Monthly Archives: September 2009

Breaking into The Cove.

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A fine morning last week was marred by an email forward I happen to receive. The content was about Dolphin massacre that happens in Faroe Islands. Since that day onwards, somewhere at the back of my head, this issue has been constantly pounding, and has left a tinge of guilt in me for belonging to the beastly race called homo sapien. On researching further into this issue, I came across a movie called The Cove – a documentary on a similar instance that is prevalent in Japan. It’s a silent horror – few people knew about it until this documentary, even the Japanese themselves unaware of the atrocity.
Richard O’Barry, a world renowned Dolphin trainer,

A fine morning last week was marred by an email forward titled “Why the sea turned red”. The content was about Dolphin massacre that happens in Faroe Islands. Since that day onwards, somewhere at the back of my head, this issue has been constantly pounding, and has left a tinge of guilt in me for belonging to the beastly race called homo sapien. On researching further into this issue, I came across a movie called The Cove – a documentary on a similar instance that is prevalent in Japan. It’s a silent horror – few people knew about it until this documentary, even the Japanese themselves unaware of the atrocity.

Richard O’Barry, a world renowned Dolphin trainer, a pioneer in the field, has been trying to bring down the industry that was built on the popularity of his show with dolphin Flipper. He has uncovered a gory practice in Japan, and pulled together a team to help him get the message to the world through this movie.

The whole issue has many dimensions to it. On one side, there is the cause for animal welfare. Ruthless captivity of Dolphins for training and dolphin shows around the world, and the “unsuitable” for shows  face the fate of the unjustified death to be sold as meat in one of the world’s largest fish market. The other side is the potential for yet another breakout of the infamous Minamata disease – Mercury poisoning at it’s extreme. Dolphins are at a high level in the food chain, and since toxic substances increase in concentration as they go up the food chain, Doplhin meat contains high levels of Mercury.

The authorities in Japan turn a blind eye towards the issues. What is surprising is that there is little concern for it’s own public health, and opening the gates for another breakout of heavy metal poisoning – to the extent that Dolphin meat was introduced into the school lunch, which is compulsory for students. The well known facts of Japan’s greying demographics  and very low fertility rates have also been attributed, amongst other causes,  to high levels heavy metals in their food consumption, which predominantly includes seafood. Dolphin meat is also sold under the disguise of whale meat, which is considered safe by Japanese standards, thereby leading the public to innocently consume dolphin meat, on the way to their own destruction.

Why are they doing this? Well – simple – since the International Whaling Commission placed a ban on Japan’s extensive and age old whale hunting industry, the number of Dolphins and Porpoises being killed has risen drastically, and currently stands at about 23,000 of them every year.

In the recent years, Japan has been buying votes from member nations of the IWC, to repeal the whaling ban, and was successful in doing so. What is extremely amusing is the kind of arguments put forth – that Whales consume a large quantity of fish catch, and hence deplete the fisherie resources.  Am yet to do some research into the current stand IWC has on the same issue. Anyway, it matters not much, because little good comes out of a bunch of sleepy leaders and delegates who just want to get their way out.

As a person who strongly believes in humane treatment of animals, I was speechless as I delved further into this issue. Dolphins for many reasons are not meant to be kept in captivity. They are very sensitive in their hearing, and excessive noise beyond their capacity can actually cause stress. Research in the past has linked many cases of mass stranding of Dolphins and other sea mammals to SONAR that is sent out during navy training. So when these poor creatures are trapped in over crowded,noisy shows, and are confined withing a limited space, though they appear like they smile forever, they actually undergo a lot of stress, causing ulcers etc. This inturn is treated by excessive drugs.

Dolphins are fast – really fast – I think upto 40 kmph , when in their natural habitat, and keeping them captive is like tying up a bird’s wings. They are intelligent and friendly – They can connect and communicate. They are no less than human beings.  It was a sin in ancient times to kill one. Now, it’s like man’s here to wipe every other species on earth.

They very strong hearing ability of Dolphin is being taken advantage of in Taiji. The hunting season starts in September and goes on until March. A large number of fisherman go out into the water, and stick long metal poles into the water and bang them, thus creating a wall of sound. This causes mass stranding of dolphins in one area, and huge nets are cast immediately. Then the trainers come in to pick the good ones and take them away in boats, planes, etc to shows, aquariums and what not. Taiji is the largest exporter of Dolphins to many such places around the globe. The remaining dolphins are herded into a secluded part of the sea line, a cove where another silent torture happens. Ric O’Barry and his team trespassed the area at night and stealthily captured the bloody things happening there.

This is just one among the many horrors that plague the world today. The list is endless.  It is in a way amazing to see the contrasting results of man’s sixth sense; In his capacity of being the only species to be able to think;express; act and create – all of these far superior to any other – He has come a long way in both advancement of his race and destruction of the others. The earth has been a victim of his extravagances.  There will come a day when it’s time for payback. A time when nature will get it’s due.

