Colorism, Capitalism and Celebrities: Perpetuating Inequality

My experiences as a dark-skinned woman in Singapore have been punctuated by painful doses of Colorism throughout my life. I am not alone, not by a long shot. It is an issue I have in common with Singaporeans of all races and many people around the world. My decision to shed a light on this oft-overlooked issue has led to amazing conversations with some very intelligent women.

“One person can’t possibly have all the solutions,” Dr. Donna Oriowo stressed to me recently, “It has to be a concerted, collective effort!” The spirited international speaker, clinically-licensed social worker, sex & relationships educator, and founder of AnnodRight ( is a staunch opponent of Colorism. 

Speaking to Dr. Oriowo opened up a whole new world for me. Even though I had done my research and familiarized myself with the history and impact of Colorism, I had overlooked its roots in capitalism and power. She helped me see how segments of society benefit from Colorism and don’t want to give up its privileges.

A ‘Checkered’ History

In ancient times, light skin was directly associated with wealth. The nobility lived largely indoors, out of the sun at its peak; commoners toiled outside, bearing the fruits of their labor in their complexions. Over time, this led to a widespread idea that those with lighter skin were inherently superior. As nations and people evolved, that idea was ingrained into our collective consciousness.

Dr. Oriowo says that the anchors of Colorism are those with the darkest skin. That assertion implies that Black people with dark skin suffer most from Colorism while Asians, Latinos and Indians suffer less. She contends that no one benefits directly from Colorism except Caucasians.

Today, Eurocentric features based on Western beauty ideals come with implicit advantages. Those with light skin, straight hair, thin and long noses, small mouths and sharp jawlines are elevated by the community simply by virtue of possessing those physical features.

It works almost like a set of scales, with advantages on one side and disadvantages on the other. One less advantageous feature means that the scale tilts just that little bit further against you. Meanwhile, each ‘desirable’ physical trait evens the balance against your ‘shortcomings’.

So, straight hair and a small nose on a person with dark skin elevates them above someone with kinky hair, sharp features and skin that is a shade lighter. Two out of three ain’t bad, right? The more boxes you tick, the better.

Our brains are perpetually performing this instinctive mental checklist all the time. In fact, skin tone is the first thing we notice in each other. People of all races, even those with the darkest skin themselves, associate fair skin with intelligence, goodness and pureness.

Skin tone, hair texture and facial features affect a person’s likelihood of being stopped by the police, the job opportunities they get and even their salary. Of those factors, skin color is the most obvious and also the hardest to change.

Anti-Racism vs. Anti-Colorism

So where do we draw the line between Colorism and racism? Dr. Oriowo says that her in-depth research shows that the lines are increasingly blurred.

“Colorism and racism are inextricably linked. It started with white supremacy and was compounded by colonialism. Yet, people are taught not to look at Colorism and instead focus mainly on racism. Consequently, Colorism takes a backseat while the fight against racism steals the limelight.

“It is considered more of a personal problem than a global issue. Dark-skinned people who talk about their plight are portrayed as oversensitive and divisive when their motivations are exactly the opposite. Raising awareness of Colorism can only help in the fight for equality.”

A significant component of Dr. Oriowo’s research focuses on the role of the media in perpetuating Colorism. The world’s biggest film factories of Hollywood, Bollywood (India) and Nollywood (Nigeria/Africa) are still spreading colonialist themes through their productions.

Black isn’t truly black in the movies. During the first Black is Beautiful movement, dark-skinned Black women trickled into Hollywood via stereotypical roles.

Today, the biggest stars billed as black are increasingly of mixed parentage and have lighter skin, lighter eyes and straighter hair. What nature hasn’t bestowed can be achieved through hair dye, skin bleach, lighting, filters and Photoshop.

This is especially true of female stars. However, they all adopt the ‘black’ tag because it boosts their profile. Halle Berry, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Beyoncé are the best-known examples. In Bollywood and Nollywood, it is personified by stars like Kajol, Deepika Padukone, Rukky Sanda and Dencia.

The world’s largest market for skin bleach is Nigeria. Think about that for a second. Think about how many little girls out there are crying right now as they look into a mirror.

What ‘black’ celebrities are propagating damages the psyche of kids as well as that of adults. They are perfect examples of how Colorism can be more damaging than racism; it is both interracial and intra-racial.

A Dearth of Allies

While it is easy to find consensus on racism, the attack against Colorism is much more blunted. Most of the world’s staunchest proponents of racial equality are Caucasian. When it comes to Colorism, though, lines are drawn in the sand. Those who are not White but still rank in the upper echelons of the ‘hierarchy’ are content with the advantages granted to them by the status quo.

