Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Family Matters

Yesterday, a friend of Amanda’s came back from a New York trip brandishing the latest copy of American Vogue. You know, the one with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on the cover.
            “I had to fight off this cow dressed in Prada for it,” Melanie reported. “It was the last copy on the newsstand!”
            Amanda was awestruck as she stroked the magazine. “You mean it? This is for me?”
            “I haven’t even read it,” Melanie said. “It went straight into my carry-on bag. I didn't even dare put it with my check in luggage in case those TSA boys randomly picked my bag to inspect and nicked it. I thought maybe you might want to eBay it or something. It’s got to be worth something!”
            Later, Amanda said that it was so humbling that she had friends like Melanie, a comment that displeased Saffy enormously.
            “She bought a magazine. Big deal!” Saffy whispered to me, her bosom inflating dangerously close to my chest. “I hate that Melanie, rubbing her SCGS education and fake English educated Peranakan accent in our faces every time she opens her thin lipped mouth!”
            “Uhm…why are we whispering?” I said softly.
            “That Amanda has the hearing of a bat!”
            Not in this instance, she didn’t because she was absorbed in the Kimye article. Or, to be strictly accurate, she was slowly savouring each hi-resolution image of Kim in her various outfits by Lanvin and Alexander McQueen. I’m not sure Kanye or the presence of baby North even registered.
            Over dinner, the magazine safely stored away in her room, Amanda was rhapsodic.
            “I tell you, Vogue is always so daring!” she said as she daintily slurped her wonton noodle soup.
            Saffy snorted. “Oh please. They put a big busted reality TV star and her Taylor Swift interrupting husband on the cover. Big deal!”
            Which only invited a fifteen minute lecture from Amanda about how Kimye have transcended their fame to become true celebrities and how smart Vogue was to do something that all the other blue chip magazines didn’t dare to.
“Which is?” Saffy demanded belligerently.
“Which is to expressly acknowledge their zeitgeist power!” Amanda said serenely. “Kim Kardashian is the new Victoria Beckham! You don’t stay famous and relevant for so long without being smart!”
A silence descended over the table, interrupted only by the sound of chewing as Saffy struggled for something scathing to say in response.
“How does she do that?” she complained that evening to Sharyn.
“Ay, I ask you, hah,” Sharyn said. “Can you ask Amanda if I can borrow that Vogue when she finish reading?”
Saffy was astonished. “You, too?”
“What? Cannot read, meh? I love to watch that Kar-dare-sian show, you know. They are just like my family. Except we got no private plane, lah. Or clothing store. Or stylist who come do our hair and make-up every time we go out.”
In spite of herself, Saffy put down her chopsticks. “Ok, how are the Kardashians like your family, Sharyn?”
“Haiyah! Their mud-der love her children. Her children all very naughty. The son so useless. One daughter marry black man. One daughter got children but don’t get married and the boyfriend no one like. The udder daughter always in trouble in public. The two younger daughters are rebellious. Wah, you change their names to Chan, and the children to Mervyn, Carol, Lucy, Lydia, Cynthia and Sharyn and you got my entire family!”
“Who’s married to a black man in your family?” Saffy asked.
“Carol marry gwai-loh, what. She don’t marry Chinese. In the eyes of my mudder, same thing, lah!”
So maybe that’s the key to understanding the appeal of the Kardashians. And the hidden shame of our fascination. Behind the glitzy dresses and glamorous magazine covers, they have the same issues as the rest of us – motherhood, growing up, bad relationships, fights and spats, career issues. They’re just like us. Only richer.
Of course, Saffy was having none of it. “If that’s the case,” she told Sharyn severely, “I should also be on the cover of Vogue. I may not travel around in private jets or attend fashion shows, but my love life is just as tumultuous as Kim’s! My family is just as dysfunctional!”
“Yah, but you not famous, what!”
“Well, what is Kim famous for?” Saffy demanded.
“She got sex tape, mah. You got sex tape?”
By the way Saffy screwed up her eyes and stared off into the distance, you could tell that a whole world of opportunities had just presented itself.
Sharyn must have caught the glint in Saffy’s eyes because she looked worried. “Ay…you don’t anyhow…Ay…Saffy…”


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