Poll finds wealthy Filipino women are probably the most meticulous about cleanliness and maintaining their looks compared to their counterparts in Southeast Asia.
Rich Filipino women are probably the most meticulous about cleanliness and maintaining their looks in Southeast Asia, using approximately nine different brands of personal care products, the highest in the region.
This was one of the key findings of the 2013 edition of the High Heeled Warriors research on urban women by NBCUniversal International Television, the world's largest entertainment company that operates cable television channels such as Universal Channel and Diva Universal.
According to the study, the wealthy Filipino women score highly when it comes to the purchase of personal care products such as shampoo, soap, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, cologne and mouthwash, compared with their counterparts in the other markets covered by the survey – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong.
In response to the question on the number of personal care product brands they used in the past three months, Filipino women said they used nine of the 23 brands included in the survey, 50% more than the average in the other markets of six brands.
The study covered 3,000 female participants aged 20 to 44 from the five countries and the findings were based on their motivations, aspirations, attitudes and usage of consumer products.
The respondents watched pay television and came from urban centres.
In the Philippines, 600 respondents were included and 66% of them reside in Metro Manila. Their average monthly household income was US$3,400 (RM10,800).
The study also found that a third of Filipino women indicated that they were "passionistas", defined in the research as women who wanted to live in the moment and have no regrets. They were motivated by their career, opportunities to see the world and living it up. They wanted to be independent and to pursue their passions.
The 32% level in the Philippines was the highest among the five markets. The average level of passionistas in the five markets was 26%, according to Henry Robles, NBCUniversal research director for audience research and analysis.
The next biggest group of women in the Philippines was defined as "social siders". They are those who believe that life is great, are described as sociable, optimistic and content with their lives. They want to play hard and work hard.
An indication of Filipino women being a social sider was the high network of friends on social networking site Facebook.
While women in Southeast Asia have an average of 389 Facebook friends, Filipino women have an average of 523 friends on Facebook.
Having a high number of passionistas and social siders in the Philippines helped explain the extensive use of personal care products.
"Filipino women use more personal care products because many live an active life, hence they need to use these products," Robles said.
The study also showed that Filipino women have a burning desire to be financially independent. They do not want to rely on their family or spouse for support, with 87% of the women saying that they want to have their own money, way above the average in the region of just 74%.
When it came to luxury spending, the study found that 63% of the women owned at least one luxury product and had spent at least 55,000 pesos (RM4,000) on luxury goods.
Robles said that in the Philippines, 41% of women had observed that there were more men choosing to become stay-at-home fathers, higher than the 32% for the region.
The study also said women liked to plan for their future but had expressed dissatisfaction over the way their needs were being serviced by financial companies that have traditionally focused on men.
Women have become the most important market in the world, controlling an estimated US$20 trillion (RM63.8 trillion) of combined consumer spending worldwide, said Christine Fellowes, managing director, Asia Pacific of Universal Networks International.
Quoting an executive from Coca-Cola, Fellowes said that it was not a question of women coming up in the world, but rather a question of how high they will go.
TAIPEH: Recently two Hollywood titans, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, publicly bemoaned the movie industry's growing reliance on big-budget, special effects-heavy blockbusters. Blockbusters will be bad for the industry because "the experience will trump the story or the ability to compel people through a narrative. It's going to be more of a ride, a theme park", Spielberg said.
Blockbusters are sucking the air out of other conventionally popular genres such as romantic comedies and dramas.
Many have criticised the reign of testosterone-filled CGI feasts based on comic book characters, theme park rides, toys and fast cars.
But the fact that Spielberg and Lucas are complaining raised eyebrows because the two practically created the genre of modern blockbusters.
The original Star Wars trilogy set the standard for modern sci-fi fantasies made real with the help of special effects, as well as for the business model of turning film series into bankable brands. While big spectacle movies have long existed, Spielberg is widely seen as the trailblazer of the current summer blockbusters as a trend and genre of its own with his landmark 1975 film Jaws.
The computer-generated dinosaurs in his 1993 movie Jurassic Park, on the other hand, heralded the era of CGI movies.
Hollywood's current reliance on CGI-laden blockbusters is in part a response to the rise of piracy and the changes to social structure in the past two decades. An increasing number of moviegoers are more willing to pay for blockbusters for the full benefit of big theatre screens and sound effects, while watching dramas and comedies on smaller screens (which, with piracy, can mean not paying for them).
The growth of families with single unmarried children means the family crowds that moviemakers traditionally counted on are declining in number, making single or "single-taste" movie watchers (a group of friends with similar tastes) the target audience.
Add the fact that women are more inclined to accompany a friend to "boy movies" than men are to "chick flicks", and man-child-oriented blockbusters become the safest bet for the industry.
In fact, what we are seeing is not as much the rise of blockbusters but the Japanisation of blockbusters. The US movie industry has long been producing grand spectacles, including classics such as The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur.
What makes today's blockbusters different is not the concentration of special effects but the dilution of intelligence in storytelling.
Some Taiwanese movie viewers have noticed the similarity between the recently released Superman movie and the Japanese manga Dragon Ball Z – especially the Earth-damaging fight sequences.
The iconic comic book superhero has lost the innocence seen in the portrayal by Christopher Reeve and has transformed from a crime-fighting American hero into an alien fighting for Earth in an interstellar war.
The director of another upcoming blockbuster about giant alien monsters, Guillermo del Toro, said publicly that his film pays homage to Japanese monster films and shows.
Hollywood has taken a page from a time-honoured formula in Japanese manga and anime aimed at men in which spectacle is king and the plot is mostly a never-ending arms race.
