Monday, August 10, 2009

Weighty Solution.

I met an ex-colleague the other. A freelancing yoga instructor, football coach, practitioner of Aikido and fitness guru, Subendran Dali is also one of the funniest guys I’d ever met and we shared so much laughter bitching about a former boss.

And then, he dropped the bomb. He said that recent surveys revealed that Malaysians are the most obese people in Asia. Shocked, I managed to respond, “That means you are not doing your job well, don’t you?” He just laughed it off instead of punching my nose with his Aikido fist.

Anyway, he is right. Check this post out.

“Look around the world,” he said, much to my growing fear that he might spout some Eastern philosophy. “Every where they close shop early. But here, we have teh tarik and supper at 2am, 3am or 4am,” he said. Alas, he touched on what should naturally be Malaysian’s favourite pastime, apart from bitching about local politics, which, again, is done during the Teh Tarik sessions.

To the non-Malaysian readers, you might wonder what a Teh Tarik is. “Teh” is tea in Malay, and typing it in Office’s Words application is a big bother because the ever helpful in-built spelling mechanism rearranges the letters, so the “Teh” becomes “The”. Go ahead, try it. Type “Teh” ten times and try to correct it. I won’t be surprised if few minutes later your colleagues are trying to help you retrieve your fist that got tangled up in a mess that was once your beloved keyboard.

Anyway, the Malaysian version is one where instead of normal milk; you mix it with condensed milk which is 10% milk and 290% sugar. You get this sticky, super-sweet beverage that has hints of tea if you are lucky that day. The next word, “Tarik” means pull. So, it means pulled tea, as in you pour from one container where the drink is mixed to the mug and pull the container way up till you got the beverage all over yourself.

So, Malaysian’s favourite supper usually consists of the said drink (I don’t want to type it, I value my fist) and accompanied by Roti Canai, which consist of 5% flour and the rest margarine or whatever fatty substance they use. Or Nasi Lemak which has rice cooked in coconut milk (which if you don’t know, where cooking oil is made from).

And those are only Malaysian food & beverage. We are also aware of fast food franchise that’s available from Perlis to Sarawak. From small town to cities. You have greasy burgers sold from street side to mid-class restaurants like McDonald or Burger King (this with Wendy and Carl’s Jr making foray in recent times). No wonder we are in that list. And I am not far off from becoming one.

Generally I think I am mid-sized, but my mom doesn’t think so. It has been more than a decade since my mom commented that I have lost weight. Quite the opposite in fact. Recently she asked me where my neck was. I know I’ve got a bit heavy below the chin, but come on! She’s a wonderful, loving mom and I worship her. But when it comes to weight issue, she can be a real pain in the, err…missing neck.

Each time I go my parents place, my mom will cook all my favourite meal, feed me breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and then supper. And then, when I am back home and on the phone with her, she’d give me stern warning about my weight problem. Even ordinary conversation is peppered with hints of the weight issue. The phone conversation would go something like this:

Me: So, how’s dad’s work.

Mom: Fine, coz he didn’t have extra weight to worry about.

Me: How’re the dogs?

Mom: On diet. What you had for lunch?

Me: Dry twig.

Mom: Good boy.

So, here’s an idea I have for the government. Appoint my mom as the Weight Issue Consultant. With her incessant nagging and pressuring, they can get the relevant ministry to transfer the pressure back the people to lay off that sticky drink and turn their face away from Nasi Lemak Bungkus. She’d be the right person to consult when writing speech for anything. For instance let’s say the prime minister wants to address the environmental issue.

Let’s say excerpt of the speech goes “….that it is imperative that we take care of our environment and this attitude should start from home…”

My mom would reword it this way, “…that it is imperative, while you make sure you are no thicker than a lamp post, that we take care of our environment, and this also mean you eat once a day and run twenty kilometres, and this attitude should start from home where you make your own salad…”

Having her on board will do Malaysians a lot’s of good. But of course, there will be backlash from the food and beverage or hospitality industry. This in turn will not bode with Malaysians who are addicted to fatty food. Chaos will reign, with hungry Malaysians creeping around looking for fatty meals. When that happens, don’t look for me. I’d be in Singapore living on Burger King and Teh Tarik.

2 comments:

Feline said...

Sounds like my mom too .... only she keeps trying to feed me along with most everyone else. But seriously ... the obesity problem and higher incidence of related medical problems is a serious one for individuals, families and the country. Am sure the pharmaceutical companies are all opening Swiss bank accounts though.

ஜோ/Joe said...

//you mix it with condensed milk which is 10% milk and 290% sugar. You get this sticky, super-sweet beverage that has hints of tea if you are lucky that day.//
//Each time I go my parents place, my mom will cook all my favourite meal, feed me breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and then supper. And then, when I am back home and on the phone with her, she’d give me stern warning about my weight problem.//

:))))

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