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Category Archives: True Life

MY ODYSSEY WITH MATHEMATICS AND ITS NEPHEW AND COUSIN!

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CAVEAT: This will be a long read (but in a very simple English).

I cannot quite remember how and when exactly my predicament with Mathematics started. Or, how I came to hate Mathematics and anything with calculation with a passion, and how the subject (and its cousin and nephew — Accounting and Statistics) became my enemies in the academe. And while I remember vividly my fascination for English at an early age (an age when I actually lived in agbo ile — communal environs of brown mud houses and where 99.9% of people spoke Yoruba), I cannot recall ever having any interest in Mathematics. Ditto Yoruba. I still cannot read Yoruba smoothly and except when very necessary, I avoid reading Yoruba like a plague.

My sordid foundation and eventual divorce with Mathematics was further cemented by truancy while in secondary school. I was a typical absentee student and I was (with an accomplice) the headache of Maths teachers. I would do things that would make Maths teachers leave class in anger, or send me and my accomplice out.

I managed to survive until it was time for the final examination (West African Secondary School Certificate Examination — WASSCE). I knew I cannot pass Maths and sought the assistance of my brother’s girlfriend. The lady taught me Maths for about three months leading to the examination. I passed with a C5.

Something strange (to the Principal) happened the day the result was released. Though I passed other subjects, my English Language was withheld (till date) and the Principal didn’t find it funny that I was dancing with ‘incomplete’ result. Unknown to him, I was dancing because I passed Maths and I knew I would always pass English. Any time. Any day. I registered again because of the withheld English and passed as expected.

I shouted eureka, believing that I would have nothing to do with Maths again in my life since my proposed courses of study in university were Law and Mass Communication. I was patiently wrong.

Fast forward to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

My first disappointment wasn’t having to meet Maths again, but the fact that my dream to read Law or Mass Communication was shattered. This happened because of dearth of mentors and advisers (remember I lived mostly with old, uneducated and semi-educated people). Educated brothers, sisters, uncles, etc. who could have guided me were mostly far away.

While my dream university was OAU, I chose the school as a second choice to study Law and University of Lagos (UNILAG) as the first choice to study Mass Communication. Unfortunately, OAU didn’t admit second choice applicants because the school had tens of thousands of applicants that chose OAU as first choice and passed. My initial interest in UNILAG and Mass Communication had waned even before the release of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB) administered University Matriculation Examination (UME), now rechristened Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

I eventually opted to study History/English Language (the journey to that too was tortuous). But that story too is for another day.

Fast forward to my sophomore in OAU.

At the time, OAU had a course CSC 221 (Computer Appreciation) that was compulsory for all 200 level students (except Law students).

I was happy when I learnt we would study CSC 221 because it was about computer and because it was a period when PC was akin to spacecraft to majority of people in Nigeria. That elation went kaboom few weeks into the course.

After the initial one-on-one with PC and after being taught how to put it on, shut it down and some other things kids of today would consider mundane, the class veered into Theorem and whatnots.

I didn’t understand a thing again. I just stopped attending CSC 221 lecture.

I was lucky to pass because the test and examination have areas that weren’t calculations. I didn’t touch the calculations and I escaped with an E. I danced.

Fast forward again to Nigerian Institute of Management professional examination during my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) days. The calculations therein were very minimal and I survived.

My next big face-off with Maths and anything calculation came few years later in the same OAU.

Because of the need to hone my professional calling as an administrator, I applied for a masters degree programme in Public Administration. And yet again, I had to deal with Maths’ cousin and nephew (Accounting and Statistics) at the same time. It wasn’t savoury.

Accounting and Statistics were compulsory courses. No escaping them.

How I escaped Accounting: a class was ongoing one day and I didn’t understand a thing as usual. I summoned courage, raised my hand and told the teacher that all lectures so far were Greek to me, that my background is in the humanities, and that….

