Right before this year's spring festival vacation, my colleague He Long asked me to write a letter to Mr. Richard O'Barry and Mr. Hans Peter Roth, the co-authors of "The Cove" book, to invite them to China for the launch of the book's Simplified Chinese edition.
I thought writing a letter was an effortless gesture to help out a colleague, but one e-mail led to another and, before I knew it, I was officially assigned as the publicist for the book tour.
Being a publicist is not what I usually do, and our publisher doesn't usually publish books like "The Cove" (in Chinese: "Dolphin Bay"). My colleague He Long just happened to get a Complex Chinese edition of it and really loved it, and he thought he had to bring the book to China. So, after a bunch of coincidences, I found myself on a book tour with Ric O'Barry!
Before this, I had no idea who Richard O'Barry was, so to accomplish the job I did my homework and researched about him. I watched the Oscar winning movie "The Cove," read the book, googled, and looked through the Dolphin Project website. The study was really an eye-opening journey.
I've always known that animal performances are cruel because the animals are kept hungry intentionally, and that the training distorts their natural behaviors but, for the first time, I learnt that dolphins are highly socialized animals. For the first time, I learnt that dolphins are under stress in captivity. And for the first time, I learnt that a dolphin can choose to commit suicide.
I've always been a rational person, and I'm not easily persuaded, I like to think on my own. I'm aware that there are a lot of problems on this planet, but they are never as simple as they seem to be. Coming from a country which is often misunderstood and has the finger pointed at it a lot, I understand that there's always two sides to every story, and I believe that everybody has the right to explain themselves.
Being a publicist is new to me so I have to be careful and sensitive with a lot of issues. From the research I did, I knew that activists usually had strong opinions, and that they might be judgmental. I was worried that my being rational might be in conflict with their being passionate.