Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Who are we to question tradition?" - I do. I question Tradition especially if its just plain WRONG!

I've told my students countless times - Think Before You Act.

I've also heard several times. - Think Before You Click.

Why am I saying this? Because I want the readers of this post to be aware that I've thought about this post before I wrote it and I decided to make a stand. A stand I hope will reach many. Why? Because there are some traditions that just have to stop!

This is a reaction based on the article I read from Manila Bulletin's online newspaper entitled " Make Way for the Dragon: Manila Hotel’s Mabuhay Palace welcomes 2012 with a knockout menu".

Since the comments section of the post does not show and there is no way to express my view regarding the article, I am writing my reaction in my own blog.

The writer of the article, Ms. May Corpuz quoted Mabuhay Palace Executive Sous Chef Josephine Yu Tanganco-Candelaria about one of the items in the said menu which is the Mabuhay Palace Shark’s Fin Crab Roe Soup. According to the article this dish is supposedly a "Fiery orange and swimming in top ingredients, it is luxury in a bowl. Chef Josephine explains that she does know how controversial it is to eat shark’s fin these days, but she also says that it’s a very old tradition and that Chinese people expect to see it on the menu and will not eat if it’s missing. We would have reached “happiness” with the rich crab roe soup alone, but who are we to question ancient traditions?."

Now what made me stand up to this piece is the statement allegedly made by  Sous Chef Josephine Yu Tanganco-Candelaria, "who are we to question ancient traditions?"

To answer this question, I made a search on Yahoo and Google about banned ancient animal traditions:

Here are the top 3 ancient animal traditions that are being banned because of animal cruelty.

"Bullfighting is part of Spanish culture," Activist Aida Gascon of the Anti-Bullfighting Party known as PACMA said. "But that should change. Many traditions disappear as the society advances."

"Wild horses are rounded up from the surrounding hillside and guided into an enclosed arena, where men and women wrestle the horses trying to pin them down long enough to brand them and cut off their tails."

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For my answer to the alleged statement made by Sous Chef Josephine Yu Tanganco-Candelaria about questioning ancient tradition, my response is plain and simple - I do. 

I stand to question traditions that are just plain wrong because it is WRONG. And as educated persons, we are given knowledge to choose between what is right and wrong. That is one of the purpose of education. 

The cruelty exhibited in shark finning is already unbelievably appalling in so many levels and to say that we should keep promoting a tradition that is based on the suffering and pain of another to give some one pleasure or as  Sous Chef Josephine Yu Tanganco-Candelaria intends "happiness" during the Dragon day is just something I would NOT take lightly. I cannot let this to be promoted knowing that the population of sharks is dangerously dwindling.

Now I have a question to all, "despite having this knowledge about the suffering and plight of sharks and still choose to eat them out of tradition, how different are we from the uneducated?"

The responsibility we hold as educators regardless of what is our profession is huge. What you say in public promoting a WRONG tradition (and I stand up to say that it is WRONG to eat shark fin soup) is just something I cannot stay mum. 

I am not telling people to believe in what I believe but I will certainly not let anyone tell me that I have no right to question a wrong tradition. I know everyone has their "rights" but your right and freedom should not trample on my rights and freedom and even on the right and freedom of the sharks to live. Did you know that they kill pregnant hammerhead sharks nowadays just to collect shark fins from unborn sharks.

And someone is telling people that we should not question that because its ancient tradition!

Now don't let met get started on banned ancient tradition related to humans. Maybe that will change people's perspective on ancient traditions but if you need examples let me give you some. Did you hear about the tradition on circumcision? Yes. Good. How about circumcision of women in Africa.

Are you familiar about arranged marriages? Yes. Well yeah. How about children wives in India, Afghanistan and Yemen? Some as young as nine.

And some are so grotesque and hideous like the human sacrificial killings of the Aztecs they even made a movie about it. 

If nobody spoke against these ancient traditions, just imagine what kind of world we could be in right now.

When are we going to open our eyes to the problem of shark finning just to satisfy a culture or a tradition? When the sharks are extinct! This is not the time when we have to wait for someone to tell us "Oh I told you so". 

Every sinew of my being is telling me this is NOT the future I want for my children and I have to do something about it or else TRADITION might rob them of a world they may never witness because the consumers today consumed it to satisfy their ancient happiness.

I hope this reaches any one who thinks that they are justified from consuming shark fin soup because they are protected behind their "tradition". 

Because YOU ARE NOT.

Disclaimer: The post above is of the writer's personal opinion as a consumer. This is not intended to cause any harm towards the establishment or the persons involved. This is a reaction against a write-up promoting Shark finning to make shark fin soup. The reaction could have been provided in the article if the comments box was enabled such as the post below.

Source: Yahoo for articles; Yahoo and Google for pictures


  1. I used to love sharks fin but after seeing a report on GMA 7 about this, I have since stopped ordering it and have been informing people I know not to order it and why.

    1. Thanks Kathy. Happy to know that you are now an informed consumer. I don't want people to get this post wrong about tradition but like what I said in a similar article about killing animals, I have nothing against animals used as food. I am aware of the hunger problems in the world.

      What I am not supporting is to eat animals that are endangered or to continue eating animals that may cause them to be endangered especially when there are other options, in fact, numerous to choose from that will not result to endangerment of a dwindling species.

  2. Some people guarded with beliefs and tradition end up close-minded and unrealistic with the situation being fed to us be it from trimedia and the internet. Yes we need to adopt for change, improvement and most of all preservation.

    We used to order shark's fin too, but yes consumer awareness did help :) Though I'm not that sure what the cheap stalls sell if it were real shark's fin or extender or something else. Just be safe with what your putting inside the "mouth" :)

    1. Hello Green Dei,

      Thanks for that wonderful insight on how consumer awareness can influence your buying decisions.

      Consumers should be aware on the repercussions of their actions. High demand should not always mean it must be supplied. I still go for looking for alternatives that is win-win for all parties.

  3. Saw the special segment on a GMA documentary about Shark Finning and never knew it was that cruel.

    This is my first time being in your blog. Are you a vegetarian or a member of PETA? Don't get me wrong. I am just curious.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Christopher. It is greatly appreciated. To answer your questions: I was a vegetarian and I am not a member of PETA. I am a concerned citizen though doing her best to be the change I want to see. :)

  4. heard about the extinction of sharks if we continue doing this. Im not a member of PETA but I totally support what they do. and yes, I do agree with you, Just because its "traditional", it doesn't mean we have to continue and follow it. kainissssss!
    thanks for sharing this mam! :)


  5. I do agree with this post. If this tradition also endangers the safety of a person or an animal it would be much better if it is stopped.

  6. I don't mind not eating shark's fin I hope this tradition ends too!