But Colorism is not a black-skinned or brown-skinned person’s problem. It is a DARK-skinned person’s problem.

As Dr. Oriowo put so aptly, “We’ve suffered enough and we can make as much noise as we need to combat this massive problem. It’s ok if we ourselves don’t have the answers to the problem. Everyone has a part to play in fighting the good fight. It’s everyone’s duty to come up with solutions.

“And one last tip for anyone not happy with those who speak up against it: If you don’t like the squeaky wheel, oil it!”




When is a joke not a joke?

On a recent shoot, an actor friend shared an experience from a previous set. A veteran actress, someone he was acquainted with and admired, commented on how dark another actor had become. She joked that he should stay out of the sun, prompting everyone but my friend to burst out in laughter.

Even though the comment was not aimed at him, he could not help but cringe. Here was an older lady, an industry veteran, mocking the skin tone of a colleague of the same race.

Perhaps someone of a different ethnicity would have thought twice about making the joke for its racist connotations. However, this actress felt secure enough in her privilege to spew that prejudiced line, blithely ignorant of the faux pas.

That lack of awareness is precisely what perpetuates Colourism.

Most people shy away from drawing attention to what they see as flaws in others, for example, weight, sexual preference, mental acuity or physical features. Somehow, that tact doesn’t seem to apply to Colourism. It overwhelms me to realise that it’s 2020 and we still have to educate friends, colleagues and, yes, even family that it is not okay.

I acknowledge that we are each a product of our environment and less restrained with our humour when with close friends and loved ones. I do not know the actress personally. She seems like a pleasant and reasonable person but obviously lives in a world where such jokes are normal and considered funny.

The difference here is that she was in her place of work and yet, professionalism did not stop her from cracking that joke. The crew laughed along, probably inured to offence from past experience. The shoot concluded, my friend left and the world continued to turn.

How do we tackle the issue? How do we effectively convey how appalling it is to make fun of the colour of someone’s skin?

One person and one place at a time. Speak up.

Colourism in Media – Where Does the Onus Lie?

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend who related his experiences with Colourism in media and advertising. He is not a ‘victim’ of the practice but someone who has been part of the status quo in his role as a producer/director.

My friend organises and facilitates casting and is familiar with the way things work behind the scenes. One of the things he noted was that clients specifically ask for talent with lighter skin. This is not done out of racism because they also specifically ask for a diversity of minority representation.
The difference is their preference for lighter-skinned talent from minority races.

Why the partiality? We are using the word ‘talent’ to describe the artistes so should talent not also be the prime criterion? Why does skin colour leapfrog all other considerations?

The conversation made me question where the change should start. In the United States, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences has just implemented new minority representation criteria for eligibility to contest the Best Picture category.

While their rules overtly require the representation of more races, colour is not a factor. So, mixed race individuals like coffee-skinned Halle Berry and light-skinned Alicia Keys who ‘identify’ as a minority are counted. Apparently, someone like Elizabeth Warren with her blonde hair and blue eyes who claims a Native American identity would also qualify.

Where in our psyche does this aversion to dark skin originate? In the casting scenarios my friend described, is there a shortcoming with the client and the casting director? Or is it with us, the audience?
Food for thought.

Why we need to take Colourism seriously

Colourism is not racism because it also exists within racial groups. Colourism is simply the preference for lighter skin tones or the prejudice against darker skin tones. It is important for us to understand the impact of Colourism is because it creates an unnecessary divide and promotes unsubstantial beauty standards; its effects can permeate every aspect of our lives. There is no science behind Colourism. The notion that the lighter skin tone the better is one we have been conditioned to believe and continue to perpetuate without any real understanding of the ‘Why’. Colourism basically means that Meryl Streep is by default more attractive than Beyonce because she has lighter skin.

‘Dark BUT pretty’ is often used when we describe darker-skinned women yet ‘Fair BUT pretty’ is unheard of. Why is this the case?

How Colourism works is not what’s important. The harmful effects it has on an individual is. Being a dark-skinned female, I was on the receiving end of Colourism since I was a little girl. It affected my self-esteem and how I interacted with others, especially girls with lighter skin. They seemed immediately superior to me and I shrunk in their presence. This was one of the many ways Colourism prevented me from being my best self. I never saw myself as good enough for that guy or that opportunity. It took me many years to overcome some of these mental obstacles. Colourism limited me and fighting it has been an uphill battle from the moment I was made to feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

While I am less affected by Colourism these days, I will admit that the scars never completely heal and that insecure dark-skinned little girl creeps up on me every now and then. This is why it is so important to keep shedding light on this awful prejudice until it no longer poses a threat to its victims.

