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Monday, November 20, 2006
Hong Kong Today
We live in fast food culture, but convenience comes at a price, writes JJaanneett WWoonngg
Translated by Anvil Ong
Fast food culture 1) What is the characteristic of fast food culture?
Why do we say it represents the culture of mod- ern society? Do you agree?
2) What is wrong with fast food culture? Why are people fighting it with slow food?
Slow food 3) What is slow food? What are its benefits? Why
is it called an attitude? Can you explain with examples?
4) Someone said that we slow down not to fight the fast, but we slow down to be fast. Can you give examples?
Class discussion 5) Fast food culture often goes against environ-
mental concerns. Why? If you were a fast food restaurant owner, how would you respond?
6) How much time do you spend eating? Do you think what you eat, how you eat and your atti- tude towards eating are equally important? Why?
7) Which do you think Hong Kong people will choose in future: fast food or slow food? Create a comparison table for the two and discuss.
I think slow food... A) is worth promoting. It is a healthy way of
living. B) should be promoted to offset the fast food
culture. C) does not fit into modern life. D) is only for the rich.
GGOOUURRMMEETT CCrraaiigg AAuu YYeeuunngg: “Being slow does not mean rejecting the fast. We slow down to be fast. We slowly and clearly see what we need. Then we can make a fast decision.”
CChhaaiirrmmaann ooff SSllooww FFoooodd OOrrggaanniissaattiioonn ((SSiinnggaa-- ppoorree)): “Eat to live (要為生而食) or live to eat (為食而
生)? That’s a personal choice. But don’t forget ‘You are what you eat’ (你吃甚
麼，你就是甚麼). Next time don’t devour (大口吞) food. And
don’t have PC or TV meals.”
SSllooww FFoooodd OOrrggaannii-- ssaattiioonn ((TTaaiiwwaann)): “We
are not eating deli- cacies from land and sea, we are tasting them.”
RRTTHHKK ffoooodd aanndd ccuullttuurree pp rr oo gg rr aa mm mm ee : “Actually there are 80,000 agricul tural products that can be used for food. To date, only about 150 kinds have been
grown. Four of them account for
85 percent of the world’s food con-
sumption. Under the fast food influence, no
one cares about asking
for variety in food.” NNeettiizzeenn CCaatt: “Slow food is an attitude – a belief
that everyone has the right to enjoy food and the natural rhythm of life. It is just that people today have gone astray, giving birth to the tasteless and harmful fast food and overly fast-paced living.”
GGrreeeenn PPrroodduuccee FFoouunnddaattiioonn ddiirreeccttoorr HHoo LLeeuunngg-- mmaauu (綠田園基金理事何良懋): “Over the decade, slow food has stressed slowly enjoying food in a peaceful and comfortable environment. The followers believe that it helps digestion and the additional chewing helps lower carcinogenic (致癌) and toxic (毒性) substances in food. The more you chew the more protection against cancer. Experts say one has to chew every mouthful of food at least 20 times before swallowing it. A meal must last at least 45 minutes to be healthy.”
MMrr YYuuee ooff tthhee ffiinnaanncciiaall sseeccttoorr: “Fast food is faster. It is a symbol of social development. Spend- ing one hour enjoying lunch is a bit too much. Hong Kong people are always competing. They eat to stop hunger and that’s all they care about. Though slow food is good, it does not fit into modern life. I think only those people who have a lot of leisure time can afford it.”
NNeettiizzeenn JJuullyy 22000044: “It is not a problem of fast or slow. Like the people who take a lot of food onto their dishes at a buffet. They actually may not know how the food tastes or what they are eating. Under the influence of fast food, people will not be particu- lar about food and don't know how to enjoy it.”
SSllooww FFoooodd OOrrggaanniissaattiioonn ((HHoonngg KKoonngg)) ddiirreeccttoorr WWiillssoonn KKwwookk: “We are not controlling our time. We can spend 45 minutes on video games and only 15 minutes for eating. Slowing down is actually a search for quality time.”
