I learnt very quickly that that the Filipinos, or at least the group of team mates and client I'm with :
1) love to eat
2) brush their teeth after lunch
The former resonates with me. I remember in my previous project the long hours at work and in meetings. To be fair, we did try to minimise meetings. But during crunch time we sometimes grabbed something quick and simple and worked through lunch, or stayed back in the evening and only went back for late dinner.
Needless to say, I was not very happy then. A hungry snoflek is an angry snoflek. I like to tell people it's not very difficult to make me happy. Enough food every 4 hours and ample rest and sleep is all it takes.
I especially like that there's a cafeteria in the client office where food is available for merienda (their version of snacks/teatime) in the morning and afternoon, and of course lunch. It's partially subsidised by the company, so the price is reasonable.
It's similar to our version of the "zhap fan" or economy rice, and I can understand that the limited choices make it more appealing for them to walk out and get more variety. Since I'm still exploring my food choices, I'm happy to stay in and try out their food.
For the day-long workshops I've been involved in, we get food served every 2-3 hours, people take a break on whatever that's being discussed and we eat. I think it's great to bring the team together, and feed them well enough to continue working.
I'll be surprised if I'm not fat(ter) by the time I leave.
I also noticed the practice of brushing the teeth after lunch. I thought it was just a few of them, then as I wandered into the changing room (that's what they call it here) more around the hours of 1-2pm, I noticed a steady stream of ladies bringing in their toiletries bag.
Most have only the basic toothbrush and toothpaste. Some bring along their mouthwash and even floss. I'm delightfully impressed with their standards of hygiene.
In all my working life in Malaysia, I've never seen anyone do that before! Save maybe the rare one or two. One colleague who did it confessed that he picked up this habit after working in Manila for a couple of years.
I thought it was a good reminder for myself. This week I picked up the hotel toothbrush set and had had it in my handbag for some time, always forgetting to make use of it. Today, more to wake myself up after the lunch (provided, since I'm in another round of workshops), I decided to join the ladies.
I hope to make it a habit even after I roll off too. Not only fatter, but cleaner around the gums! >.<