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Tag Archives: Writer: Aina Syazwani Salleh

The Other ‘F’ Word

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by Aina Salleh 

Do you remember your first time? You know, your first encounter with good old-fashioned sexism? Could it be that time when you were told to be soft and pretty because you’re a girl? Or perhaps it’s that time you discovered that the class monitor has to be a boy? Or maybe the time that you grudgingly dragged your feet to the kitchen halfway into Zombie Kampung Pisang to prepare for a Hari Raya feast while the boys stayed put. I’m sure you’ve been there. We’ve all been there.

The Celebration of Spinsterhood

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by Aina Salleh


When I was younger, I always thought that I would be married by 25. I have never been wedding-crazy, or one of those whose sole ambition is to get married, but I thought that I would be married by then, simply because that’s just how life is. I never contemplated the possibility of being in my mid-twenties, fresh out of a relationship and still very much unmarried.

But here we are.

Dark & Lovely: The Many Shades of Beauty

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by Aina Salleh

I learnt at a very young age that I was dark-skinned. I grew up with a mother whose skin is radiant and translucent, thanks to her father’s Chinese genes, and mine was dark and dusky, (no) thanks to my father’s Yemeni roots. We were a walking contrast; and almost everyone we met made it a point to acknowledge that. “Oh, what a shame you didn’t get your mother’s complexion” and “You’re quite pretty… for a dark girl” were recurring noises of my adolescence. My bubble of blissful oblivion burst, and I was affronted with the realisation that there exists a hierarchy of beauty in our society; one that glorifies fair skin. I learnt at a very young age to hate my dark skin.


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