This is really frustrating. I mean, c’mon. (separate post about my comments)
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
SPECIAL FEATURE: Filipino table etiquette punished at local school
Lunch monitor tells student his eating habits are 'disgusting'
A Roxboro, Canada, woman has filed a formal complaint with a local school board after her son was disciplined by a lunch program monitor for eating in what she says is a customary Filipino manner.
Luc Cagadoc's table behavior is traditionally Filipino; he fills his spoon by pushing the food on his plate with a fork, his mother, Maria Theresa Gallardo, said.
But after being punished by the school lunch monitor more than 10 times this year for his mealtime conduct—including his technique—the 7-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 said 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 a spoon and fork, instead of only with one utensil, the Grade 2 pupil said the lunch monitor moves him to a table to sit by himself.
Upset over Luc's story, Gallardo confronted the lunchtime caregiver the next day and, on April 13, she telephoned the school's principal, Normand Bergeron.
The principal's reaction was more shocking. It brought her to tears. "He said, 'Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat.'"
Gallardo, who is originally from Misamis Oriental, moved to Montreal from the Philippines in 1999. She was a former contract worker and now an immigrant.
"I find it very prejudiced and it's racist. He's supposed to be acting like a professional. This is supposed to be a free country with free expressions of culture and religion. This is how we eat; we eat with a fork and spoon," she said.
Luc's father, Aldrin Cagadoc, was also surprised by the principal's comment. "I can't believe that even the principal would say that," he said. "A person of his caliber, I wouldn't expect him to say that."
Gallardo, who operates a daycare service out of her Roxboro home and is close to completing her studies in early childhood education, wrote a letter last week and lodged a formal complaint with the school authorities.
She disagreed with the lunch monitor's approach to teaching children how to eat and said it is emotionally upsetting to Luc.
When she questioned Bergeron about punishing students for their table habits, the reply she got was: "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 principal of the 387-student Roxboro school said he explained his position on using two utensils to Gallardo during their telephone conversation.
"I want them to eat correctly with respect for others who are eating with them. That's all I ask. 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."
--(By Andy Blatchford, The Chronicle)
Guys If you want to give Monsieur le Directeur Bergeron a piece of your mind, you can e-mail him here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Luc (right) eats in traditional Filipino fashion, with a spoon and fork, as his mother Maria Gallardo and sister Hannah look on. The seven-year-old says his school's lunch monitor calls the habit 'disgusting' and has punished him for it.
The Filipino community in Canada and Canadians of Filipino descent (call me a stickler for citizenship details, but yeah, it's an issue I've long decided my stand on), as well as Pinoys and foreigners of Filipino descent all around the world, are up in arms over the apparently racist and intolerant treatment of Roxboro primary school École Lalande's principal Normand Bergeron and his lunchtime daycare monitor of seven-year-old Luc Cagadoc, a Canadian of Filipino parentage.According to Andy Blatchford's story "Filipino table etiquette punished at local school: Lunch monitor tells student his eating habits are 'disgusting' " published in The Chronicle. Quotable quote from the story:
She disagrees with the lunch monitor's approach to teaching children how to eat and says it is emotionally abusive to Luc. When she questioned Bergeron about punishing students for their table habits, she says he replied 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."
From Blatchford's follow-up story "Filipino mom to ask for public apology" we find further details into how young Luc and his mother Maria Theresa Gallardo were treated by Bergeron and the staff.
Over the last couple of months, Luc Cagadoc says he was moved to an empty table about 10 times by École Lalande's lunchtime day-care monitor for his table etiquette. The caregiver also called him "disgusting," he says.The Roxboro resident, whose parents originate from the Philippines, says he was disciplined for using a fork to push his food onto a spoon before bringing both utensils to his mouth — a manner used widely in the South Pacific nation.When Cagadoc's mother phoned the Roxboro school to inquire about the punishments, she was shocked by principal Normand Bergeron's response."He said, 'Madame, you are in Canada. Here in Canada you should eat the way Canadians eat,'" Maria Theresa Gallardo said. She claims Bergeron said her son eats like a "pig."
***Before you get all steamed and raise hell by sending all those hate-back emails and comments, take a deep breath and listen to what non-Filipinos are saying about the issue:
Geneviève Perchotte (email@example.com) said: On behalf of all us francophone Canadians, I apologize for M.Bergeron' treatment of you and hope that you can forgive him and not allow this to damage your life in any way. Especially, do not think that all Canadians are like this.
Raul Debuque (firstname.lastname@example.org) said: I am especially disappointed that the school principal, M. Bergeron, a French Canadian who no doubt fights every day to assert his heritage and culture, would then turn around and practice the same sort of cultural negation that French Canadians so vehemently reject. Shame.
Gene Pendon (email@example.com) said: I was appalled to read about this incident in the article, "Filipino table etiquette punished at local school". Principal Normand Bergeron's punishment of eating customs, his racist remarks and his defense of pure ignorance cannot be tolerated in schools.
The rather acerbic comment of Terrence Phillip (firstname.lastname@example.org) was: I agree with Mr. Gagne in saying that we Canadians find it rather repulsive that Filipinos eat with "spoons". Spoons are for spooning only. We civilized Canadians prefer to eat out of a trough. Ay?
And the outright condemnation by Louis Reynolds (email@example.com) was:
Lorsque j'ai lu l'article, je me suis dit: "Non, ce n'est pas possible" Le principal de l'école ne fait pas preuve que d'intolérance. Il fait preuve de bêtise, de stupidité, d'ignorance et de racisme. Comme Platon nous a enseigné,"l'homme qui n'est jamais sorti de sa caverne ne manque pas la lumière du jour."
A call for sobriety comes from Lizette Tuason (firstname.lastname@example.org), who in her comment "People need more facts before getting angry and taking action" asked: "Did the lunch monitor really call the boy a pig? Was the boy disciplined for misbehaving (i.e., being unruly) or for using a fork and spoon?"
Good point. Let this journalist Blatchford cover all angles, and if it's established that Bergeron and his lunch monitor truly did and said what we are told they said and did, that's when we flood his inbox with angry emails.Of course, lets not forget to thank those people above and those like them for their support and respect for our culture.
Some Pinoy bloggers' take on it: