Friday, February 09, 2007


My surgery faculty and i were getting lunch from the cafeteria after finishing some endoscopies. I got some beef, rice, and vegetables, sat down at the table and started to eat.

Dr. L: W..what are you doing??

Me: Eh? Eating? What do you mean? (confused)

Dr. L: I mean what are you doing eating your lunch with a spoon?

Me: I can't pick up rice with a fork, if that's what you mean.

Dr. L: Why are you using a spoon? You should use your fork.

Me: Well, in the Philippines, everybody uses a spoon. So i'm used to eating my meals with a spoon.

Dr. L: Really??! (bewildered)

Me: Yes, in fact there was this big issue when a Filipino child in Canada was using a spoon and he was called a monkey by the principal.

Dr. L: Wow!

Me: Yes, i mean i use a spoon because that's what i'm comfortable with. and look at this....see...if i use the fork...i can't get much on it. Plus, there's a spoon available. But i can do without one.

Dr. L: I'm just saying that when you go out and eat with your faculty or applicants, or get invited to dinners, you should use a fork unless it's soup or something you need a spoon for. It's called etiquette. And that's the etiquette here in the states.

Me: I've been to dinners and lunches with faculty and applicants and no one seems to get offended with my using a spoon. But your point is well taken. I'll continue to eat with my spoon now, if you don't mind. :)

yup, i didn't see that coming. nobody has ever made a big deal out of it until now. and right now i am ambivalent about this issue. she's got a point and it's reasonable.

cultural differences.

your views?


Blogger Asignatura said...

Sana pinaltok mo ng kutsara. maderhamper pala siya e. pag sinabihan na monkey ka, paninidigan mo. pahiran mo ng tae sa mukha.

2:28 PM  
Blogger gypsy said...

ano ba pakealam nya kung kutsara gamit mo pangkain? tagalugin mo nga sabihin mo PI mo. sabihin mo yan ang etiquette sa pinas para sa mga feeling superior na attitude na ganyan. naiirita ako.

2:48 PM  
Anonymous atticus said...

travel. travel. and travel some more.

traveling educates us on the culture of other peoples. travel to places where it's polite to stick your tongue out when greeting someone. travel to a place where it's considered impolite to touch a man's head.

it educates us more deeply than college. it opens up our mind to the sensibilities of others. it also lessens the offense we feel when something is not done the way we do it in our shores.

travel to a new place with respect for how they do things.

only those who have not traveled enough will make an issue out of the use - or perceived misuse - of a spoon.

now about how americans mispell a lot of things.....


4:18 PM  
Anonymous abi said...

They say when you're in Rome, acts as the Romans (though you'd never seen a Filipino gawk at people using forks).

Well you can ask your supervisor if it hurts her that you're using a spoon; if she says yes, then you gotta stop.

This is by far the saddest piece I've read on your blog... sadder than the one about your dead aunt.

8:22 PM  
Anonymous piknik said...

knowing and bowing are two very different words with very different meanings. you came to the U.S. to pursue your dreams. over time you get to learn so much about the way people act and react. now here's the thing, wherever you go, you get to learn if just a little bit about the cultures of the people around you. some cultures do tend to do things similarly or differently from how you do things yourself. the point is, you learn, take it in, and go on with your life. if you are comfortable with using a spoon then so be it. if you let other people's culture dictate who you are then at the end of the day you are just a NOBODY for bowing to every single thing that people do differently from. it is who you are and it is what sets you apart. if the mexicans bowed to the the way the americans lived here in the US, i tell you, they would never survive it here. they won't even speak english.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Jerome aka Bridget Jones said...

Let's re-tell this story of yours only with me in it (wearing a more fashionable smock/lab gown, of course)

dr. l: why are you using a spoon?

me: why do you ask?

dr. l: its etiquette to use a fork, except for soup, of course.

me: (sensing where it's going) well, i use a spoon because i am fabulous. as for you, whether you use a spoon or fork or a shovel to eat your goddamn food, you will still be a prejudiced, close-minded prick/bitch with a superlative lack of aesthetic and fashion sense who sadly has a medical degree (scoops a large amount of rice with my spoon and sticks it in my mouth)

pakialam ba nila, pakshet sya ha. naku, doc. nagalit lang ako sa post na ito. hmph.

3:02 PM  
Anonymous Toe said...

Dr. L. is antipatika. But we Filipinos really have to, as they say, do ahs the Romans do. When in China, eat with chopsticks. When in Europe and in the States, eat with a fork and knife. That is the proper etiquette.

I find eating pasta with a spoon easier. But when I'm with my French colleagues, of course I would never do that.

If a Chinese slurped his soup bowl in front of you, wouldn't you think it's rude? But it's his culture.