I hadn’t finished my statement when some other students joined me to say they too could not understand a thing. And being an adult class, the lecturer was magnanimous enough to listen to us. Eventually, he promised to ensure that the test would be devoid of calculations while examination would be mixed. I scored 23 out the possible 25 in the test. I hired a 300 level Accounting student to be my teacher twenty-four hours to the examination and crammed everything. I survived.

Statistics: I applied similar method I used for Accounting. Suffice to add that I bought so many books, particularly those that were elementary. I cultivated the habit of buying elementary books in areas I am not good at in my undergraduate days. I used this method to dismantle Pragmatics in 300 level when the course was proving intractable (the method is good in that it affords one to start from less difficult and gradually graduating to understanding difficult areas).

Fast forward to my attempt at a doctorate degree.

I applied for M.Phil/Ph.D in Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso, with concentration in Human Resources Management (HRM). Doctoral students in LAUTECH are required to attend classes, write test and sit for examinations for two semesters. That to me wasn’t a problem until Statistics was stated as one of the courses I must study — I later realised that these classes were mere auditing as no credits were given.

This brand of Statistics required every student to come to class with a laptop. (We even went to examination hall with our laptops). We were required to use some applications, prominent among these is STATA. You see, life can be confounding at times. Imagine me, a complete olodo in Statistics, being made to use applications to learn something I hated with a passion. I had no option. And I survived.

(I completed my two semesters with no hassle and proceeded to my thesis before I abandoned the programme after years of efforts, huge bills on hotel, books, journal, car fuelling, sacrifice by my wife, my employer then, etc. One single person put paid to that dream).

I have come to the conclusion that my ontology is not wired to understand anything calculation. Mere counting money is a huge task for me and I have lost substantial amount of money to bad counting in the past.

I lost substantial office monies to bad counting in 2006/2007. My former place of work where I worked as a lecturer, Acting Registrar and later the substantial Registrar was new then: banks were far away, the road then was bad and the Bursar and the Bursary were located in another town because of fear of armed robbers. So the Management concluded that we should assist the students and I became the emergency money collector. I was loosing money and was repaying it to the Bursar until I couldn’t take it any longer.

I went to my employer and told him that I have been losing and repaying money and that I would rather resign than continuing. He was surprised as the Bursar didn’t tell him of my ordeals. He directed the Bursar to return all the monies I had repaid to me and we subsequently decided that all fees must be paid to bank.

And while I cannot foreclose the possibility of coming in contact with Maths and its unwelcoming family members again, I am positive that I’ll always survive.

Thank you for your time.

 

 

Femi Olabisi is on Twitter: @Femiolas

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in True Life

 

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY: THE HYDRA-HEADED WEBS OF LIFE

CAVEAT: I wrote this article 14 years ago. I was in my sophomore then and a novice in the art of writing.

 

I was waiting for so long for a miracle to come

Everyone told me to be strong

Hold on and don’t shed a tear

Through the darkness and good time

I knew I’d make it through…

 Yes! That is her exact words. Though rendered in song so cool, tender, sonorous and beautiful to the hearing, yet it carries strength; shows determination and courage. A combination of poetic artistry with a melodious voice to match: you hear it. You feel it.  That is Celine Dion for you.

 Born in the French-speaking region of Canada, Quebec to be precise, Celine Dion started her music career at the tender age of 12 – thanks to her producer then, Rene Angelil, who she later married. Although she was born into a musically talented family, her quick rise to stardom is an exemplary feat in the music world. She was known the world over as an accomplished musician with the ability and capacity so captivating, and unequalled. Prejudice apart, her songs will forever be the best of R & B’s.

 Then, the ‘UGLY’ and the ‘BAD’ set; in bended on putting paid to her blissful life and career. Rumours have it that her overage husband is dead while it was believed in some quarters that Celine herself is suffering from infertility. Though it is hard to believe these tales as gospel truth, but it is evident that the R & B guru sailed in a tempestuous sea. It is now a known fact that her husband, during the hiatus of her music career, suffered from a protracted cancer of the lung while Celine Dion herself did not had it good in giving birth to her son, Rene-Charles Angelil. The birth of her first son nearly terminated her life. She indirectly confirmed this is one tract of her new album “A New Day as Come”

Like a door way of my life

All the leaves are falling down

Although I try to pick them up

There are so many I think I will drown….

