Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jalan-jalan cari makan ...

... extreme polar edition.

I don't eat molluscs; but I suppose seal and whale meat day in and day out would get old during the long winter months. The  people of Kangiqsujuaq apparently laughs in the face of death racing against time to collect mussels for a change in their seasonal diet.

Thirty minutes is all they have to hack through the sea ice, grab the delicious mussels and get out. They risk drowning in the frigid Arctic water as the ocean rushes back with the rising tide or being crushed by the shifting polar sea ice.

Can you imagine dying just because you are beyond sick of what is available on the dining table? Malaysians pride our country as a some kind of food Mecca. No matter what your palate favour, you can find it here; cordon blu haute cuisine, weird meats and sago worms, whatever you want, really.

The reality of what was shown in the video above is something that many Malaysians cannot envision, except perhaps those who live in the rural areas or experience economic hardships. This disconnection about where food comes from is probably a contributing reason as to why Malaysians waste food. In the face of the many people who go without, are malnourished or have only one meal a day, do we think about food beyond what we want to eat?

Do we also think about the way the food we eat are sourced? We haggle over the price of fish and seafood, blithely ignoring the warnings of the devastation of over-fishing and the hardships faced by the fishermen to bring their catch to land. We think we are animal lovers, and yet we close a blind eye to inhumane farming practices and abuse of antibiotics and hormones on livestock that we consume. We take for granted the vegetables and fruits we enjoy year around that are grown under unsustainable conditions that also poison our water supply.

For all the ranting above, I am cynically aware of my own apathy about where my food comes from. Unless you are an activist type, reading or even knowing about the stuff outlined above remains nothing more than an academic exercise. I read Fast Food Nation and it still didn't stop me from eating at Mickey D (I reason that the supplier for the Mickey D here are either local or from developing countries that need the economic growth).

That said, I do think that we should be more grateful with and for everything that crosses our lips to enter our gullet. Honour the food that nourishes you; respect the hard work that got it on your plate (your own, the food producer and procurer and the person who cooked it for you) and enjoy it. Don't take it for granted.

Because you could be an Inuit who died because you are tired of eating seal and wanted to have some mussels instead.


Goh LinLin said...

To them !those mussels are "to die for" .it may seem unfathomable but even the fishermen who catch kembong for us, are also putting their lives on the line for us everyday.
While I do off and on harbour a tinge of guilt that I'm causing chickens to be mass slaughtered, i'm just a drop in the ocean. Mindsets need to be changed slowly and that can start with what you do....writing about it :)

Snuze said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment, Ms. Goh!