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Sunburn as novelty

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These pale legs needed some sun!

With all this down time (you know, this dry stretch when we are not leaving the country) we’ve been trying to relax and catch up at with our friend, the Pool. One past weekend found us gathering up quite a bit of sun, and perhaps overdoing it. Later that evening, I found myself a little extra pink, especially in my face. Not too bad, but definitely red.

Cut to work the next day, and suddenly my co-workers seemed very amused and confused about my redness and how it was obtained. I work with Singaporeans and Indians, both groups that tend to avoid the sun. Alas, there is a great deal of effort and money spent on avoiding the sun and things like whitening creams in this part of the world. You will rarely, if ever, have to fight a Chinese person for a sun lounger. For the most part when out in the sun, the locals just get darker, so the idea of a “sunburn” seemed to be a bit of a novelty. Lucky me.

There was good natured ribbing about it, along with questions like Why would you want to be darker?. Astonishment was had when I said I had been out for maybe 1.5 hours and this was a dark as I had turned, for them 1.5 hours in the sun, would have generated a much darker result. It is for sure one of the conundrums out here, that Caucasians look forward to getting some sun and color because we find it appealing, but the locals avoid it all costs because of perceptions about darker skin being less desirable. Such is the way of the world I guess, we always want what don’t have.

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