I feel the pain, but feel no shame…

And all that I can do is pray…

And as the adage says “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal” so is Celine Dion’s days of anguish that has now ebb away. Gone is her pain, gone is her sorrow: her crumbling world is rebuilt.

 Celine’s days of turbulence is a lesson to all mortals. She rose from a nobody; from slum to become the toast of the world, a nonentity to a celebrity. Hers is a success story. Yet, her fortune changed. Life shows her that there are two sides to everything – the good and the ugly. She has this to say:

 Life, it can twist your heart

Put you in the dark

Build the wall within…

Faith, it can lift you up…

To reach a new beginning.

 

The above tells of her sad experiences and of her resolve not to succumb, not to relent, and of her determination to scrape through. She knows that life is a road beset with roses and thorns and thereby braced herself. She triumphed at the end.

 What about you? Are you embroiled in same or similar problems? Well, my advice is that you adapt yourself to whatever situation you find yourself. And, according to George Bernard Shaw “the reasonable man adapts himself to the world (situations): the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” To forge ahead you must be determined, courageous and possess the zeal to overcome the labyrinths of the ‘uglies and the ‘bads’ of life.

 Remember the maxim that says “Winner don’t quit and quitters don’t win”.

 

Connect with me:

Twitter: @Femiolas

Blog:  http://www.femiolas.wordpress.com

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Opinion, True Life

 

Story of “ABOBAKU” in Ile-Ife, Sacrilegious Figment of a Lunatic Imagination – Olafare Moses

Initially, I never wanted to respond to the said story rapidly spreading around like a spirit especially on the social media(as usual) until I was challenged by the as a patriotic Ooduan from Ife by the intervention of another tested & trusted patriotic Ooduan from Ekiti in the person of my senior comrade Adewale Adeoye who has really shown the writers/promoters of the dangerous lies where they truly belong in the house of Oduduwa(bi ile ba n toro, omo ale ibe ko tii da’gba ni).

In Ile-Ife, SARUN chieftancy remains a very enviable position being the no.1 confidant of OONI as the king’s traditional ADC from the era of ODUDUWA till date. However, it is imperative to know that at no time in the history of Ife’s agelong royalty was a SARUN or any other chief buried along with an OONI. Am also not aware of such a practice anywhere in Oodua land except our revered OYO KINGDOM where an OLOKUNESIN had to be buried with an ALAAFIN and of course that has been aborted by the colonial government very many years ago.

After the demise of Ooni Adesoji Aderemi in 1980, his “abobaku” Saarun Arasanmi was never buried with his master but rather upgraded to LOODOKO of Ife by the new Oba Okunade Sijuwade who latter appointed his own Saarun in the person of chief Ganiyu Oyebanji. At an older age, Saarun Oyebanji was upgraded by Oba Sijuade who made him the AGURO of Ife and later JAARAN which is 3rd on the hierarchy of MODEWA kingmakers(osi Ife) until he died in sometime in 2001. The present Jaaran, High Chief Adekola Adeyeye took over as Saarun around 2002 and served for 11yrs till year 2013 when he too handed over to the present Saarun Awoyode Oyelami who was the Oonirisa’s closest traditional aid until recently when THE ELEPHANT fell. The so called “abobaku” Saarun Awoyode Oyelami is very much alive in Ile-Ife always with High Chief Lowa and other kingmakers who are about to begin the rites for the selection of the next Oonirisa who has the prerogative to either retain him as his Saarun or otherwise.

I hereby describe the story of “ABOBAKU RUNS AWAY” as untrue, malicious and reckless calculated efforts towards the unwarranted desecration of the sacred throne of Oduduwa by those who could only be regarded as OMO ALE who would always point to or desribe their father’s house with left hands(forbidden).

