms. I am nearly weeping.


Dear child, what sort of trauma you have gone through to be severely addicted to shopping? I do not have the answer then and I still do not have the answer now. But at least I am willing to admit that I have a problem and that I cannot resolve it by buying a little present for myself.

It is obvious that you feel excited and happy whenever you receive something new. It’s like Christmas, isn’t it? You experience unlimited happiness and everything feels bright. A new present, whether given or bought, offers you a sense of hope that things will get better. No matter how small the present you bought yourself, it is a reminder that everything can be changed and renewed.

But let's admit it. It is false medication.


I promised myself that September is going to be the month that I do not buy myself anything. It is self-empowerment of some sort, I think. I do not have a problem if I admit it (which is a borrowed philosophy from dear Uncle JF aka Unagi) and it will not be an addiction if I can control it. So September is going to be a self-cleansing month. A month of thoughtful consideration for the fallen compatriots, those who maxed out on their plastics and maxed out on life, with no U turns in sight. September will be the month to give to the less fortunate, count my blessings and spend responsibly.


It is Day 14 and here I am trying to control myself, knowing when my urges peak and consciously telling myself that I cannot buy anything to make my stress go away. It is an illusion. My stress merely took the afternoon off, never truly leaving me at all. Therefore I am better off trying to fix my problem and curb my spending.

My hands were shaking this morning when I started writing this. You cannot believe the excuses that an addict can cough up to justify all her bad habit.

You look like a middle age aunty. What you need is some new blouses to jazz up your wardrobe. Your black shoes look dull. You should buy a new pair. Oh come on, Otto. It is just a short peek into Zara. You don’t have to buy anything. Let’s just do some window-shopping. Go on, just run your fingers through the racks and feel all the colours and textures.

It is the weekend, girl. Chill out. Buy yourself a little something to celebrate what a great week this has been for you. Go on, treat yourself a little. You have not bought tight little top in such a long time. You have to keep yourself high on the ladder, remember? And you aren’t going to be there for long, if you let this slip. You only put your best foot forward and honey, it is never cheap.

It is Day 14 and I will not buy anything unnecessary. I will not buy any more clothes. I have enough to open Salvation Army Store. I do not need any new shoes. The 32 pairs I have in my wardrobe are still in near mint conditions. No, I do not need a new haircut or colour or treatment. I do not need a new leather bag when my old bag is only a month old.

Otto, you do not need anything. All you need is yourself. You are good enough and you do not need anything else to make you better. And nothing will make you feel better if you do not feel good inside. Just breathe deeply and rationalize. There you go, girl. See, there is no cause to panick. You will survive the month without shopping because you are strong and you are innovative. You will fix whatever internal conflict you have instead of medicating it. Otto, I know you can do it. Just hang in there. You have to prove to yourself that you not dependent on material things for happiness.

You are happiness inside. You just need to search for it.


The monster is gone. Yes, it must be. I cannot see it anymore. No more nightmares and no growling sounds. Its bloody eyes have vanished into thin air.

Shhh. I can hear him. I can hear his deep slumber breaths in the lair.



u can do it! only 15 days to go, think of it as half a month gone ;)

5:10 pm  

yeah, about the only time losing is more fun than winning is when you're fighting temptation.haha

"I count him braver who conquers his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self." -Aristotle

good luck!!!

5:59 pm  

I know this sounds cliche` and I'm not trying to preach :P I recently felt as empty as you....and I found God. lol. no, not the empty preachy judgemental christians...real people who actually question their faith and dare to make it significant, not superficial.

take a trip overseas, talk to some people!

8:47 am  

Just out of curiosity, and a slice of cheekiness, will you be making a purchase when September ends, perhaps, as a reward for making it through? ;P

8:28 am  

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