To Slurp or Not to Slurp

PERCEPTION AND DECEPTION COVER FACE 3One of the greatest benefits of working across cultures, aside from the terrific people, is the fabulous food we are privileged to enjoy. I’m sure most of you agree, as some of our food posts have proved to be popular entries on this blog:

  1. French Food Culture Selling Men’s Underwear
  2. Food Speaks in Many Tongues
  3. The Squid Has Been Fried: Chinese Food Culture
  4. Ukiuki, Pichipichi, Pinpin: Japanese Food Onomatopeia
  5. Bicycling in the Yogurt: the French Food Fixation

In the 90-second video below, Joe Lurie, author of Perception and Deception: A Mind Opening Journey Across Cultures, tells the story of a Fulbright Scholar who spoke five languages, yet refused to sit next to Japanese colleagues during meals.

Differences in customs and etiquette can damage relationships; Perception and Deception provides stories from nearly 100 cultures. Be sure to order your copy today.

Once you’ve read it, remember that it is the underlying values we hold and the assumptions we make that are the differences that make a difference to productivity and satisfaction. Cultural Detective helps you learn on that deeper level, building understanding as well as strategies and skills for harnessing differences as assets. Get  your subscription today!

Cultural Differences in Dining Etiquette Again Get a Child in Trouble

Recently another sad story about dining etiquette across cultures has been in the news.* This time it involves cultural differences over how to use a spoon and fork, and involves a Filipino family living in Canada. Fortunately this child, Luc Cagadoc, was not removed from his family, but his mother, Maria-Theresa Gallardo,  explains that the school’s reprimands for Luc eating in a typically Filipino way have negatively affected his self-esteem as well as his performance in school. She won her case before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal (the judge ordered the school district  to pay the family $17,000 in damages), though the case is now in appeals.

Once again, a terrific Cultural Detective has filmed a video about how Filipinos eat with a fork and spoon in combination. This was evidently the behavior that led Luc’s school lunch monitor to conclude that he “ate like a pig and should learn to eat like other Canadians.”

Thank goodness Luc’s Blended Culture mother responded very constructively. She says, “We’ve been travelling around. I’ve been showing him different ways of eating, and saying there’s nothing wrong with what he’s doing.” Unfortunately, she says, her son can’t shake off the incident. “I think it’s going to last him a lifetime to remember what happened in that experience that he had.”

Have you ever gotten in trouble for “poor” dining etiquette that was due to cultural differences? Come on, share your story!

* Earlier we reported to you about an Indian family living in Norway, whose children were removed from the family home. One of the reasons cited was that the children ate with their hands. In response to that post, one of our authors made a terrific video about how to eat with one’s hands. Eating with one’s hands is, of course, the norm and custom in many cultures.