I don’t know if I should be writing this, but because of that ripened ampalaya in my previous post which I tried to salvage what I can, let me just write it. I am writing this not because I’m guilty about throwing the ripe parts, but because something came to my mind and even I try to ignore it keeps coming back.
You see, I salvaged a veggie as much as I can. But unbeknownst to many, many Filipino don’t like to eat vegetables! Yes that’s TRUE.
That is what messing with my head. I can’t help but ask an all caps, extended, exclamatory WHHYYYYYY?!!
I had this question for many years already. I have lived and met Filipinoes who don’t eat vegetables. Many Filipinoes.
(Note:What follows may be ridden with expletives, please stop reading here if you prefer not to get offended. Proceed at your own initiative, please don’t flame me.)
Once I worked with a Filipino engineer here in Taiwan. He don’t eat vegetables. This guy cook sometimes, but meat dishes always. The only case I saw him use veggies in his dish is for sinigang or menudo. And surprise, he push the veggies aside.
I have met people from Visayas and Central Philippines who do the same- re: push the veggies aside in their plates, then throw them away.
The worst is an Ilocano. We ate together in a Taiwanese eatery. Taiwanese people invariably eat a serving or two of veggies in every meal (take note of that). Now, this Ilocano fellow did not finish the veggies. In that eatery, the cook, an old woman, also serves. The leftover caught her attention. She came asking “Pu hao tse ma?” (it’s not delicious?). The answer hit me really bad. The Ilocano guy said “I don’t eat vegetable”. I’m dumbfounded. Ilocanoes are known as vegetable eaters (the most famous vegetable dish in the Philippines, pinakbet originated from the Ilocanoes). And this Ilocano don’t eat vegetables? What the hell is this??
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? A Filipino, poor Filipino, don’t eat vegetables? Come on people! What do you eat then? Meat, fish, and poultry only? Rich people, ha? Seriously?
What is it about? For showing off? To imply you’re somewhat a cut above the rest? First world people eat veggies, they even like it raw- salad, eh? And you?
There’s even worse. One person I heard of don’t eat veggies, and… leftover rice. What the heck? What is wrong with leftover rice if not spoiled yet? Hey! This thing you do does not make you less poor or a tad bit more classy.
If I may compare, in more than a decade of staying in Taiwan, I never heard of any Taiwanese who reject vegetables. I know many who dislike meat instead. That’s not only it, I have worked my entire professional life alongside different nationalities like Singaporeans, Korean, Japanese, Indonesians, Malaysians, Americans, and Indians. There were also brief instances that I worked with French, Pakistani and Italians. In my college days my friends include Chinese, Nepalese, and Syrians. Those days I spent with them, I did not see a hint of disliking vegetables.
See the difference? There’s a huge problem in us, Filipinoes. Many Filipinoes are f**d up people, and this question about disliking vegetable is just one of sooo many problems we have. Yet again, this is another case of 3rd world Filipinoes trying too hard to pretend like 1st world people albeit in a super douchey, crappy way.
I did seek rationalization in most case I encountered. I employ a very subtle reaction, like: “You don’t like the taste of that one?” Get back to eating and after a while follow up with “what’s the matter with it?”, or simply “why?”. Most reply is “I just don’t like it” or “I don’t like the taste”. There was only one instance that I had a very understandable reply.
Here’s how the conversation went:
“It was too bitter for me”, the person said.
“Why too bitter? Anything wrong with your tongue or taste buds?”, I persevered. I can see that person was really honest and I can’t help but respect.
“Maybe because I’m not used to it. My mother almost always served us meat or fish when we’re growing up. Not much veggies, sometimes nothing at all.”
At least that person has the awareness of himself. I feel for him, it’s not his fault. He’s not trained to eat vegetables.
“I’d need to learn to eat these, so I’d live longer than my mother. She basically killed herself by what she ate.” he continued. I choked. Those are tough words.
“You don’t need to push yourself”, I quipped, trying hard to focus on his food preferences and avoiding the question about his mother. “One vegetable, one small portion at a time. You’ll get used to it”, I finished off, and I shifted the topic.
After a few months he’s laughingly telling me how it has been like an eye opener to him, to discover that each vegetable has its own unique, subtle flavor. And he loved it.
I felt good for that person. He has the awareness of what he need, not overruled by some show-assing intentions. Problem is, that’s the only instance I think is definitely understandable. One, single instance. What made his case unquestionable is willingness to face his issue, and fix it.
Those whose reponse is downright “I don’t like it”, at the same time projecting an staged aura of arrogance, are despicably pretentious and utterly mockable people. These Filipinoes are sick- mentally retarded- and should be institutionalized. How many are like this of the 100 million Filipino? And how much will they impact the newer generations? Those people I wrote about are parents in their own rights. What will they teach their kids to eat? It’s depressing to think of it.