A rhyme for Joyce Cheng Yan-yee
Born to an unconventional showbiz couple, Joyce Cheng has been in the spotlight since before she was born. Her mum Lydia Shum was a plus-size comedienne and showbiz power-broker, her dad Adam Cheng a singing, acting heart-throb. Having decided to carve out a singing career of her own, she has had very public struggles with her weight and looks before just as publicly embracing and celebrating her body. It culminated in a hit song, Goddess, where she tells women and girls that they can all be goddesses regardless of appearance. When the song swept the awards ceremony, the backlash was predictable and cruel. Here is a rhyme I wrote in response.
There was a young woman named Joyce
Who strove to find her voice
But they said you’re too fat
And we can’t have that.
So Joyce sweat and she starved
‘Til she was almost halved
But the world, it is tough
They said, that’s not enough!
Your skinny jeans may fit snugly
But you are still just fugly
Then one day, she said fuck that
I am big and I am fat
And I will damn well own it!
So she sang and danced, her stuff she did strut
Some were dazzled, though some cried, slut!
Still the plaudits landed fast
But oh, how could it last?
She’s exploiting her own obesity
She’s a silver-spoon obscenity
So the narrative is spun
Fat girl, you can be funny, smart or fun.
But hah, goddess you shall never be.
-Yuen Chan, January 6th 2017, Hong Kong