my open letter to The Star

Hello all,
this post addresses an article posted in The Star, the largest circulated English-language tabloid-format newspaper in Malaysia.

The article in question is entitled, ‘No Benefit in Being Fat’ written by Star journalist Tee Lin Say. The article that has since been taken down due to its controversial points of view discussing how Obesity is not good for a person’s ‘Man Xiang’ – it is a term referred to face reading in Chinese culture.

Allow me to quote a few choice lines from the article :

“Not to be discriminatory, but this level of fat people are also lazier than usual. They aren’t doers. They are great talkers though. This is to mask the denial of their situation, and the great insecurity they have about their looks. They talk about anything else, to deflect attention from all that excessive weight,” is one of the many sweeping statements Lin Say makes in her article.

“Being fat is never ever a good thing in face reading. While loads of emphasis is placed on a meaty and chubby face for wealth and prosperity, blobs of fat in other parts of the body are bad news”

I don’t have trouble being called Fat because I don’t think of it as an insult. We aren’t Fat, We have Fat. But saying that blobs of fat are bad news, where is the tact in that statement? She clearly is expressing her disgust at big bodied people. We are Well Aware that extra deposits of fat are unhealthy Miss Tee. That doesn’t make us unwealthy. And frankly, face reading isn’t a science for me to take seriously. So I am not interested in what my chubby face tells you.

Miss Tee then goes on to elaborate with an analogy that the animals on top of the food chart are lithe, unlike those in the lower shelf. She then says “When one is too whalelike, one simply cannot function properly. In the physical self, how does one defend oneself?”

So you’re saying that the mighty elephant that carries wood logs, the hippopotamus that can crush an alligator into half, the whale that communicates underwater in frequencies our little human minds have taken years to decipher .. aren’t as useful or powerful or commendable?

And lest we forget, she just insinuated that obese people have whalelike proportions”. She clearly is not holding back on her size prejudice. Even if it equates to career suicide. Was she really expecting people to sit up and agree with her? What was The Star thinking approving this article to be published?

Another nugget from the article:
“Roly polies just aren’t as agile or nimble as their leaner competitors. Their brains also cannot move as fast when their hearts are working extra hard to pump oxygen through their clogged arteries”

Miss Tee, did you just call an obese person a roly poly in a newspaper article?? What is up with the poor English? And my brain moves just as nimble if not more nimble than the stick insect shaped female body you’re stuck with.

She also goes on to say that fat people were elephantine proportioned, and gargantuan. It is clear as day that she does not know what being fat, obese is all about.

First of all, where does a journalist get off using such rude terms to describe big bodied people? Secondly, how did this get approval for publishing? Thirdly, did she really think she was making any sense aside from proving that she loathed Fat people?

It is hard enough being plus sized.
We hear fat shaming insults said to us all the time, directly or discreetly. It does not matter, why we are the size that we are – illness, injuries, hormones. It does not make sense that we choose to be proud of our size despite the hate that comes our way. People see us and feel disgusted, without knowing who or what we are. Our GPs don’t know any better, and if they see a slight bulge on a girl .. there come the nags.

Saying that I am any less intelligent, capable, agile or healthy are classic gross misconceptions about fuller figured people.

It’s hard enough being plus sized in Asia, where slimming fads fitness junkies fairness creams rule the day. Where plus sized models are considered an oddity – why would people want to see girls in size 14 or larger on billboards right? A size 14 is the average female size, but hey that’s not something we concern ourselves with. It’s a constant marathon to flat abs, perfectly chiseled faces and toned legs. The horror if our bodies are dimpled or have cellulite!

The sad part is, this part of the world Runs on the notion that materialism, false aesthetics and tight compact bodies are the epitome of perfection. These are the goals of reaching a higher status within the ranks of society.

I can be eating instant noodles at home, but hey at least I have a Prada bag. I must not wear the same outfit more than once, because that’s just passé. I must be superwoman – be slim and Yet have big pert boobs, a thick compact ass and work myself to death up the career ladder, have children and still maintain a fighting fit figure, get married and have a flawless complexion.

Be Fairer than them all.
So many Evil Witches in this era with their mirrors telling them Lies.

Miss Tee, you allowed people to comment on your post on your Facebook page and profile page. You did not apologise for your comments on your personal page but apologise on your page after reading the comments written in the aftermath of your appalling work of ‘journalism’. I wonder if you really understood where those people were coming from or if it was simply a way to excuse yourself out of this mistake.

This was not just a mistake.
This was career suicide. And it’s worse when I think of the editors that allowed this piece of prejudicial crap to be published.

But the fact remains, that this stupid article is among the sea of insensitive ones I have read within the region over the past 2 decades. The level of malice and vindication toward people who are not part of the ‘uniform’ group is saddening.

I for one, am committed to dispelling the afore-mentioned notions. Each and every one of them.

I do not think that an apology from the journalist is good enough. The newspaper must print an apology.

Singapore Straits Times and other local & regional papers – take note. You do not have the right to throw size ideals in our faces. If you do, there will be an uproar. We are beautiful big people who are here to stay, make a stand and claim our places in society.

Miss Tee and The Star,
you can kiss my big fat obese ass



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