☯ ISSTH Chapter 468 ☯

Yin Yang ChinaNegative: The word “fat” is not pejorative in Chinese. Therefore, people will readily say things like, “Hey, why are you so fat?” or “Wow, you’ve gotten a lot fatter recently!” As you might have guessed from reading the novels here on Wuxiaworld, “Fatty” is not an insulting nickname, even for little kids. Positive: Why do Westerners tend to be so sensitive about weight? If you’re fat, you’re fat? Why try to force other people to pretend that you’re not?

Chapter 468
Translator: Deathblade
Contributors: Madam Deathblade, anonpuffs
Proofreaders: Lingson, MeeBoo
Memes: MemeBoo
Meme Archives: joeljbright

This is the second guaranteed chapter of the week!

31 thoughts on “☯ ISSTH Chapter 468 ☯” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

  1. Thanks 🙂

    I think that in the west, being fat is seen as a weakness (poor health, bad cardio, more likely to suffer from diseases such as diabetes etc), and is frowned upon.
    Maybe in the east they’re more tolerant towards such things.

    1. Because people are encouraged to coddle their children with each successive generation, rather than treat them like human beings that will eventually grow physically into another adult.

      There IS a problem with a few people (compared to the population) who get morbidly obese, and that then gets extrapolated out to every single human being ever. West likes to do guilt by association.

    1. Not true at all, have you ever spoken to a European? Especially a Brit like I am, for example? We insult eachother all the time. You’re confusing westerners as meaning American.

      1. To be fair, England is not far behind the Americas in being offended at everything.
        Especially in University and College areas, they are made of some seriously weak stuff these days.

        Obviously not all of them but quite a lot of them.

  2. It’s not about forcing other people to pretend you’re not fat. Just because someone is fat does not necessarily mean that everyone has to continuously rub it in his or her face by nearly replacing their name with “fatty.” Although I have no problem with seeing this in novels, and am accepting of the way Eastern cultures are, I find your remark slightly pretentious (for the lack of a better word). Although I am not overweight I highly doubt that anyone likes to be defined by the fact that they’re overweight. Sorry for this little rant but yeah =).

    1. Well, I’ve certainly fattened up quite a bit since BD was born, as has been pointed out to me by just about every Chinese person I know, as well as a lot of the expats here. It is what it is….

  3. I think it more of a health system

    In the west:fat= bad health, you can do less then a physical able person
    East and most of Europe for a time: fat=sign of wealth

    1. The “fat = bad health” is more of a recent thing in the west, I think. The “bad” of being fat probably comes from all the fashion/commercial/media spheres, where “Slim = beautiful”. This then became “fat=ugly”.

      If you go back pre-industrial revolution, a few authors (Baudelaire, for example) describe women as beautiful when they are big and/or strong. Mostly because it meant that they were healthy, unlikely to die and that they could survive childbirth.

      1. Definitely a media/cultural thing. There are vintage ads out there promoting weight gain/ added curves for women. Classically, being overweight was a sign of wealth in men and a sign of health/fertility in women. Cultural norms are constantly shifting, and it’s only in the past century that being thin (anorexic) became so popular and fat became so negative/insulting. Probably doesn’t help that in America, fat is often obese =p
        Anyway, enjoy the cultural experience. There’s plenty of light novels where the MC or his best friend is called fatty; it’s not rude or mean, and in fact is practically a term of endearment. Think of a chubby-cheek kid if you’re having trouble with it. =D

  4. First point: To be clear, there is different between being fat and chubby. So there is issue of degree. Your reference to Chinese people calling kids Little fatties is more like calling them chubsters plus they are kids so doesnt sting.

    Second point: Calling a girl fat in China is still an insult in same way that every girl likes to hear ‘ni hen shou.’ Your observation is applicable to gender but would not necessarily be culture specific across whole spectrum of people.

    Thirdl point: As we are stereotyping widely hear, Laowai who are fat overweight realize they are fat, they just don’t want to be reminded. I’m sure if you had a face that could break glass, you wouldn’t want a person you barely know coming up to you and saying, ‘Yoi are ugly as sin, but don’t worry, no girl will ever sin with you.’

    What might be more interesting issue is why every person in China from cab drivers to my ex-girlfriends best friends feel it’s cool to ask my salary 3 min after they meet me.

    1. I disagree about your second point. I hear both males and females of all ages, social classes, levels of friendship freely comment about themselves and others being fat. I work with a bunch of twenty-something girls and hear them chatting constantly in Chinese.

      About your last comment, lol. You know what I’ve started doing, is I first ask them to tell me their salary. Then I tell them what foreigners “usually” make in this city. That tends to sate their curiosity.

