Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I eat pork when I'm half Malay...that's in Singapore

"No matter what, we love each other, if don't get along with our in-laws and accept each other's cultures and beliefs, there's no point in getting married," Kyle said, "There has to be an equal amount of respect from both sides and we have to give each other space."

"The perception is Singapore needs to change. Many people assume that I'm Malay, I must be Muslim, but I'm not."

Faith's the Answer

Indeed, faith seems to be the gel that keeps this family together. The trio can be spotted in church on Sundays participating in activities with the Catechesis of God Shepherd; getting their hands dirty doing art and craft while learning more about Bible.

Big is beautiful in Mauritania

I watched one of Oprah repeats yesterday (Nov 2008 edition) and had a good laugh on "Beauty Secrets of the World."
Big is beautiful !!!!

Oprah highlighted countries that have high plastic surgery rates; the US was first and Brazil was second (especially in breast implants). Shockingly, in Japan, women drink collagen with their tea instead of having it injected.

In India, women offer their hair as a sacrifice to the gods and in return grow more beautiful. Surprisingly, Iran is the nose job capital of the world. Having your nose altered is pivotal in an Iranian woman's life and also serves as a status symbol, so much that women actually just place tape on their noses and pretend they underwent a nose job.

However, despite the juicy beauty details and the interesting statistical revelations provided by the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, the best part the show was finding out about Mauritania.

Mauritania? What's that?

Well, officially known as the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, it is a northwestern African nation.

Why was this country featured on Oprah?

Because lo and behold there is a country that caters to all bootylicious ladies! Apparently, thin is NOT in here. In Mauritania, women are reared from childhood to eat eat eat! The bigger they are the better.

Although the Mauritanian government has been trying to control this often tortuous practice, girls are stuffed with camel or cow milk day and night to ensure that they fatten up (a practice known as gavage). Even if the girls upchuck the food, they are fed more. Additonally, when women have difficulty gaining their desired weight, they turn to black market drugs to help ease the process.

Why are fat women preferred?

Because bigger women represent opulence and prosperity.

According to the girl Oprah was interview, Mauritanian men judge a woman by her thick ankles and voluptuous bottoms. Even though obesity often brings along problems of heart disease, liver disease, Type II diabetes, and high cholesterol, Mauritanian women, just like American women, go all the way in the name of beauty and physical appreciation.

Any other interesting tidbits?

Yes, stretch marks equate to great sex appeal. Moreover, not only are fat women adored in Mauritania but divorced women are practically worshipped. Mauritanian men do not consider divorce taboo. Instead, divorce enhances a woman's beauty since she appears more seductive. (On an even more random note, men are expected to be thin! )

Should fat women move to Mauritania if they have stretch marks, a big bottom, and are divorced?

Sure, if you want to spend the rest of your life as a highly regarded sex goddess with men clambering at your feet. However, note that women in Mauritania are expected to tend to the home. True, they are in total control charge of the household but female participation in politics and educations is frowned upon.

Oprah appropriately ended her show by stating that beauty standards vary country to country and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And when I compare the U.S. or UAE with Mauritania I can't help but fervently agree.

Does the culture you come from have a different idea of beauty? Do you agree with Oprah's statement about beauty being in the eye of the beholder?

Mauritania's 'wife-fattening' farm

By Pascale Harter
BBC, Mauritania

Mauritanian women
Fat women are traditionally seen as more desirable
Obesity is so revered among Mauritania's white Moor Arab population that the young girls are sometimes force-fed to obtain a weight the government has described as "life-threatening".

A generation ago, over a third of women in the country were force-fed as children - Mauritania is one of the few African countries where, on average, girls receive more food than boys.

Now only around one in 10 girls are treated this way. The treatment has its roots in fat being seen as a sign of wealth - if a girl was thin she was considered poor, and would not be respected.

But in rural Mauritania you still see the rotund women that the country is famous for. They walk slowly, dainty hands on the end of dimpled arms, pinching multicoloured swathes of fabric together to keep the biting sand from their faces.

"I make them eat lots of dates, lots and lots of couscous and other fattening food," Fatematou, a voluminous woman in her sixties who runs a kind of "fat farm" in the northern desert town of Atar, told BBC World Service's The World Today programme.

When they are small they don't understand, but when they grow up they are fat and beautiful
'Fat farm' manager
Although she had no clients when I met her, she said she was soon expecting to take charge of some seven-year-olds.

"I make them eat and eat and eat. And then drink lots and lots of water," she explained.

"I make them do this all morning. Then they have a rest. In the afternoon we start again. We do this three times a day - the morning, the afternoon and the evening."


She said the girls could end up weighing between 60 to 100 kilograms, "with lots of layers of fat."

Mauritanian women
Obesity is seen as a sign a husband cares for his wife
Fatematou said that it was rare for a girl to refuse to eat, and that if they did, she was helped by the child's parents.

"They punish the girls and in the end the girls eat," she said.

"If a girl refuses we start nicely, saying 'come on, come on' sweetly, until she agrees to eat."

Fatematou admitted that sometimes the girls cried at the treatment.

"Of course they cry - they scream," she said.

"We grab them and we force them to eat. If they cry a lot we leave them sometimes for a day or two and then we come back to start again.

"They get used to it in the end."

She argued that in the end the girls were grateful.

"When they are small they don't understand, but when they grow up they are fat and beautiful," she said.

"They are proud and show off their good size to make men dribble. Don't you think that's good?"

Dalam Transit

(Sempena Farewell buat Pak Payne)

masih terus mengukur
tinggi rendah
panjang pendek
ruang dan jarak
bersama catatan usia
hitam putih realiti
warna-warna jiwa
merentas perjalanan
sebuah kehidupan bermukim

dalam transit ini
kau, aku, kita, mereka
bukan sekadar bayangan
foto, video, kata-kata
gelak tawa, sedih hiba
mewajah imbasan suasana
tetapi ukiran memori
merangkai nadi hayat
lakaran indah hikayat

sesekali pandang ke belakang
berlari mengejar masa depan
laju dan perlahan
turun naik, jatuh bangun
saujana ilusi di gurun
masa yang sejengkal
namun budi memanjang
selagi jasad melangkah
dengan ilmu dan tawakal
pengalaman adalah mutiara
menyambung perjuangan
generasi perantau!

Palm Jebel Ali
28 April 2009

(Gambar-gambar dari Facebook Pak Payne)