Sunday, March 1, 2009

The essential "tabo".



In the news is a Filipino machinist working in a small Australian town who was fired from his job because he insisted of using a tabo( water dipper) when he use the office toilet. Most likely the man brought this with him to the loo so that after he relieved himself he can clean his "down-under" and I don't mean the geographical place.

There was an exchange of views though, as the Australian insisted that when in Australia, one must do things the Australian way - in other words, the dipper was taboo. But our feisty Filipino held his ground and lost his job. An uproar followed, and the trade union of machinists sides with my countrymen. The company however, eventually claimed the worker was being disciplined for having left his work without proper leave.

The Townsville incident relates to a hygienic function, the Filipino way: cleaning up after doing scatological duties, not just by dousing the rear with water but sometimes even soaping it, and after the cleaning, taking up another dipper of water to flush the toilet followed by still another dipper ritual to wash and soap the hands.

Now, you might ask, why can’t Filipinos make life simpler by using toilet paper? Simple. Because it has become an enduring habit incorporated into our bodies and our psyche. Many Filipinos, even upper-class ones, will insist that the dipper leaves them cleaner down there. And also because it’s more ecologically friendly than using moist wipes or toilet paper.

But please don’t think that this dipper and washing thing is a sign of barbarism or of the impoverished Third World. There are many cultures in the world that dislike toilet paper, which is why you have the bidet, a low-mounted plumbing fixture with nozzles to spray water for cleaning the bum.

When you think about it, the dipper is a low-tech, affordable version of the bidet that we call tabo or for young Filipinos growing up overseas - teboe.

5 comments:

blue_butterfly said...

Tracey,
i cannot access your blog page. only the sidebar is visible and i have been clinking on it several times already, i even had to restart my explorer thinking that will do the trick, but in vain.
i know you will see this message so i just post it here. i also clicked on your email add only to be told it cannot be found.
how is amy? i saw the scroll fx in your page and i hope you can update me thru it.
hey i tried again...tsk, tsk.. it won't open still.

tsdeogan said...

u r wonderful writer odette

blue_butterfly said...

sem,
thanks! i am being keen on your postings too and please write more often.
again, congratulations on your win.

Sid Brechin said...

Here in Ontario Canada we are pretty aware of difference in culture and what is here called multiculturalism. How a person uses the toilet would be considered one of his rights. My company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on each supervisory staff member so it is not as if I am speaking without having both training and experience. Being responsible for over 600 subway cars worth roughly 3 million a piece adds up to a fair bit of change. The same situation here. The supervisor would be fined at least $5,000 and the company at least $50,000. The supervisor would not be allowed to be in any position supervising that employee again.

I'm sure Aus does not to end up on the front pages of the worlds newspapers as being Racist regarding forbidding people to clean their Bums.

Boysie Gonzaga said...

Nice post Odette. Really feels nice to be squeaky clean down there.

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