Monday, March 18, 2013


Not in a “let’s manipulate the currency and not care what anyone thinks” kind of way. I mean what’s happening on the street and in the homes of Middle Kingdomians this minute.

As in previous instalments about peering in on the world’s most inscrutable people, the issue is beauty. Specifically – what is being done by Chinese women who seemingly have far far too much time of their hands and a bit of disposable income. In this case, they’re really proving just how disposable it is.

Chinese women, famously, are unwrinkly. They don’t have lines on their face. Not for the first 55 years at least. After that they’ve been known to crease up like those potato chip bags we used to put in the oven as kids. But early on, no.

It’s because – and I’m dabbling in dark art of science here, but it’s true - of the level of naturally occurring collagen in their systems. Indian women have the most, eastern-Asian women are close behind. For one reason or another, white women missed out a bit when the collagen was being dished out.

So what do you give a girl who’s got everything? Perhaps something she doesn’t have - like lines on her face!

I’m not entirely sure how to say this, but a new trend in cosmetic surgery here is to actually get facial lines added in. Not wrinkles as such. That would be silly wouldn’t it? No, it’s to do with the eyes again.

Surgery to have Asian eyes ‘westernised’ – made bigger and cut up to produce a double, rather than single, eyelid - is nothing new. But a new move is to add in those features we in the west have long held up as a symbol of beauty for centuries – bags under the eyes.

Yes, Chinese women – following an innovation started in the regional home of plastic surgery, South Korea – are actually asking doctors to surgically give them bags under the eyes.

OK, bags might be stretching it. They’re not after huge big change purses under their peepers. But a small but growing number are having little crescent-shaped baglets put in.

These are called wo can, which is pronounced wor csan with some sort of tone or other. This translates as a “lying-down silk worm”, which sounds very cute.

And that’s the idea. For it would do no good to have a surgeon give you full-blown eye bags, known as yan dai. (Eyes are yan jing, and a bag is a daizi. Which reminds me - kangaroos are called dai shu here. Shu means rat. So my own majestic and noble national animal is called “the rat with a bag”.)

No, yan dai just look terrible, apparently. This is a shame, because I have some beauties. I’d thought for a minute I’d found a place that understood me, where my eye bags and I could roam free, avoiding persecution, being welcomed, lauded and lusted-after. But bags like mine just make me look sleepy, according to a Chinese web analysis of the subject.

Little silk-worm like bags, however, are hot. I assumed this must be because they added a bit of gravitas to the average Chinese woman, who often struggles to look older than 14 due to reasons identified as “collagen” and “fluffy toy collection”.

But no – it’s to ramp up the cute factor. It is said that baglets make faces look younger, with more child-like cuteness.

For around 7,000 yuan women can get these new and foxy facial features. That’s around $US1,100 – a hefty sum to get bags added under your eyes.

This website has brought you news of some oddball surgical procedures which have become popular among Chinese women who don’t really need them – such as having their cheek bones put under an angle-grinder and/or their jaw muscles atrophied to effect a thinner face.

But added-in eye baglets (bagatelles? baguettes?) possibly takes the cake.

Before ...

After ...
It's hard work looking this tired.

There are a few different ways to achieve this look, including Botox. Women can have a little botulinum toxin injected under the eyes to puff them up.

But if you love eyebags enough, you can go for more permanent options. The Baidu Jingyan news and lifestyle website says surgeons can insert a five-to-seven millimetre thick sliver of artificial skin under the skin beneath the eyelashes. Or they can use tissue taken from elsewhere in the body, or even Gore-Tex.

The procedure usually takes half an hour. After “one or two weeks” to recover, the client can head out on the town with confidence booming thanks to her new facial accessories.

“People think if you have wo can it helps you attract members of the opposite sex,” said a report on the procedure on “The eye looks like it has a special charm.

Wo can is easily added to big eyes, or eyes that protrude a little. It makes people look warm and kind. The look is different from yan dai, which makes people think you are tired.”

I had thought the bags were designed to give a jaundiced,
world-weary look. Instead this woman shows they don't
affect her ability to look like a naive little girl by giving
the peace sign in photos.

Stick a needle in my eye ...
This woman is going the Botox way.

This was how she went in. Nothing
special about those eyes, right?

Et voila! Attractive to the opposite

Here she is - delighted with the results.

And here's how she
posts on a chat forum.
If only she could
make herself look
more girly ...

"Doctor - are there any dangers?"

"Oooooh shit yeah!"

Here's a Botox procedure which didn't go so well.
Oh for those bee-stung eyes.

Another range of shots from a catalogue featuring
this season's must-have bags.

And another kind of eye-bag I found on
google. Only precious few women can
pull this look off.

All hail the king! This is
legendary Australian racehorse
trainer Bart Cummings.
He has the Big Three:
a quiff to die for, the most
famous eyebrows in the land,
and bags you might find under
the saddles of his horses.

American actor Phillip Baker Hall. I really respect and
admire this guy, for reasons which are about to become obvious.

The author's own baggage check.
1. A little bit cute.
(They're open, honest).
2. Bit cuter.
3. Cuter still.
4. MAX CUTENESS! Just look
at the character people.

So what do you think? Tired of not having enough baggage under your eyes? Just save up a little over a grand, come to China and get on top of that problem straight away!

(Ed’s note: I’d love to link you to other cosmetic surgery wonders detailed on The Tiger Father, but owing to technical hitches concerning China’s loathing of google and its blogging platforms, it seems I can not. However, going to the search box to the right and keying in “What are the Chinese up to now?” should do it.)

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