A couple of weeks back we received our January-February issue of the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) newsletter, Exclusive.
Nestled between the pages was fete, a culinary quarterly jointly published for KLGCC and its sister outfit Sime Darby Convention Centre, located a few metres down the road from the club in Bukit Kiara.
fete highlights the latest happenings at the various restaurants and eateries that can be found in both establishments - new menus and offerings, festive specials, promotions and such.
Unlike the Royal Lake Club's vibrant publication which is always full of down-to-earth, newsy bits covering the entire spectrum of club activities, KLGCC's Exclusive is decidedly golf-skewed.
Although the club boasts of a complete range of the usual facilities (it underwent massive upgrading in the past two years to the tune of tens of million of ringgit), one would be hard put to find family-oriented write-ups in this bi-monthly issue. It seems to exist only for golf; everything else is secondary.
From my vantage point observations over the years, the only constant in Exclusive apart from golf news is menu promotional updates from the club's various food outlets. In other words, it's strictly M&M (Main & Makan).
I have no desire to cross swords with those folks up in Bukit Kiara with regards Exclusive's editorial content although, speaking as a former scribe and current wordsmith, I can see the endless possibilities of turning it into a better read.
Truth be told, I have been ignoring the newsletter for yonks because it offers non-golfing members like me nothing to be excited about. KLGCC is Pak Abu's golf 'home'. I hardly frequent the place; I find it highly impersonal and lacking in warmth (story here).
This blog entry, however, is not about the club or its newsletter. My attention was actually drawn to a piece entitled "A Rare Delicacy" on page 10 of fete (pix above). Let me be upfront by saying I find it highly distasteful. I am transcribing it here, verbatim, for your reading pleasure.
"From 5 to 31 March, China Treasures* invites you to an exquisite taste of one of China's delicacies - the shark fin's soup. Once savoured only by the emperor due to its rarity and elaborate preparation, the dish holds great significance at important banquets or events as it symbolises wealth, power, prestige and honour.
"At China Treasures, Chef xxx has combined the fine taste of shark's fin with crab meat, presenting diners an opportunity to sample this delectable cuisine with enhanced flavours."
How establishments presumeably posh and prestigious as these two can be so vulgar and crass as to promote the consumption of shark's fin when the whole world has long awakened to the brutality of shark's fin harvest (here), I cannot even begin to comprehend.
Some people may think nothing of it. I could almost hear their derisive "It's only shark's fin soup, for pete's sake!" Personally, however, I see it as a poor reflection of the conglomerate itself.
Even among the local Chinese community, the growing awareness of cruel finning practice has resulted in many people consciously dropping shark's fin from their menu.
A case in point; when our fellow Royal Lake Club members Datuk Tan and wife Datin Emily held a wedding banquet for their son Jenn-Hui two years ago, shark's fin was noticeably absent (story here).
In Malaysia, five years ago the government took the admirable step of banning shark's fin soup from official functions in a commitment to the Malaysian Nature Society to conserve the shark species (see report here).
We can't stop people from eating shark's fin soup if they want to. What disgusts me is the fact that these people are not unaware of the inhumane way fins are harvested. They just choose to conveniently ignore it.
Giving mileage via a grand promotion like this is as tasteless as the fin itself, truly a no-class act. (Shark's fin in its raw form is glutenous and bland; it only comes to 'life' with the addition of many other ingredients and condiments).
Lest one forget, there is more to life than wealth, power and prestige. You don't need to show off your status in life by having shark's fin on your banquet table. It is much more honourable to give up the delicacy altogether, because indulging in it means condoning the cruelty involved in harvesting it.
The choice is yours.
PS: China Treasures is the Chinese restaurant that operates in both Sime Darby Convention Centre and KLGCC.