Feature Article of Monday, 25 February 2013
Columnist: Antobam, Kobina
By: Kobina Antobam
Every country has its open little secrets. They are open but are still embarrassing for the citizens to talk about. Some of ours are hush-hush carryover primitive cultural practices, weird plant and animal foods that are peculiar to a group as a result of acculturation, psychologically damaging marital and sexual practices that victimize innocent children and helpless women, unattractive body markings and disgusting bodily activities, and many more that I can’t list here now.
We are reluctant to talk about those taboos, yet our so-called secrets are there for the world to see. One of Ghana’s little embarrassments has unintentionally been on display regularly and I am going to talk about it today and I don’t care if some delicate feelings will get bruised. I believe many Ghanaians have acquired this affliction due in part to the handed-down habits that make us unable to rid ourselves of it. And we often either willingly or with reckless abandon show off this retching and heart-wrenching disgust during public events. Images of our shame often appear in the electronic and print media for the world to see and we don’t seem to care. I am talking about fat, Ghanaians. F-A-T, fat! I am really talking about the disease of obesity in Ghana!
For a tropical people like us who are cursed with an extreme exposure to, and the bombardment of, numerous deadly disease-carrying insects, bacteria, viruses, and numerous organisms, you would think that we would know better not be lackadaisical about adding an easily avoidable godforsaken disease of obesity to our problems and we would be very careful about acquiring preventable exotic foreign lifestyle diseases.
During public events, such as national celebrations, durbars, and parades, you can’t help but notice overweight men and women, more often ministers, chiefs, and public figures. As far as I can remember, Ghanaians have been active, trim and sinewy people. So, what’s going on now with many of my people?
Please, spare me your ineffectual false equivalent arguments about how obesity in the Western world, especially in America, is more widespread. Let’s just talk about you and Ghanaians. Spare me your lame excuses when a lot of very young Ghanaians of late have been dropping dead suddenly at the prime of their lives. Of course, many Ghanaians are trim, fit, active, look sexy, beautiful and handsome; but we still need to talk about some of you who, I think, need a little prodding in order to take a closer look at yourselves.
Many of the images put out there for the world to see show male Ghanaian politicians, chiefs, and Ghana’s so-called notables clad often in flowing ceremonial kente wraparounds which embarrassingly leave bare very disgusting FLABBY MAN-BOOBS. Aren’t Ghanaians aware that men should never, I mean never, grow feminine-looking hanging boobs? Trim and fit men, I mean real men, don’t sport hanging boobs. They show off those hanging boobs as if nobody notices. Just because no one has said anything before does not mean that they don’t see it. They do!
Women do not escape my attention either. Many of today’s Ghanaian women have an arm bigger than my two thighs combined. Has having hanging flabby arms, bellies, and thighs become the fashion in Ghana? Ghanaian women, especially the middle-aged, are not sexy anymore. Does anyone exercise in Ghana? Or is fat the new Ghanaian symbol of sexy and prosperity? No, no, no, no, “Mammy Bontous,” you don’t look sexy at all! Many of my countrywomen also carry immense “junk-in-the-trunk” behinds thick and high enough to rival Kilimanjaro. Anyway, you are somewhat excused if you are genetically predisposed to carry a lot of junk in your trunk. But if you were not born that way and you just fed and nurtured that big behind of yours then continue participating in this conversation. I know many of you were not born fat. So, what suddenly happened?
Members of Ghana’s safety personnel (police, military, and other first responders) also cannot escape my hawkish attention. Most of the lower ranking officers are fit and trim and admiringly all muscles and look physically ready to defend our dear motherland. That’s great! But a good number of the high ranking commanding officers need to park themselves permanently at overweight fat farms. Let me tell you this, it’s really disgusting to see any uniformed personnel, both men and women, physically unfit and who shamelessly and openly parade around in ceremonial government issues with disgusting distended kwashiorkor-type bellies.
So, all of you overweight senior military and police officers, big chiefs, heavy-set market mammies, obese politicians, and every other lazy fat Ghanaian, please get the hell out of that car, jump out of that palanquin and set free those poor palanquin carriers, get off that soft chair, put that spoon down and don’t eat that thick glob of that starchy food and the 100% artery-clogging cancerous tire-smoked cow-skin in front of you, hit the gym or find a place to walk or run at least four miles a day. You sit too much. You sit in your car. You sit in the office. You sit at the marketplace. You sit for hours in your store. And you go home to sit some more, then you overeat and fall off to sleep. Stop that! Set good healthy examples for those who look up to you. Women, you can easily restore your once true beauty again. And fat Ghanaian men can also reclaim their old handsome selves again by losing weight if they want to.
You can easily reduce the incidences of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, and many Western-acquired preventable diseases only if you will get up and move that body, I mean do brisk exercises. Again, get off your fat asses and pump some extra oxygen into your lungs and bloodstream. Move it or lose it, you lazy bums. Get up and save that life of yours, you overweight crooks! You make me sick! Says I, your favorite “Drill Sergeant” Kobina Antobam.
Okay, I understand your dainty brittle baby feelings are hurt after reading this, you fat sissy boohoo crybaby little “girls.” Pick your fat ass up and stop crying and start by moving one foot in front of the other, faster, faster! I bet I just heard one of you mumble under your breadth that if you get your thick fat hands on this crazy Antobam guy, you will sit your fat ass on his skinny chest till he stops breathing. You have to run very fast to catch up with me first. That will definitely be a healthy start for you.