And as I severally asked in my refutal against a similar anti-Ooni fabrication of lies about two weeks ago which I titled “OORE OF OTUN TO ANNOUNCE THE DEMISE OF OONI, A DANGEROUS ABSURDITY OF THE HIGHEST ORDER”. Where did writer get his story from”? “did he just decide to cause confusion of tradition”? “did he just want to be seen as a good writer with a round of applause from d people like him”? “did he consult Ooni’s palace in Ile-Ife? or he just took it as a way of relaxing at the corner of his room after eating AMALA & GBEGIRI or EBA & EGUSI soup of his wife”?

It is again very disheartening to see someone or people who are supposed to inform and educate the uninformed public display abysmal level of ignorance informed by their laziness & unwillingness to do a thorough research into any issue they may choose to discuss.

The sacred throne of OONI is the highest Oduduwa Royal sit globally and should not be undermined by those that only want to seek cheap publicity through pages of social media.

Culled from the Facebook post shared by Onatunde Sanjo

 

Femi Olabisi is on Twitter: @Femiolas

 

Ooni oF Ife

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2015 in True Life

 

My Rubicon – by Femi Olabisi

‘To be, or not to be’ was my thought
Months of divided dilly-dallying
Of wishing, and rejection
Of what lies beyond the present
Clouded my thought

My resolve was, as steel
Strong, as a crude diamond
At least, that was my stance
My story changed,
The steeling resolve liquesced

It happened, eventually
And now, in my moments
Reliving what can’t be undone
I sojourned between twin thoughts
Was it right, was it wrong?

Time will tell of my action
Tomorrow will adjudicate.
Now I wait, awaiting,
Banking of hope
Hope all will be well

Was it the flesh, or fate
Or a random failing?
I have crossed the Rubicon
I sailed untested waters.
Time will tell, and deliver the verdicts.

© Femi Olabisi (September 13, 2014)

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Poem, Poetry, True Life

 

AK-47 Inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Dies at 94

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Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the most famous AK-47 assault rifle has died at the age of 94.

The former tank mechanic, who had been suffering from heart problems in the last few years, died in the town of Izevsk, the same place where the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 (AK-47) was first produced.

Mr Kalashnikov had led a quiet and unassuming life, making little effort to take advantage of his fame, or making much money from it. Asked whether he regretted producing a weapon which may have been responsible more deaths than any other in the last half century, he replied:

“I invented it for the protection of the Motherland. I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it.”However, the former tank mechanic, who came from a peasant family, never finishing high-school, had also reflected “I am sad that it is used by terrorists. I would prefer to have invented a machine that people like farmers could use, like a lawnmower.”

AK-47 is cheap to to produce and can be assembled by someone with no military training, looked after without a cleaning kit, does not normally jam, partly because of the simplicity of the moving parts, or stop functioning however severe the weather conditions.

Mr Kalashnikov from the village of Kjurya, Altai territory, was one of 18 children, of whom only six survived. He was called up by the Red Army in 1938 and it was while he was injured after the tank he commanded was struck by a German shell, that he began to work on the firearm which was to become so famous. A fellow soldier asked him why the Russians were so regularly getting outgunned in the battles, “So I started to design a machine-gun for a soldier, something which we can reply with” he recalled.

There were teething problems with early prototypes, but the rifle was ready for production in 1947 and adopted by the Soviet Army in 1949.

Senior Sergeant Mikhail Timofeevitch Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize First Class which was to be followed by three Orders of Lenin and the Hero of Socialist Labour.

Meanwhile the legend of the Kalashnikov lives on. Around a 100 million have been produced over the years along with imitations in many countries. The Russian army has just announced that it will bring into service a new assault rifle next year – bearing the name Kalashnikov.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in True Life

 

NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA: THE TIMELINE OF AN ICON (1918 – 2013)

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A concise look at the life of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former president of South Africa who died on Thursday December 5, 2013 at the age of 95:

Birth date: July 18, 1918

Birth place: Mvezo, Transkei, South Africa.

