Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lady Pink

Yesterday, I blogged about Lady Pink. Not Mary Kay Ash, the founder of the American cosmetics’ company involved in skin care, makeup and body care – which, by the way, is also associated with the color pink.
Remember the pink Cadillac? The only people who get to drive in pink Cadillac splendor are sales superstars whose multilevel sales teams have sold at least $100,000 in Mary Kay products in six months. It’s one of the most easily recognized sales incentive in the world. And she chose pink just so to match the color of her cosmetics compact, if you must know.

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Anyway, I was referring to the lady entrepreneur behind a company that’s closer to home. Vida Beauty. This flamboyant person, this brains behind the beauty enterprise is Hasmiza Othman (or more popularly referred to as Dato' Dr. Vida). I prefer to call her Lady Pink!
A narrative that is big on success. Apparently, Vida's wealth is built upon a human weakness: insecurity. Just like other whitening products, her Qu Puteh line of products bases itself on the premise that only fair women are attractive. The latest marketing for that line promotes slimness, bustiness and even nubility as qualities that her customers should strive for.
Her pomegranate and gamat-based Pamoga elixir is an even more dubious exercise in what I can only term as pseudo-science. Priced at RM145 per a 500ml bottle, Vida makes the preposterous claim that it is able to “cure” 30 illnesses, ranging from diabetes and Alzheimer’s, to low IQ and paralysis. It makes you think that her customers are greatly gullible, if not strikingly stupid.
Of course, Vida Beauty are not the sole offender of this kind of exploitation. Other companies hawking similar type products also make ridiculous claims. Take, for example, Aliff Syukri’s D’Herbs that sell everything from raisins that promise to make you clever, to goat’s milk that claims to help with pregnancy, to superfood elixir Arjuna Maxx that supposedly increases virility, to Payu Up Collagen that claims to increase bust size, and even cock rings. And they are magnificently named “Cincin Pacak Arjuna.”
I am told these products are popular among Malay women – okay, maybe not the cock rings (unless they are buying them for their partners)!
Vida is using her purported PhD in Biology, to carry the title and name  “Dr Vida”, to lend credibility to her products. It is said that she had previously claimed her PhD was from one Charles Molnar University from Hungary – coincidentally among the five universities linked to a 2012 bust against a Subang Jaya company which issued fake degrees.
By the time Vida was interviewed by Utusan Malaysia last year, she had changed her tune and avowed that her PhD was from Monash University instead.
Of course, you would have known by now that the Health Ministry had on January 22, 2016 issued a ban on one of the Qu Puteh’s products – the Qu Puteh Whitening Pro 9 cream was found to contain “high levels” of mercury, beyond the permissible level in cosmetic products.

Already, the Brunei Health Ministry had banned two Qu Puteh products for supposedly containing harmful products. They must mean 'mercury' and mercury is definitely harmful.

You may or may not know this but many skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps or lotions do contain mercury and these products are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. Also adolescents may use them as acne treatments. In any case, you should know that the FDA do not permit mercury in drugs or in cosmetics except under very specific conditions.
On the same day, Vida said the company began to recall their Qu Puteh Whitening Pro 9 and Qu Puteh Whitening UV Block products from both Malaysia and Brunei. She had insisted she had never encountered any product-related problems before. Nonetheless, she promised a detailed, in-depth analysis on the said products. Did she mean that prior to this, she had been blissfully unaware that her products were harmful?
Vida also said that although the two products have been pulled from the market, other products such as Pamoga, Qu Puteh and Milenia are still on sale.
“I am confident that our other cosmetic and beauty products do not have the same problems. I hope the consumers do not lose their faith in my products,” she said, vouching her products’ quality. I wonder if her other products contain traces of mercury, although they may still meet Malaysia's "permissible levels".
Surely, Malaysians can trust Lady Pink, right?

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