Fashion Friday: Political Fashion

As a kid I remember a handful of inspirational Chinese Americans ladies in the public eye. Ice skater Tiffany Chin, news anchor Connie Chung, and California Secretary of State March Fong Eu. It was nice to know that I didn't have to grow up to be the mousy, awkward Asian that most of us are raised to be. I could figure skate, work in news media, and even run for political office. I went on to do all three, if you count my appointment as ASB slideshow historian at Peninsula High as political office.

My parents were not particularly political, sometimes swaying Republican because their aversion to democratic taxes, other times standing completely still. What excited them however was the Chinese lady in the California state office. Since all Chinese people know each other, my parents ended up at a political fundraiser for March Fong Eu in the mid 80s, where this photo took place. March Fong Eu was the first Asian American woman voted to state constitutional office and served almost 20 years. She comes from the illustrious California Fong political clan, which also spawned Republican terror Matt Fong.

I love that March took photos with people in front of a Victorian-age portrait of herself. Do you look at the real or fake? She might have thought, "If I put myself out there enough times, as clones or flat likenesses you will have to remember me again and again." 


Golden Shark Fins

Found a box of golden wings and marveled. They are actually dried shark fins, calcified bundles of clear golden fibers that curl like hair at the ends. They glistened. They smelled of the ocean. I hate to say it, but they smelled like the end of a multi-course Chinese banquet, which is shark's fin soup.  

To the Chinese, shark's fins are the penultimate delicacy. The soup can fetch $100 a bowl. It's served as a display of wealth and cultivate at fancy banquets and weddings. But the past few decades the Chinese obsession with shark's fin soup has lead to the gradual extinction of the species. Fisherman "fin" the sharks, a horrific practice where the fins are cut and the de-finned sharks get thrown back into the ocean. In recent years global movements have risen up against the sale and consumption of shark's fins. Yao Ming stated he will never eat shark's fin soup again, and the state of Hawaii was the first in the U.S. to ban the sale. My dad's family loved consuming exotic and obscenely expensive Chinese cuisine (dried mussels, abalone, or dried roe) so this is not surprising. It's just very strange

The fins themselves don't taste like much. After they are soaked they become a gelatinous noodles that is rubbery like calamari but also crunchy. You're in it for the soup. It's faintly fishy, supposedly with restorative health properties. I can recycle these golden shark fins one day for a very special occasion like my wedding or much closer on the horizon, when I finally move out of the house. Yes, these will be the last shark fins I will ever eat. 
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