Belly Rubbing for Good Luck?
Presented by Bobby Blueblood
Some customs seem quite weird to those of us who live in the United States. Here if one is fat they are often subjected to not so flattering comments or even insults. Especially for women it is not good to be fat. Virtually all the advertisements featuring women or aimed at women have skinny or someone in them that’s definitely not fat, if indeed there is a person in the advertisement. In general, here in the USA, and probably a lot of other countries being fat is a disadvantage.
Well here is an experience of a woman who went to Vietnam and experienced something unusual. She was fat, according to the article and was surprised when at a store someone came up to her and rubbed her belly. Whether it was for good luck or just because it was fairly unusual to see a fat person can be debated. According to the comments concerning the article there are fat women in Vietnam, as could be expected and it is rude to approach a fat person and rub their belly. Apparently to do that for a foreigner it is a different story.
Read the Tuoitrenews article by Claudia Kishi and find out about this unusual custom or maybe just something people have done because they could do it and get away with it. A short snippet of the article is here below.
I was at a clothing store, at the shoes aisle, looking at flip flops when suddenly I felt someone’s hand rubbing my belly. I looked up and saw that the hand was attached to a giggling middle-aged woman whom I have never met before in my life. This is not the first time this has happened. Though I’ve been in Vietnam for four years, it still shocks me and makes me wonder how to respond.
I am a fat woman. I don’t just feel fat, like most slender women who like to complain to their significant others “Does this dress make me look fat?” By any angle or medical definition, I am clearly fat. I’m ok with that. I exercise regularly and eat right according to my doctor, and so what if I still got more to love?
Around the world, the stereotype is that all people from the US (which is where I’m from) are fat. That’s not true. However, it’s not uncommon to have fat people, just like it’s not uncommon to have thin people, and everyone in between.
Vietnam is a different story. In terms of body diversity, most Vietnamese people are about the size of my thigh. Even my mother, who is considered a petite woman in the US, had to buy XXL clothing here when she came to visit.
Moving to Vietnam I expected shock because of a new country, new language, new customs since I was American. I didn’t realize how much of the cultural shock would be related to me being fat as well. I’ve heard it all from strangers and friends telling me that I’m fat, asking me why I’m fat, how long I’ve been pregnant, saying that I should lose weight to become attractive, that I should pay more for a xe om because of my weight, and that I should play Santa Claus at Christmas parties, etc.
Though in the US blunt comments about weight would be considered vicious, in Vietnam there is little serious malicious intent. It’s more like stating a fact.
Read the whole article to get the entire story. If you are fat maybe you might want to visit that country and see if the same thing happens to you. I would imagine it might be a good feeling, if not embarrassment if someone rubbed your belly in the hopes of getting good luck from the experience.
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