Mabel Kwong’s blog offers amazing insights into the mind of this young, fashion-conscious woman who was raised in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
Her Chinese-Malaysian mum took her shopping at malls and helped her define her own way of dressing, but beneath the surface, Mabel realized that the culture into which she was born had subtly influenced her shopping decisions.
To this day, while Mabel is fascinated by western fashion, she wouldn’t think of going to extremes in any social setting, and many Asian women feel exactly the same way.
Millions of years of religious standards shaped the thinking of women in this region and despite what’s on the covers of trendy magazines, Mabel confidently says, “I don’t see the need to show skin to feel good!”
Are there times when cultural rules of modesty are bent? If you nod your head, you may already have registered for the 22 October You Only Live Once (YOLO) Run, where going shirtless isn’t just suggested but required to uphold the theme: Sometimes, you have to take your shirt off to stand up to the devastation caused by breast cancer.
The YOLO Run, open to both genders, encourages runners to let go of clothing prohibitions while still wearing enough to make any mum in the crowd proud. So what do you say; do you dare to run shirtless in Singapore in the name of so noble a cause?
Why Strip Down?
Because, as the acronym for the upcoming Singapore race that’s dedicated to breast reconstruction says, YOLO is the sentiment and theme behind the race that works as hard to build awareness about this topic as it does to raise funds that help women who have undergone breast cancer mastectomies and returned to full, cancer-free lives.
Does every woman in Singapore who experiences this radical surgery want or need reconstruction to feel whole and “normal”? This is truly a personal choice that should be left up to every woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
And thanks to this event, every Singaporean woman who may find herself in need of reconstructive breast surgery can avail herself of that option.
Must You Run Nude?
Now, isn’t that a silly question! Even the most modest Singapore woman can compete wearing a sports bra or alternative top that suits her fancy, because the cause is great, the rewards are greater and the word shirtless doesn’t mean women can’t get creative while staying covered.
But, here’s the most compelling reason to run: in return for registering and making this statement, X-Change Republic Pte. Ltd. will donate a sports bra to the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Singapore (BRAS) project.
This small gesture has the potential to do great things for the wellbeing and emotional health of women who might otherwise believe that their surgical procedure has left them permanently disabled or less complete than they were before surgery.
Instead, each bra donated as a result of one woman running shirtless delivers this message: “You will survive and even run like the wind once you have healed!”
Take Off and Take it Off, Runners!
What do we mean when we urge you to take it off? Obviously, the shirt factor is a big part of this initiative, but it’s so much more.
By running this race you tell the world that you’re hopeful that the day will come that cancer is cured and metaphorically “off” the list of cancers than can strike women of all ages.
Further, once breast cancer is eradicated and women no longer live in fear of either the diagnosis or the surgery, they can get on with their lives and make meaningful contributions to Singapore society, their families and the future.
When the run steps off at 7.30 a.m. at the Gardens by the Bay-Bay East Gardens in October, every runner will be surrounded by men and women who are as eager as you are to live in a world where breast cancer is history, so whether you choose the 5km or the 10km event, you’ll save some bucks by taking advantage of Early Bird Registration discounts, just as long as you’re registered by 18 September.
Get Down, Too!
No Singapore race would be complete without fun activities held in conjunction with the race, and the YOLO won’t disappoint. Every competitor is invited to join the “mass outdoor yoga session of mindful stretching” lead by Liv Lo.
These sessions will be held before the race, so your mind and your body will be nicely stretched by the time your event begins.
Manduka YOLO Yoga sessions held at the race are being called “a happening,” and if you visit the event site, check out photos of previous mass yoga events lead by Liv, a certified Yoga instructor whose credentials and certifications are impeccable.
Use the mat you receive as a registration perk to undertake your stretches courtesy of Manduka, the company that believes a better Yoga mat makes a world of difference.
Entitlements That Show You Care
What’s in it for you if you dare to run shirtless on 22nd October? Logo-embellished tees, singlets, sports bras, yoga mats and a YOLO Run’16 medal if you go the 10km distance.
And of course, you get the privilege of competing alongside those who believe deeply in this cause as well as those who have fought cancer, won and recovered to lead full, productive lives.
Challenge your friends to run shirtless alongside you and make this event your opportunity to show that stripping down in the name of ending breast cancer is a cause you consider a priority.
Sign up for the YOLO run, calendar the date and keep tabs on the page so you know when to collect your race pack. In summary, if you dare to go shirtless, expect to have the time of your life promoting a cause that’s positively life-affirming!
How much influence does the way you were raised have on the wardrobe decisions you make — both on and off the track?