I had to go to a meeting at our son’s school today. The meeting was for the parents of the thirty two candidates for Mr. and Miss Nutrition Month. Apparently July is nutrition month in the Philippines. Anyone with a calendar can already see a problem with this meeting. Today is the 16th of July. The month is already half way over and we are just now having a meeting about nutrition month.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 4:00 PM, which to me means, be there at 1550. At 4:15 the second attendee shows up. I can already see where this is going. Finally by 4:30 there are ten of us out of thirty two sitting in the room and the principal decides that is enough to start. On the agenda for the meeting is of course a fund raiser. The student government decided they want to add a PA system to the school. (I have my doubts this was from the student government, but I will keep that to myself) My first and the most obvious question was, “How much is the PA system going to cost”? The staff had no idea. Yeah. I shit you not, they really had no idea. They had not even begun to research how much a PA system is going to cost but yet called a meeting to discuss it. Unfreakingbelievable. And these are the ass hats that I am paying to educate my children.
Now on to the fund raiser. From everything I could gather the students that are competing for the title of Mr. or Miss Nutrition need to come up with some money. OK so far I guess. The student that comes up with the most money is the winner. Still OK, sort of. Here is the kicker. The money will be returned to the people that “donated” it, minus a small amount. Wait, what? Yeah. This is just a “show me the money” event. Wait, what? The school staff actually told me this: “All you have to do is let your child bring X amount of pesos to the school on the 30th of July”. “Then we will return the money to the student, minus a small amount”. (We were actually there to vote on what that small amount would be) “If your child shows the most money, he or she will be crowned the winner”. At this point I almost lost it, then I heard this gem, “The winner will be awarded a crown and EARN EXTRA POINTS TOWARDS THEIR FINAL GRADE”. Yes, you read that correctly. I asked another question that I thought was pretty obvious, “Are you fucking kidding me”? (Ok technically that was a rhetorical question, but a question none the less) So basically I can buy my kid a crown and extra points? No thanks.
“So the kid that can come to school with the most money on a given day is the winner”? I asked that three times just to make sure that I understood the concept. Yes. The kid that can “show” the most cash is crowned, literally crowned, the winner. Now I lost it. I stood up and looked around the room and said, “Is this the lesson that we want to teach our children”? Of course, blank stares. “Seriously, you are telling our children that the richest kids are the winners”. “It has nothing to do with their effort, it is all about how much cash they can flash”? There were a few Filipinos looking embarrassed for me as if thinking, “Yeah how else are you going to differentiate between winners and losers”. (Just kidding we all know Filipinos are incapable of feeling shame) I was absolutely floored by all of this. I don’t think I have ever heard of anything so crazy, and I have dropped LSD at a Frank Zappa concert. I feel like I am taking crazy pills.
I guess the story has a sort of happy ending. They actually agreed to scrap making the “fund raising” idea a competition. Now they are having a talent show and question and answer on nutrition to determine the winner of Mr. or Miss Nutrition. Imagine that, Filipinos actually being judged on their efforts and merits. I am sure they are just humoring me. As soon as the Barangay captain’s daughter is passed over because she didn’t prepare, things will go back to the way they were.Published in