A senior Corp Comms Manager from Health Sciences Authority lives life vicariously through Barbie’s world. - Text by Sheralyn Tay, Photo by Charles Chua
If collecting dolls strikes you as merely child’s play, think again. A German Barbie fan has the world’s record collection of 6,000 Barbie dolls, worth over S$200,000.
Or ask Pearly Cheong, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications, at the Health Sciences Authority. Pearly, 37, has amassed 500 of them, after buying her first collectible Barbie during her junior college days. “It was Maria from The Sound of Music,” recalls Pearly of her first Barbie. “She wore the ‘curtain dress’, a straw hat and had a guitar. And during my first job, with CNB (Central Narcotics Bureau), I bought Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz.”
On the heels of those early Barbie dolls came a succession of hiao (vain) dollies in much more elaborate designs – Barbies decked out in designer gear and Vera Wang bridal gowns, Barbies sparkling in Swarovski crystals, and Barbies draped in authentic kimonos. Pearly’s precious dolls are displayed in a specially designed cabinet in a room done up in bright pink and black.
“I don’t buy branded bags, shoes or clothes, and I don’t like to travel as I get really air sick. Instead, I collect Barbie dolls,” says the effervescent Pearly. “Looking at my dolls, rearranging them and taking them out to admire or clean is very therapeutic.”
Perusing her collection is also a way of living vicariously for Pearly. “Barbie belongs to a different world! She’s been a movie star, an astronaut, an athlete and even a presidential candidate!
“And she always has such wonderfully creative clothes; I always feel so inspired when I look at my dolls,” says Pearly.
“When I was at URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority), having collectible Barbies with clothes inspired by great artists like Van Gogh helped me to hone my eye for design which comes in useful for my work.”
“I also appreciate the well-crafted writing that accompanies each doll on the collectibles websites. It triggers my own creativity when I write… although it’s not that suitable when I am writing scientific stuff now!” she admits, with a laugh.