October 26th, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


The other day Reuters reported on Jian Yang of Singapore. He lives in a rowhouse, fairly staid and spartan on the outside. You have no idea what’s inside.

A pink living room floor. But that’s not all.

Six thousand (yes, 6,000!) Barbie dolls.

These replicated species of the most celebrate doll of its kind—a cultural icon that even Andy Warhol had to paint in 1985—fill Mr. Yang’s living room and spill over into the rest of the house. 6,000 of them!

He confessed: “When you meet me outside of this, I’m not that kind of guy. I’m not what you expect from a guy that collects dolls.”

An obsession. A “crazy obsession,” Mr. Yang calls it. It all began when he was 13. He saw Barbie on TV, and liked what he saw, but his folks weren’t inclined to buy the teenaged boy a doll. “As I grew older, got my own allowance, that’s where I started getting the freedom to buy whatever I wanted.”

The “crazy obsession” comes with a cost. He’s spent at least half-a-million Singapore dollars (about US$400,000) in the last two decades on his collection.

His family and friends are, by now, accepting of this idiosyncrasy. But, as he noted, “I’ve also got the ex-girlfriends who get insecure about this kind of stuff … They look at dolls and go ‘OK, that’s the competition,’ which is quite troubling but it’s a reality.”

Jian Yang isn’t the only one with the Barbie-obsession. Mattel estimates that there are over 100,000 such avid collectors, ninety percent of whom are women, and who purchase over twenty Barbies every year, spending around $1,000 annually. Mr. Yang, on his last trip to New York City, bought 65 of them! He buys them where he goes and wherever he can find them, stores, auctions, online, ….


(Yang agreed that the relevance of Barbie was waning and pretty princesses and beautiful ballerinas were giving way to ghouls and zombies popularized by vampire movies and stuff. Ugly, apparently, is hot!)

But he shows no sign of slowing down on his Barbie craze, though it seems he’ll soon run out of place. What will Mr. Yang do then?

“I’ll buy the other house,” he laughs, pointing next door.

Oh, and by the way, the pink floor is not just any ol’ pink. It’s Pantone 219 C, Barbie’s signature pink.


Others are obsessed with their own beauty (or lack thereof). Nearly 12 million cosmetic and nonsurgical procedures are performed in the US yearly, ten percent of them on men. At the cost of about US$13 billion annually.

Here’s a better obsession. The most beautiful of all beings—God himself!

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple.
Psalm 27:4

One day …

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will behold a far-distant land.
Isaiah 33:17

And one day, we, too, will be as beautiful as Jesus is in his humanity—one day when we are conformed to his image.

Beloved, now we are children of God,
and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.
We know that when He appears, we will be like Him,
because we will see Him just as He is.
1 John 3:2

Beautiful One, I love,
Beautiful One, I adore,
Beautiful One, I must sing!
Tim Hughes, 2002

A grand obsession, indeed!


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