As for the incident in Canada, the principal and the teachers ARE the monkeys.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous diane said...

hey duke,
kala ko wala na tong blog mo kasi last time wala sya wahh.. Anyway ganun nga raw sa labas, gamit ko rin fork minsan pag nag iinarte ako LOL, pero wala naman rin big deal kung spoon gamit mo. OA lang kasama mo haha. Uy oo nga pala, pasado na ako sa nclex :p kaso tagal talaga immigration hay baka abutin pa ako 1 to 2 years oh well LAGOT KA.. huntingin na kita sa texas haha. :p Date ko ha handa mo na hahahahaha

6:11 PM  
Anonymous redel said...

dapat sinabi mo "bat ka ba nangengealam?"

8:48 PM  
Blogger midnight rainbow said...

magbigay-galang sa mga kinaugalian. sang-ayon naman ako sa ginawa mo.

pasensya na ha pero kailangan kong sabihin na natuwa ako sa blog mo (ngayon ko lang nakita ang link mula sa pinoymd)at binasa ko siya ng binasa. loved your personal statement.

good luck with your residency training. i know it must be hard and toxic for you. mahalin mo ang specialty na pinasok mo. :)

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always believe that etiquette is functionality with style. Paki-alam ba nila. Sa mas madaling kumain gamit ang kutsara. Keep it up doc. ;) -amikus

7:50 AM  
Anonymous snglguy said...

Buti na lang di ka tinawag na "monkey" like what that Canadian principal did to his Pinoy student. By the way, I thought the good ol US of A is the land of the free, then why aren't you free to do as you wish with a frigging spoon?

PS: I wonder how'd they look like if they used a fork and a knife while eating in a Chinese restaurant? And did you know that some Americans use the same when eating *gasp* pizza?

11:26 AM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

You know, Doc, I really don't mind if they come to the rural areas where most folks still eat with their fingers and the Americans insist to use spoon and fork. Cultural differences. But if I meet guys like Dr. L. who insists that etiquette requires you to use your fork when eating rice, then let him come to the Philippines and I will gladly take him to the boondocks. Let me see how he'll manage. OA sya masyado.

4:45 PM  
Blogger rheiboy17 said...

etiket etiket na sinasabi nya diyan, etiket my a**! oops, sowwy!

eh talaga naman mas praktical gumamit ng kutsara sa pagkain, anyways, kung makaka apekto yan sa trabajo mo, then adjust kung nasaan ka man, but never forget that dito sa pilipinas, ang ating kinagawian ay maaaring iba sa kanila pero hindi nangangahulugang tama sila at mali tayo.

iba ang pilipino. :)

btw, thanks for visiting my blog, and hey, i placed you in my linkin park so that i can easily visit your post often. :)

8:23 AM  
Blogger pilimon said...

basta sa bunganga mo pinapasok ang pagkain, ayos na un.. mangamba sila kung fork nga ginagamit mo pero sa ilong mo namam sinusubo..

maayos naman pagkakasabi nya e. ayos lang. pero kung sinabihan kang unngoy ka. tama ang unang komento. panindigan mo! mangulangot ka.. tas ipahid mo.. tingnan natin kung gamitan nila ng fork! :p

9:01 AM  
Anonymous cruise said...

i think kaibigan mo siya talaga, bibihira lang ang matapang na magsabi ng ganyan. kung talagang etiquette sa kanila yan, maganda magsanay ka na. baka kasi sobrnag polite lang din yung iba kaya di sila nagsasasbi sayo. incidentally tungkol sa table manners din ang topic ko ngayon.

mahalaga rin kasi na makibagay tayo sa lugar kung nasaan tayo, although di naman natin iniisip o nananadya na maka-offend ng kapwa, maganda rin kumilos ayon sa gusto mo at nakasanayan, pero kung makaktulong ito para sa magandang samahan, pwede naman siguro i-consider.

gulo ata ng comment ko, hehehe

10:22 AM  
Anonymous iskoo said...

mga american talaga frank, baka wala namang ibig sabihin yun sa kanila kundi sabihin lang ang tradisyon nila. sa huli ikaw pa rin naman ang makakapgsabi kung masama o hindi ang ginagawa mo.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous van said...

di bale irog. Alam ko namang hindi ka "monkey" e. Bumbay lang. ;)

10:37 AM  
Anonymous mm said...

huh?!? ngaun ko lang narinig ito! ganetch?!? hmmm... rice un eh. bat ba nakikialam? saka nasa cafeteria naman ata kayo nito so hindi sosyaling lugar diba? kebs!
pero for me, I always give them the benefit of the doubt. coz maybe they haven't been outside the US in their entire life, kaya di nila alam ang customs natin. :)
pero totoo nga sabi ng isang nag comment, frank sila ever, tas minsan OA pero ganun sila eh. keri lang diba.
uy congrats, 2nd year na siya;)

10:07 AM  
Blogger Brennan Mercado said...

don't worry doc. nasa 21st century na tayo. those who can't accept cultural differences are bound to get extinct in the long run.

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gunggong pala ang senior mo e. kahit saan talaga me sira ulo etiquet ang alam e papahirapan mo pa buhay mo kakain na nga lang. minsan lagyan mo nga ng tae ang pagkain niya para makita nya hinahanap niya.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gunggong pala ang senior mo e. kahit saan talaga me sira ulo etiquet ang alam e papahirapan mo pa buhay mo kakain na nga lang. minsan lagyan mo nga ng tae ang pagkain niya para makita nya hinahanap niya.