#Colourism #NotFair #FoundFilms #Beautycomesinallshades

Tatler Design Awards 2020


They say the most authentic way to appreciate something is to see it through the eyes of an outsider. Recently I was an accidental plus one at the Tatler Design Awards 2020 and I couldn’t be more grateful (thanks Divya). It was quite the eye opener to be amongst the people who design our world, pun intended. If you think about about it carefully, we LIVE and breathe design every single day, whether we’re aware of it or not. From the homes we buy, to the colour of our bedsheets and that cute red mug we love to drink our coffee from. Let’s not forget the cafes we choose to chill at and our favourite malls. None of these choices are coincidental, it’s all the power of design.
So about the Tatler Design Awards, it’s an event to celebrate the resurgence of styles of the past in the world of interior design. This year it was held at Spanish restaurant Una at The Alkaff Mansion, where industry insiders and homeowners gathered to fete the winners of the night.

Among the notable attendees was Ed Ng, co-founder of AB Concept and a member of the Tatler Design Awards jury, who shared insights into the selection of winners and the significance of that “Instagram moment”—how social media influences the way we experience spaces. To commemorate the occasion, the winners received trophies custom-made by stone specialist MM Galleri and designed by Celine Ng of local studio Fraction.

I got all the above from the website but let me go back to my favourite moments – the food. My steak was juicy and flavourful and dessert was rich and delightful. Enough said. It was not the Tatler Food Awards 2020, but these were winners nonetheless!








So, I’ve always thought of design as colours and shapes but I learned from this prestigious event that design is so much more than that. There’s Architectural Concept, Bespoke Concept, Luxury Concept, Use of Art, Use of Colour (my favourite!) and more. To understand better, click here.

Best Use of Colour: Design Intervention

So there you have it, my introduction to a world of design I never realised existed. Next year, I’m inviting myself, but before that I need to make some drastic changes around the house. The old living room sofa needs to be taught some new tricks and I’ve got plenty more in the bag, thanks to the Tatler Design Awards 2020!



Fung Kee Hotdogs

Where do you go to get a heavenly hotdog in Singapore? Fung Kee Hotdogs is the right answer! My food dream has always been to own hot dog stands all across the island because I love hotdogs (who doesn’t) THAT MUCH! Part of my dream came true when a group of friends introduced me to Fung Kee Hotdogs located at Duxton Road. I was still full from  the delicious dinner we had at Tie Fun Wan but there’s no saying no to hotdogs in my world. I ordered the Classic with mustard and ketchup and it was GONE in 10 seconds. If there was even a tiny space left in my belly, I would have gone for the Swiss Cheese and the Vegan with zero hesitation.

A Must Try!

How did it all start?
After the successful opening of Fung Kee Hotdogs Orchard Towers in September 2018, the team has also hosted various pop ups around Singapore such as Zoukout, Gin Lane, Lulu’s Lounge and SEA Focus.
Founder Knut Randhem has spent six months carefully developing the brand. Giving his Scandinavian background, the concept showcases a strong influence from Scandinavian’s hotdog culture: “I’ve been missing a place for quality hotdogs done simply, but that are delicious, and with a great beverage offering,” says Knut. “Obviously with my bar and spirits background, I wanted to add a good beverage program to the menu. So we are serving a range of cocktails, good quality beers, and champagnes to accompany the dogs.” Choosing Duxton Road as the location for the second venue was to complement the existing dining and after work hotspot. Whether it is before dinner, between bar hops, after shift or post workout, Fung Kee makes a fitted pitstop.

The Menu
Each outlet offers the standard Fung Kee Menu which includes three kinds of sausages, all specially handcrafted for Fung Kee:
A Classic Pork sausage, made from premium pork.
The Swiss Cheese option is pork based, flavored with selected swiss cheese. A Vegan sausage is made from grilled mushroom and soy.
All are served in a toasted bun with in-house made sauces, including the classic Danish Remoulade (curry mayonaise with pickles), Hej Bee chili with crispy shrimp bits, a secret sauce, and finished off with either crispy onions or pickles.

