The truth is that I have continued to write under a pseudonym, which has allowed me to be a little freer with my views and my words of condemnation. Especially when in a country that doesn't respect the freedom of speech, and also when your a prisoner to the corporate ladder you have to be careful to avoid a complete meltdown (otherwise known as "A Charlie Sheen") - this ruins the artistic element of writing, add the threat of deportation or worse imprisonment you begin to question the point of writing anything real at all. Writing anonymously has helped me unleash a violent and unreserved side previously suppressed by the chains of conformity including one particular article that affected me so much that i almost lost my way, i gave up on life and questioned society as a whole - more about that later.
I decided to write on my own blog again, as I was asked to by people i respect, and admire, as suggested the subject matter may prevent me to not write publicly again - but here goes, and lets see what happens.
I stumbled on an article in a Chinese website that showed the following pictures, (I am providing a link as they are too gruesome to put on my blog - you have been warned)
The text below this and the subsequent feedback from the Chinese commentators led to me question what i thought was different between East and West, was i witnessing a divide that would take generations to bridge? Indeed the feedback from the indigenous population was mixed, a combination of those horrified by the act itself, and those horrified by the reporting of the act (rather than the act itself). What I didn't expect as I wrote for a local english/chinese publication was the backlash from the western readers, yes there was the odd criticism of the act, but far more condemnation of my seemingly out dated and misguided respect for animals.
I live in a country that believes - "if it moves, kill and eat it", and if it doesn't move just miss out the "kill" part. I have been at meals where Panda, Shark, un-born rats, Salamander and a whole host of protected species have been served up as must have 2nd course, however for some crazy, and what must be some old fashioned English reason, I have always rejected Labrador and Retriever. (Before the hate mail starts to drown me, I have never eaten Panda or Salamander, despite the insistence of my hosts) But why have I equally rejected the idea of eating Fido, or Rex? I guess having owned and loved a family Labrador, and having been around dogs all my life, i find it difficult to munch on a pouches tail. I thought the world, or at least the western world was behind me, i thought i would be acclaimed for unearthing a semi secret act that had no place in a modern society.
What I found was a requirement for me to look at my own principles and everything that makes me who I am, i was berated for considering the act only distasteful because it was in broad daylight and in public. The "dog was dead" echoed in my ears and across my computer screen. maybe I had missed the point, perhaps they had an argument? was I being sensitive to a dumb senseless animal, who if it had been killed behind doors and served up on a porcelain plate with some Mange Tout I wouldn't have blinked an eye lid?
The arguments came in thick and fast, "If you were hungry enough you would eat it..", "You justify eating Lamb, Pork, Chicken and Cows, so why not dog?", "Your only argument is that it shouldn't be killed and prepared in front of you, it is you who has double standards.." etc. etc. All of these arguments are true, and I guess they unearthed an irrational view that i held, in as much that as long as I don't see something being murdered and skinned then its OK to eat it.
The example of how sheep, cows and chickens were killed was thrown into the pot (sorry for the pun), would skinning a cow on a cross roads cause such a personal feeling of anger and outrage? and if it did - wouldn't that be a case of double standards? why is it OK to eat animals killed out of sight when those killed in public deemed unacceptable? I guess in my defense I do find it acceptable to eat pig, sheep, cow and chicken, I hypocritically have no desire to see then killed, skinned and prepared for consumption and I guess I treat them like convenience goods rather than animals. However does this view make the act in itself any better? Yes my distaste was centered around the public skinning of a family animal, I never mentioned the outcome of the skinning, and i know the eating of dead animals has gone on since the dawn of man. I would like to believe that if it had been a goat, horse or pig being skinned, I would still have been outraged - and that statement in itself has to make me question my own ethics - are they based on reality or just a modern desire not to know where my diamonds, petrol, gold or in this case meat comes from?
It is something you cant get away from in China, recent studies show that the Chinese are the biggest consumers in the world of dog, cat, horse, frog and a wide variety of unthinkable treats like Beetles, Rats, Scorpions and Locust. These foods have turned from being mere necessities to luxury items, yes used to impress visiting laowei, but more than often for general consumption. Take the lowly Cikada (Please take them, as they make an ungodly racket that can be deafening in the summer), amazing creatures they may be, and scientist have studied them for millennium to try and understand their breading habits and life cycle patterns (spending X years under ground, only to emerge to mate and then die). To me they are an irritating, noisy pest with a mildly interesting or quirky life, to the Chinese they are a child's snack, picked from the ground with a stick or shook from the tree to be boiled up and eaten as a treat, a bit like picking a blackberry from a bush, or scrumping an apple from the tree when i was a kid!
The article, and more importantly the comments I received about the article taught me little about peoples views on eating dog meat, but taught me a lot about peoples views on having an opinion. It seems that you can never be right, you can only argue a point of view, and no matter how strong your beliefs start out, other peoples point of view should make you think about your own principles, beliefs and expectations. I still think it is wrong to skin a Golden Retriever on a busy downtown crossroads, for that matter I still think its wrong to eat dog meat, but I have learned that my views are based on irrational emotions that have been developed over centuries of cultural influence, conditioning me to believe dogs were family pets, companions and dare i even say it friends!