Friday, January 15, 2010

Sharkbones, Sharkfins...

I was faced with a mild dilemma yesterday. I went to Lei Garden for dinner and asked them what was the daily soup of the day. I thought I misheard what they said, so I asked for the written menu so that I can read for myself. I didnt hear them wrongly, the soup of the day was indeed written as boiled shark bone soup.

Ok. This is where I was a little caught off guard. Sharkbones?
So is it ethical or non-ethical?

I have been against anti-sharkfin consumption for a long time now. Basically, for the senselessness of the cusine, as well as the cruel disposing of finless shark left to die in the sea. In addition, it will cause a rapid decrease in the shark population and throw the eco balance off its charts.

It is fast becoming a common knowledge that eating sharkfin as a traditional delicacy is retained for no justifiable reasons, except that it is just a "chinese tradition" to mark celebratory occasions, or at times merely to flaunt wealth & status. The fin itself is tasteless, and quite frankly, has little nutritional value to sustain our wellbeing. I fail to see how other more common food cannot substitute this insatiable need to eat sharkfin.

So now, sharkbones?
For or against?
In the end, I forgo the soup dish completely because I figure if in doubt, stick to your instincts.

This brings to mind an event that occurred during recent Christmas.
My partner all along understood my stand against sharkfin, as such out of respect for me, he has discontinued this dietary habit introduced by his folks from a young age. Yet during Christmas meals with his family, I am always confronted with this offending dish without fail. I would always politely decline the dish. While I cannot expect his family members to change for me, I do expect my partner to a certain degree, not cave in to the dish before him.

Finally, this recent Christmas, I had enough in light of well other events that transpired. I took my cue when he was lamenting on the indirect "collapse" of the Copenhagen talk on dealing with Global Climate, and how people should support the green act with their political votes rather than their mouth. He commented people just want to stick to their old habits and not care or understand that fossil fuels are not infinite etc... I took the opportunity to question my partner on why he was willing to abandon all his principles on Christmas day? I drew parallel that if he was unwilling to rid totally his sharkfin habit, who is he to expect other people to understand and make habitual changes over such a "big and remote" concept of going green? He is not unlike the people who didnt want changes to their daily life. And then I asked him, how could he be so passionate against whale hunting and an advocate for Australia's whale protection but yet turn a blind eye to the uncontrolled sharkfin trade? Both are equal partners of the ocean life. Both deserves same treatment and respect.

My partner gone quiet.
He agreed to go cold turkey and rid himself of eating sharkfin from future Christmas meal.

It probably wasnt easy for him but I am proud of him for doing it.
Apparently his mum had gone hysterical and ballistic over his request to exclude his share from her future sharkfin dish preparation. She kinda got upset because to her, "eating sharkfin" is the Chinese family tradition. Back in my head, I was thinking "oh save the crap logic." On one hand, she didnt retain any (worthy) Chinese culture and traditions in her kids, and yet, she wants to cling on to the singular senseless consumption of sharkfin? All her kids and grandchildren grew up not having or knowing their chinese heritage, language nor values and she wants to talk about "traditions" with me? Talk about irony. But that is her problem, not mine.

Anycase, this isnt a stand I will back down from regardless.
My partner deserves a good pat on the back.

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