Monday, January 12, 2009

Sharks' Fins

Today I went Chinese New Year shopping with my mum and grandma at one of the old provision/supply shops in Malaysia. They picked out the waxed and dried food products that they needed, and the elderly shopkeeper proceeded to show my grandma some seafood items out of a freezer in the back. He asked her if she wanted some sharks' fins, expecting her to purchase some. To his horror, she lectured him on how cruel it was to eat sharks' fins, and how it resulted in a lot of disabled sharks being thrown back into the sea and left to bleed to death as they swam about fin-less. All this in dialect no less. He sheepishly said it was the last batch he had and he no longer ordered it (I doubt it).

I was impressed by my grandma! and wondered if her fin-less shark details came from the Discovery Channel, since she spent her nights watching cable before she went to bed. She is considered traditional in many senses, so it was really neat that she rejected the sharks fins, and even tried to share the message with the bewildered shopkeeper who obviously thought he was doing us a favour.

If a 80-plus year old granny from a small town can change her mind about this issue, there is some hope for the sharks... or at least for the 10 sharks that didn't get sold to her. Information and education is the way to go!

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