Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fat today

Before (April)

After (November)

People here in Cambodia tell it like they see it. And the way they see it, I'm fat. Depending on the audience, this fact is positive (healthy), negative (not enough exercise), or neutral (just stating the facts, hon), but there's a resounding consensus that I'm huge and I might not know, so I better be told.

Thankfully, most Cambodians also like my face and whenever I first meet someone, they generally say, wow, she's fat and pretty (toat nung s'art)!

In the past four days, I've had no fewer than 5 comments from 5 individuals:

  • The lady downstairs: "Your arms are fat again, you ate a lot in Thailand!"
  • The landlord's wife: "Oh good, you gained some weight back" (she thought I was eating poorly for a few weeks)
  • My friend Rumdourl, while patting my belly: "Yes, you like to eat on your trips!"
  • Mr. Sambath, the district coordinator: "Wow Jess, you look very fat today"
  • My friend Rith's neighbor: "She's so fat, but she still has a waist which is why she's pretty, not like me!"
And my all-time favorite from my best friend in Cambodia, Rumdourl: "Wow Jess, I think you're the fattest foreigner I've ever seen!"

I've gained about 8 kilos or almost 20 lbs since arriving in Cambodia, so comments on my weight are justified, but I'm consistently thrown off by the daily reminders. You'd think all those comments would convince me to start cutting down my rice portion at lunch or start ordering ice coffees without milk, but no... I guess I've resigned myself to it until I get back to the US where people will politely lie while I try to work it off.


  1. Heh. In Japan people are too polite to say fat. But my friends will say "big." Like "Hey, you've gotten big, huh?" Or "Give her a stronger bow, she's 'big' ya know."

  2. does this even need to be said? i think you are gloriously beautiful and from those pictures, not at all fat. come back to the US where i will politely tell you the truth.

  3. oh Khmer people. you are not twat and you are only suh'at! plus you know that in developing countries like Cambodia, being too thin = being poor!