Bad Science and Soup

Swim, and he may impregnate you.

Today is April Fools’ Day and I hereby dedicate this post to all those fools out there who are victims of bad science.

I may be the original bleeding heart, but I just don’t suffer fools gladly.

A bimbo by the name of Nicole Polizzi, better known as Snooki of the reality TV show Jersey Shore declared recently “I don’t really like the beach. I hate sharks, and the water’s all whale sperm.”

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, credited her glossy hair to rinsing it in cold water.

The Sense About Science retorted that hair does not have spores, and its texture has nothing to do with water, hot or cold.

Bad science is all around us.

Those against shark fin are victims of bad science big time.

Yes, in case you have been hibernating in a cave lately, there are people who are dead against the sale and consumption of shark fin.

Guided and misled by bad science, the anti shark fin tirade is gaining momentum.

It is now the in thing to be anti shark fin; it is now fashionable to attack anyone consuming shark fin or even shark meat.

Even Straits Times food critic Wong Ah Yoke wasn’t spared. He sampled shark fin at a restaurant recently and was attacked by someone named Lee Kun Yu who asked “What sort of message is this meant to send out to Singapore?”

I applaud a reader by the name of Leslie Fong who responded “How dare Madam Lee insist that just because she and others like her hold certain contentious views about shark fin, then the rest of us must not even be told where the delicacy is particularly well prepared and served. It is time those of us who do not share her views send her and her fellow believers a clear signal that there is a limit on how far they should push their cause. Those of us who enjoy shark fin must not be cowed into acquiescence. I am going to order shark fin the next time I go to a restaurant that does it well, even though I am not particularly fond of the stuff.”

Even the president of the United States suffered the same fate. Poor Barack Obama visited a Chinese restaurant (in the US) in February and was slammed simply because the restaurant had shark fin on its menu though the US president did not order any of it.

Most states in the USA have banned shark fin.

The Chinese  are been castigated for preferring to eat a minute portion of the shark amounting to 5% of its body weight, while all others, including consumers in the United States, with the world’s fifth largest shark fishing fleet, eat 95% of the shark, what the fuck!

And today you can no longer order shark fin soup in Chinese restaurants in Australia. (But bludgeoning kangaroos to death – including those with babies still in their pouches – and feasting on kangaroo meat is fine. How civilized!)

The anti shark fin movement is symptomatic of a materialistic society with a full stomach looking for “causes” to fight for. A society that has lost its ability to differentiate right from wrong, to discern what is sick and what is not sick.

Such fights are the ultimate in hypocrisy, nosiness and stupidity.

If you’re scrambling for your next meal, you think you’ll be fighting to protect sharks?

If your pathetic life depend on it, and nothing else is available, let’s see you if won’t be the first to stuff your stupid face with shark – meat, liver, fins, skin, bones and all.

Let get the facts right about shark fin. At the risk of committing “parrhesia” – speaking one’s mind when doing so involves social risk, let me once again share my two cents’ worth.

To begin with, Asians are not the only ones who consume sharks.

According to Tan Keng Tat, a frequent writer to the local press and a very sensible voice in the shark fin debate, the American fishery industry increased the quota of a species of shark, the spiny dogfish, to 20 million pounds (9.1 million kg) last year, a 33 per cent spike over that in 2010, and about 44.8 million pounds of spiny dogfish are eaten in the European Union annually.

People who protest don’t seem to know that there is evidence that activists have actually paid for “fisherman” to slice the fins off live sharks and throw those sharks back into the sea for anti shark fin “documentary films.”

Panelists at a forum in February insist there is no evidence that live finning – cutting sharks’ fins off before throwing the sharks back into the sea – is a prevalent practice.

At the forum in Singapore on February 16, they also declared that prohibiting shark fin trade will not dramatically reduce the number of sharks killed worldwide. They noted that many countries such as Germany, France, Australia and Iceland have long killed sharks for their meat.

The panelists were Dr Giam Choo Hoo, a member of CITES (the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species); Professor Steve Oakley, Shark Savers Malaysia chairman; and Hank Jenkins, president of conservation outfit Species Management Specialists. (Dr Giam was recently accused of “being a representative of the shark fin industry” and became a victim of a campaign to remove him from CITES.)

