Do You Live In A Plastic Or Paper World?

Posted On: March 18, 2015

This below post is linked to “What’s Wrong With The Princess Who Loves Pink?“, You may wish to read it too.

Yesterday, I was with my younger sister by a year, Hannah. I wanted to gift each of her two young children a present. She wondered aloud if it is possible to get a tiara for her little girl.

tiaraWe went to Accessorize and she proceeded to pick out what she thought was the best one – image here.

The next day, I wondered if all little girls love playing princesses. This inspired me to write this post. It also led me to ask myself next: Did I have a tiara growing up?


I did!

We (Hannah and I) had one growing up too – only we either had pre-printed paper tiaras or made ours from paper. The making-of was part of the fun.

Paper As Toy

We didn’t just make tiaras or crowns from paper. We played with paper dolls.

We did lots of colouring. We were encouraged to draw – and attended art classes for years.

kidWe also liked doing paper cutting – or tried to.

Our favourite games (or at least mine) were playing make believe like princess, or with our toys.

In playing princesses, because we both had short hair (that’s for another blog post), we would put our towels on our head and pretend that was our long hair.

All that play with or around paper came to a stop, when we entered primary school. I remember feeling completely puzzled then devastated when one day, I was no longer allowed to colour the worksheets from school. I asked my tutor why she won’t allow me to do colouring. She said: “There’s no time. You’re grown up now.”

No time? Was all that colouring I was encouraged to pursue a waste of time then?

Paper Chase

Paper fun was replaced by paper torture. There were textbooks, workbooks, work sheets, and of course assessment books.

top10booksThe only pleasure I had from paper were from the books my sister and I were encouraged to devour during school holidays. We would compete to see who read the most books in a day – often reading for hours at end alongside each other, then we were off to play again when bored.

I still love books. Check out the books I read in 2014 and 2013.

My paper world soon turned to a different kind of chase around paper – the paper chase. I have three degrees and have spent many years working and studying, and actually still do in some form or another.

Paper Money

There’s also a different kind of paper we all contend with – money.

Is money ever enough? What are some of your childhood beliefs around money? What are the thoughts you have as an adult evolving around money?  More importantly, is money always no enough?

Singapore has topped 131 cities globally to become the world’s most expensive city to live in 2014, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). There’s no denying that Singapore has become a costly place to live in. More here.

The paper chase and the stress around the cost of living has affected many of the people I know.

couple_149086475Stressed. Tired. No time or energy for exercise or sleep. They slog on with some not seeing the light of day – going to work before the sunrise and leaving only after sunset. With no respite, their health and sex life suffers.

Many couples I know of have decide to postpone having a child, or given up on the idea altogether. Their lack of sex, and often inability to have sex, is just part of their list of worries made worse if they also desire to have a child (last year). Many of the people who seek me out have Vaginismus – that by itself, is the “sex epidemic” in Singapore. More here.

Paper or Plastic World?

tiara2Do you live in a paper or plastic world?

Did you play with paper the way I did growing up? Or chased after the paper – more certification, credentials and qualifications like me? Perhaps you worry about money incessantly?

We are also surrounded by so many man-made high-rise buildings made of concrete, metal and glass. We live in a box, crowd on the trains, and eat in equally crowded spaces.

We pay with a plastic card – the credit card. And we even feel plastic on the inside – overwhelmed, numbed, and blocked of life, joy, fun and sunshine.

Even our modern-day tiara is made of plastic.

Plastic dreams.

Do you live in a paper or plastic world? Do you have control and influence over your life? How much can you regain your sense of self?

I like to suggest that all of us reconnect with…

  1. Nature – Nature heals. We feel differently when we go for a walk in the place
  2. People – With our family and friends whom we often take for granted
  3. Our body – I neither exercise for exercise’s sake nor for losing weight, but rather for returning to my body.
  4. Being natural – Switch off our electronic devices, especially during mealtimes; go on technological fasts, and break patterns and habits.
  5. Being in the moment – Mindfulness can be in our small actions from being fully present in our moment-to-moment actions, from walking, and eating.
  6. Being real – It means not speaking from our heads only, but also with our hearts.
  7. Choice – I choose to care. Some days are harder than others. However the higher way… love always wins.

While we may live in a paper or plastic world, it’s our lives to take back.

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Who is Martha?

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit or email

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