Saturday, February 19, 2011

Shark Fin Debate in San Francisco - 旧金山鱼翅的辩论

San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, Calif. shark fin bill would ban Chinese delicacy, that
A law that would ban the sale and distribution of shark fins in California, preventing hundreds of restaurants from serving an ancient Chinese delicacy, was introduced Monday, igniting an emotional debate between conservationists and Asian leaders.

The bill, introduced by Assemblymen Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, would halt all California trade in shark fins, which are used to make Chinese shark fin soup, a tradition at banquets among Chinese people around the world.

Assembly Bill 376 says the California market for the expensive dish is helping drive rampant illegal shark finning in international waters. The practice involves cutting off the tails and fins of living sharks, which are then thrown back into the ocean to suffer and die.

The shark fin trade is believed by many scientists to be responsible for a catastrophic collapse in the worldwide shark population.

The proposed law, coming on the heels of a similar ban passed in Hawaii last year, faces considerable opposition from Chinese American restaurant and market owners, sea food distributors and fishermen.

State Sen. Leland Yee, who is running for mayor of San Francisco, called AB376 an "attack on Asian culture."

Mr. Yee's argument is pure nonsense.  Asian culture doesn't lie on shark fins.  Many Asians never had any chance to sample a drop of shark fin soup.  It had usually be consumed by the super rich and powerful, till perhaps Costco jumped in.  Consuming shark fins had no inherent connection to Asian costume, and it is not a culture.  Even if there was some linkages to certain traditional ways amongst a group of people, it has to change.  Chinese people used to bind women's feet, had emperors, and men had concubines.  Would Mr. Yee oppose the changing of those as well? 

I was glad to see that not all people with Asian heritage agree with his self-serving argument.  SF Chronicle continued: "Shark fin has lost a little luster among some Chinese Americans who are aware of the environmental consequences."

I unknowingly had a serving of shark fin soup more than 10 years ago and had avowed never to have it again and am trying hard to persuade my parents and other relatives to stay away from it.  I hope more enlightened people would realize that some "traditions" must change.

Huan Da Yu, a Chinese herbalist (left), and David Lu conclude a news conference opposing the proposed legislation at the Far East Cafe by eating shark fin soup.     中醫 Huan Da Yu 和 David Lu 以在遠東咖啡廳吃魚翅湯来结束反對立法建議的新聞發布會。
Photo: David Paul Morris / Special To The Chronicle


由州代表Jared Huffman(民主党-San Rafael), and Paul Fong(民主党-Cupertino)提交的該法案,將停止所有加州鯊魚鰭貿易,鯊魚鰭是用來做魚翅湯的,一個各地世界中國人宴席的傳統。




州參議員Leland Yee,正競選舊金山市長,稱AB376為 “攻击亞洲文化。”

Yee先生的說法純粹是無稽之談。亞洲文化並不在存在於鯊魚鰭。許多亞洲人從來沒有任何機會來尝一滴魚翅湯。魚翅湯通常被超級富豪消费,直到Costco 之类加入后变得更普及。魚翅不是亞洲习俗不可分的成分,它也不是一種文化。即使有它与某一些一群人的某些傳統方式有聯繫, 它也必須改變。中國人过去让婦女缠足,有皇帝,男子纳妄。 Yee先生也反對改变這些吗?



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