Chilli sauce with padaek is Phoudoy’s favourite food, which may also be your choice for a tasty meal.
Laos’ tallest man at 2.25 metres, Mr Phoudoy Xayachack, who lives in Champassak province, has decided to put his usual farming activities on hold for a while after being diagnosed with diabetes.
Phoudoy, 26, is the main farmhand in the family, who have been growing crops for many years in Namsay-theung village, Pathoumphone district.
Even though he really wants to help his family, he has been advised to take a break from physical labour to help his body overcome his health issues.
This has been a tough decision as Phoudoy is a diligent man and was in the habit of getting up early every morning and driving a tractor to the farm, which is about 10km from the family home.
Once there, he usually examined the cassava and rice crops to make sure no pests were present. He also weeded out any grass, as this absorbs nutrients and water needed by the crops. But now he is tending to his own wellbeing and following his doctor’s advice.
Since Phoudoy has recently become a well-known figure and has attracted a lot of public interest, with many concerns about his health being expressed through Facebook, Vientiane Times decided to ask him for more information.
Q: How is your health at present?
A: I feel better now compared to earlier last month before I was diagnosed with diabetes. But I still get tired easily when I’m doing something.
Q: What is the doctor’s advice for staying healthy?
A: The doctor at the provincial hospital advised me to take medicine for diabetes as prescribed every day. I was also advised to do some light exercise, including jogging, as much as I feel comfortable with. And he advised me to eat only vegetables and fish.
As Phoudoy tires so easily, the doctor advised him to get a full health check-up in Vientiane. And now his grandfather is arranging for him to have tests on his heart at Mahosot Hospital next week.
Q: You have recently become very well known throughout Laos. How do you feel about this?
A: I am very happy and thank everyone for helping to pay for my medical treatment.
Q: Do you have any particular ambitions in life?
A: I left school after my second year at lower secondary school because my family could not pay the fees any longer. I don’t think it’s realistic to have dreams that are beyond my family’s capacity. I don’t really want anything in particular. But I would like to get rid of my diabetes and the other ailments that I suffer from. If I am healthy, I will continue to help my family on our farm so that we have more rice and other food to eat.
Q: What’s your favourite food?
A: I was born into a poor family. I eat only food that grows in the wild or is farmed. I don’t really know what kind of food is best. For me, chilli sauce with padaek (fermented fish paste) is my favourite. But now, to reduce the development of diabetes, I have to stop eating padaek as my favourite food.
Q: Is your height a problem when you’re doing farmwork?
A: Yes. It’s difficult to bend down to do the digging and weeding. I usually get back-ache whenever I work on the farm. But I have to put up with it so that we have rice and other things to eat.
In a telephone interview, Vientiane Times asked Mrs Heuang Xayachack what it has been like caring for her son over the years.
Q: How much did Phoudoy weigh when he was born?
A: He weighed 3kg. He was quite normal and I never thought he would grow up to become the tallest man in Laos! He is the third of my seven children. But when he reached the age of 13, he was taller than anyone else in the family and the village. The second tallest person in our family is only 1.6 metres. Today Phoudoy weighs about 100kg.
Q: Did you feed him anything special as a child?
A: As we are a poor family, I did not have anything special to feed him with. All of my seven children ate the same food every day, and I breastfed them all.
Q: Is it a problem finding shirts and trousers for him to wear?
A: Yes. Most of the clothes sold in the markets don’t fit him. But I don’t have enough money to get things made by a tailor. So sometimes he has to wear what look like s mall T-shirts and short-legged trousers. But some people have kindly given us large T-shirts and trousers f or him to wear.
Source: Vientiane Times