When I was younger, maybe about 4-5 years old, my superstitious grandmother had a hard time trying to get me to finish my food. She'd use all sorts of excuses trying to convince me to swallow every single leftover dish there is on the table.
Grandma: "Quick, finish your food. Don't you know? Having leftover rice on your plate means next time your wife's face will have lots of pimples."
Grandma: "Ya. If you leave one grain of rice, she'll have one pimple. If you leave three grains of rice, she'll have three pimples."
Kenny: "Then if I don't finish the whole plate of rice, her head would become like brocolli is it?"
Come to think of it, I've encountered a lot of these dinner-time Chinese superstitions.
- Do not leave the dinner table and wander around doing other things, else you'll grow up to have a bad attention span.
- Do not stab chopsticks on your bowl of rice as if they're joss sticks.
- Do not kneel whilst having dinner. I see kids sometimes doing this when they're eating on the coffee table in front of the TV. To their elders, it means their kids are worshipping the TV, which unfortunately is quite true.
- Do not tap your plate deliberately with your utensils.
- Do not shake your legs while having dinner. It means all your good fortune will be shaken away.
I'm guilty of the last one. I'm born with legs are shaky like a polaroid picture. It's very bad habit I'm still trying to shake off (no pun intended).
Anyway, I reckon I have pretty good fortune so that superstition must obviously be false. I never believe those superstitious bullshit. If my grandmother were to tell me that shaking your legs would make your legs go hairy, maybe I'd actually listen to her.
My mother is not as superstitious. She has her own way trying to get me to finish my food - by making me feel guilty.
"Finish your food, Kenny. Think of all the malnutritioned children in Bosnia / Nigeria / Ethiopia / [insert name of random poor African nation] who are starving right now if you don't eat."
It works everytime. My stomach may be exploding, but I'd still be forcing that last piece of chicken down my throat because dammit, I'm privileged to swallow that piece of chicken, OKAY?!
That probably explains why I'm such a chubby little boy today.
Its only when I grow older that I noticed what a flawed argument my mother had.
Look. Whether I eat that last piece of chicken or let it go to waste, what the hell does it have ANYTHING to do with starving kids in Africa? Why do they even come into the equation? Even if I don't finish my food, its not like KFC is gonna ship that piece of unfinished chicken all the way to Africa, right?
THINK ABOUT IT!
If you're already full, stop eating. Why suffer? Don't feel too guilty about letting half-eaten food go to waste, because anything you swallow after the point of satiation is likely to be stored as fat anyway. (This principle does not apply to anorexic and underweight people btw.)
Which one would make you feel more guilty? Half-eaten food going to waste because you're full, or an extra inch on your waist because you're eating more calories than you need? Go to waste, or go to waist?
Why the heck should I let those malnutritioned kids come between me, my chicken, and my path to weight loss?
My mother's strategy certainly worked on me. Instead of letting good food go the bin, I gorged. Even as my waistline expanded, I gluttonized myself as I ate whatever leftover food there is on the table because dammit... THOSE KIDS IN AFRICA ARE SUFFERING!
Absurdity to the max plus one, I tell you.
There you go. Another myth adults tell children debunked, thanks very much to kennysia.com. :)