I found the signing petition initiated by the WildAid on the website supporthk.org demanding Maxim, the biggest Chinese restaurant group in Hong Kong, to stop selling shark’s fin soup a little depressing. 7 years have passed since I took part in the campaign which successfully forced Citi Bank to drop its credit card promotion for card holders to enjoy shark’s fin meal at Maxim at a discounted price. Since then, multiple green groups have tried but yet failed to force Maxim to stop serving shark’s fin soup.
Since I stop eating shark’s fin soup almost a decade ago, whenever I receive an invitation to a banquet, I always ask if there will be shark’s fin soup served. On one occasion, I attended a banquet because the host promised me that they would make an alternative arrangement for me. However, when the stark’s fin soup was served (a large bowl of soup which was then served in 10-12 little bowls), my bowl was still there spinning around on the Lazy Susan while the waiting staff offered me a bowl of seafood soup. After that I became very determined – if the host’s answer is “yes there will be shark’s fin soup”, I would say thank you for the kind invitation but I cannot attend. In addition, I won’t offer the “red pocket” of any amount (i.e. cash gift which guests have to give when attending a banquet. A cash gift is also expected from those who cannot make it to the banquet, albeit a smaller amount would be considered acceptable.)
A short while ago one of my cousins got married. She told me in advance that there would be no shark’s fin soup served, and there would be announcement about protecting sharks at the banquet. Typhoon no. 8 hit Hong Kong on her wedding day and hence all buses and mini-vans stopped service during the whole day. I walked in a heavy rainstorm for over 20 minutes in order to get to the train station. While I walking in my soaking wet shoes, I thought seriously of turning around and going home. But bearing in mind my cousin’s commitment to protect the marine eco-system I had to show up. When the announcement of Say No to Shark’s Fin Soup was made it was followed by silence, until I started clapping and then others slowly followed.
Recently there was a media report about the on-going price for cash gift. Guests attending wedding banquet held at an ordinary Chinese restaurant are supposed to present a HKD 800 cash gift. If the banquet is held at a 5 stars hotel, then HKD 1200 is expected. The cartoons next to the report describes the thinking of the guest while presenting the cash gift: the cartoon cloud conversation says “why did you a pick hotel…?” (so I have to pay HKD 400 more). Since Hong Kongers are generally tired of this ritual of Chinese banquet, I am suggesting to all of you who care about the marine ecosystem to Say No to Shark’s Fin Soup in a loud and clear way: stop going to banquet which serves shark’s fin soup, and do not present cash gift for such invitation.
Please also sign the petition initiated by Wild Aid.