I wonder why there is no taboo against it. Taiwanese people don’t take being told they are fat as a compliment. Most Taiwanese girls are mortified by the thought of being fat.
So, it isn’t like culture is saying that “it’s okay to be fat” and “you are as you are, so accept it and find peace.” It’s saying “HaHa!”
Come to the defence of the fat calling if you will, but I believe now that directly saying negative things about someone else is just another aspect of Taiwan culture that sucks. Like selfishness on the road, chabuduoism, and jumping lines.
I believe there is a historical basis for the acceptability of calling people fat. It’s true that at one time obesity was a sign of wealth. You had to be well off to afford to be fat. So, telling someone their stomach was large was a compliment. But that is no longer true and what was once a compliment is now used as a source of amusement. It is not usually an intentional insult, but it is thoughtless, without concern for the emotions of the person this is said to.
(Pre-emptive defensiveness strike) Now you can say I have no right to get all morally superior, but then is there something wrong with me believing in an absolute set of values? I believe there are some absolutes in human behavior and that for a given situation one action can be wrong and another right. The degree to which society condones such behavior is quite often irrelevant to the innate correctness of that behavior. If you judge my way of thinking as unenlightened, then think hard on what you are doing yourself.
Now, I am not overly sensitive about my weight. I am somewhat thick-skinned and and realize people don’t mean to be rude. But I know that even after I explain that talking about someone’s weight is rude to Westerners many people continue on poking fun. There is such thing as “tough love”, but most of the time that isn’t what is occurring.
I hope Taiwanese people can get clued in that what they are doing when confronting an overweight person with their weight is in poor taste. With foreigners it is likely offensive. With local Taiwanese it is most likely a little blow to their ego. There are tactful ways to go about helping someone lose weight, if that’s your intent, but making barbs about their weight ain’t it.