VSS eNewsletter - 13 June 2009
13 June 2009
In this issue...
Our Food Guide in The Sunday Times
After last month’s launch of VSS’ Singapore Vegetarian Food Guide, word is spreading. For instance, the following short piece appeared in The Sunday Times of 7 June.
VSS Sends Congratulations to Beijing Global Warming Forum
VSS was asked to send a congratulatory note to an upcoming forum on “Fighting against global warming through vegetarian lifestyle” and here’s what we wrote:
We congratulate the delegates and organisers of the second session of the China International Youth Arts Week, who will be gathering in Beijing , June 26 to July 14, 2009. It is most impressive that so many young actors and artists will be displaying their energy and talent at Great Hall of the People, the Century Theatre and some famous universities.
It is particularly admirable that one of the events included in the China International Youth Arts Week is a forum titled “Youth·Environment·Future”, with a focus on global warming. This forum, organized by the International Vegetarian Club of Beijing (IVCB) and Savetheplanet.org.cn, has taken the farsighted theme of “Fighting against global warming through vegetarian lifestyle”.
Indeed, eating less or no meat is something that we all can do every day, three times a day, to not only reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming but also to reduce our use of water, land, energy and other vital resources. Furthermore, by eating less or no meat, we enhance our own health and show kindness towards non-human animals.
In conclusion, we urge delegates at the China International Youth Arts Week to attend the forum on Youth·Environment·Future and to consider how they can move towards a more plant-based diet and persuade family members, schoolmates, friends and others to join them in doing so.
We love to read about what led people to go veg. Please send your story to info@...
As a copywriter in an advertising agency, there were times when I struggled with some of the things I had to write about. But none as much as a newsletter I had to write for one of our biggest clients. Part of that newsletter was about a cooking workshop and the delicacy featured was a dish called Capon Chicken. I did some research and was horrified to discover how the dish was created - male chicks have their testicles ripped off to grow into birds that taste better with tender meat and no sex hormones, which cause a change in taste.
I thought about the cruelty involved and how different it is from other forms of meat. I realised, it isn't. I had already stopped eating pork because of an Air Pork commercial that featured healthy pigs trotting around, and lamb, because I just couldn't eat something so cute and fluffy (and also because of my deep fascination with the Lamb Chops Play Along TV Series as a child) - so it was just a matter of swearing off beef, chicken and seafood. Knowing the truth behind the meat industry made that easy.
After more than a year of being vegetarian, I considered going vegan. I looked into the dairy industry and was once again overwhelmed with the cruelty that lies there - calves that are deprived of their mother's milk, cows that are pumped with hormones to keep producing. The cycle of cruelty never ends.
If I don't eat chickens, why should I eat their eggs? If I don't eat cows, why drink their milk that wasn't meant for me? It's been a bit more challenging, but as of 1st January 2009, I've been a very happy vegan.
Some people didn't think I would last, most were supportive. I've tried to hold back from 'preaching' to people about turning veg but to my delight I have found that if really isn't necessary - just doing your own thing which leads to questions from family and friends has been enough to turn 3 of my friends vegetarian/pescetarian - and more to come!
It has also led to me cooking for my family and friends and living a much healthier lifestyle - isn't wonderful how our choices can benefit ourselves, our loved ones and, of course, the animals!
Loretta Marie Perera
Singaporean, 21 years old
Taiwan looks set to enact the world's strictest law on labelling vegetarian food at the request of Buddhists and people who eat vegetarian for health reasons, the health ministry said Monday. Starting from July 1, Taiwan food manufacturers must use five categories, up from the current two, to identify the content of vegetarian food. Violators will be fined from 40,000 to 200,000 Taiwan dollars (US$1,200-6,000), the Department of Health said.
Currently the labelling only indicates whether food is pure vegetarian or contains no meat but egg and milk. Now added are categories separating egg and milk as well as vegan. Pure vegetarian refers to food which does not contain meat, egg, milk or plants including onion, garlic or leek, which are spicy and considered unclean and bad for meditation by some.
“Global Warming: Its Science / Its Effects and Solutions” is a free talk to be held on Friday, 19 June, 7.15pm-9pm at Kampong Senang Holistic Lifestyle Centre, Blk 106, Aljunied Crescent, Unit 01-205 (at ground floor of block), 5 mins walk from Aljunied MRT.
Please register early to reserve your seats. The first 50 participants who register will receive a free video CD that contains the latest interviews with leading climate scientists. (Please collect the CD at the registration counter)
Mdm Sophia Teh runs New Green Pastures Café at Fortune Centre, 190 Middle Rd, #04 - 22, Tel: 6336.8755. Her vegetarian restaurant features organic food and is the only eatery with a VSS donation can. Please support her; your taste buds will thank you.
Sophia is offering another of her Mandarin language cooking courses. Here are the details.
Date: 14, 21, 28 June, and 5 July (Sun)
Investment: SGD$200 (4 classes, include dinners)
Dishes include Snowy Millet Congee, Thai Style Mee Siam , Rainbow Beany Rice and Double Happiness.
Linda Loo is a raw food coach who did a session last year for VSS. Her next class for 30 June is already booked, but she has another one of 18 July, 6-10pm.
Here’s the programme:
- 8 Rawkalicious Treats - 100% Raw
- Vegan and Organic!
- Pre-meal exercise by Holistic
- Fitness Expert
- Talk about “Sustainable On Raw Lifestyle”
- Talk about “Travelling on Raw”
- Talk about “Socially Raw”
- Mini-documentary on Raw Vegan
- Fun & Games
- Deep Sharing Session by 2 true blue Spore raw vegan practitioners
- Beautiful and handy recipe cards from The Raw-K Kitchen
Cost: $238 nett per pax
For venue and other details, contact Linda at Linda@... or 8298.7760
The following interview with Singapore ’s own Joe Goh, head of the Singapore Vegetarian Meetup Group - www.meetup.com/singapore-vegetarian - is reprinted from the June 2009 edition of IVU Online News.
