The madness test for expats in Indonesia

One of the “strangest stories” I have ever read is a firsthand account (from the Guardian) of someone who is not happy with their body – not because they are fat or anything – but because they want to hack off both their own legs:

To the general public, people like me are sick and strange, and that's where it ends. I think it is a question of fearing the unknown. I have something called body identity integrity disorder (BIID), where sufferers want to remove one or more healthy limbs. Few people who haven't experienced it themselves can understand what I am going through. It is not a sexual thing, it is certainly not a fetish, and it is nothing to do with appearances. I simply cannot relate to myself with two legs: it isn't the "me" I want to be. I have long known that if I want to get on with my life I need to remove both legs. I have been trapped in the wrong body all this time and over the years I came to hate my physical self.

At first I thought it was a wind-up, and that someone was pulling the Guardian's leg so to speak, but apparently such a condition really does exist. Either that or she's got the hairiest, most disgusting legs ever! (well the Guardian doesn’t show a photo of them does it?)

But is she really crazy? After all, a hundred years’ ago, it was taboo to be gay in many societies, and 50 years’ ago the idea of transsexuals was abhorrent to most. And let’s face it anyway – there’s all sorts of other stuff that is just as crazy:

1. Working your guts out for 30 years as a corporate slave only to die of a heart attack aged 55. Was it really worth it?

2. Traveling 600 miles roundtrip to watch a shitty nil nil draw in the rain, freezing your ******s off in the process, and arriving home completely shattered and 100 quid poorer at 3 o’ clock in the morning. And doing it again for the rest of the season. (Brit specific)

3. Praying at the local “House of Worship” to the God you think exists and then spending the rest of the day trying to extract as many bribes as possible (Govt official specific).

4. Coming from a country with a GDP per capita of US$35,000 and ending up working in a country where half the population earns less than US$2/day and you can’t even speak the language.

5. Choosing not to eat meat cos its cruel but still buying all sorts of products made from animals including, of course, shoes.

6. Choosing not to visit Bali for a holiday cos you are worried about the terrorists even though you are far more likely to die in a traffic accident getting to the airport in the first place.

7. Worrying about getting a virgin wife (meaning she is “pure”) even though you’ve put your tackle in a few dodgy places that you’d rather not remember (SE Asian specific)

8. Buying huge numbers of handbags, tops, shoes and God knows what else even knowing you have absolutely no intention of ever actually using them (
Female specific)

9. Spending heaps of money and giving affection to a cat even though that cat couldn’t give a damn about you, is only interested in pursuing as many felines as he can find, and only purrs at you cos he is using you and wants a free meal.


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