I WAS FAT AND I'M GLAD
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
Badak. That was my nickname back in secondary school. It was given to me as early Form 1 by my yet-to-be close friends so you can just imagine the embarrassment when being called that each time. I didn’t get the nickname because I was strong and robust like a rhinoceros. I got the nickname because I was fat. Not obese but visibly overweight enough. In actual fact, they were referring to badak air (hippopotamus) rather than the badak sumbu (rhinoceros).
I was born of normal weight circa 2kg-ish so I wasn’t a heavy boned baby by any account, but something happened along the way as I was growing up that made me pile on the weight. My childhood was a happy one. There was always enough food on the table. Perhaps too much food. I was already an overweight kid when I started kindergarten and then primary school. All my old photos depict my shirt buttons about to launch into your eye socket. In school, I was very active. I have always involved myself in every sport I can be in but due to my size, I was always reduced to the position of a goalkeeper if it was a team sport. For track and field, yes, you guessed it, shot put. Oh, and don’t forget the anchor in tug of war. At that time, you don’t really notice the discrimination. You are just happy to be involved. Teachers are not interested in developing overweight kids for the sport they are in. They are simply looking for the best-fit for every position.
The good thing about being “specialized” early on is you become good at it. That’s the silver lining. So when the time came to choose my sport and position in secondary school, I knew what to go for. Meet the first-choice goalie for my alma mater, Sri Kuala Lumpur, for all my five years there. Because I remained active throughout my teens, the weight did not pile on. Plus you grow taller anyway which redistributed the blob evenly. Nevertheless the nickname stuck. And after a while you grow fond of it. I even started signing off as Badak instead of my real name.
Now here comes the unpleasant part of the story. Two words. STUBBORN FATS. For as long as I can remember, I have always had love handles and muffin tops. It does not matter if my peaked biceps are at 14 inches or I could deadlift twice my bodyweight, I have never had six packs or washboard stomach at the very least. Only at the peak of my Warrior Diet did I see a glimpse of my upper 4 packs. And just like a politician’s promise, it disappeared within days.
So why am I glad? Because had I been this perfect specimen of an athlete back in the day, I may, at present, let go. We have seen a lot of these. The washed up dads who would reminisce to their sons on how they were once this super fit dude. What happened, dad? When did you get into the black hole? Not having this before kept me in pursuit of it. It is simply human nature when you have achieved something, you have nothing else to achieve. To me it is not how you start but how you finish. And by finish, I mean incapacitated or dead.
So just like the appendix, everybody has six packs. It is just a matter of seeking them out. And I shall not rest till I get them.
Simply persevere and stay determined.