Saturday, October 1, 2011

Man Eating Shark

WTF Cold Storage not going to sell shark fin products anymore! One of their senior managers just came back from California and inspired by the recent shark fin ban there? Why? Why? Why! I don't eat shark fin but I support anybody who wants to eat shark fin. I'm very Voltaire in food politics BTW. Ang Mohs and their international lobbies trying to be imperialistic about what I choose to eat too! It is cruel to the sharks as the fishermen hack off the fin and dump the bleeding shark back into the sea. So cruelty to animals is the rationale? My ass. The root of this shark fin lobbying stinks of racism and double standards.

Foie gras, is a tasty Ang Moh delicacy pioneered by the Frenchies. The Frenchies BTW eat frog legs and throw the rest of Kermit away. Any similarity or references to double standards on shark fins is entirely coincidental. Back to eating duck liver and promoting "cruelty to animals". Foie gras is the liver of Donald Duck that is specially fattened, and pan fried usually. Yummy. For ducks to have fatty livers, they are force fed via a tube down Donald's throat. Now that is cruel right? So is Cold Storage going to ban the sale of foie gras in its 42 branches and Tanglin Market? I really doubt it.

Well OK, shark-huggers can have their say and do what they want to sleep at night, like pushing away the bowl of shark fin soup at a wedding dinner. I also want to do what I want to sleep well at night - after eating shark fin soup bowl after bowl until I'm full and happy. I paid $200 ang pow at the wedding and I better have shark fin.

The unsaid lesson in the Cold Storage ban is that they should not ban. What they could do is charge a shocking premium for shark fin items. Teach people not to eat shark fin via their purses and wallets. Cold Storage could have achieved greater corporate social responsibiility by giving customers a choice and educating them on the "right" choice as well. Educate and profit at the same time, like a tuition agency. Moreover, its decision to stop the sale of Jaws means NTUC and Shen Shiong are going to pick up what shark fin buyers whom Cold Storage has neglected. Tsk tsk Cold Storage.


  1. NB CCB the ang mos...

  2. The caveat in your post is this: artificially making shark's fin more expensive does not "educate", it makes it more elitist and out of the reach of the average Chinese family who still views it as a traditionally eaten delicacy due to persistent socio-cultural pressures propagated by media and advertising.

    It really makes life a lot more BITTER for the common man, esp working class families, who feel obligated to let their children at least taste shark's fin during CNY even if they must scrimp and save for a year in advance. And it makes NO difference at all to the rich elites of our society. They might even consume it more, as shark's fin mores up the ranks of snob's symbolic consumption.

    Definitely not a morally justified solution for a nation that ranks as the 2nd most unequal developed economy in the world.

    What I personally advocate, since shark's fin retailers will certainly not stop marketing their products, is for retailers of alternatives to shark's fin (e.g. fish maw soup) to work with NGOs to educate the and market these food alternatives to consumers.

    This is what is being done with foie gras in the UK. Instead of force-feeding the ducks, they just raise them as normal until the day of their slaughter. Although the size of their livers are one-fifth that of force-fed ducks (hence the need to further mix it with goose fat to artificially 'fatten' it), blinded taste tests have actually yielded positive results where a large majority of participants preferred the Faux Gras due to its lighter taste.

  3. the argument against eating sharks fin is not cruelty but rather sustainability.(imho the cruelty issue is just a more convenient and shock n awe tactic to "convince" ppl)

    firstly, it is very difficult to farm sharks.. sharks, unlike ducks, goose (foie gras) fish (caviar) or other animals, live about 30-40 years and some live even up to 100years and only become sexually reproductive betw 15 to 20yrs. and only give birth to a few baby sharks in their lifetime. yet humans are eating them at a rate like we are eating chickens and ducks...

    imagine a shark is produced say 1 every 10 years, but it only takes months to hunt and kill a shark.. goose and fish reproduce at far greater/quicker rates and that is the real issue.

    when output > input, sustainable?? so say no to eating sharks with the RIGHT reasons.

  4. Anon 12:42 PM
    Hmmmm good point. Don't want to encourage elitism at all. Education is the way indeed, but it takes time as shark fin is a cultural cuisine, and fleetingly like haggis, escargot etc although the context is different. Once there is cultural and identity attached to the dish, it takes a lot of time and convincing for a practice to change e.g. tell the Japs to stop whaling. In California, the ban is strictly on shark fin and not shark products so that ban is iffy and smacks of double standards still.

  5. Anon 11:13 AM
    Well, have to agree with you. Sustainability is the issue and cruelty is the shock know a "But" is coming right? Here it goes!

    But if it is sustainability and food as a wider issue, then we open Door #2. Western wealthier societies especially like the US should get off their high horse and slow down on their ravenous consumption of meat esp of moo, oink and baaaa-baaaa. Yes, these livestock are farmed unlike sharks, but it is the impact of farming on forests, biodiversity (especially if deforestation to make way for cattle ranges in tropical countries), and whatever knock-on effect on zero-sum game in crop production and potential global food crisis theories. OK simplified Readers' Digest version I admit.

    I'm no PETA animals have souls too wannabe, but this opens up the sustainable meat consumption debate, more esoteric than shark fin soups no doubt, but something more dire and equally fashionable. So on one hand some of these food ethics Nazis are telling me what not to eat, yet they are going on happily remaking the ecological balance as well. Shark fin in the grand scheme is small fish compared to meat consumption as something that threatens the ecological status quo.

    I'm no big fan of shark fin, but with all this pedantic finger wagging, I'm more insistent on eating shark fin as symbolic protest. Ironic huh? :)

  6. lets cross the bridge when we are there. sharks are becoming extinct now, lets fix that. when cows are becoming extinct, i'll stop drinking milk n eating steaks. we need to draw the line somewhere right? we need to eat after all...

    RE: Door #2... East eat sharks fin, West eat meat.. someone will need to start first right? lets start with the man in the mirror.