Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Eating the Filipino way

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Today, i stumble upon an article about a Filipino child in Canada while googling something about Filipinos living in Poland. Oh whew! the article is quite interesting it is about a Filipino child who was punished by a lunch program monitor after this person didn't like the way the child eats with his spoon and fork. This is some of the stories in the article...

Luc Cagadoc’s table behaviour is traditionally Filipino; he fills his spoon by pushing the food on his plate with a fork, his mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, says.

But after being punished by his school’s lunch program monitor more than 10 times this year for his mealtime conduct — including his technique — the seven-year-old told Gallardo said last week that he was too embarrassed to eat his dinner.

“Mommy, I don’t want to eat anymore,” Gallardo says Luc told her at the kitchen table April 11. “My teacher is telling me that eating with a spoon and fork is yucky and disgusting.”

When he eats with both a spoon and fork, instead of only one utensil, the Grade 2 student said the lunch monitor moves him to a table to sit by himself.

and a nice reaction from a Filipino too....

Is there anything wrong with using both fork and spoon? When I was a kid, I was taught by my mother how to properly use spoon and fork. When I entered the seminary, I learned the more gracious way of using both utensils through our “social graces” seminar. Using fork and spoon in eating is a cultural mores just like the use of chopsticks in other Asian countries. Saying that such manner of eating is wrong is like saying that our culture is wrong. How much more if they see us Filipinos eat “kamayan” style? I love to eat with my bare hands especially when sumptuous native meal is served (that would be tuyo, daing or salted egg with kamatis). Does that make me a pig or lesser human? Certainly not!

Four years ago, Bishop Eijk of the Diocese of Groningen, Netherlands (communio partner of our diocese) paid a visit to our diocese. Among the many affairs he attended was the Diocesan Youth Day. We ate “kamayan” style as it was a barrio-fiesta type of celebration. The couple who were part of Bishop Eijk’s entourage were betting whether or not he would use his hands to eat as it was anathema to do so in Netherlands. They were surpirsed when he began to wash his hands and he ate with his bare hands. I admired him for his flexibility and respect to a tradition. He did not feel degraded to eat with his hands and more so, he did not hesitate to do what was anathema in his homeland. More so, during meals at the Bishop’s Residence, he ate with both spoon and fork.

Punishing Luc for using spoon and fork is wrong. Saying that his manner of eating is not proper is worst. It is plain discrimination under the guise of table etiquette. Does using spoon and fork turn us into lower beings and turn the Canadians who eat with fork and knife into higher beings? The answer is NO!

I hope that this is just an isolated case. Otherwise, some Canadians are bigots and racists.

How many times I saw similar articles of racism, degrading some elses culture and behaviour. I have a little fear..fear that my child might be experiencing the same treatment in the future. Of course I will not let anyone punished my child to no degree of sin. Hmmm..It fears me coz we are considering Canada to be our next home since most relatives are there. But I guess, wherever you go treatment of the like are everywhere. It is not with the country but with the people living and running the place. I just truly disheartened upon reading this though I heard and read this article in the news before. Now, it bothers me since I have a child.

What i heard more is that the mom filed a formal complaint to the school but then the school administrator just bluntly said...

"Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat."

Oh my! oh are they talking about?! Yes! they lived in such country but can they just respect the right and the culture where the child was brought up?! All I do now is SIGHHHH! HMMMM..... why there are people as hell as that? can they just behave in their own cell?lol

It's this blatant refusal to accept the subtleties of other cultures that makes me pessimistic about issues like racism and immigration reform.

Thank God, i am living here in Poland for sometime now but I never heard stull like " This is Poland, speak Polish", or 'if you don't like it, go back to where you came from."

When was the last time you laughed at a joke that perpetuated a stereotype about a specific culture?

There's always going to be some level of intolerance in our society; I've come to accept that. And maybe we are making baby steps toward inclusion and tolerance. But hello?! the kid is seven years old. I hope my little girl will not feel ashamed for who she is. And I hope eventually, or hopefully through that "everything is embarassing to me" phase of her life, that she learns to embrace both her dad and my culture down the line rather than repudiate it.

I hope nobody will ever makes her ashamed that her mother is an asian - a Filipino (who originally eats by her hands *wink) sa puso at sa wika. Amen!

Now, who would want to put down on my culture & to where I came from? I'll show you who we are. with my fist as strong and hard as bohol bread, you will know who you are talking with. lol!

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