People who protest don’t seem to know that with shark meat a priced delicacy (a 10,000 kg shark sells for at least US$70,000/-) no genuine fisherman throws sharks back into the sea. (There are very few fishermen fully dedicated to shark fishing, most sharks caught are a result of “bycatch.”)

Most of this shark meat in Britain ends up in fish and chips. Do we hear anybody protesting? Indeed does anyone protests about the European appetite for shark meat?

Why blame Asians? This is cultural arrogance at its worst.

In 2010 CITES declared that sharks are not endangered.

However, CITES sought trade regulation for three out of 400 species of sharks. Regulation, NOT ban. These three species are not necessarily threatened with extinction. Proposals to regulate trading of four more shark species at the Doha meeting in 2010 were rejected as they could not garner a two-thirds majority of the democratic votes.

Despite that, one big name after another have caved in to the anti shark fin Nazis’ pleasure. NTUC FairPrice and Carrefour are joining Cold Storage from banning shark fin sale in their supermarkets. They and other businesses like hotel chains boycotting shark fin do so to avoid the wrath of a misinformed section of the public who support the ban often by invoking claims by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) that six species of sharks are considered endangered.

CITES, whose members represent 175 governments, is the only global watchdog to regulate trade on endangered species, not IUCN.

Of course those who are pro IUCN attack CITES, calling it a self-serving trade body and sing praises of IUCN, proclaiming it to be a “global authority.” They have not been able to use solid scientific facts to prove that “the fate of humans is closely tied to the survival of sharks.”

These shark protectors claim the dish kills up to 73 million sharks each year, with some of them tossed back into the sea to die after their fins are cut off. By the way has anyone seen oceans full of shark carcasses with no fins?

But Jenkins took aim at the statistics and pooh-poohed this widely held belief. He said the 73 million figure, attributed to marine scientist Shelley Clarke and cited by shark advocacy groups such as WildAid and Shark Angels, had been twisted to suit their needs.

Dr Clarke herself took to marine sustainability website SeaWeb last year to lambast such misuse of her work.

The fact of the matter is that under the laws of Singapore, Britain, the United States, Japan, China and Malaysia, to name a few, no shark is listed on the endangered list.

Perhaps we should tell activists to stop eating veal, frog legs, escargots and foie gras?

Let’s get our facts right and not be so easily swayed by bad science!

Bad science even convinced some activists to say that shark cartilage and shark oil however are acceptable and the way they are extracted is not as cruel.

So, shark fin is bad. Shark cartilage and shark oil are good and easily available – in easy-to-swallow capsules – from any pharmacy. Fins are acquired after a bloody slaughter. How are those stuff that ends up in capsules acquired? Them sharks are put on an operating table, made to listen to Mozart, sedated and operated on by a shark surgeon to remove excess cartilages and oil the sharks don’t mind donating. After a period of rest and pampering, the sharks are returned back to the sea and all live happily ever after?

How messed up can some of these activists be?

If you want to talk about cruelty, how about being nice to your own parents first?

Some even say that sharks should not be killed because they are needed to eat other fish in the ocean. If the sharks are not around to eat those fish, those fish will eat up all the plankton in the sea which in turn will lead to coral reefs dying which in turn will lead to temperatures in the ocean rising which in turn will lead to global warming.

Yup, lots of self-proclaimed experts around.

If you’re so darn smart, go fix the taxi problem in Singapore instead of theorizing about sharks and global warming!

They should have their heads checked by psychiatrists.

And please don’t tell me that shark fin has no taste. (That includes wackos like Gordon Ramsay who call themselves “chefs.”) Of course it has taste, it is a great conduit of flavors too, and it is also eaten for it’s “mouth feel” – an important aspect of food rheology, a concept most likely lost on those retarded activists – and self-proclaimed “chefs” like Gordon Ramsay – whose idea of gourmet cuisine is probably greasy French fries with enough salt to kill the kids who eat them. Sodium is good, shark fin is bad huh? You think we Chinese are stupid or what?

And Nicole darling, it’s safe to swim in the ocean. It’s spreading those legs of yours that will get you pregnant, not whale sperm in the ocean.

By the way, on Chinese New Year eve at my re-union dinner with family in January, we dined on shark fin soup, as we did every year ever since I was a kid.