Birth name: Rolihlahla Dalibhunga Mandela

Father: Gadla Henry Mphakanyiswa, a counselor to the royal house of the Thembu tribe

Mother: Nosekeni Fanny Mandela

Marriages: Graca (Machel) Mandela (July 18, 1998 – present); “Winnie” (Madikizela) Mandela (1958 – 1996, divorce); Evelyn (Ntoko) Mandela (1944 – 1958, divorce)

Children: with Winnie Mandela: Zindzi, 1960 and Zenani, 1959; with Evelyn Mandela: Makaziwe, 1953; Makgatho, 1950 – January 6, 2005; Makaziwe, 1947 – 1948; Thembekile, 1946 – 1969

Education: University of South Africa, law degree, 1942

Other Facts: He was given the name Nelson by a school teacher. He is also sometimes called Madiba, his traditional clan name.

Mandela has been called both “the world’s most famous political prisoner” and “South Africa’s Great Black Hope.”

Timeline: 1941-1943 – Mandela meets Walter Sislu who helps him get a job at the law firm of Witkin, Sidelsky, and Eidelman.

1944 – Joins the African National Congress and helps found the ANC Youth League.

1951 – Becomes president of the ANC Youth League.

1952 – Opens the first black law partnership in South Africa with friend Oliver Tambo.

1952 – Leads the newly launched [ANC] Campaign for the Defiance of Unjust Laws, a program of nonviolent mass resistance.

July 1952 – Mandela is charged with violating the Suppression of Communism Act.

December 5, 1956 – Mandela is among 156 resistance leaders arrested and charged with high treason.

March 21, 1960 – In Sharpeville, police fire upon protestors challenging apartheid laws; 69 people are killed.

April 8, 1960 – The ANC is banned nine days after Mandela is arrested and the government imposes a state of emergency after the events in Sharpeville.

March 29, 1961 – Mandela and all co-defendants are found not guilty of treason.

June 1961 – Mandela begins organizing the armed struggle against apartheid Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nations). He travels in Africa and Europe studying guerrilla warfare.

August 5, 1962 – Is arrested on charges of inciting workers to strike and leaving the country without valid travel documents. Mandela represents himself at trial.

November 7, 1962 – Is sentenced to prison, five years hard labor.

June 12, 1964 – Is sentenced to life in prison for four counts of sabotage. Convicted and sentenced with Mandela are Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Denis Goldberg and others.

1980 – The Johannesburg Sunday Post leads a campaign to free Mandela. A petition demanding his and other ANC prisoners’ release is printed in the newspaper.

1982– Is transferred to Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison after 18 years on Robben Island.

1988 – Is transferred to Victor Verster Prison.

July 5, 1989 – Meets with President P.W. Botha.

August 15, 1989 – Botha resigns as president and head of the National Party. F.W. de Klerk replaces him and begins dismantling apartheid.

December 13, 1989 – Mandela and de Klerk meet for the first time.

February 11, 1990 – Mandela is released from prison after more than 27 years.

1990 – Embarks on a world tour, visiting Margaret Thatcher, the U.S. Congress, and U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

July 1991 – Mandela is elected president of the ANC.

1993 – Mandela and de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize.

April 29, 1994 – Elected the first black president of the Republic of South Africa in the first open election in the country’s history.

May 10, 1994 – Mandela is inaugurated.

June 1999 – Mandela leaves office.

1999 – Establishes the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

January 19, 2000 – Addresses the United Nations Security Council, appealing for help in ending the brutal civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi.

July 25, 2001 – Announces that he has prostate cancer and is undergoing treatment.

January 31, 2003 – Mandela criticizes President Bush’s stance on Iraq, saying he has no foresight and can’t think properly.

November 29, 2003 – Aids awareness event, the 46664 Concert (Mandela’s prison number) at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The event draws 30,000+ fans with performances by Beyonce, Peter Gabriel, Bono, Bob Geldof and many more; and speeches by Mandela and Geldof.

December 1, 2003 – Mandela participates in the signing of the Geneva Accords for peace in the Middle East.

