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© markaldrich.blogspot.com

Beach Bunch Brunei premiered an environmental awareness feature documentary on 1st September 2011. This event coincided with the worldwide screening of the multi-award winning movie, The Cove (2009). The venue was Bzy Restaurant. Unit 1, Block C, Spg 508, Jerudong Road, Jerudong, Brunei (Opposite of GoodView Hotel Jerudong)

A few pro-photographers and I were invited to this event by Jan Shim. Altogether 22 attended this screening. After a brief introduction by the founder of Brunei’s Beach Bunch, Rizan Latif, we sat to watch this bespoke documentary, lasting some 90 minutes.

Rizan Latif

Since its release in September 2009, The Cove has won the 2010 Oscar and 24 other awards and 5 nominations. The film questions the centuries old Japanese whaling culture, of which dolphins and porpoises are a part. September heralds the 6 month long hunting season for the adorable, smiling faced, dolphins, despite international outcry against mass killing dolphins annually.

Courtesy BBC

A little town of Taiji remains the epicenter of Japan’s dark secret of trapping dolphins for sale to amusement parks around the world, and the insidious tight-lipped secrets of merciless killing of every remaining unsold dolphins still trapped in the cove.

The movie’s message is a call to action to halt the annual mass massacre of more than 20000 dolphins. It is also aimed to inform and educate the public about the dubious labelling of dolphin meat as whale meat and to raise to consciousness the threat of mercury poisoning from eating dolphin meat (laboratory tests reveal mercury concentrations of 2000 ppm against the Japanese government’s “recom- mended” safe level of 0.4 ppm).

The film was cleverly directed by Louie Psihoyos, a former National Geographic photographer and avid diver, and dolphin trainer turned activist Richard O’Barry. [Meet the team of the talent film-makers here.] The story unfolds from a narrative to a riveting, edge of the seat thriller, climaxing in a chain of bloody horror blood-bath scenes. The Cove movie quite literally puts to shame the gore and horror in Saw VI, Kill Bill, Hostel, Final Destination, etc.

© Doletas

The dolphin killing at Taiji Cove was so secretive and heavily protected that portions of this movie had to be covertly documented. For this movie, the production team employed thermal and infra-red cameras, under- water microphones and half a dozen small Sony HDV cameras hidden in housings that looked like rocks.

Undeterred by plains-clothed police personnel and dogged- ly obstinate fishermen, the film crew braved treacherous conditions and worked under the cover of night to strategically position all the equipment to capture the best views, including under water cinematography. When the killing frenzy started, the azure blue water in the cove turned into a thick, bloody blanket of bright crimson red.

An attentive audience

Mass killing resulting in a sea of red

Free swimming dolphins

After viewing the movie, the audience was encouraged to sign online petitions which would be addressed to the Mayor of Taiji to encourage him to put a stop to the unnecessary decimation of the dolphins. Readers of this blog can also take part to sign your own petition to stop the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. Click here :


I’ve written a poem of hope, as a message that the killing of dolphins in Taiji, while not necessarily a politically correct endeavour, needs not be so cruel. Written in haiku, a type of Japanese poem structure containing a 5-7-5 syllablic pattern for each of the lines, totalling 17 syllables (though not strictly followed today). The lines do not rhyme, but convey the thoughts of the poet.


© Brooke McDonald

A beautiful cove,
Lies Taiji’s little secret.
A crimson red sea.

A sea of bright red,
Not from corals or red tide.
But a bloody curse.

Pharoah’s curse it’s not,
Save Taiji’s disavowal.
For selfish want, greed.

Oh beautiful cove,
Usurp not what nature gives.
Innocent blood bleeds.

© globalanimal.org

Taiji has a cove,
Let’s unite to protect it.
For flippers and all.

Return the pristine,
Beautiful cove nature gives.
Let the dolphins live.

Have the dolphins smile,
As nature has intended.
At Taiji’s blue cove.

© globalanimal.org

Dolphins are our friends,
And whales and porpoises too.
Let our finned friends thrive.

Transform Tiaji’s Cove,
Flip the killing field to nought.
A flipper’s haven.

Paint the red sea blue,
This is our call to action.
Protect the dolphins.

Stand and deliver,
A protected sanctuary.
Safe for all dolphins.

Taiji has a cove,
Beautiful vistas unfold.
Keep the blue sea blue.

— © 2011 Anthony Er



This poem was posted on The Cove’s Facebook discussion board on 1st September 2011. Allow me to invite you to respond to this poem on that discussion board, or do leave your comment in the box below this blog page. Thank you.


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1. The Cove 2009, the movie.
2. The girl who broke The Cove Story, http://bit.ly/n8dLcb
3. Movie poster credit: http://www.impawards.com/2009/cove.html
4. View the entire THE COVE movie on Youtube for free.
5. Join Beach Bunch Brunei. or contact it’s founder.
6. Read Gavin Goh’s coverage of this screening.