Holidaymakers go under knife

By Shan Juan (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-10-02 08:57

Thailand. Bali. Operating room?

Whereas Southeast Asian destinations are growing in popularity for holidaymaking Chinese, others see the weeklong National Day vacation as a perfect window to squeeze in some plastic surgery and bolster their self-esteem without others catching on.

For the likes of Zhang Lin, 25, a white-collar worker in Beijing, the double eyelid operation she has scheduled for this week means much, much more than a week on the beach.

"I am too busy to take the surgery on working days and the seven-day holiday is the best opportunity for me to do it and recover, which will make me more beautiful and therefore boost my confidence at work and in my life," Zhang said.

Zhang is one of a growing number of mainlanders who are electing to go under the knife to give themselves an advantage in love, work, or just to feel better about themselves in an increasingly image-conscious society.

This is why Cui Qing, a division director with CAMS, a cosmetic clinics in the capital, looks forward to working during the holiday: because business is likely to boom.

"We always receive a surging number of customers around the holiday," Cui said. "Most of them go for minor plastic surgeries on the face."

The double eyelid treatment (3,000 yuan or nearly $400) and nasal augmentation are the most sought after procedures as they take just seven days for the bandages to come off and the bruises to heal, Cui said.

Most of the customers for these types of surgery are young women in their 20s and early 30s, but college students are making up a larger part of the demographic, she added.

"Nowadays China's graduating students face an extremely tight job market," Cui said, adding that her clinic gives them a discount. "So they turn to cosmetics surgeries to seek an edge and land a decent job."

"It's an economic age of beauty," said Liu Hui, a 21- year-old college girl in Beijing. "An above-average-looking girl can earn 10 percent more than others doing the same job."

Middle-aged customers are also appearing more on the radar to smooth wrinkles and have liposuction as China's growing economy spurs more disposable income.

"Some are even men in their 40s," she noted, adding that tummy-tightening and nose-straightening operations are the most common among this social bracket.

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