In this interview, Joe tells us what Meetup is, what kinds of activities Singapore Vegetarian Meetup does and his ideas for the future. The hope is that the Singapore experience will inspire others and that others may wish to share ideas with Joe and his Singapore friends.
1. Hi, Joe. Please begin by telling us what Meetup is. Besides vegetarian Meetup groups, are there other types of Meetups as well?
Hi! Sure. Meetup is a website where people with similar interests can find each other and meet offline, in the "real world". It’s a popular site with tens or even hundreds of different interest groups in many major cities, from more mainstream ones such as Chinese culture and running, to niche ones like Lord of the Rings groups!
2. Why use Meetup and not just use Facebook or other websites?
Meetup is specifically for the purpose of people interested in meeting others with similar interests, and a lot of people find out about other Meetup groups through the site. This is harder to achieve on Facebook. Using the Singapore Vegetarian Meetup Group as an example, many of our members are also members of the Singapore Adventurers and Nature Lovers Meetup group, and find out about the vegetarian group through emails that the site sends out, from the website itself, word of mouth from other Meetup attendees, etc.
As Meetup is focused on getting people to meet in "real life", the tools available for organisers make it much easier for events to be held. For example, it automatically sends reminders to people who RSVP, allowing me to ask attendees questions when they RSVP, keep track of contributions, etc.
The downside is that there's a fee for using the site, but I've not faced much trouble with collecting contributions from members. A great upside is that people have more of a sense of belonging to the group, and although we may receive less RSVPs than through Facebook, a lot more enthusiastic people attend the meets. I think just the very act of getting people to register for an account for the Meetup precludes people who are less enthusiastic.
3. Why and how do people join Singapore Vegetarian Meetup?
Singapore is a nation of food lovers; so, the most commonly heard reason for joining Singapore Vegetarian Meetup is that people have heard of our excellent track record with finding delicious vegetarian food in Singapore and want to join in the feasting. We're very popular with non-vegetarians too, and in fact, about half of our members are non-vegetarians (or, at least they were when they joined the group). I make enjoying delicious vegetarian food together the focal point, and if people find out more about vegetarianism and have a better opinion of vegetarians, I let that happen as a great side effect. This allows the non-vegetarians to feel more at home, and I guess a big draw of this group is the level of trust they feel in the group, that no one will be shoving information or values down their throats.
If you’re in Singapore , to join the group, head over to www.meetup.com/singapore-vegetarian and register for an account on Meetup, and join the group. Membership is free, although I do encourage a minimum US$2 donation from everyone, to cover the Meetup fees.
4. Why did you choose to organise the Singapore Vegetarian Meetup Group?
I wasn't the founder of the Meetup, and truth be told, I was initially reluctant to take over as the organiser when the founder decided to hand over the responsibilities to someone else, as I have a very busy work schedule. I became vegetarian a few months before the group was founded, and I felt quite isolated, as I was the only vegetarian I knew. I wanted to meet other vegetarians, and organising the Meetup also has given me a great excuse to get away from work to find new places to eat and enjoy a great time out with lots of like-minded people every few weeks.
What keeps me going as the organiser though is the feeling I get that organising these meets is helping spread vegetarianism through subtle means, or at least, help dispel some of the myths and prejudices some may have towards vegetarians.
5. How do you measure the success of the Meetup events?
Meetup allows people to rate the success of events by giving an event a rating of between 0 to 5 stars after each Meetup. I'm pleased to say that the Singapore Vegetarian Meetup Group is one of the most highly-rated Meetups in Singapore , and we've achieved an average rating of 4.85/5.0 (97%) as of last month.
But statistics aside, I measure the success of events not just by the numbers that turn up, but by the overall vibe and the smiles on people's faces during and after the meet. It’s quite easy to tell when a Meetup is going well, as everyone will come up to you and ask when the next meet will be.
6. What have been two of your more successful Meetup events?
Very recently, I organised a trip to a local eatery known for their vegetarian take on a Singaporean dish called Hokkien Mee, followed by a visit to a traditional Chinese tea house. The turnout was amazing, especially considering how late I was in sending out the details because I was too busy earlier. The vibe at the tea house was infectiously cheerful, although we did break the tranquility of the location with our banter! ;-)
A few months ago, we organised a trip to the beach and flew kites, in commemoration of a Singaporean vegetarian activist and kite flyer who passed away. We've also served some vegetarian burgers, and the combination of the beautiful weather, delicious food and rediscovering the simple joy of kite flying had everyone leaving with a smile.
7. Why do you think they were successful?
I think it’s important to organise events not for the sole purpose of satisfying attendees, but to do it primarily to please yourself first. That way, the enthusiasm and passion comes through naturally. To deviate a little, I think it’s vital that the organiser enjoys the events that he/she organises, as it’s the only thing that will keep him/her going for the long-term.
9. Do you have anything special planned for the future?
Recently, we started a new regular event 2 weeks ago called Veggie Wednesday. It’s an event designed to encourage non-vegetarians to not consume meat and seafood for one day each week. I make it a rule that attendees must not consume meat and seafood the entire day before we meet for dinner. Of course, there isn't any way I can verify this, but so far, it’s been working well enough. As usual, the food quality during the dinner-meet needs to be high, but I'm making this Meetup more focused on vegetarianism. As the attendees have to make a conscious switch away from meat and seafood, they are more open to discussions about vegetarianism, and that has proven to be correct based on the experiences of the first meet.
for a comprehensive list of vegetarian eateries
or email us at info@...
to notify us of new places.
Chief Editor: Dr George M Jacobs