Thursday, April 27, 2006

School Punishes Filipino Table Etiquette

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.

[Lunch monitor says that], “If your son eats like a pig he has to go to another table because this is the way we do it and how we’re going to do it every time.”

[The school principal adds], "personally, I don’t have any problems with it, but it is not the way you see people eat every day. I have never seen somebody eat with a spoon and a fork at the same time.”

Isn't this racist, insulting and abusive to the child? Is this professional and ethical?

My colleague from the Pinoy Teachers Network emailed to our group this recent news story: Lunch monitor tells student his eating habits are ‘disgusting’ (click here). I am sure it bothers a lot of people as much as it affects me.


Anonymous said...

Hey Teacher Sol,

We are all affected by this. I am a proud Filipino. The principal as one blog says is the pig... I couldn't agree more. Bullying is very common and sometimes it also results to death like one Filipino teen ( Lanot ). It is sad but it's reality and we should be brave and strong to face it. Cheers to the parents who spoke out!!!!

watson said...

Good mooorning Teacher Sol!

This is definitely bad and racist. Can't they comprehend that they are not the only people living in this planet? I wonder what they do with people eating with chopsticks.

The disgusting part is, it happened in a learning institution!

watson said...

Teacher Sol, hope you don't mind. I posted your summary in my blog as well to reach out to other bloggers. Thanks.

JO said...

hi T. Sol,

i am totally speechless about this issue.

ignorance of other culture should never be used as an excuse by the principal and the lunch-program coordinator. they should be ashame of themselves!

richard said...

Yo Teacher Sol.. What's up?! Richard s n d hauz.. heheh. I agree with Watson said... Di lang naman sila yung tao sa mundo. They should repect some culture. Di naman yata makatarungan yun. Kaya tuloy may negative effect agad.. Tsk.. tsk.. tsk.. I remember yung entry from AARP Magazine bout proper etiquette tips of come countries. And I found out na daming pagkakaiba compare to us. I mean, for us as Filipinos.. Kaya, they should mind their own business!!!

vina said...

i just hope that Luc will overcome this and all the adversities that may come his way, and still be heart-and-soul-Filipino.

BW said...

So how the heck are we supposed to use the utensils? What's the correct combination - fork and knife or spoon and knife or either knife or spoon by itself and never spoon and fork? Frankly, to me this has nothing to do with Luc being Filipino. It's just the case of the lunch monitor being stupid.
Next time Luc should take a pair of chopsticks with him and ask her - so what should I use with the chopsticks?

robtherunner said...

I am always amazed when I hear about stories like this. Sometimes I cannot believe that people can be so inconsiderate of other cultures. I do not see how eating with two utensils can be considered offensive or inappropriate in any way.

tin-tin said...

i agree with bw. it's the stupidity of the lunch monitor. everyone has different stles of eating. what's disgusting is if you play with your food.

jun d. said...

....and do they have a problem with the chinese and japanese eating with chopsticks too???? That principal and lunch monitor ought to be taught about other cultures. to think that they are moulding the minds of the youth.....

carlos said...

Well looks like this happened in Canada (which incidentally isn't part of the U.S.).

Now I really don't know what the rules are in French Canada, maybe they want everyone to eat the 'European' way, which incidentally is also different from the American way.

Finally, it's not only Filipinos who eat with a fork and spoon. I know Thais and Iranians traditionally do the same thing. So, it's really ignorance on the principal's part

anthony said...

This is really bad. I hope it doesn't happen here in the States.

E kung gusto kong kumain ng rice with pansit!!! (Pinoy noodles!!!) Will the principal have an issue with it too? I just wonder.....

anthony said...

Seriously, though, what's also disturbing here is how this will affect the poor kid. He doesn't need that. It might just kill his self-esteem.

Making the adjustments living in a new environment is one thing but getting that crappy treatment from a principal and a school monitor who are obviously too enamored with their "cultural European upbringing" but intolerant, if not oblivious, to what makes other cultures special too.

What's a "right way to eat" anyway? Is it in the Canadian constitution that you should not eat with both spoon and fork?

