Saturday, 17 April 2010

There was an article about the cruelty associated with shark fin soup in the HK Magazine, which reminded me of a conversation I had with a girl I met in Apo Island where I went for a diving trip last Christmas.

The girl asked me as a Chinese, what my opinion was on killing sharks for our shark fin soup.

To be frank, I almost lied by saying how I didn't care about it and that it's part of our tradition which she should bloody well respect, just to piss her off.

The truth though, was simple. We just don't hear about stuff like that in Hong Kong. I have never ever heard of how sharks are killed for our shark fin soup. Just like a normal person wouldn't make a big deal about how cows are slaughtered or how pigs are killed.

After Apo Island, I researched on it and I was horrified. I had no idea that people just cut their fins off and throw them back into the sea. I thought sharks were treated like cows, that they would be chopped up and every part would serve different purposes such as the eye balls for high school biology classes, ox tail for soup, ox tongue for Japanese yakitori etc.

The obtaining of shark fins is basically the same as chopping your hands off and leaving you to die a slow death.

I am not that bothered about the extinction of sharks, although I should be; but I am bothered by the cruelty and waste of resources!!!

I personally would not go for shark fin soup anymore but it's such a traditional and social thing in Hong Kong. Discussing this with the older generation would be like discussing about the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic church. The topic is very real, it's wrong, it shouldn't have happened and should never happen again. But it is what it is and it's a very difficult topic.

Good news is, our generation don't care much. We live in a more globalized world with internet access that we can see these things for ourselves. We are younger, more adaptive to change and we can easily justify how not having shark fin soup in a wedding banquet doesn't make it inferior. At least I can, and my friends can, for sure.

I saw a whale shark when I went diving in Apo Island and it's something I will never ever forget. I hope the new generation will be better informed and better educated to avoid the extinction of sharks, one of the most amazing creatures in the world.