VSS eNewsletter 8 September 2009
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8 September 2009
Getaway to Tanjung Sutera: 17-18 Oct
‘Anyone Can Cook Vegetarian’ Cooking Class - 26 Sep
VSS Now on Twitter
Greetings from VSS’s First Intern
Mark Your Calendars: Oct-Nov VSS Talks at
Update on Meatless Thursdays in Belgium
New Veg Restaurant on Serangoon Road
What Most People Don’t Know about Eggs
The Kind Diet
Learn Zen Japanese Vegetarian Cooking
Cooking with Kampung Senang
Swine Flu DVD Available
Meatout Thursdays at NUS
How I Became a Vegetarian
Not as unorthodox as crushing noodle packets in supermarkets, but certainly more rejuvenating – discover Tanjong Sutera with us in Oct and put the wind back in your sails.
Also meet Jennifer and Mo, our two vegetarian personalities this issue; diverse as they come, but one in veg.
Dr George M Jacobs
2 days / 1 night trip organized by VSS; 17-18 Oct (Sat & Sun).
Imagine a cliff-top ocean-facing nature resort with panoramic views of sky and sea meeting seamlessly.
Imagine an idyllic Eden of undulating gardens, coconut trees, lily and fish ponds.
Welcome to Tanjung Sutera ( Cape Silk ), a home-style resort sited on a ‘Magical’ spot, 40 metres up from the South China Sea .
Join us for a rejuvenating weekend at Tanjong Sutera, just 1½ hours from JB. Register by 1 Oct and enjoy early bird discounts. More details here.
VSS is starting a series of cooking classes to make it easier for people to eat less or no meat. The teachers for our first session will be the bilingual Mrs & Mr Chng, who run a veg stall for Spore Technology staff. Of late, VSS members know them for the great veg food they have provided for VSS functions. People often askg the Chngs to share their cooking secrets. Now’s your chance to find out how they do it.
Date: 26 Sep (Sat) 2 – 5pm
Fee: $40 for VSS members / $50 for non-members
Limited to 15 participants. Please register early. Your reservation is confirmed when we receive your payment.
Recipes taught and tasted:
1) chicken rice
3) herbal soup
4) salad dish
5) mixed soya protein dish
6) dessert (lotus seed in green bean)
Location: Second Avenue - details will be sent upon registration.
Registration: email to whatscooking@...
Now you can get updated on VSS news on Twitter. Please thank our member Kishore Balakrishnan who kindly launched the VSS Twitter page and helps update it. https://twitter.com/vssnews.
If you can help with other ways for VSS to spread our life-saving and earth-saving ideas and information, please contact us at info@...
VSS has its first intern, Mo. He’s committed to vegetarianism and easy to get along with. We’d love to have more like him. Unfortunately, he’s only able to help until sometime in Oct. Below, Mo says hello.
Dear supporters of vegetarianism in Singapore ,
People call me Mo, and as part of my studies at the Philipps University in Marburg (in Germany ) I am currently doing an internship with Vegetarian Society ( Singapore ).
I still remember quite clearly how I slowly became aware of the horrible conditions under which animals are kept for meat production. That was in 2003. I did some research and also created a blog to help spread awareness. I began to boycott major fastfood chains, and a few months later, I asked myself what right we humans have to treat fellow beings as commodities. Consequently, about one year later, I decided to no longer contribute to demand for meat and leather.
At first, it was quite difficult, because I didn't know any people in my immediate environment thinking similarly. But I did it, and I can happily report that my parents and even some friends are cutting down their meat consumption lately as well. By being a vegetarian, I can not only help to reduce the demand for products made of captivity and suffering, not to mention the environmental destruction, but I can also help to make the negative impacts of meat consumption a topic everywhere I go and everywhere I eat. To consciously say no to meat is a statement which emanates.
In conclusion, although as a vegetarian, you can feel ostracised at times, please remember that you are not alone and that it is the only right thing to do.
Beginning in Oct, VSS, in cooperation with NLB, is hosting a series of four free talks you won’t want to miss, each by a well-qualified speaker. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. The first hour of each of the two hour sessions will focus on what the presenter has to show and tell; the second hour will be open to the public to interact with the presenter and fellow audience members.