The Japanisation of blockbusters reflects not only a business-dominated mindset but, more profoundly, a social phenomenon.
The developed world is increasingly populated by man-children raised in an individualist culture that makes them feel "special."
Even comforting superheros, like Superman, no longer appeal to them. This new generation of adults and teens fantasise more about being anime heroes that can single-handedly destroy a world.
In this light, these blockbusters are appealing not just because they are spectacular but because they confirm what many have felt. They reflect not only a dangerous business model for Hollywood but also a dangerous prospect for the real world where "I" is king.
Renewed violence by those who feel short-changed by democracy and secularism is a real prospect if Morsi is humiliated.
FULL disclosure: I am not a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood. I oppose their politicisation of my religion. I take comfort in the fact that millions of Egyptian Muslims are protesting against the ideology and policies of a government led by a Muslim Brotherhood president. Islamism is being roundly rejected by ordinary Arab Muslims. That's the good news. But there is bad news, too.
My Egyptian friends may not wish to admit this, but their country is home to a modern experiment. It was Egypt in 1928 that gave birth to the Muslim Brotherhood. It was successive Egyptian military rulers who arrested, tortured, killed and exiled thousands of members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was in the prisons of Egypt that contemporary jihadism was born as Sayyid Qutb was hanged in 1966 for criticising Egyptian society and its government.
Out of that violent history, the Brotherhood reformed and came to accept the ballot box, abandoned the use of bullets to assassinate politicians. They may not be Jeffersonian democrats, but they now believe in consensual government. For all their faults, they contested and won the presidency in June 2012. Mohamed Morsi has been an experiment to see if Islamism can exist within a secular framework. This is bigger than Egypt: What happens here will affect the direction of Islamist groups everywhere.
Granted, Morsi has not been as successful as hoped. His presidency has seen the rise of Salafist radicalism, attacks on religious minorities, power grabs in the absence of parliamentary scrutiny, fuel shortages, breakdown in law and order, flight of capital and investment, sharp declines in tourism and ongoing mass protests. He is surrounded by arrogant advisers who see governing Egypt as their entitlement, their reward for having been imprisoned by Hosni Mubarak.
The anger of the millions of protesters is understandable. But emotions are not a strategy for government. Now that Morsi has been toppled, who will replace him?
There is no credible alternative political leader. The opposition has not done the hard work of mobilising, uniting and producing leadership. Returning to military rule may seem like an attractive option to many secularists who prefer dictatorship to an Islamist democracy, but they forget that Egypt is undergoing an experiment in reconciling political Islam with modern government.
The Muslim Brotherhood's campaign of mass counter-demonstrations to save Morsi's presidency has focused on the slogan "supporting legitimacy". And Morsi himself has stressed that there is "no alternative to legitimacy". The message is that Morsi was a legitimately elected president and to overthrow him without elections was illegitimate. Not only is this politically dangerous, it is religious dynamite.
Various Salafist clerics have vowed to support Morsi's government. On one level, this is promising: hard-line religious players supporting a secular presidency. But if their man falls, they will see his successor as "illegitimate" and will resort to violence and be in open warfare with Morsi's military (or interim civilian) successors. Morsi himself has vowed to die to preserve this "legitimacy". We cannot take this lightly.
Renewed violence by Islamists who feel short-changed by democracy and secularism is a real prospect if Morsi is humiliated. He is now a symbol of regional Islamism at the ballot box, not just the president of an Arab republic.
Arab secularists ignore this greater narrative at their peril. Egypt's military, judiciary, media and civil society leadership had repeatedly blocked Morsi's attempts to re-elect a lower house of Parliament or invitations for dialogue to resolve a year-long political impasse. The disorganised, leaderless opposition is united around one issue: Morsi must step down.
President Mubarak used to say that if he were removed from power, then the Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood would succeed him. He was right. Today, the Brotherhood is warning us that if their man falls from power, then the Salafists would be the replacement. This is not a theory I would want to test.
Egypt's political class needs to grow up, and offer us more than the just the largest ever crowds at the latest protests for and against Morsi.
Meanwhile, the United States has been right not to call for Morsi to resign. At stake is nothing less than bringing Islamism into the modern world – and ridding it of its anti-Americanism.
When I met with Brotherhood leaders earlier this year, they repeatedly asked for greater US strategic assistance to help govern Egypt and saw America as an ally. It is important that the United States seize this historic chance to tame the tiger of Islamist anti-Americanism.
There is evidence that the Brotherhood's attitudes have shifted: Politics appear to have trumped ideology. Morsi has not only upheld the Camp David peace accords with Israel, under his tutelage Egypt's intelligence services helped broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel last December. His government went further and closed the tunnels Hamas had used to smuggle weapons to Gaza.
When anti-American riots broke out last September over the film Innocence of Muslims, the Brotherhood cancelled protests at President Obama's request. The British and American ambassadors in Cairo enjoy the confidence of the Brotherhood's leadership: a historical first. These are building blocks for American soft power. Islamism in power has helped dilute anti-Western ideology.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is the mother ship of the region's Islamist organisations. Where it leads, others can follow. If the Brotherhood's tenure in office is abruptly ended due to pressure from a secular military, opposition, media and judiciary, then the more extremist Islamists in the Arab world will say: "We told you so. Democracy does not work. The only way to create an Islamist state is through armed struggle."
That conclusion is dangerous for Arab secularists, harmful to Western interests in the Middle East, and destroys the progress made in moderating Islamist ideology. Egypt is at the epicentre of a global battle of the soul of Muslim societies. Bringing down Morsi will have consequences far beyond Egypt. The stakes are high. — © 2013 The International Herald Tribune
> Ed Husain is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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