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Malaysia Insider

Malaysia insider

Feeling the burn

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Spurred on by the tailor who essentially called me a salad dodger a couple of weeks back, I've been taking a long hard look at my weight.

Now, I wouldn't say I'm huge at 1.83cm and 96kg (hardly Pavarotti proportions), but in Malaysia they have a completely different frame of reference when it comes to weight. First off all they're all so stick thin that our normal is their fat. Secondly, many Malaysians see weight as a sign of prosperity — you can't afford to eat that much food unless you're bringing home a decent amount of cash.

That said, there comes a point where they're just a tad too open about that kind of thing. This morning I got in a lift with another guy. We were only going up three floors — just enough for a civil nod of acknowledgement and a few seconds of silence.

Instead, the guy blurted out one sentence and one sentence only: "Hey, you're a fat one!"

As a way to endear yourself to others it seems an odd choice of opener. It also seems to be an absolute one-way street of a discussion. I'm allowed to smile in agreement and, if I'm feeling jaunty, we can even laugh together about my love of a good roti. But it's definitely, unequivocally, not the done thing for me to go: "Why yes. And what an awful receding hairline you have."

Anyway, suffice to say, I've now joined a gym.

Have you had any embarrassing 'figure facts' pointed out on your travels? Tell us about it.

User comments
I'm bigger than average without being huge, but on my one visit to Singapore and Malaysia people were always checking everything - you ok with that chair? You need bigger portion? It was a mixed up emotion, they were obviously very aware of other people's needs - but I hated the constant (and unfair!) mentions of my size. Funny blog.
That really made me LOL. Not sure I would like to be in a country whre strangers called me fat!

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