By Alex P. Vidal
“People will make mean comments. People are going to say that you’re fat, that you’re this, that you’re that. You just have to be comfortable in your own skin.” – Ashley Benson
THOSE who are “lucky” to be given local and national positions in the present administration shouldn’t be too excited and proud.
Sometimes they have this ludicrous thinking that people will think they are special for getting something dangled only to a very few privileged people.
But, wait a minute. Not all people salivate for appointed jobs in government, in the first place.
Others, in fact, are ashamed when offered because people will think any appointed position is kind of a political payback or a favor (for the help the appointee had given the appointing official during the election), and not because the appointee has meritorious qualifications over the others.
Sometimes it’s not really about us; it’s not because of our credentials, but “because of your contributions in my election victory.”
IT is understandable why some Filipinos have little tolerance when those involved in controversies like abuse of power and authority, graft and corruption, exploitation, persecution, and other criminal activities today are chubby or fat—and white mestizo to boot.
The disdain and aggression are different—ferocious and meaner—when the perpetrator is a fat person with white complexion compared to a thin man with a brown skin.
Mr. Healthy Man was always guilty even before being given his day in court; and if found guilty, the level of derision and condemnation is more vicious and cruel.
It’s because during the Spanish colonization that lasted for some 400 years, the main characters who assumed kontrabida roles in the persecution of the Filipinos, the Malay race, were the Spanish friars.
The friars were known, even in the novels of Jose Rizal and in the propaganda articles of Graciano Lopez-Jaena and other national heroes, to be cruel, molesters, land grabbers, exploiters and gluttons.
Even after hundreds of years have passed, the infamy of the abusive friars is still embedded on the psyche of ordinary Filipinos.
No wonder we have a few “chubby” elected officials and prominent leaders in society.
And when they are involved in scandals, almost no one sympathizes with them.
But do we treat someone shabbily because he or she is overweight or fat?
There are jeepney–and even taxi–drivers in the Philippine who refuse to take passengers that “occupy two seats” per body because of their “over” weight or “big” size.
We have laws against discrimination, of course, and our friends in this subject matter should be equally covered and protected by these laws.
The old expression “Laugh and grow fat” actually leads many to believe that fat people are always happy.
One reason for this saying may be that the extra fatty tissue under their skin makes their frowns and worry lines less noticeable.
But psychologists claim that overweight people are usually far from happy.
So let us not add to their “burden” by being truculent toward their “extra baggage.”
Experts are saying that sometimes the glands or chemical make-up of the body need medical attention.
Or, excess weight may be due to upset emotions caused by a lack of love, a feeling of not being wanted, or some frustration.
Another popular (or unpopular?) saying is, “Fat people are lazy.”
But we know now that laziness affects fat and thin alike.
A fleshy person appears lazy because his movements are slowed up by the weight he carries.
Hundreds of seemingly lazy people, both thin and fat, have been cured when fitted with the proper eyeglasses, it was learned.
Others have gained energy after they have had medical care like someone I know who frequently plays chess in the Elmhurst park here.
A third fallacy in regard to fat people is that there are more fat boys than girls.
Statistics, however, show the number is about equal.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)