16 August 2010

I've made a breakthrough !

Me likey toasted. Toasted marshmallows. Toasted bread. Toasted bread and cheese. Toasted bread and cheese and kaya. Toasted bread and cheese and kaya and coffee. Owh, I guess coffee doesn’t count.

Anyway, in the midst of studying I thought of muffins.

And thanks to this very sweet woman who has been contributing to my survival for the past two weeks, who gave lovely muffins to my very sweet housemate who happened to pass one down to me out of her generous heart, I discovered yet another heavenly combination.

Cut them muffins into half, toast and sandwich with a dollop of peanut butter. Toast until desired burnt-ness. The muffins were owh so aromatic with a tinge of crispiness plus the richness of peanut butter.

Yeah, I know. Who knew? And now I satisfied half my peanut butter –chocolate cookie/cake/bars/anything craving that has been lurking in the dark sides of my brain for over a week and screaming for me to fatten up.

WHEEEEEEE!  Owh btw, I am aware of the fat consumption that just happened. No judging aights? I shall make it up to the bright sides of my brain that scream for me to work out some other time. Dark side won tonight. =D

14 August 2010

Shark Fin Soup & Wedding Dinners 2

Why exactly do people take shark fin soup?

Shark fin is actually tasteless. The ‘enjoyment’ comes from the texture; slippery with a slight bite. But really, you ought to ask yourself, is it really the shark fin that you are enjoying, or the many flavours incorporated into it through seasonings? Because if it the flavours you like, then why not got for some other soup that is cooked the same way, with the same ingredients, without the shark fin. And so I’ve heard of people quoting its health benefits, but seriously, how much are you going to achieve through one bowl of shark fin soup? It’s not something that we middle-class beings eat on a daily basis. Eat more fruits and vegetables, drink more water, exercise and stay away from too much ciggies and alcohol. You’ll gain heaps more health benefits that way than through the consumption of a bowl of shark fin soup.

I think status is the one prominent to the popularity of shark fin soup at weddings. It is freakin expensive, therefore it reflects status on the dinner host. It is freakin expensive, therefore the dinner guests enjoy shark fin soup. Kind of like value for money, kind of eating a delicacy that does not come around too often. You know the monetary value behind it, therefore you enjoy it.

I compare this eating shark fin soup because of the hefty price tag to liking a hideous branded handbag, because it costs thousands of dollars. It helps you make an impression because of the price tag. Therefore you purchase/carry it around.

While we’re on handbags – fakes are selling everywhere. The case is the same with shark fin soup. Because the real deal is costly, fake shark fin is being sold and this is usually mixed with a little of the real thing. This is usually not done with an intention to conserve, but instead to cut cost. Some unscrupulous restaurants do that and charge dinner hosts for the real thing. This is wrong on so many levels I guess I don’t have to point them out one by one. And I’m sorry for eaters who thought they were getting the real deal in terms of taste, health benefits and value for ang pows given.

How do we fix the problem that has been shark torturers for ages and blasting sharks to the brink of extinction?

Simply by saying NO.

If the wedding guests said no to shark fin soup, the hosts are not likely to order it. They would probably be glad not to have to order it from the caterer and having to put all that extra weight onto the already humongous catering-bill after all the money spent on photographs, wedding packages, room/house renovations or buying a new nest, their honeymoon and etc. hosts not ordering shark fin soup from caterers means less demand in for shark fin in the market means less shark finning.

As for the marrying couples and wedding dinner hosts, I believe that awareness rules over the status, anytime.  Being aware of the hazard from serving shark fin soup is way better than serving it for the purpose of making a good impression, because you don’t. The impression you would mostly likely give out is of your ignorance. Shark fin soup has been incorporated into wedding tradition in most asian countries, but that does not mean we must blindly follow tradition when it is wrong in so many ways. Countless traditions have been broken; why not break this “tradition” that brings more harm than good too.

It may be hard, every bit of effort counts – not taking shark fin soup, not ordering shark fin soup, not buying shark fin. I myself used to have second thoughts rejecting the bowl of soup offered to me. But I believe someone has to start making a change somewhere, and if I take that bowl of soup, no one would ever wonder what is wrong with the girl with an issue with shark fin soup and no one would know about the plight of sharks. The society or the older generation may insist on shark fin soup, but that is because many of them are not aware. YOU, the younger generation hold the responsibility of conservation on your shoulders – you should know better. 

When the buying stops, the killing does too. =)

Shark Fin Soup & Wedding Dinners 1

I care about animals. I believe in not inflicting unnecessary pain on them. If you make a sadistic joke on the topic, I will not laugh along with you or share your enthusiasm, be it in the name of friendship or respect. The most you can get from me is a straight face, if not sarcasm or hostility.

Shark Fin Soup.

I have been intending to write about this since I attended a wedding dinner with the bf not long ago. I have intended to write EVERYTIME I attend a Chinese wedding dinner. I just never really knew how. But here I am, finally, and hoping that I’m writing this right and hoping that I can contribute my tiny share to the survival of these creatures.

This looks majestic I suppose. Perhaps that is what the tiny human needs in order make him/herself look bigger – to hold a massive body part of a dead animal.

As a kid, I used to love shark fin soup. It was sort of like the highlight dish during the wedding banquet night. Perhaps I was cute, or charming, or adorable, or lovable, the older folks at the table always let me have two bowls. But I stopped when I got old enough to realize how shark fins came about. Here’s a rough idea how: “…millions of sharks die a slow death because of finning. Finning is the inhumane practice of hacking off the shark's fins and throwing its still living body back into the sea. The sharks either starve to death, are eaten alive by other fish, or drown (if they are not in constant movement their gills cannot extract oxygen from the water..”

Yes indeed, animals do get killed for food. But I disagree with shark finning because of the brutal way they die. The shark bodies are not taken because they are generally of low value and they take up space and weight in the fishing vessels. May as well bring back more valuable fins than transport worthless shark meat that take up space that can be filled with money-making fins, right?

This is what I used to picture when I decided not to eat shark fin: imagine having a cut the size of a 20sen coin. Then imagine dipping that cut into salty sea water. Ouch. Now maybe the shark doesn’t hurt from an exposed cut in the sea water – I don’t know. How about this: imagine having your limbs chopped off (the pain won’t be good). Then imagine being thrown into sea water. Not only are u hurting, you are also not able to move or swim up for air. You suffocate. And just to add some spice to the story, maybe a shark comes along and eats you up, shredding off your flesh, bit by bit. (From my bit of reading, sharks are gentle animals they say. So I guess they don’t attack. I don’t know).

to be continued...