The Philippines is poor. Majority of the Filipinos are suffering from poverty. Many children no longer go to school. There is much criminality especially in the urban areas. A good number of our local and national political leaders leave much to be desired in their honesty and integrity. The people of the Philippines are sufficiently humbled by many socio-ethical liabilities in their country.
The people of other countries may be very wealthy, much educated, highly sophisticated. Their schools, principals and teachers may be the best in the globe—with students who may have the highest standard in table manners according to their excellent culture and exquisite tradition. And all these are laudable and admirable.
But for a supposedly highly educated school principal to call a young school boy a “pig” for eating with fork and spoon, this is forgivable but not understandable, this is excusable but not acceptable. The little boy is just that—a boy. He is a foreigner in the country. He belongs to a humble family. But a pig he is definitely not.
The boy and his family are in that foreign country not to beg but for his parents to earn a living. They can be neither dependents nor liabilities of the country. In fact, they must be contributing to its progress and development no matter how little and insignificant. But savages they are not.
The parents of the boy might not belong to the elite in that foreign country. The boy himself might not be a member of a royal class. But to say that he eats like a “pig”—this is definitely not the way of someone respectable and honorable. By merely saying that a boy has eating habits like a pig, this in effect betrays the questionable mentation and disposition of one so much immersed in prejudice and discrimination.
One wonders what the school principal would call the Americans who eat their sandwiches with the hands, the Chinese who eat their food with chopsticks, the Filipinos who eat their rice and fish with their bare hands. It would be much advisable for the said principle never to travel to Asia at least. This continent must be filled with “pigs” according to the standards of the same principal.
It is commonly said that “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. No matter what this may actually mean, there is much doubt if Romans would call a young boy a “pig” if this were eating with fork and spoon!
9 May 2006