I've met and heard of some stupid people before but that principal and monitor just takes the cake! (I suppose they'll say you cannot cut your cake with fork too!!!)

mars said...

mmmmmnnn.... rice with pansit??? pagkaing-karpi naman iyan eh!!! masa-shock lalo ang principal nyan lalo na ang mga dietitians - pinaghalong carbs ba naman!

carlos said...

Before we rush to judgment on those poor canadians, what I want to know is what kind of school is this kid enrolled in?

I mean if you're enrolled in a military school then you eat in cadence.

If you're in some finishing school ( ), then well, it's knife and fork, furthermore it's fork held with the left hand.

Is this some private french school that the kid got enrolled in?

Who knows, maybe eating 'etiquette' is part of the french-canadian primary school curriculum.

Here's a counter example, in the Philippines students are required to stand when they answer question. I did not know that so I was reprimanded (and therefore scarred for life ;-) ) for just sitting and shrugging my shoulders when I didn't know the answer. So where is it written that you should stand when you recite?

Another example: Indians ( i.e. South Asians) enjoy putting up their bare feet and playing in between their toes. Should they be reprimanded for this kind of behavior?

Another example: The french don't have a habit of taking a bath every day, they compensate this with a lot of perfume ;-). I go to Montreal and in small rooms, you really notice! Should these people be reprimanded for not having hygenic standards that we are used to?

brod boy said...


Ano kaya kung makita nila tayo USING OUR HANDS!!!!! hehehe...More YUCKY? MORE DISGUSTING!!!!!

patrick said...

Maybe he was eating with a "very sharp spoon" to cut the tapa that his mom prepared for his baon. School thought the spoon was a deadly weapon.

carlos said...

now that makes sense...

lesson learned...

never give tapa for your child's baon... lest you want him to bring a sharp spoon to school!

anthony said...

Hmmm! Now, I want to know where to get that kind of spoon. That'll come in handy when I have pork chops as my baon

patrick said...


You can bring one to school to protect yourself the next time your student threatens you again with a sharpened pencil you think we can patent this idea???

I can see it now.....Filipino Abu Sayaf terrorists hijack plane with sharp spoons!!!!!

carlos said...

Somehow, I don't recall my classmates bringing fork and spoons to lunch.

I remember them bringing 'sporks' (see ) though!

butch said...

it is not enough to just let us know this story without the address and name of the school. i would like to email the school and tell them what we think of their silly rule.

Gilbert said...

The school principal may be has forgotten good manners (hehehehe). He/she should have make some research with Filipino Culture first or recall basic child psychology. We'll the first one will not certainly come to mind due to subconscious racism in her.

But anyway, don't you that, this news has already hit prime time news here in the Philippines and that the Canadian embassy here was subjected to protest.

May be they will learn their lesson now. My only worry is what if the victim was not very vocal enough to raise their reaction to this injustice?

balita u.s.a. said...

From BALITA U.S.A. by Perry Diaz, comments from the readers

There is a big world out there beyond Canada. And the world is a beautiful place made ugly by people who choose to look at things in their own myopic view of what the world is.

In my city which has a predominantly East Indian population, women proudly wear their saris and walked the streets. Is this ugly just because their women doesn't wear dresses like their American counterpart? Or they eat ONLY with their bare right hand?

The world has become almost like a global village. Wired into the global internet connection that connects everybody to everybody and where people moved from their home countries to become citizens of another country, it is time for us not to embrace but to understand cultures.

Some cultures are not really likeable but then, we can encourage them to set it aside and adopt ours here in North America. It takes time, it is hard, but then it is civil and peaceful; and people that we can convinced to integrate with us and our culture can enrich our lives.

To impose upon others our cultural white or black supremacy is the height of bigotry. Remember, just as Europe was ravaged by war and pestilence in what history calls as the "Dark Ages", somewhere in the world are rich cultures that has today enriched our lives.

Please take it easy on Luc or you will be up against all the people in the world that use their right hand or those that eat using spoons.

Freddy Panes

Anonymous said...

I view that as racist. If an American went to the Philippines, I doubt they would be condemned and singled out for eating with a knife and fork, though inappropriate as it would be. "Different rules for different people". Horrible manners and bigotry on the Lunch Monitor and Principal's behalf.

Promethean Planet


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