Sharkwater (Film)

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Who’s the Predator?

I hate to admit this, but I enjoyed eating shark’s fin soup.

There is a certain expectation for the delicacy to appear in the second dish of every Chinese wedding dinner. As what some of the elders tell me, you judge how ravish a wedding dinner is by the shark’s fin. Many friends have stopped eating fins (which are tasteless on their own anyway), but I took a “If I don’t eat it, it will go to waste anyway” attitude.

Movies featuring sharks are not helping. Almost every shark movie poster portrayed them as ferocious creatures with bleeding sharp teeth.

As a child, watching Jaws 1-4 in the cinemas and national television made me fear going out to the open waters. Looking back at all the shark movies, ranging from Shark Attack, Jaws of Death, Deep Blue Sea, Blue Demon, and Red Water, every shark is a monstrous one that stops at nothing to devour the next harmless bikini babe.

The truth is: sharks rarely attack human. Many shark movies are fictional, using mechanical sharks rather than real ones.

The recent documentary Sharkwater aim to debunk this myth, and results are showing. The filmmakers managed to make the Costa Ricans protest against the shark fin industry. However, it would be a long battle before such movies can affect the Asian countries where sharks are preyed for food and unproven medicinal properties.

As what an interviewee in Sharkwater (who looks like a Singaporean bride) said, “It’s like cutting my ears off, and leaving me to bleed till death in the waters.”

A diver friend who has witnessed the cruel deaths of finless sharks at the bottom of the ocean, ‘battled’ with his mother over what to serve in his wedding dinner. It was a choice between his love for sharks, and the family’s pride. He lost in the end.

The fight will continue. Interestingly, Peter Benchley the author of Jaws spent the last years of his career advocating for shark conservation, saying "Sharks are much more the oppressed than the oppressors."

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