H ONG Kong people are living at a fast pace. To save time, many lunch at fast food restaurants. However, such meals, with
their stereotyped tastes (標準化口味) and environmentally unfriendly ways of prepa- ration, have always been criticised.
According to a study last month, the total consumption of disposable lunch utensils (即棄餐具) used by the five fast food restaurant chains in Hong Kong reached 27 million pieces per month, demonstrating that people ignored the harm the fast food culture has brought to health, life and the environment. In view of this, there are people around the world promoting “slow food” to offset (抗衡) the problems brought about by fast food.
Fast food and slow food are not just about eating habits. They are an attitude towards life. Which shall we choose?
News extracts TODAY, more and more people are eating fast food, resulting in alarming numbers of disposable lunch utensils used. According to an estimate by GGrreeeenn SSeennssee (環保觸覺) last month, the five fast food chains used as
many as 27 million pieces of disposables such as plastic spoons, forks, etc. during lunch hours. That means a customer uses about nine disposables on average and the total amount of tray paper used is enough to cover 28 Government Stadium soccer pitches. Also, the tissue paper used is equivalent to chopping down 65 trees.
For their convenience, fast food shops use disposables that are not environmen- tally friendly. This problem is only the tip of the iceberg. As early as 1986, Italian scholar and gourmet Carlo Petrini (意大利學 者及食家卡洛•佩特里尼) felt the opening of McDonald’s in Italy would impact the country’s food culture. He believed the “invasion” of fast food not only harmed health but also made people lose their abil- ity to enjoy and respect food. It also endan- gered the diversification of world food and livestock.
In view of environmental friendliness and fairness, he started the Slow Food Movement to promote the joys of tasting food, feasting and wine-tasting. He was against stereotyping food and advocated (提倡) the rights of consumers to be kept informed. He asked for conservation of the
uniqueness of food heritage, traditional food cultures, traditional means of growing crops and food treatment. He also wanted to protect the breeding of livestock and crop strains.
The advantage of fast food is its conven- ience which suits the pace of modern life. Hence, the fast food culture actually repre- sents the race for efficiency in the modern world. However, putting too much stress on convenience can bring adverse effects. It is laying stress on packaging instead of content. It in a way stresses benefits at the cost of moral values (道德觀).
Meanwhile, the Slow Food International (國際慢食協會) established in 1989 in Paris read out their slow food declaration (慢食宣 言): The fast pace of city life is affecting life and environment in the name of produc- tivity. We shall fight back with slow food.
Slow food can be rephrased as slow eat- ing or slow tasting. Slow eating is not just in the slowness when eating. At the same time, it is a kind of search for lifestyle and quality. Starting from how to respect and enjoy food, we learn how to be friendly to the environment, respect life and the unique heritage and culture of food. Slow
eating is not only for the rich. Slow food is enjoying simple and good food that grows on the ground. What we eat, how we eat and the attitude of eating are equally important.
The Slow Food Movement and Declaration ON 9 November 1989, representatives from Argentina (阿根廷), Austria (奧地利), Brazil (巴西), Denmark (丹麥), France (法國), Germany (德國), Holland (荷蘭), Hungary (匈牙利), Italy (意大利), Japan (日本), Spain (西班牙), Sweden (瑞典), Switzerland (瑞士), USA and Venezuela (委內瑞拉) signed a slow food declaration in Paris. The decla- ration stated the bad effects of fast food on society and the environment. It was against fast-paced living and eating. It wanted to internationalise the slow food movement to wake people up to the culi- nary skills and tastes around the world. It also wanted people to enjoy food and pro- tect the environment while ensuring sus- tainability of resources.
(Source: Produce Green 綠田園)
Think about it
References www.SlowFood.com http://hk.news.yahoo.com/061106/60/1 vuae.html http://hk.news.yahoo.com/061030/60/1 vgq2.html http://hk.news.yahoo.com/061030/60/1 vgqq.html