Booger Wonderland

During this inexplicably difficult time [ my astrologer assures me it will last until mid-May 2011 ] when some dear relatives and even dearer friends are very ill or dying in the best hospitals, dying in vehicular accidents, committing suicide in various, even chic, ways, being murdered in their homes and outside, I have not had much to smile, much less laugh, about.  As always, I’ve turned to religion for some comfort, and I’ve been cherrypicking my way through Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Christian, Judaic, Hindu, and Buddhist metaphysics looking for reasons why I myself shouldn’t jump out the window [ albeit a street level one ].  Just joking, of course.

So it was indeed a welcome break when my lawyer brother, his wife, and his three young, charming and alarming children took me along to dinner at a well-known Chinese restaurant in Manila.  Aside from having a strong “Chinoy” Chinese-Filipino [ usually Fookienese ] clientele, it is also a gathering place for the city’s Cantonese community, and surprisingly enough, even the Singaporean community.   The food is consistently excellent and never fails to satisfy, even satiate.  My brother ordered up a storm which included Suckling Pig, Peking Duck, Scallops, etc. and I was amused and gratified at how much his three young children could eat.

From where I was sitting in our round table, I saw a big Chinese gentleman in his late 50s take his seat at a table for four.  He was the first to arrive among his company and he ordered a drink from a waiter.  A few seconds later, he started picking his nose with the index finger of his right hand.  I immediately looked away, lest I be accused of staring.  But it was not easy to look another way because he was in my direct line of vision.  A few seconds later, extending the scope of his excavations, his arm assumed the 9 o’ clock position.  Apparently, he still couldn’t get to his coveted “treasure” because, after a few more seconds, he raised his arm further to the 10 o’ clock position!  He only stopped when a second, big Chinese gentleman, also in his late 50s, apparently his friend, arrived.  The first gentleman stood up and shook hands vigorously with the newly-arrived one and then both sat down to an engaging conversation, most likely about business.  They sounded Cantonese.  The second gentleman ordered a drink from a waiter.  But what really took the cake was that in a few seconds, both gentlemen were picking through their noses!  Hahahah!!!

It wasn’t the first time I’ve witnessed such a spectacle, since it’s a common practice, certainly not considered offensive, in Chinese communities across Asia.

I find it quite amusing, and I’m sure you do too.

Booger Wonderland.  Or as they say in Pilipino:  “Pangungulangot” or simply, “Kulangot.”   😛   😛   😛


  1. Nona Pimentel said,

    January 15, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I have nothing against the Chinese (partly descended also from them) nor with the Singaporeans or Taiwanese, but I too had some ‘yukky’ experiences similar to your posts. I remember years ago, when I attended a dinner party at my relatives’ house and a Chinese-Filipino gentleman and other guests were seated around the table ready for dinner… Suddenly, he started blowing his nose so ‘angrily, noisily and lengthily’ that people just looked at him. He did not even have the decency to excuse himself and repair to the nearest rest room which was a few meters away….I lost my appetite…
    Then there was this episode a long time ago when my hubby and I decided to try the very large and clean pool one early morning in a resort in Cebu…we were actually waist deep already in the pool when from a distance was a tourist looking like Taiwanese/Singaporean or whatever, blowing his nose with his hand and ‘spewing’ all over the pool without regard to what he was doing…I had to really stare and see if what I was looking at was indeed true…gosh, what did he think of the pool, the sea, or his bathroom water closet? Ngekkk…my hubby and I went hurriedly out of the pool and headed straight to sea….instead…hmmmm…

  2. May 26, 2011 at 5:43 pm


    I was out of town yesterday.

    We should meet sometime!

    Toto Gonzalez 🙂

  3. May 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm


    Please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Please upload your comment again with the pertinent information.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  4. Presy Guevara said,

    May 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks, Enrique. Chewing gum could really be a problem in many ways the spent material is carelessly or maliciously disposed of. I wonder how people chewing constantly in public would look at themselves if they are recorded on video and posted on YouTube, especially if they are shown side by side with a goat. Up to now, a woman of considerable age in our church annoys me when I helplessly see her continuous mastication even on her way to communion. BTW, she wears dangling earrings.