Peeping out after a year

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So,  almost 10 months have passed by since my last post.  I need to do some updating on the events that have unfolded over this period, and also make a strong resolution, to continue writing. Atleast one post per week, whatever the content maybe.

Well, the months of November & December were packed with my FYP.  December was spent in Singapore, unlike my 5 weeks long holiday in India every year. With FYP & job hunt going on, there was little time for other activities.

Christmas was spent with Hazel and friends. Visited the Church of St Mary of the Angels with the group. Also, had a small nice dinner gathering at Hall 5, with Hazel and friends.

New Year’s eve at home has never been anything more than wishing friends at 12 midnight. This time, not too different, just cut a cake with a few friends from hall. Wanted to have the neat celebration on the bridge in Hall 16.

Sister left for US in January. She is working in Connecticut, for GE. Really happy for her, and think she is having a good time travelling there. I wish she can fly via Singapore on her way back to India, whenever that will be.

The dawn of February saw a very unfortunate incident in my family. Cheenu, our pet dog of almost 17 years passed away. And it was exactly on my mother’s birthday. A date that will never be erased from our memory. He is (yes, we are so emotionally close that we like think he is with us at all times) like a member of our family. His absence has left a void in the house, and my parents were saddened beyond words.

After a lot of hesitation, exactly one month later, parents brought home another Labrador puppy, and he was unanimously named Cheenu.  He is about 6 months old now, very smart and a busy boy, never failing to bring joy to the house, and also extremely naughty. He has been praised by his trainer as very intelligent. Parents faced a tough time initially, bearing his urge to bite (during his teething stage) and his restless nature. Now they have come to love him like our first Cheenu.

And so things went on – the usual routine. I can’t recall anything significant. The FYP dry run presentation went off quite well. Exams were good, FYP got over. Job hunt was quite grim. Plans were being made for higher studies.

Within a day after FYP, I got my first job offer. Had to start within 2 weeks, and before I knew, I was taking a flight back to India for a week’s time. My shortest visit ever after a long time away from home. This is when I first met Cheenu Jr., an amazing guy, totally. (my dog)

Started work mid May. Has been good so far, good place, lots to learn, friendly colleagues. We have training going on until the end of September. Precision industry seems quite interesting.

We were asked to leave the lovely campus of NTU by June first week. Found a house nearby Pioneer MRT. Perfect location. Can’t get closer to my workplace. I have the Jurong Sports & Recreation Center right next door.

Well, it’s a long story about the house, but I don’t intend to go into the details. Currently, am living with a PhD student from NIE, and my friend from college. It’s been quite pleasant so far.

July and August, had an amazing time. Parents were here. Dad for 2 weeks and Mom for a whole 5 weeks!! I was touring the typical tourist places along with my parents. Spent one weekend in Bintan, which went by like a dream. Green & blue waters, white sands, my, I could just write another post on that. Dad and I went snorkelling, and I was so thrilled! Then I made up my mind – travel as much as possible, whenever possible.

July 30th was the convocation ceremony, and I slept through most of it. I was extremely happy to have my parents with me during convocation.

(Will write another story on Bintan and convocation)

Mom set up the kitchen for us, and since she left we have been cooking everyday, and have been managing quite well. Of course, nowhere close to her standard, but nevertheless, way better than eating food from canteens.

Have been OTing for the past couple of weeks, so haven’t had time for many things. Kind of out of touch with current affairs.

So there – that might have been a very average run of the mill story to most, but that’s most of what I can remember.

Though it’s a long after my usual sleep time, I’m quite glad I spent some time putting down some events in the past few months.

We are planning to watch The Cove tomorrow. I recently came to be aware of cruel Dolphin killing which happens in Faroe Islands and Japan, as far as my knowledge goes. It’s extremely saddening when we think of all the atrocities that man does out of selfishness. There is a mixed feeling of guilt and anger. The Cove is a documentary of how Ric O’Barry uncovers a shocking practice of dolphin killing in Japan.

Followed by meeting a friend in Kinokuniya, a large bookshop located in Orchard. I wish to spend sometime in the place, and maybe buy a book or two. I’ve been wanting to satiate my thirst for reading contemporary Indian authors. The last one I read was Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. I somehow found myself being able to understand and relate to the stories of people who have moved away from home, making a home of a new place with new people.

A few more things are on the cards in the weeks to come, like a trip to Batam for a colleague’s wedding celebration, and plans to start learning Violin. Shall update this blog soon on that and other things that may cross my mind.

It’s 2.03 am when I reach this line. Not been awake so late into the night in a long time. Shall visit again later.