      1. Well said DB. I also tended to ask them first, and use a proxy and adjust it based on the salary they had given me. Thanks for translations and hope you are wearing your N-95.

  5. It’s kinda obvious why some people get offended about it, I’m surprised someone would actually need to ask that lmao. Obviously, it’s because of the context. In the west, people usually say someone is fat in an attempt to hurt them. They are purposefully trying to offend you with what they think is an insult. So regardless of if you are fat, or if you think being fat is bad, you know that they are purposefully trying to hurt ya. Duh.

  6. A History of Obesity, or How What Was Good Became Ugly and Then Bad

    “The scarcity of food throughout most of history had led to connotations that being fat was good, and that corpulence and increased “flesh” were desirable as reflected in the arts, literature, and medical opinion of the times. Only in the latter half of the nineteenth century did being fat begin to be stigmatized for aesthetic reasons, and in the twentieth century, its association with increased mortality was recognized.” http://www.ackdjournal.org/article/S1548-5595%2806%2900106-6/abstract

    An interesting read if anyone is interested. It’s interesting to see how values, traditions, views change over time and demographics.

  7. Everyone should be able to live their lives the way they want to. Wether you want to be skinny, athletic or fat is all up to you.

    However, the problem is that some people don’t want to accept reality or want to change the name of a certain thing they’re unhappy about. They don’t like to and they don’t want others to call things as they are, because they themselves get offended or they’re afraid that others might get offended. For example:

    “He’s fat.”
    “Hey, don’t say that. That’s offensive. He’s just a bit chubby.”

    Now, if someone like me says that someone else is fat, I don’t carry any ill intentions with that. I simply tell the truth. As to why I would say that is a whole different discussion. If you are fat and you are offended by this then that means that you are unhappy about the fact that you are fat. And if you are unhappy about that then you only have yourself to blame, because you get fat by consuming more calories than you need (with medical exceptions). It’s as simple as that.

  8. Thanks for the chapter!

    It’s the same here – in most African cultures, saying “you’ve gotten fatter” is a compliment on your noticeably increased prosperity.

  9. Seriouly right man. I move to sweden from Vietman. And in my class was a slightly “plump” girl. So i say to her. You are a bit fat. And it was certainly no judment there cause i was not exactly fit myself. And she got piss for the whole 3 year we are in school together.

  10. There’s a difference between pleasantly chubby and being overweight. In the west, it’s hard to imagine the former as the problem of obesity is a major health concern that could have ramifications exceeding what we face at the moment. Also, saying “oh, you’ve gotten fatter” doesn’t necessarily have to do with someone being overweight. It could apply if the person appears to have gained a few kilograms. This is quite common in my culture too. A person, man or woman, could visit after maybe a month and would get comments like “how you’ve lost weight” or “you’ve gotten so fat”. The comment would come from someone familiar with them, while someone who’s less familiar would think “he/she looks exactly the same as before”.

  11. It’s connected with “intimacy” too. Cause not even in Asia, people will randomly go calling “strangers” “fat”.

    In Asia, once people “associate” with others, they “auto”matically become “intimate” with them.
    They “associate” with people who they “respect” in the first place, so they become “associates” (friends); and will have a closer relationship than strangers. This also brings ideas like “loyalty”/ “dependency”/ “leadership” (well caring about others), and “protective side of people.

    While for Westerners, most people spend most of their time associating with people, who they don’t respect, who they don’t “trust”. Their work life will be closely related to “money” mostly which is strongly attached to whether they will have a nice house/car/TV and maybe able to go on a vacation some times… in other words their “self”-comfort. Today they might be your best friend, but if tomorrow you’re in deep shit (like in debt); they will close their eyes, and pass you by.

    So you guys get what I’m saying? For Asians it doesn’t matter to you if people who you associate with you call you “fat”, cause tomorrow they will still be there calling you fat and be your friend.
    While in Western culture, if you are fat; tomorrow when you see your friend in a restaurant and try to say hello; they might “ignore” you and leave you behind embarrassed… Being fat or not is closely related to “keep-ing” your friends or “gaining” them. Or at least their mentality is wired this way, so they have that deep fear in them (it’s like childhood trauma).

    So in Asia your “reputation” (how righteous you are) is more related to your “self-confidence” and how people will treat you; whereas in Western how “beautiful” and how “powerful” and how “rich” you are affect how people treat you.

    In Asia if you’re beautiful you might get raped… If Rich robed…
    In Western if you’re “righteous” you will never be rich/powerful. And you won’t be “beautiful” unless you’re selfish (mostly true, unless your parents raised you on a healthy diet since childhood)

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