August 14, 2006 Leave a comment
Interesting article in the Sunday New York Times about how NBA Star Yao Ming is using his celebrity back home in China in a campaign against shark fin soup. Apparently, shark fin soup is considered the ultimate delicacy in Chinese culture and ordinary Chinese aspire to be rich enough to some day afford it. Of course, the down side is that endangered shark species have their dorsal fins hacked off and are dropped back into the ocean to sink and die. Unfortunately, this soup is quite ingrained in Chinese culture:
to prepare. The soup is served at wedding banquets by families eager to
show appreciation to their guests. And Hong Kong and Beijing government
officials ? not to mention thousands of businessmen hoping to close the
next big deal ? swear they absolutely have to treat their guests to
shark fin soup as a show of respect and honor”
Here's the kicker, “the actual shark fin part of the soup has no taste at all, it?s just like rubber.” That's right, you could make shark fin soup without the fin and taste-wise no one would be any the wiser. This might be understandable if it made for some great-tasting soup, but the shark is superfluous to the soup. I'm sure we do some equally crazy things in America that go largely unexamined (giant SUV's, anyone?), but this is just crazy. Good for Yao Ming for taking this big step in a culture where celebrities (or anyone else who values their freedom, for that matter) do not traditionally speak out.