(Ryan and Milson, an English student, are having a conversation after the English Church Service)
MILSON: Ryan, I have another question I like to ask you.
MILSON: I read yesterday, about a place in America. It is like a restaurant. And you go in and you give them a money, and then they will give you any food you want and you can have all the food you want. I read it was the All You Can Eat Boo-fet. Have you seen this?
RYAN: Yes, that is called a buffet, although you can’t have any food you want. You go up to the counter (Milson has confused look)…um…front place where the food is, and take the food they have already made, although there are usually many, many different kinds of food. But you are right, you can actually go up and get as much food as you want, as many times as you want. But you can’t leave the restaurant. Otherwise, you would need to pay again.
MILSON: That is very amazing. I think that is why the American person is very fat.
RYAN: Well yes, we tend to be a bit larger, although you must must remember to never call someone from America fat. It is considered an insult. It is bad.
MILSON: Why is that bad?
RYAN: Because we do not want to be fat. That is like saying you do not think we look good.
MILSON: But the Malagasy person wants to be fat. Why does American not want to be fat?
RYAN: Well it is interesting. Here in Madagascar, a person is fat if they have money and have a good job. In America, we want to look thin so people can see our muscles. We sort of want to look like a pusse-pusse (rickshaw) driver. We are ashamed if we are fat.
MILSON: But the pusse-pusse does not have enough money so he does not eat and is not fat.
RYAN: Well actually we are sort of trying to eat less in America. It is very difficult. And also in America it is the opposite: if you have less money, you are usually fatter.
MILSON: I do not understand.
RYAN: It is difficult to explain. We have what is called a love-hate relationship with food.
MILSON: Why do you hate food?
RYAN: Well, we just have difficulties with food. We love it, and we hate it. There is a lot of delicious food so we like to eat it. But we are not very thankful for it, and so we eat too much without really thinking. And then we get angry at it and hate the food for making us fat. Sigh…anyway, my main point and what you should remember is never call someone from America fat.
MILSON: Ok. So what do I call a person if I cannot say you are fat?
RYAN: Well you can say someone is large, or bigger, or heavy-set…we have a lot of words we can use.
MILSON: Ryan, I think you are very large.
RYAN: Ok Milson, you never say that to someone from America.
MILSON: But how can I say it?
RYAN: You should not say it. Just…don’t say anything.
MILSON: Ryan, some day, I want to go to America.