Not without a drink!
The beverage program includes champagne by the glass ($18), house Negroni ($14), beers ($10), and a selection of house spirits. For high rollers, there is also Dom Perignon Champagne at $298.
New to Fung Kee Duxton is a special ‘Catch-22’ after dark menu. All items are $22 nett and the menu includes a Cheese Fondue and 4 well crafted classic cocktails with an option of an Akvavit Switch for additional $3Weekly Happenings at Fung Kee Duxton!

Tuesday: Not-So-Meatless Tuesday: Beer + Dog Deal for only $15 nett!
Thursday: Thirsty Thursday: Bring your own shot glass and exchange it for a shot of Fernet
Happy Hour (Mon-Fri)
5pm – 7pm $8 beers and $8 wine


Opening Hours:
Mon-Tues 5pm till 12mn
Weds-Fri 12noon till 12mn
Sat 5pm till 12mn

What’s With The Fung Kee Name?
The name is a symbol of Western and Asian hegemony: A Scandinavian hotdog place in Asia, with an edge. The name 豐記 (Fung Kee) means prosperity.

Fung Kee Hotdogs
68 Duxton Road
#01-02 Singapore 089527

Stay Fung Kee!
Instagram: @fungkeehotdogs
Facebook: fungkeehotdogs

Get Yourself into Alignment with Anita Ghosal – International Coach And Speaker

International Coach & Speaker

Imagine being liberated from the need for external validation and approval?

Meet Anita

I know it would be pretty amazing and yes, sassy diva’s, it is possible and it is the most freeing way to live. This is what I do for the women I work with.

Now, I did not always know that over the course of my life I would experienced guilt, self-doubt, hurt, anxiety, anger, lack of confidence, drama, feeling lost, rejection and being misunderstood.

I lost my Dad to suicide when I was 17, been divorced twice and now remarried, raised as UK born Indian where being myself was not an option – there were serious expectations to live up to. I had a tough upbringing with a mother that was certainly not going to win mother of the year award, where I experienced abuse and general madness.

In-spite of this, I was hugely successful on paper – degree, post grad, 18 years in the corporate world getting to the top of the ladder as a Marketing Director, then realising I felt empty, as if I had climbed the wrong ladder. I realised the ladder I had climbed was not mine. I have used these experiences to LIBERATE myself in every way. By using them as my rocket fuel to travel the world, find my true self, live abroad, start my own heart led successful business, claiming and owning myself in ways I never knew possible – without apology.

What is your female archetype? Do the test and find out.

Find out what your personality needs to feel fulfilled! Let Anita tell you all about it! Watch this!

Connect with Anita here;


Remember the first time rode a bicycle? The freedom you felt as you pedalled away? Wouldn’t you love to relive that moment once more? Here’s your chance, thanks to Let’s Go Tour Singapore. Not only will you enjoy the ride, you’ll also be given a history lesson. The bicycle tour is curated along the line of a crafted story of Tan Ah Huat; his entrepreneur life, his friends, his passion, and his love. As we cycle through the Trail of Tan Ah Huat, visitors will get to understand the contrasts of the modern Singapore versus the scenes back in 1920s with the aid of multimedia slideshows and crafted story telling narrated by our guides. Visitors will get to learn about the cultures and glimpse of history behind characters like Muhamad Zulfri(Malay Fisherman), Mr Singh(Doorman), Lim Mei Hua as the story unfolds.

I did the ‘mini’ Kampong Glam tour and I saw chickens! When was the last time you rode a bike in Singapore and saw chickens? I can’t express enough how enjoyable the experience was for me but you need to go try it for yourself. It’s hassle-free and safe. Tour Price Includes:

  • Use of bicycle and helmet
  • Licensed guide (and storyteller)
  • Bottled water
  • Poncho
  • Local drinks and snacks at the designated rest stop

Tour Price Excludes:

  • Hotel pickup/dropoff.
  • Gratuity for Guide

More information about Let’s Go Tour:




Thinking of getting a facial anytime soon? Not sure where to go and which facial to get? I get it. We’re women and we’re spoilt for choice. The last place was great but our skin needs a new boost. I was in the same predicament not too long ago so I decided to take a chance on SkinLab. Initially I was worried about the hard sell tactics I would have to face but a ‘glow’ was long overdue and I was willing to face anything. No pun intended.

My facial was scheduled on a Thursday afternoon which was perfect for me. When I arrived, there was some confusion but thankfully it was resolved quickly and soon after I was brought into my treatment room . I liked that there was no pushing for me to get any add-ons before we got the started. The sweetest beautician attended to me. She ran through the available promotional options and recommended the Gentle Milk Peel which is a mild peeling system is designed to help you achieve clearer, brighter and smoother skin, easily and effectively. It utilises lactic acid, a gentle alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from milk and fruits.