When misguided activists and businesses ban shark fin, they are not just banning a dish, they are encroaching into people’s culture, religion and all the rest of it.

Yes, don’t you intrude into my culture and tell me what to eat and what not to eat.

Even if you are a vegan, you have no bloody right to screw around with my culture using science, and bad science at that, as a pretext.

I’ve come across vegans and vegetarians who rant and rage about how evil it is to slaughter animals and to eat meat. Of course these brainless maggots conveniently forget to mention that in countries, when they clear hectares of grasslands for growing their beloved vegetables, literally millions of small animals, many of which were harmless and vital to the eco system were killed mercilessly – countless many actually cruelly shredded by machines with sharp blades or simply burnt to death.

Still, you could even suggest farming sharks instead of blatantly calling for a blanket ban on shark fin.

Are you trying to wage war or what?

Telling me what to eat and what not to eat is tantamount to declaring war on my culture! Especially when you have no basis to, scientific or otherwise.

And in case you don’t remember, you Troglodytes and Neanderthals were still living in caves and swinging from tree to tree when we Chinese already had a culture long before that.

My advice to these misguided souls is this – and please take this advice to heart – please don’t mess with these issues unless you want to set off social unrest.

Would the ang mohs like it if I march into their homes and yank off veal, frog legs and foie gras from their dinner tables? After all veal is meat from newborn calves that can hardly walk, and amputating the legs of frogs must be the ultimate cruelty and force-feeding geese to eat their abnormally-enlarged livers surely is an act of extreme perversion?

Would the insensitive ang moh activists – who should get a real job instead of latching on a supposed wrong and making a living out of righting that wrong be it shark fin consumption or whaling or the use of fur or leather – like it if I call for a ban on turkeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas? After all, turkeys contain sleep-inducing L-Tryptophan which can impair one’s judgment, especially when consumed with a few festive drinks of alcohol?

Would the Malays rejoice if western activists and those brainwashed by them storm into the homes of Malays and snatch their sambal belachan from under their noses? Imagine millions of tiny baby shrimps killed before their time to make smelly, stinking belachan which is very much a part of Malay cuisine and which most Malays enjoy?

Every year, on Hari Raya Haji (also known as Eid al-Adha or the Festival of Sacrifice), Muslims slaughter on a global scale 100 million animals as an act of sacrifice. Cows, camels, goats, sheep, rams are slaughtered mindlessly it seems. Would activists want to try protesting that? Do they want the Muslims to retaliate for encroaching on their religion?

Would the Indians be incensed if these stupid activists call for a ban on tandoori chicken and chicken 65 because aren’t these poor chickens battery-farmed under the most appalling of conditions? And while we’re targeting the Indians, how about starting a movement to ban fire walking and the carrying of kavadi at Thaipusam? Isn’t that so barbaric? I mean, if the ancient Chinese can be convinced to stop foot binding surely those Indians can be convinced to stop behaving like savages!

Come on, don’t mess around with these things!

Unless you want to set off social unrest and religious strife.

You don’t know what you’re playing with.

Mark my words.

Unlike others who have too much time on their hands I’m not shifting back and forth between faculty-lounge exegesis and barber-shop anecdotage. I’m talking cold, hard facts here.

So mark my words, damn it!

Those wanting to ban shark fin should use their brains and wean themselves off bad science.

Indeed, get off that anti shark fin bandwagon especially when you don’t even have the facts.

Cool down that anti shark fin rhetoric unless you want to fan the flames of resentment and disharmony.

Yes, I’m warning you: STOP THE ANTI SHARK FIN DIATRIBES BEFORE SOMEBODY GETS HURT! And I’m not talking about those sharks!

That moron Gordon Ramsay once stormed into a Chinese restaurant with a camera crew and insulted and ridiculed those consuming shark fin. Let me tell you, he was THAT close from being chopped into pieces with a meat cleaver.

This much I know: If he had done that in MY restaurant, I would gouge his eyes out with my chopsticks and skull-fuck him. (Thanks, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.) Indeed, he’ll get his ass handed to him if he makes a nuisance of himself in my restaurant.

Brain-damaged fools like Gordon Ramsay and the likes of him are in my crosshairs.

I’ll give up my shark fin when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!

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