Compared to the past, ah lians now are incomparable to ah lians from the 90s to mid-2000s.
If you didn’t know what ah lians are, it’s basically another term for female “gangsters”.
Ah lians these days are mostly, for some reason, K-Wave fans who prefer mimicking Korean girls’ straight eyebrows and droopy eyeliner look while ah lians of the past had more individual style and character that was pretty much unique to Singapore and Malaysia.
For the sake of remembering the past, here are some of the fashion statements that are so ah lian that these people might as well be carrying a huge signboard saying that they are ah lians.
Big, Colourful Hair Clips
Remember Rachel Gan, the ah lian contestant from Singapore Idol and her huge, red ribbon hair clip?
Yeah, those were the kind of hair clips that decorated every act cute ah lians’ hair.
These fashion accessories can either be spotted on their fringes or the side of their heads and if those ah lians had too many, they’d make their appearance on said ah lians’ “side bags”.
We are not sure why but ah lians seem to think that having very long and straight hair is an attractive trait.
They’d spend hundreds of dollars and a couple hours at hair salons getting their hair rebonded even if their hair was already pin-straight in the first place.
Most ah lians end up looking like an Afghan Hound after that and they loved it.
Camisoles and Black Bra Straps Combo
It is not like during those times, there was a lack of resources to make clothes or anything but camisoles (or spaghetti straps, as they were called) were the go-to look for ah lians.
Tank tops came in a close second.
These camisoles must be paired with black bra straps and cross-backed details. They might as well be shouting to everybody: “Hey, look! I’m wearing a bra and it’s black!”
Patterned Contact Lenses
If you thought pupil-enlarging circle contact lenses were bad enough, you probably forgot about patterned contact lenses that ah lians and ah bengs used to wear.
Those were contact lenses that had the pattern of stars, hearts, and other random things printed on them that claimed to create an effect on your pupils but too bad most of the time, it didn’t work and it looked like alien eyes instead.
Unless that was the vibe they wanted.
Ah lians are the reason why you see so many shops in Bugis Street selling packs and packs of false eyelashes.
These false eyelashes had to be so thick and bushy that when worn, it would look like there was a fly making itself at home on your eyes.
Sometimes when ah lians cannot be bothered with carrying a bag, they would whip out their trusty wristlets that they bought either from Coach or Louis Vuitton with their life savings out to Bugis Street or Cineleisure.
Apart from being a very handy, compact purse they can carry around, they also acted well as a form of weapon for when ah lians needed to engage in a fight or two.
Hot shorts are shorts that are, well, very very very short – think part of these ah lians’ butt cheeks saying hi to the world.
These shorts, when paired with their camisoles and black bras, are the ultimate method for single ah lians to attract other single ah bengs to ask them whether they ai stead mai.
Remember those PMK t-shirts ah lians used to wear everywhere if they wanted to look a bit more dressed up?
PMK stood for Puremilk—a clothing brand, not the real milk itself. White, black, and purple seemed to be one of the more popular colour choices for PMK t-shirts back then.
I guess the equivalent of that today would be those ADLV, or Acme De La Vie, shirts.
Tokyo Drift Ringtone
Whenever you were taking the public transport, you would hear at least one person’s ringtone or message tone going, “I wonder if you know! How they live in Tokyo! If you’ve seen it then you mean it then you know you have to go! Fast and furious! (Drift, drift, drift)”.
You didn’t even need to look up to confirm that it was either an ah lian or ah beng whose phone just rang. Makes you not want to watch Fast and Furious 3 anymore.
An Ah Beng
No matter what, an ah lian look would never be completed without an ah beng around. They were like the Fann Wong and Christopher Lee of the lian/beng world.
There might still be some ah lians that follow these “fashion traditions” to date. You never know, you might spot one later in the day.