Gentle steaming with pure milk proteins and lactic contents


  • Lactic acid prepares skin for a smoother extraction
  • Lightens skin dullness
  • Sloughs away dead skin cells
  • Moisturises skin for a supple touch


  • Welcome head massage
  • Double cleansing
  • Gentle steaming with pure milk proteins and lactic contents
  • Eyebrow shaping (optional)
  • Professional extraction
  • Face massage
  • Mask application
  • Sunblock/Night Protect application


Lactic acid is one of the gentlest AHAs around and is generally well-tolerated by most skin types, even sensitive skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea. As a humectant, lactic acid does not dry the skin like other AHAs.

With a strict doctor-developed protocol, professionally trained therapists and consultants, our Gentle Milk Peel can safely lighten skin dullness, remove dead skin cells and moisturise skin.

Their consultants will take the time to discuss whether your goals and expectations for the treatment are realistic, and also discuss with you all our Gentle Milk Peel benefits and risks.

For more info:

Have an Auspicious Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner at Gu Ma Jia!

How would you like to celebrate Chinese New Year in a cosy venue, serving hearty, mouth-watering dishes? Gu Ma Jia is just the place for that. Nothing beats the experience of dining at Gu Ma Jia where you are always greeted by delightful staff who contribute to the already lovely ambience.  To top it all off, anything you order is bound to impress, thanks to founder, Gu Ma’s, dedication and passion for creating delectable dishes.

Receive a Gu Ma Jia $50 Cash Dining Voucher with purchase of a $799++ Reunion Set Menu

Usher in the auspicious Lunar New Year with a reunion dinner at award-winning Gu Ma Jia. Known to be fully booked for our reunion dinner packages, customers are advised to book at least 2 to 3 months ahead to secure their seats. Most loved by all is that Gu Ma Jia adopts a philosophy of no MSG-added, less oil, less salt and less sugar where possible in their dishes.

New exciting Chinese New Year dishes are being launched for 2019 along with the usual tasty New Year dishes that our customers look forward to every year! Customers can also place orders in advance for our Roasted Suckling Pig and ala carte dishes during the festive season. Also available with the Chinese New Year Reunion Set Meals with an impressive assortment of delightful dishes.


Roasted Suckling Pig UP$238 Special Price at $208 (CNY PRICE)
Roasted Suckling Pig – a must-have for this auspicious Lunar New Year. Savour the crispy skin that is simply irresistible! Dip with our in-house Chef’s Special Sauce for the extra flavor to tantalize your taste buds!

Lobster Cold Platter $138
Using premium quality and fresh lobster and serve together with an exciting platter of delicious dishes like Smoked Duck, Mixed Sauce Pacific Clams, Gu Ma Beancurd – specially prepared for this Lunar New Year. An impressive prelude to your feast with these welcoming dishes showcasing our different specialties and culinary skills with an exciting combination of different textures, flavors, and colors, most importantly it is a fantastic dish of creativity and absolute delight for our customers!

Lychee Sweet & Sour Grouper (Market Rate)
You will crave for more of this exciting Deep Fried Sweet & Sour Grouper with Lychee. A hit for the family and kids will love this for sure. Enjoy the crispy skin on the outside while sinking your teeth into the soft, fresh and tender grouper fish meat! A complete burst of different flavors to whet your appetite!

Gu Ma Jia is conveniently located at 45 Tai Thong Crescent Senett Estate Singapore 347866.
Tel: 6285 2023
Whatsapp 6583550476
Operating Hours
 Monday to Friday: 
11am to 2.30pm (Last order 2pm)  5.30pm to 9.30pm (Last order 9pm)
 Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday:
11am to 10pm (Last order 9.15pm)

For more information on Gu Ma Jia, check out the following:
 Website:
 Facebook:
 Instagram:

Do take note of the following:
 Promotion is valid 18 January to 19 February 2019
 50% Deposit is required for all reservations, prices are subjected to GST.
 Subjected to availability, dishes of the same value may be replaced.
 Prices include nuts and towels. Drinks are not inclusive.
 Delivery timing: 12pm to 2pm or 4pm to 6pm
 Delivery charges: $35 per trip per location
 Strictly no refund of deposit.
 Change of date subject to availability. Within the promotion period 18 Jan 2019 to 19 Feb 2019.
 Gu Ma Jia reserves the right to amend the terms and conditions without prior notice.