Sunday, August 16, 2009

Offensive Food

"We did not kill anybody!" - tilapia

An email directive from the HR department was circulated in our office this afternoon. And like most HR originating instruction, the new restriction is not as easily digestible as they want it to be. Mouths and ears ready? It's about food and just when you thought that eating is more of a right than a privilege, well not here in Dubai and not anymore. The email notified that employees eating in the pantry should refrain from bringing "foods that are offensive to others".

Initially, it may sound just fine, like a reiteration that some food items are not to be taken vulgarly as it might be divergent of the Islamic culture, say pork and liquor for example. We could understand that. But the object of the objection in neither pork or liquor, but fish and chicken! Well, not fish and chicken per se, but dishes of both that gives off lingering and strong stench when heated in the microwave. Some people in the office (not Filipinos) have appeared to be annoyed by the smell of our food that’s why they complained. So now, we are taking fried tilapia and daing na bangus out of the menu as this food could very well discharge a scent that might embarrass others.

We Filipinos love to eat and our dishes, having been influenced by the Spanish, are full of ingredients, sauces and spices. People in the Middle East are used to eating raw and tenderly barbequed beef and stuff. Definitely it will be some kind of a culture shock for them to sniff something that they are not used to. We respect and understand that but they should have been more careful and sensitive when making such pronouncements. We believe that there is no offensive food as any food is a blessing from God that should be appreciated and thanked for. Cultural and personal differences could really be an issue but they could have settled divergences emanating from it in some other nicer ways.

Anyhow, we Filipinos in the office are taking the issue light and so some sarcastically. Can a subjective stink kill anyone? If there are offensive foods, what are the non-offensive ones? One even joked, "eh dapat maglagay sila ng Vicks sa ilong nila kapag kumakain tayo para hindi nila naamoy!". Of course, we just keep our opinions on our rounds. We are no managers to poke any refusal against the powers-that-be. Okay na yung walang pritong isda, kaysa sa mawalan ng trabaho.


  1. whaaaaaaaaaaat??? define "offensive"!.... that's pathetic!... hahhahahaaahhhahahhaa....

  2. We have different cultures. We don't own this land. We have no other choice but to respect their culture..

    Tama ka Chico, bahala nang walang pinirito kaysa mawalan ng trabaho..Pero nakakainis din diba? Kaya ako sa maniwala ka o hindi, di ako nagbabaon. Di ako kumakain ng tanghalian. Marami din kasing bawal na amoy sa amin..bawal ang amoy ng isda, noodles at kahit anong pagkain na nagbibigay ng hindi magandang amoy sa kanila..

  3. Unfair isn't it? The manager in the office near ours forbid the use of microwave in their place because she got irritated with the smell of her filipino employees' food. At least our food taste better than theirs. LOL. :)

  4. kung ganun pala..dapat inotify din ang HR nyo sa mga taong hindi naliligo at may amoy.