Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Browsing news as delivered by Google turned up a news item from entitled Incident might have been a mistake I'm quoting from the relevant portions:

The school has been inundated with emails, some of which were threatening, Rathe said. Montreal police were told of the threats and a security guard was posted outside the school Friday.

But the board has never revealed exactly why Luc was punished. Cagadoc said she was told by the lunch monitor that it was linked to him eating with a spoon and a fork.

According to a schoolboard source, Luc had been eating slowly that day. The lunch monitor warned him that there were only five minutes left to finish his meal. In response, Luc began shovelling food into his mouth, alternating with his spoon and his fork. He dribbled food and the other children laughed.

"When I approached the (monitor) the following day she didn't mention that to me at all," Cagadoc said. "If she had told me something like this ... I would have reacted differently."

Cagadoc, who speaks limited French, said her conversations with the monitor and school principal were in English. Bergeron, she said, told her that: "Here in Canada, this is the way we eat, you should learn the ways Canadians eat."

Sigh. Now they tell us. I guess the only thing that I can say is:

Use the fork, Luc.


  1. Dom,
    In the Art Bell case what a I think was revealed was how easy it is to ignite the outrage of people that, since the days of Renato Constantino, have believed that we are discriminated against and looked down upon by others. Thus any widely publicized instance of racism, whether true or not, is seen as not as an isolated incident, but proof positive of the wider grander conspiracy or prejudice against us. Thus we go on the warpath, convinced of how utterly right Constantino was (and a generation of his imitators), here being renewed evidence of it!

    Yet, I have known very many women like that Mother of Luc. She will be stunningly successfuly, imo, in Canadian society. She has already achieved a measure of fame. Perhaps she will move down to the US or up in Canadian politics, education etc.

    Luc has a bright future in Canada, maybe as a comedian, maybe as a teacher, maybe as a restauranteur. Who knows?

    But this pique is purely for the consumption of the ideologues trying to keep the flames of resentment and defensiveness going.

    Heck even Rizal knew this about us back then already!

  2. Hey Domi,
    This reminds me of an ex-colleague of mine who said people should not be eating fish with rice because of the bones. I told him that he can pick out the bones before putting it in his mouth but he insisted saying he got a bone stuck in his throat etc. thats why he says its wrong. I was irritated because I thought, all the people back home including the poor fisherman eat like this, even I ate like that ... and how dare he said its wrong. Needless to say, I told him that he should have a used a cat's paw and eat a whole banana to get the bone out. :-) I didn't mingle with him after that. My other chinese friend called me Mulan after that incident because she said I'm chinese and I kicked his _youknow_.

  3. Hi, DJB, thanks for commenting. My other two entries really concerned our -- meaning the Filipino public at large -- general predisposition to view ourselves as victims. It's so easy to whip ourselves up into a frenzy in cases like this. Prior to Art Bell, there was also the Flor Contemplacion which brought the nation to the edge of hysteria -- that was a media coup, if you ask me.

    I have a larger theses that's forming regarding the Filipino psyche, and it gels with your thoughts on Constantino. My next two posts were supposed to be "The Roots of Our Outrage" and "The Hyphenated Men."

    If I highlight what looks to be the root of the incident, it's not so much against Mrs. Gallardo and Luc. Rather, it's to chide ourselves for our quick and rash judgment on the matter. I wish the mother and son well.

  4. Yes Luc, use the Fork but beware the power of the Dark Side of the Fork...

  5. Anonymous: thank you. I'm glad someone got the joke.

    Marianne: thanks for visiting my lil' ol' blog. That's the proper response to cultural imperialists. Shove it right back at them, instead of feeling like a victim.

  6. Dom,
    I agree with your approach. I too believe that Filipinos like Mother and Son in Canada should fight for their piece of the pie, in the great tradition of immigration. You are right that it is OUR reactions to those struggles and interpretations of them need critical examination. Everyday, Filipinos in their millions prove not only themselves, but the value and worth placed on them by their adopted societies. I think that Canada has done far more for Filipinos than any harm to Luc and his mother, even pre-supposing that the reports of the circumstances in this case are 100% accurate.

    Canada is besmirched by this incident, at least around here, what with the affirmation being given by the media and even some bloggers for a wholly Constantinoesque defensiveness and resentment.

    That's the kind of prejudice and discrimination that I call "political correctness". It was invented by my old mentor, Tato Constantino. But many never transcended his own myopic view of things. Not that he didn't ENLARGE my own myopic view in the tenderer stages of my own life and others. I honor him for that too. But others have taken what they want from him, and use him as weapon in their struggles. Yet he was a scholar, who paid attention to facts, if also to ideology. Many today who profess to follow him, do only one of these things.

  7. PS> The Media are always on the lookout for this kind of story, so I doubt that we've seen the last of this genre. Not epilogue but a continuing prologue that only reveals our own smallness of mind and character, our "victimology" that no one can respect.

  8. I agree with what RIZALIST said. Filipinos seem to have this "victim complex" that I suspect is a remnant of our colony days. The story is a bit ridiculous though. I never believed it for an instant.

  9. Thanks for your comments, Jute and DJB! I'm trying to develop a larger theses, but I realize I have so much more reading to do.