Body image

My mama taught me to respect the elders. My teachers taught me never to be kurang ajar and to hormat orang tua-tua (have good manners) always. But when the orang tua-tua perangai tua keladi (old acting young), how do I react?

Imagine this : 50+yrs old auntie, wearing a see-through lace white blouse with black bra, several layers of spare tyres oozing and an uncle about 60 yrs old tagging behind, looking hen-pecked. Uncle hairs are white at the roots and blackest black at the ends. Uncle wearing some psychedelic shirt ala Austin Powers. 5xmom was near the cashier counter, carrying toddler and 5xdad was paying for the grocery. OK, 5xmom still can control because she is afraid she may also have dress sense like that one day, 10+ years down the line. But on closer look, guffaw, ROTFLMAO, 5xmom saw that auntie has two white patches of cotton taped with surgical tape as eyebrows! Oh gosh, how not to smirk! Have the urge to nudge 5xdad to take a look but auntie is too near 5xmom and it may be obvious. So, what do I do? Pull toddler face to face and start laughing into toddler face! Acting innocent that 5xmom is laughing at toddler antics. Toddler must be thinking mommy has ‘short circuited’ liao.

On another day – 5xmom was in the non-halal glass room in Tesco. One woman with 3 daugthers and their grocery trolley had taken up the whole space where the meats are displayed. 5xmom cursing them for taking up so much space. Lady was giving instructions loudly – kasi saya 3 bungkus ha…3 bungkus ha… (gimme 3 packets) bungkus asing ha (pack separate). More cursings from 5xmom because it is going to take even longer for the single butcher to attend to her.

Getting fed-up, 5xmom squeezed in between to observe. Lady’s daughter age from about 10 yrs, 8 yrs old and 6 years old. Usual Ah Lian ah soh la, hair dyed blondish, tattoo eyebrows, ah lian’s clothes etc. 3 daughters also ah lian in the making. Eldest daugther spotted ‘Low fat ham’ and started manja the mother to buy. Mother seeing that it is low fat, quickly ordered 200 gm. 2nd and 3rd daugther screaming for honey roasted ham (RM3.89 per 100gm) but stingy mom offered some cheapo ham costing RM1.39. The two girls refused, mumbling that big sis can buy, why they can’t and start chanting (gee, I hate kids like that) roasted ham, roasted ham, roasted ham. 5xmom is on the verge to grab the salami and stuff the girls mouth. And take the whole ham leg to bang on the head of the woman. The mom acted defensive and poke her youngest daughter, a mere little girl of 6 yrs old and exclaimed loudly in Mandarin, “you are too fat already, you better stop eating so much.” (as a mother, I can differentiate between jokes and real comments) But guess what the mom bought earlier? 300 gms of streaky bacon which has 80% heart clogging fats, 10 % meat and the rest preservatives!

Why do I bitch? Because:

  • Auntie’s mutilating her face to make tattoo eyebrows at her age. But her face already has wrinkles, dark spots, saggy bags. I have that too because this is natural part of aging. I do wonder, where does auntie stop? Definitely not with just tattoo eyebrows. My question – is it worth it to place so much effort/time/money on body image? I would like to spend my old age, enjoying life as it is.
  • Ah Lian ah soh – how cruel can she be? Making fun of her youngest daughter when the little girl is not even fat. Favouring her eldest just because of the word “low fat”, fooled by marketing ploy. Having no sense of healthy eating habits. Gosh, 300gms of heart clogging, preservatives loaded bacon is a LOT of bad to the young girls. And implying the girls are fat when they obviously aren’t.

I think we have less of a problem with our body image before the existence of Astro. Then, auntie doesn’t have to ape the Hongkie actresses image. And the young, little girls do not have to monkeying Hilary Duff and That’s Amanda’s image.

No psychedelic shirt for 5xdad at 60 yrs old, no see-through blouse with black bra for me at 55 years old.