  5. Enrique Bustos said,

    April 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Here is what former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore said in his book From Third World to First

    I had introduced antispitting campaigns in the 1960’s but even in the 1980’s some taxi drivers would spit out of their car windows and some people were still spitting in markets and food centers we persisted and disseminated the message through schools and media that spitting in public spread diseases such as tuberculosis now people seldom see spitting in public we are immigrant people who uprooted ourselves from our ancient homelands and are prepared to abandon old habits to make good in a new country this progress encouraged me to alter other bad habits

    A ban on chewing gum brought us much ridicule in America as early as 1983 the minister for national development had proposed that we ban it because of the problems caused by spent chewing gum inserted on key holes and mailboxes and on elevator buttons spitting chewing gum on floors and common corridors increase the cost of cleaning and damage cleaning equipment at first i thought a ban too drastic then vandals stuck chewing gum onto the sensors of our MRT trains and the services were disrupted several ministers who had studied in American Universities recounted how the underside of lecture theater seats were filthy with chewing gums stuck to them like barnacles the ban greatly reduced the gum problem at the MRT stations and trains were negligible

    Foreign correspondents in Singapore reported on fervor and frequency of the do good campaigns ridiculing Singapore as a nanny state they laughed at us but i am confident we would have the last laugh We would have been Grosser, Ruder,Cruder society had we not made efforts to persuade our people to change their ways we did measure up as cultivated civilized society and were not ashamed to set about trying to become one in the shortest time possible first we educated and exhorted our people after we persuaded and won over the majority we legislated to punish the willful minority it has made Singapore a more pleasant place to live in if this is a nanny state I am proud to have fostered one

  6. April 24, 2011 at 2:59 am


    Hahahah!!! It’s a great Easter laugh I’m having!!! 😀

    Oh, I didn’t mean to be racist with this post. It was just an isolated incident which was so amusing I had to write about it.


    Toto G. 😀

  7. Don Escudero said,

    April 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    At a lecture in the National Museum last Saturday to launch the Petty Benitez- edited book on the real way the great migrations happened, it was announced that there were no “waves” of Indonesian, Malay and what have you but rather trickles of boat-riding people from Southern China (who were not quite Han Chinese) who settled Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. There was no such thing as a distinct Malay race or culture. So at the root of all things, we are all Intsik. The migrations the proceeded on to Polynesia. The archaeological, anthropological and linguistic evidence is incontrovertible. Food for thought.

    Another thing. T.S. Eliot called April the cruellest month. It certainly is in this blog, as the only post will be about middle aged Chinese men excavating their nostrils…

  8. April 17, 2011 at 2:43 am

    I don’t want to sound politically incorrect and this is just my observation, but indeed some of them do have “different” table manners and etiqutte. Like once while on a plane, I have to ask the lady behind me to kindly put her foot down as her foot (with socks naman) was touching my elbow and partly my arms.

  9. Presy Guevara said,

    April 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Gino, I hate to mention the nationality, but a male passenger (not Chinese) on Korean Airlines constantly made the horrible sound of clearing the throat and sinus of stubborn phlegm even during meal times. It greatly spoiled the otherwise pleasant and courteous service in the cabin. One wonders where he disposed of the unwanted substance each time he forcefully exerted this activity – he never left his seat. Please don’t take this report against the airline company or its flight crew; its definitely beyond their control.

  10. Gino Gonzales said,

    April 11, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    A few weeks ago, I was going through the narrow aisle of a hardware store in Shangri-la mall when I heard an elderly Chinese man struggle to clear his throat. I instinctively looked in his direction and saw him spit on the floor of the store. He went about his business as if nothing disgusting happened. I couldn’t believe what I witnessed, so I looked at the tiled floor of the store to see the evidence… glistening under the fluorescent lights.

