BBFA (Bui Bui Forever Alone): Overweight, single men experiencing sexual frustration and destined for a life alone. The term emerged online in the 2010s, in Singapore. Bui is the Hokkien word for fat.

BBFA is a term employed exclusively by users of online forum HardwareZone, specifically on its Eat Drink Man Woman (EDMW) page. To the forum’s users, who refer to themselves as “EDMWers”, BBFAs are individuals cursed to be ‘forever alone’ due to their unattractive nature: their bodies are bui bui, chubby and out of shape. This description conjures up images of the archetypal asocial, nice guy, relegated to the back of the room at parties, and forever condemned to linger in the shadow of his more attractive counterparts.

A typical BBFA post from a user who's jealous of other men with girlfriends. Screenshots are taken from HardwareZone

That such a community finds itself at home on EDMW reflects the characteristics of the page and platform. With its relatively lax moderation and rudimentary graphical interface, HardwareZone offers users a throwback to an early digital era, when websites were clunkier but also free from the influence of modern tech monopolies. The nostalgia is important for those who feel stifled by perceptions of excessive content moderation that are associated with more popular platforms like Facebook and Reddit.

For subscribers only

Subscribe now to read this post and also gain access to Jom’s full library of content.

Subscribe now Already have a paid account? Sign in