Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm not fat! I'm just vertically challenged

Last week, Andre brought home a form. Alamak! Kenah TAF club.

For those who don't know what TAF club is, it stands for Trim And Fit club - it's an initiative by MOE to try and whip overweight kids into shape. Unfortunately, the powers that be had zero foresight and it took kids all of 2 seconds to figure out that TAF spells FAT backwards. (Or maybe it was a deliberate, cruel joke). Anyway, what has happened is that over the years, TAF club has led to so many fat jokes and ironically, kids growing up with eating disorders because of the stigma they had faced in TAF club. So after many complaints, MOE has removed TAF club and left it to the schools to implement their own health programmes.

The programme in Andre's school is not called TAF club, it's Health and Fitness Club or something innocuous like that. I don't remember because I decided to exempt Andre from it (it's now no longer compulsory). Not because I don't see the value but because he's already active enough (badminton three times a week, soccer every recess, cycling, swimming, etc) and I didn't see the point of him skipping recess to do exercises. Although he does have a pouch, I figured that part of the reason he's considered overweight is because he's short for his age.

But it did make me more conscious of his eating habits, which are far from exemplary. Just a couple of years ago, he was so scrawny you could see his ribs when he inhaled hard. But from p2, his appetite suddenly surged and he developed the typical Singaporean love for makan-ing. Hokkien mee, satay, oyster omelette, char guay teow, grilled chicken wings, he attacks them all with relish.

I never realised how much he thinks about food until we had this conversation in the car on Saturday afternoon.

Me: Andre, you've got to watch your diet, cannot eat so much fried food.

Andre: Ok. (pauses as we drive by Temptations) Hey! Can we buy the blueberry cheesecake for tea?

Me: No! Cheesecake is so fattening.

Andre: Aiyah. (pouts) What about chocolate cake?

Me: For heaven's sake, why must you have tea? You're not even hungry.

Andre: I am! I'm staaarving! (Lunch was just two hours ago)

Me: You're just being greedy. At most you can have a little yoghurt.

Andre: Ok. What about a snack?

Me (exasperated): What snack?? I just told you you can't have tea!

Andre: I mean tonight!

Me: Haiyah, all those potato chips, no wonder you're fat.

Andre: Then what kind of snack can I have?

Me: Why must snack? (glares at Kenneth, who's the Snack King) No need to snack!

Andre: Hah!!!

Me: Can you stop thinking of food all the time!!

Andre: (sulks)

Kenneth: No need to have tea or snack, we'll just go for early dinner.

Andre (brightens up): What's for dinner?

And that's my little puffball.


Lilian said...

Your post title is what I say all the time :) So funny about TAF being FAT backwards, it didn't cross my mind, always thought it just sounded like Tough, so they're trying to toughen kids up.

Yalah, Andre's not fat at all, far from it, and he's so active, so it's a good thing they've made it optional.

In the case another friend's kid some years ago, we were all actually surprised that she wasn't hauled up for TAF club cos she was really big and quite round. Everyone thought sure kena, but nope, maybe cos she's quite tall.

And let him eat lah, he's a growing kid and that tubby tummy needs feeding.

monlim said...

LOL tubby tummy is right! Aiyoh, sometimes after a meal, he looks like one of those coffeeshop uncles with his tummy sticking out from beneath his shirt. But in Singapore, so hard lah! Good food everywhere! And if I tell him he has to eat healthy, it means I also have to eat healthy. Eating fish soup when everyone around is eating ayam penyet? Torture.

Albert said...

Please don't eat so much. The children will know what they need. But you need to remind them that fat will let people become lazy and stupid.So they will know how to do before they sit down around dinner table. My wife always remind my daughter not to eat so much even if I encourage my daughter to eat. My daughter is quite fastidious at her meal,for studying too. The fault causes she cannot eat a lot and good performance at her study. A happy thing to share, my daughter won first prize at school IT competition. Actually she is not good at IT. She has given up the IT test of Australia. But she is lucky to pass competition at her class and second round test at school. Finally, she gave all correct answer while the final competition. In fact, top three team are all from GEP pupils.

She feels too sad for her math common test. She made two mistakes and lost 6 grades. She always likes to give answers at a glance because of her good memory. But she gave wrong answers this time. She told my wife that don't talk to her so much for her math. She will take good marks next time. :)We accept her promise. Expect that she may get good marks at the math competion this on this Saturday. Next math competition will be coming next week too.

Alcovelet said...

LOL! I did notice Andre get progresseively chubbier, most recently from his photos with different spectacles. But to get into the TAF club? Surely he doesn't fill the requirements (hehe)?

I think his attitude is a very Singaporean one, so yah, very tough to diet here leh. I find it impossible to walk past those kueh kueh stalls without buying my favourite onde onde - just to try if the stall is good, of course!

eunice said...

Eh... Andre doesn't look fat or chubby in his pics. Honestly since he is so active, don't think you need to worry. Btw, your conversation with him was hysterical.

Talk about walking past food here. I am the one who has been putting on weight. Can't resist the banana pancakes, mango sticky rice...getting hungry oreidi.

Sean definitely eats healthier than me. He's so darn thin someone called him a walking skeleton. He eats but he's very tall for his age. I figure, if he's healthy, that's all that matters.

Btw, whoever came up with the acronyme is damn mean.

monlim said...

Ad: Sigh.. if even you can tell he's gotten chubbier, how to deny the truth? He's definitely grown "meatier" over the past year, but except for the tummy, most of it appears to be muscle to me ie when you poke his thigh or arm, it's hard. They calculate your weight based on your height, so what to do? Luckily the programme is optional!

Eunice: You look so slim in your photo! I guess Sean takes after you :) He's very very tall, so no need to worry about his weight. I'm sure he'll fill up in time. See lah, too round also we worry, too thin also we worry :P

Anonymous said...

From the photo, he doesn't look fat at all.

And you mentioned that he is already quite active, so all that activitives should help to 'burn' off the food he eats.

By the way, he really knows how to enjoy life. LOL


monlim said...

Chris: Yes, Andre knows how to enjoy life alright! Especially if there's fried chicken in it LOL

I wouldn't call him fat but his body shape is definitely on the round side. I tease him quite a bit, sometimes call him "fatty". Luckily he's so happy-go-lucky he doesn't mind :D

Puzzled by Puzzles! said...

From his pic and what I have read so far abt your ds, I didn't think he would be selected! Anyway, your title caught my attention because I always tease my ds (he is petite) that if he doesn't exercise and still continue to eat so much (a food lover), he will be both horizontally AND vertically challenged! :P

monlim said...

S: Looks like you have another one like mine! Yah but in SG so hard lah, temptation everywhere!

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