January 7, 2005 – Announces that his son, Makgatho, has died of AIDS and that the disease should be given publicity so that people will stop viewing it as extraordinary.

March 21, 2005 – Hosts the “46664 concert” in George, South Africa, to promote AIDS awareness.

August 29, 2007 – A bronze statue of Mandela is unveiled in Parliament Square in London.

June 27, 2008 – A London concert is held at Hyde Park in honor of Mandela’s 90th birthday (on July 18) with all proceeds going to an AIDS charity. It is estimated that about 40,000 tickets were sold.

July 18, 2009 – The Nelson Mandela Foundation creates Mandela Day to be held every year on his birthday. The purpose of the day is to bring awareness to community service.

November 11, 2009 – The United Nations declares July 18th Nelson Mandela International Day.

December 11, 2009 – The movie Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman as Mandela opens in South Africa, Canada and the United States.

February 11, 2010 – On the 20th anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison tributes, commemorations and marches in his honor take place.

June 11, 2010 – Mandela makes his first World Cup appearance before kickoff of the final match.

January 26-28, 2011 – Is hospitalized in Johannesburg and treated for an acute respiratory infection.

June 21, 2011 – Meets with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama at his home in South Africa.

February 25-26, 2012 – Enters and is released from a Johannesburg hospital, while there undergoes surgery for an abdominal hernia.

March 2012 – The Nelson Mandela Digital Archive Project is launched. Google gives a $1.25 million grant to help preserve and digitize thousands of archival documents including items donated by Mandela himself.

December 8, 2012 – Is admitted to the hospital, suffering a lung infection.

December 15, 2012 – Undergoes successful endoscopic surgery to have gall stones removed.

January 6, 2013 – A spokesman says Mandela has successfully recovered from surgery and a lung infection and is slowly getting back to his normal routine.

March 27, 2013 – Is admitted to the hospital due to the recurrence of a lung infection.

April 6, 2013 – Mandela is discharged from the hospital.

April 29, 2013 – The South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) releases video of Mandela as he sits at home surrounded by South Africa President Zuma and other government officials. SABC and the African National Congress, which has been critical of media in the past, are accused of political exploitation.

June 8, 2013 – Mandela is admitted to hospital with a recurring lung infection. The former president is listed in serious but stable condition and is breathing on his own.

June 23, 2013 – Officials say Mandela’s condition worsened in the past 24 hours, and he is now in critical condition.

December 5, 2013 – President Jacob Zuma of South African announced the passage of Nelson Mandela.  The world mourns the departed icon.

The Compiler tweets @Femiolas

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2013 in True Life

 

The New Wonder Bra For Women

While London’s busy Regent Street certainly sees a colourful cross-section of life in the capital, it is doubtful it has ever seen anything quite like this. Shoppers today were treated to the sight of 10 women striding down the street wearing blue jeans, high heels… and very little else.

The stunt was part of the promotion of InvisiBra: a new strapless, backless bra that all the women were wearing to maintain their dignity.

The bra claims to be a backless, strapless, self-adhesive bra that will lift and enhance cleavage but won’t slip off.

Models parade down London’s busy Regent Street wearing their bras to celebrate the UK launch of Lavalia’s InvisiBra

Despite of their minimal attire and the downcast weather, the girls kept a smile on their face as they posed for the waiting cameras

THE INVISIBLE BRA: HOW DOES IT WORK?

1. It is the clasp of the InvisiBra that makes it different, the firm says.
2. The stickiness is a special glue from Germany that regenerates itself every time it is washed.
’3. The shape of the cups for InvisiBra are unique and the way they are placed on the bosoms and then clasped together in the centre gives the wearer support and lift.
4. ‘It is the only self-adhesive bra that gives you a cleavage,’ they say.
5. Handwash only, each bra can be reused up to 200 times.
6. InvisiBras are made from medical grade silicone with fabric or lace placed over the cups.
7. Invisibra say their silicone is medically proven to be safe for the skin.

Source: The Herald

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in True Life

 
 
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