28.7.16

dying for scampi and chips


rescued people from the notorious seafood slavery business


yesterday, at grocery store, j was looking for some shrimps to buy, which led to this little video that ive seen awhile ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jun/10/supermarket-prawns-thailand-produced-slave-labour

a short summary:

1. thailand's shrimp industry is one of the biggest in the world, and if you have bought shrimps in discount at local groceries, you probably bought the ones that are related to this modern day slavery.

looking back at my southeast travel this summer, i do believe that the industry's full of human trafficking and illegal trades (especially from lesser robust economies such as myanmar and laos), and that there are just not enough attention to be paid for human rights or labour issues.

2. most of seafood comes from wild-harvesting, not 'farming.'  there are only very few species that we can successfully farm at this point, ex. salmon and shrimp; however, if CAFO farming makes you feel funny, it may be a shocking but good news (to know!) that shrimp farming has greater carbon footprints than beef farming.

on CAFO:
https://youtu.be/tJpxaWR2J-c

on shrimp farming:
http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/02/all-you-can-eat-shrimp-side-ecologial-ruin
http://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/farmed-shrimp

3. shrimp farming also create dire threat to local biodiversity and may lead to breakout of diseases, extinction (esp the mangrove tree crisis); and because marine farming is still in its infancy, the field knowledge is not deep enough to support our current consumption level.

the problem here is it's very difficult to actually source ethically harvested shrimps.  often, the sustainable seafood labels concern only the biodiversity issue, but not the labour practice related to the chain (such as ocean wise)
http://www.oceanwise.ca/seafood

if you manage to find ASC certified supplier/products, that is a great way to go.
http://www.asc-aqua.org/index.cfm?lng=1

but on practical, daily basis, the closest way to confirm whether one is buying tainted shrimps is to see if the catching origin has been specified. true, even then, much of seafood commerce is shrouded in mystery and lies, but hey, some action is better than none.
look for domestic shrimps. they will be more expensive and oh they will be so clearly labeled as domestic- but hey, one's boast may be another's truth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/16/us/mislabeled-foods-find-their-way-to-diners-tables.html?_r=0

sure, the world may seem like a joke at times. too crazy. too noise. too weird. but no one should have to die for scampi and chips, i think. that's bit too extreme.  so there it is, peeps.  when you buy shrimps, if you can spare two seconds, think about it briefly. after all, it's not one action that makes the difference, but forming a pattern of behaviour that makes us better informed, kinder people.

http://ejfoundation.org/



8.7.16

after june- HOME!


behold, khao soi @ khao soi samerjai, chiang mai, 60 bahts

from end of may, it's been a whirlwind of movements- to eastcoast, back to toronto, hop on the plane, go to spain for yet another brilliant birthday trip, then off on solo sojourn in northern thailand and cambodia, and now, finally back home.

which home: my close friends will ask.

bouncing between two home, of yyz and man, the concept of home is a very simple one for me.  it's place where i feel 'at home,' with loved ones, where i can let my guard down (did you know that sleeping in new places keeps your brain up? so home is a place that wont happen)

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2085409-sleeping-away-from-home-half-your-brain-is-still-awake/

with the ongoing situations of refugees all over the world, fight to keep doors closed to others (brexit or us election campaign, anyone?), very real face of poverty i saw in asia (especially in phnom pehn), i am certainly appreciative of calm of home.  i slept almost a whole day soon as i got back.

home has running water. home has dependable electricity. i am not aware of people jumping in and out (i stay at hostels most of the time), loud partying or drunken entrance on ungodly hour (im sure this is only because i dont party, haha), figuring out a new shower when you are already mentally defeated. i have a kitchen and things are where i left them.

home has bed that i can fall asleep instantaneously. a place to take a hot bath. cup of water that i dont have to mentally check its source. real plates and cutlery. i do not have to hand launder everyday. no sand on the floor.

place where i know where my loved one(s) are. the scent of them pervading the place. their personal artifacts- toothbrushes, towels, leftover dinner, they are all there in their place, slightly different every time but with such comfortable rhythm.

i stopped buying souvenirs long time ago. the more i travel, i realize with G20 wealth, you can get most things back at home, often at a better quality (sure you may pay a bit more, but the general buying power is much stronger with the G20 currency so).

funny that my favourite khao soi is actually still from toronto, despite of eating bowls and bowls of it in northern thailand.  but is it really a surprise when one consider thai khao soi was 2 dollars and toronto khao soi was 12 dollars? in toronto, what is a normal cheap staple has transformed into exotic beauty- anything but a commodity good.

also hilarious to think that their market gucci bags are obviously fake, but their northface items may not be (so many of them are made around there, it is entirely possible that they are seconds or redirected merchandises). that abercrombie sweater? i bet my butt it is at least 50/50 real stuff. haha.

so in a sense, home is not so different from thailand. but oh it so is.  weird world of globalization.

now snug in my english hole, this monkey ponders the different power relations and hierarchy that i participate whether i know it or not- the different definitions i got for ex-pats vs. immigrants were actually quite startling. more on that later.

but for now, how nice it is, to look at rained english rose and think, aha, this is home.
just as much as the view of the cn tower and dundas square.
the world is big and im so grateful i have places that i know it's my home(s).