Stop consuming shark fin soup

Stop consuming shark fin soup

If you care about the consumption of almost extinct foods, you should definitely read the op-ed by Jonathan Gold in last week’s LA Times.. It should be obvious that Chinese people everywhere should stop consuming shark fin soup. I’ve had it a few times. The last time came in 2004 when I was in Palo Alto for the wedding reception of a second cousin. It’s something I would never order, though not due to a higher moral fiber, but mostly due to an ever thinning wallet. Sharks fin is expensive shit, if you didn’t know. To eat it is a sign of status. And my second cousin’s parents are supposed to be baller as hell, and the wedding reception was for their friends and family, so I guess they had to have it. (When I get married, at the reception, I will serve cocoa puffs, just to give you a comparison.) How would it look if they didn’t have it? But how things look plays a part that weighs too heavily on people’s lives. For example I remember that it was a big deal that he and his now wife were together for eight years and living together for like five of those eight, and that knot wasn’t tied. The ring is the thing as they say. After a while, it looks bad. So see what I mean? When it looks good, you do something. When it looks bad, you do something. Mostly, you should just do what feels right. That’s why Chinese people need to stop eating shark fin.

The problem with Shark Fin soup is that it’s largely a dish that’s meant to delight the taste buds associated with different textures. “I remember the sweetness of the fresh crab in the bowl far better than I do the slippery tendrils of the main ingredient,” was Gold’s recollection of the soup. I would say that’s an accurate depiction of what shark fin soup is like; the flavor of the shark fin is largely forgettable.

The problem of course is that a shark can’t live without fins, therefore every shark that’s harvested for fins will die. Gold cites the growing middle class in China as the cause for growing demand of shark fin. I think human beings as a race has a difficult time assessing the situation in the seas. Gold mentions that bans on bluefin tuna and Caspian sturgeon caviar should also be put into place. But we haven’t seen any bans on those things.

Gold mentions that in California, there’s a call for a ban on the sale, consumption, and trade of shark fin. However the measure has only passed the California state assembly but not the state senate. The reason? In the state senate, a backwards thinking state senator called Ted Leiu said that the ban would unintentionally discriminate against Chinese Americans. Two things. One, if it’s the right thing to do, who cares who it unintentionally discriminates. Two. Chinese Americans need to speak up more about this shit and stop posturing. It’s fine if Jonathan Gold writes about it. He’s a great writer and has lots of influence. But let’s face it, no one likes whitey telling you what to do. Chinese people need to get in front of this issue and support the ban, instead of making it sound like the ban of shark fin soup is going to really put Chinese people in pain or discomfort. Big whoop if ballers can’t show their friends and family that they can afford shark fin soup in a banquet? It’s fucking bullshit anyway.

I think what would work is if they do sting operations and severely fine those who drink/consume shark fin soup. Then the consumers who get hit with a fine would tell all their friends, “I tried to get some gelatinous weird shit in my mouth and now I’m out $500 bucks, and if I don’t pay, California won’t renew my license, and the IRS will audit my ass.” See, that’s how it’d work ideally. But I know that’s hard to do. Cali is broke and they can’t do sting ops just to collect some money.

What’s better if if they could come up with a way to make it uncool to drink shark fin soup. And make it like the American thing. Then you could show it to middle class chinks in commie-land (aka, China), that the cool Americans don’t drink shark fin soup. Two things. One. I will say chink. Two, the power of marketing what’s desirable is very subtle, yet effective. Take for instance the phrase, “Don’t mess with Texas.” Many people know it. Few know that it was started to get people to stop littering on Texas highways. And guess what, that worked. So making it uncool to drink shark fin soup is doable.

I know this is not nearly as persuasive as Jonathan Gold, but I think it’s important for Chinese people to get on other Chinese people to do the right thing.

Posted by Danny on August 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm

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