  11. April 11, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Ang how did annal retentive Singapore eradicate spitting, chewing gum and not flushing toilets after one uses it, by STRICT FINES or caning in public ?

    Could Manila and China be rid of these “nasty habits ” ? just wondering.

  12. Presy Guevara said,

    April 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    The p.c. around FL MO is more like k.a., don’t you think? Perhaps I’m too cooked in old protocol, but Toto, you’re grand! And on that matter, we’re colleagues too, Myles. Cheers!

  13. Myles Garcia said,

    April 8, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Agreed, Toto. And because she is the FIRST U.S. first lady of color, then of course, aside from gallantry, everyone is SUPER-careful not to write uncomplimentary things about her. Some of her more formal ballgown (for me) leave much to be desired…considering the tradition she had to uphold. But then again, that is just my opinion — and I am sure Mrs. O couldn’t give a whit about my opinion.

    Speaking of the Obamas, this reminds me…today someone sent me updated lyrics used in a New York cabaret show, to Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It” song. I don’t know if you can view it here:

    We’ve seen two llamas
    In pajamas do it
    Lately, in the White House, the Obamas do it.
    Let’s do it,
    Let’s fall in love.

    That’s certainly a loving tribute…to be included and have your own lyrics in a Cole Porter standard, you have arrived.

  14. April 7, 2011 at 11:35 am


    I completely agree with you on “political correctness.” I think it’s bullshit.

    It is because of “political correctness” that the international fashionistas are praising Michelle Obama’s various looks. Well, I think she looks consistently terrible and could be better advised. She is a tall and glamorous lady who can really look like USD $$$ a million dollars but she inevitably looks like a sack of potatoes when dressed by her fashion advisers, who I imagine must look like Prissy, Scarlett O’Hara’s handmaid, from the 1939 film “Gone with the Wind.”


    Toto Gonzalez

  15. Myles Garcia said,

    April 7, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Ipe, I’ll call a spade a spade. What I state is true…isn’t it?

    Others may play the p.c. B/S game; I don’t. The p.c.ness of today makes me want to wretch!!

  16. April 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Queridissima Maria Lourdes!!!

    Toto Gonzalez 😀

  17. Ipê Nazareno said,

    April 6, 2011 at 3:16 am

    “All I know is that there are just too many Chinese around the world to totally eradicate these dreadful habits.”

    Myles…. how racist.

  18. Maria Lourdes del Casal said,

    April 6, 2011 at 1:40 am

    LOL! So funny, Toto! 🙂

  19. Myles Garcia said,

    April 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    In time for the Beijing 2008 Games, the Chinese Commie gov’t supposedly attempted to eradicate that disgusting Chinese habit of spitting in public and on the sidewalk. Don’t know how successful it was…probably just in the Beijing area only.

    One is led to wonder if they performed these odious habits at the imperial court? Or was the etiquette of the court too rarefied for the masses and died out with the Last Emperor and the very refined Soong sisters?

    I guess you can take the Chinese out of Cathay but you can’t take the impolitesse outta da Chinoise. All I know is that there are just too many Chinese around the world to totally eradicate these dreadful habits.

  20. Presy Guevara said,

    April 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Picking nose or teeth in public remain taboo in Philippine and western culture. Except in baseball, spitting visibly is also avoided. Perhaps it is otherwise in other cultures such as burping after meal or slurping on the soup. Gee, don’t clobber me for being kind. LOL.

  21. Myles Garcia said,

    April 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    What do you call those little black things that go on top of some of those “malagkit” desserts? Aren’t those “kulangots” or “muta”? LOL!

    Recent joke: Because of the accursed email chain letters now one receives, one has deathly hesitant to quickly use the TV remote in one’s hotel room because … you don’t want to know what the previous guest was doing while flipping thru the adult channels. 🙂

  22. Paz Atienza said,

    April 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Bwahahahahahahahahaha…. I couldn’t stop laughing!

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