11:54 PM  
Blogger f.r.i.e.d.w.a.t.e.r. said...

it's not about etiquette, it's about culture. tama si atticus na it's about culture. and u use fork pang-push sa pagkain sa kutsara. mapalad ka at mas "kulturado" ka. naku. balikan mo sila, sabihin mo we had dipper inda pilipins becos we use it to wash off our asses after we wipe it off with tissue. hehehe. funny but true.

ang totoong etiquette kamo eh yung respetuhan kung anong kultura meron ang isang tao.

wag mong madala-dala sa pinas yan at baka... naku... kokotongan namin yan sa bumbunan ni atticus.

5:41 PM  
Blogger f.r.i.e.d.w.a.t.e.r. said...

CORRECTED GRAMMAR. MAHIRAP NA AT BAKA MAKOREK PA NI ATTICUS. balikan mo sila, sabihin mo we have dippers inda pilipins becos we use it to wash off our asses after we wipe them off with tissue. hehehe. funny but true.

5:43 PM  
Blogger duke said...

asignatura. di ka naman galet?

gypsy. ikaw din, di ka naman galet?

atticus. ang haba ng comment mo. pang isang buong post. at hanglalem pa. di ka naman galet?

abi d. di ka naman galet? ay malungkot ka. saddest sabi mo eh. so di ka galet.

piknik. ay galet ka nga. bumalik ka pa eh. at hinabaan mo koment mo. galet ka nga!

jerome aka bridget. di ka naman galet? ginawan mo pa ng bagong script at drinamahan mo pa. easy lang. mabaet naman sya e.

toe. di ka naman galet? at napailang paragraphs ka pa. galit ka?

diane. syempre bigla kang sumulpot. congrats sa pagpasa ng boards...hohumm...tunay ba yan?

redel. di ka naman galet? di ka nun maiintindihan.

midnight rainbow. salamat sa pagdaan. natutuwa naman ako't natutuwa ka. eing? parang walang sense. sige, natutuwa tayo pareho. mahirap ang buhay natin. buwiset. daan ka palagi ha. tenks a lot peklat.

amikus. functionality with style. naku, di ko na naman naintindihan. malalem mashado. di ka naman galet?

snglguy. di ko nga maintindihan. laging tinidor para sa lahat. tae. hahahaha. kaya ko naman magtinidor. pero yun kung nagsososyalan ako. pero kung gutom, aba, wala akong pakelam, magkukutsara ako. hahahaha. di ka naman galet?

bugsybee. di ka naman galet? hehehe. no, i don't think she's been out of the country much. but she's a nice lady. just loud (as most of them here are).

rheiboy17. salamat sa pagdalaw din. natuwa lang ako sa pinost mo sa blog mo. di ka naman din galet sa post na to? susme, bilis nyo magalet. at tama yun, hindi porke iba ang gawain natin eh mali na tayo. well, hinayaan ko na lang.

pilimon. syempre ang galing talaga ng paliwanag mo as usual. tama, basta sa bibig pinapasok yung kubyertos ok na. tama ka dyan. hahahahaha.

cruise....pansin mo...ikaw lang ang naiibang komento dito. hahahaha. at oo, mabait sya at natutuwa ako sa kanya. mejo off nga lang talaga ang dating saken pagkasabi nya nun. nagulat din ako.

iskoo. preho kayo ng sinabi ni cruise at dalawa na kayong hindi galet sa post na to. hehehe.

van. bumbay na unggoy. pede din. dobleng bantot.

mm. huy, kamusta ka na? oo mashado silang frank. pero candid din naman ako kaya nakakasabay ako sa kanila minsan. actually nagulat din yung ibang mga doktor sa kabilang table at tinanong kung anong nangyayari. sabi ko pinapansin nya yung paggamit ko ng kutsara sabay ngiti sa kanila.

brennan mercado. aba, nagbago ka na ng anyo. di ka na baktin? nux, may extinct extinct pa. pero tama ka.

anonymous. galet ka? hahahaah. galet ka nga. pakilala ka naman para mas masaya at hindi anonymous gamit mong id. salamat sa pagdaan.

friedwater. huy, magblog ka nga ulet. sapakin kita dyan eh. sabihin ko tabo at de buhos ang kubeta naten eh di nandiri yun saken. baka ayaw na nya ako makatrabaho. hahahahaah.

friedwater. oo, ayusin mo grammar mo. andyan grammar pulis na si atticus. lagot ka.


12:12 PM  
Anonymous jen said...

I like what atticus said. People who don't travel enough get offended easily because they're not exposed to the culture of other places.

I wouldn't bother using a fork if I find it easier to use a spoon to put food in my mouth. I don't really get why it's so horrible to use a spoon. Ewan. This "issue" has me swinging between two extreme ends.

3:38 PM  

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