Shark Fin Soup

Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.


“One shark fin soup, please,” he said, avoiding my glare and grinning back at my two brothers, too young to know any better.

I’ve protested, debated, and shared article after article with my dad about the consequences of shark finning, but Chinese tradition won out. The pride I have for my culture curdles at its resistance to modern morality. I love the grounded, tenacious, spirit that my heritage bears: nothing, my dad hammered into me, can be achieved without sweat on my brow. Yet at that moment, all I felt was a mixture of disappointment, exasperation, and anger. There is little culinary value in a bowl of shark fin; it only represents a segment of Chinese values we’ve clung on to in spite of the damages it creates.

I’m immersed in an environment where technology and the economy zoom ahead but societal norms prefer to stay rooted. What I see as critical ethical issues are treated as violations of the values we’re so proud of. This extends to topics beyond shark fin. In a Polytechnic University survey, more than half of the participants disagreed with teaching students that "both homosexual and heterosexual love is beautiful" - explaining why such a modern city like Hong Kong has yet to recognise same sex marriage.

“Why would...

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