Show­ing ‘em

To prove emma Louise Liang made a de­ci­sion her bul­lies wrong, and boy did it pay off.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By KEVIN TAN allther­age@thes­tar.com.my Pledge your sup­port at

IT’S pretty ob­vi­ous that Emma Louise Liang, 23, doesn’t like talk­ing about sec­ondary school. The usu­ally bub­bly model/singer’s face im­me­di­ately turns som­bre at the men­tion of it.

For her, sec­ondary school was a pe­riod of iso­la­tion and con­stant bul­ly­ing, brought about sim­ply be­cause of her mixed-parent­age and weight is­sues.

“Be­cause I was fat, I felt like I had a spe­cial ‘spot­light’ on me,” she said. “My school­mates would tease me be­cause of my weight. They of­ten called me ‘fat white girl’,” said Emma, who is Eurasian.

The ver­bal abuse caused her to iso­late her­self from class­mates and even her friends, and her self-es­teem plum­meted.

“The bul­ly­ing made me very un­happy about go­ing to school. I hated it. I was be­ing treated as if I wasn’t nor­mal,” she said.

Hav­ing al­most no friends to talk to in school, Emma only had her par­ents to con­fide in but it was still a dif­fi­cult time for her as her par­ents aren’t al­ways around, and her teach­ers didn’t help ei­ther.

“I only had one or two friends I could talk to, but they were the type of friends who were afraid to be seen mak­ing friends with me or even talk­ing to me. So I be­came a loner without want­ing to.

“I had my par­ents, of course, but it’s not like they could be there for me when I’m at school,” she said.

In Form Three, Emma de­cided to ded­i­cate her­self to los­ing weight, driven to prove to her bul­lies that there’s more to her than what they see on the sur­face.

“I started re­al­is­ing there were more peo­ple in­ter­ested in be­ing friends with me! The bul­ly­ing slowly stopped, and I started get­ting more at­ten­tion. I was even given a ‘Pret­ti­est Girl’ award that year.”

De­spite her new-found pop­u­lar­ity, Emma stuck to the friends who had stood by her through­out her weight is­sues. Un­til today, she still car­ries the emo­tional scars cause by the words of the “su­per­fi­cial” school­mates who had teased her.

“Those feel­ings never re­ally went away,” she said. “I still of­ten feel like there is some­thing wrong with me, even though I know there isn’t.”

Just a month ago, Emma lent her voice to the R.AGE Against Bul­ly­ing cam­paign by singing on the anti-bul­ly­ing an­them Keep On Keepin’ On, writ­ten and per­formed by lo­cal R&B star Liang.

The song has been played reg­u­larly on Red FM, and it in­cludes a spe­cial mes­sage by Aus­tralian mo­ti­va­tional speaker Nick Vu­ji­cic, “the man with no limbs”.

Emma added: “If you’re be­ing bul­lied, the song is there to en­cour­age you to keep stay­ing strong, and keep mov­ing on. I re­gret think­ing that I was alone and no one could help. You might feel that way, but you re­ally aren’t alone in this.”

If you’ve been a vic­tim of bul­ly­ing, or you want to sup­port the cam­paign against bul­ly­ing, go to RAGEA­gain­stBul­ly­ing. com. R.AGE Against Bul­ly­ing is sup­ported by UNICEF, Be­frien­ders, Child­line Malaysia, Help In­ter­na­tional School, StarRFM and Churp Churp. YES is the telco spon­sor.

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