The Vancouver Sun
Caught at cultural crossroads - Chinese-Canadian environmentalist upsets
some Asians and Caucasians alike as he fights against the use of animal
parts as Chinese medicines, among other traditions.
Anthony Marr, the man who's threatening to take all the fun out of bear
hunting... is in a show down with hunters, who aren't taking too kindly to
his quest... The winding path that brought him to this juncture appeared
before him unexpectedly.
In truth, Marr would rather be with his “baby”, a book over 800 pages
long, called [OMNI-SCIENCE - A New Cosmology], which he began writing in
“So, what is he doing in conflict over bear hunting, after spending
decades writing about cosmic harmony? On a recent tour of 40 BC
interior communities, he faced roomsful of angry hunters and has a fistful
of press clippings about the dust-ups. On the other hand, he also
found supporters in these communities.
Being Chinese-Canadian has almost everything to do with Marr's
environmental activism. The more he heard about the Chinese use of
animal parts, especially parts from animals on the endangered species
list, the more he felt compelled to speak up.
“Something's got to be done about this,” he said to his (mostly Caucasian)
“And I think a Chinese person should do it. And I
think you're looking at him.” That was three and a half years ago...
“I was going to finish my book last year, but all of a sudden my time was
usurped. Saving endangered species. It was more urgent,
but the book, whenever it comes out, will remain the central core of my
His book, he says, is an integration of all the sciences and -ologies into
a single body, which he calls Omni-Science. “I look at nature from
all angles at once, which gives forth a new philosophical system where we
human beings find a place...”
Love may have something to do with Marr's critical take on Chinese
culture. “My first true was a Chinese woman, but her family forced
her to break up with me or suffer the pain of being disowned,” he recalls.
“That is a fate worse than death for a Chinese girl, and so she
acquiesced. Her parents felt our two families’ social positions
didn't match. That was in 1967, and I became very disenchanted with
the Chinese culture because of it. I've never dated a Chinese woman
since,” he said.
The Chinese reaction to Marr is mixed. At schools, where he gives
talks on the Asian use of animals, he gets enthusiastic support from
students (many of whom being of Chinese descent).
“When I’m on Chinese radio talk shows, two of the most common questions
are: “Why are you trying to blacken the Chinese reputation?” and “What is
more important, humans or animals?”
“My answer is that, on the contrary, I'm trying to save the Chinese
reputation from eternal damnation, because if we carry on the way we have
and drive some of the species to extinction, then our reputation will be
forever mud, and we can never regain respect in the eyes of the world.
I tell them that I'm working for human beings too. What kind of
world are we passing on to our kids?”...
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