Elwood 5566

Fit fathers, fat sons

Posted in Bathhouse, Health care, Korean children by 노강호 on September 16, 2011

the fit, fat and flabby

I arrived in back in Korea after my UK holiday a few days before work is due to begin and spent several sessions lazing in bathhouses. On Sunday, I spent almost two hours in a cool, massage pool drifting in and out of sleep and watching the weekend cleaning rituals between fathers and sons and friends. At one point, there were three fathers busy scrubbing their teenage sons but what was most interesting was that while the fathers were slim and fit looking, especially as I reckon they were aged in their 40’s or 50’s,  their sons were all pudgy and fat. Neither was it puppy fat but quite copious amounts of well established lard which far exceeds the requirements of puberty. One father and his son came and sat in my pool and the lad, despite being a foot shorter than I, was equally as broad.

flabby tummies at my old high school

The UK debate about obesity still stirs the emotions and a convenient theory is that fat parents produce fat kids. No doubt there is a correlation but my observation is a reminder that kids can turn fat independent of their parents and that the roots of obesity are complex and compound and not to be explained by one grand ‘theory.’

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.


Sam-Kyop Trofalot- the Fattest Korean

Posted in Daegu, Diary notes by 노강호 on September 17, 2010

On Sunday I walked down to the east gate of Keimyung University to wait for a friend who was an hour late. As I’m sitting, watching life, I hear the familiar sound of one of those mopeds that usually dominate the pavements. This one has a whinier sound than usual, in fact the engine, basically a hairdryer, was screaming. It’s also unusual because the moped is on the road and not  terrorising the pavement. When I look up I understand why, it reminded me of one of those Cold War, Soviet destroyers which always seemed top heavy.

Soviet Kashin Class Destroyer (1984)

Sat on the moped, dwarfing it, was the fattest Korean I have ever seen. Without any exaggeration, he was proportionately as fat as the infamous Mr Creosote from Monty Phython’s, The Meaning of Life. If he’d ridden on the pavement he would have bowled everyone over. Then I noticed he was riding a pizza delivery moped on the back of which, and almost hidden by his gargantuan arse, was the ‘hay box’ and company logo.

Yes, along with all the junk food and a little help from sam-kyop-sal (barbecued belly pork), fat has arrived in Korea and it’s not pretty! Too late to whip out my camera, the moped screamed past at all of 15 kph, hugging the gutter as traffic sped by. I would imagine any delivery to more than a couple of kilometers away, plus the lengthy lug up any stairs, and the pizza would have arrived cold. If of course,  the delivery man hadn’t truffled the hay box contents first!

Mr Creosote and Link to Youtube (click photo)

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Just… (그냥…) Doctor! Doctor!

Posted in Comparative, Diary notes, Just - 그냥, services and facilities by 노강호 on September 16, 2010


I’m fat. Whenever I visit my doctor he asks, ‘What do you think about your weight?’ I never know what to say. What the fuck are you supposed to say? I stifle a little laugh.

‘I love it. It’s great wobbling into a bathhouse looking like Grandpa Barbapapa.’

Once I replied, ‘not very sexy,’ but he didn’t get the joke.

I actually saw him in Samjeong Oasis bathhouse several weeks ago. I didn’t feel comfortable and left before he could see me. I should have talked to him. ‘Hey, Doc! What do you think of my weight?  How would you like my awesome man tits?’

Another time, 8 years ago, I met him on the way to E Mart. A Saturday morning in autumn as I was waiting to cross the intersection. I’d just returned from the UK after having a hernia repair.

At the intersection he’s excited to see me and do you know what he proceeds to do? Examine my stomach!  An on the street examination! Not many people can boast such a privilege.

Just as the lights turn green and a sea of pedestrians begin to cross the road, he pulls up my shirt, kneels on one knee, has a look at the scar and pokes around for a few moments. A little girls stood nearby, looking bewildered, stares.

It was hilarious! I didn’t even have to pay the extortionate 3000 Won (£1.50), usually charged for a consultation.

Back home in the shitty UK, your doctor doesn’t talk to you even when you’re in their surgery.  If I passed my UK doctor on deserted street he wouldn’t know who I was and getting to see  him in his surgery can involve waiting up to four days.

I like my Korean doc; he once gave me a tour of his new endoscopy machine but was a bit too enthusiastic as he waved about the part they stick down your gullet or poke up your backside. He was like a kid with a new toy.

Most UK local doctors don’t have such equipment and the most sophisticated toys my UK surgery have are stethoscopes and a weighing machine. Actually, two weighing machines because last time I visited them I was too heavy for one machine and had to stand on two. What surgeries in the west, ‘Lard Land,’ buy scales that only weigh up to 16 stone! Standing on two! That was embarrassing!

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