1. Presenter: Veronyka Lau, Cat Welfare Society
Topic: Caring for Animal Companions and Farm Animals
Date/Time: 3 Oct, 3pm-5pm
Venue: Bishan Public Library, Programme Zone (capacity: 70pax)
2. Presenter: Dr Sanjay Doshi, Mediline Wei Min Clinic
Topic: Anti-Aging through a Vegetarian Diet
Date/Time: 31 Oct, 3pm-5pm
Venue: Toa Payoh Public Library, Multi-Purpose Room (capacity: 30pax)
3. Presenter: Louis Ng, ACRES
Topic: Making a Difference for Animals
Date/Time: 21 Nov, 3pm-5pm
Venue: Central Public Library, Multi-Purpose Room, B1 near lending library (capacity: 70pax)
4. Presenter: Dr Harvey Neo, Geography Department, NUS
Topic: Meat Production and Land Use
Date/Time: 28 Nov, 3pm-5pm
Venue: Central Public Library, Multi-Purpose Room, B1 near lending library (capacity: 70pax)
Earlier this year, the city government of Ghent , Belgium declared Thursdays to be Meatless Days. We asked Tobias Leenaert of the Belgian organisation EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative) for more on what’s happening there.
1. Please tell us the history of how Meatless Thursday came to be. What was your society's role in making this happen?
EVA started its “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign at the end of 2007. Last year, we managed to convince IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) chairperson, Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, to come to Ghent and give a talk about meat and global warming: http://www.evana.org/index.php?id=36895〈=en
Tom Balthazar, the Ghent councilman responsible for the environment, was there, and, after that, he became more and more convinced of the importance of meat reduction. We made contact with two of his staff who were also enthusiastic, and we suggested that they ask Balthazar if he would be prepared to officially proclaim Thursdays to be veggie days in Ghent . Apparently, he didn't need much convincing, and he managed to get his colleagues on the executive council of the city to go along with him.
2. How does the city government support the Meatless Thursdays? Is it just lip service?
The city supports the campaign in several ways: we receive financial support; several city employees have already spent many days on the campaign; we have developed and distributed campaign materials together; we organized the launch event together; and from October, 2009 onwards, city funded schools will have vegetarian dishes by default on Thursday. The latter was decided by the councilman for the environment. So no, it’s definitely not just lip service.
3. What is the public reaction? What percentage of people would you estimate are reducing their meat consumption?
We haven't done any research yet; we plan to that in October. But so far we have heard many, many positive comments, and many people tell us they are participating.
4. Are other Belgian cities or towns thinking of following Ghent 's example?
The town of Hasselt has already declared that it will start in October. There have also been some other towns expressing an interest, and we will start working on the bigger cities, like Antwerp and Brussels . Internationally, Sao Paulo , Brazil is already convinced, and they're working on it in France , UK , Austria , Israel , etc.
5. Has your organisation grown as a result of the success of Veggie Day?
We have certainly received a lot of attention and inquiries, and we have attracted new advertisers and interested potential partners. We recently also received a national sustainability award. I can feel that the whole campaign has brought us a lot of recognition and that the road is wide open for further growth. We have also received a lot of international inquiries from sister organisations all over, and it's particularly rewarding to see that our campaign has inspired other people.
6. What is being planned to broaden and deepen Veggie Day?
We are now trying to organize something on the European level, and are checking if we can collaborate with the Meatless Monday campaign by Paul McCartney. We are also getting the support again of Dr. Pachauri, who will urge other cities to follow Ghent 's example.
Furthermore, we want to make sure Ghent succeeds as a pilot city and serves as an example for other cities to follow.
7. Any advice for organisations hoping to do something similar?
My main advice would be to take this from the environmental and health angle, not from an animal rights angle. The meat reduction angle is also much more successful than the all-or-nothing vegetarian angle. Obviously, it's good to present the benefits for the city or the city official involved. Make them concrete (CO2 saved, health benefits…). In general, I think it is fruitful to work at a city level rather than a national level.
Some material can be found at http://www.vegetarisme.be/ghent. People are also welcome to write me at tobias@... for more info.
Serangoon Road, Singapore’s largest vegetarian oasis, just sprouted another rose with the opening of Brij Bhoomi restaurant.
Address: 1088 Serangoon Road
MRT: Boon Keng
Open: Mon-Sun, 11am-3pm, 6pm-11pm
Details at http://www.vegetarian-society.org/node/1094
Hidden camera footage from a ‘modern’ U.S. egg hatchery illustrates what is apparently the common practice of putting male chicks to death, for the crime of not being able to lay eggs and not be bred to be broilers (chickens whom we eat). Of course, the females don’t have it much better. Their beaks are clipped, and they spend the remainder of their short lives in crowded unnatural conditions, treated like machines rather than the thinking, feeling fellow beings that they are.
To watch the footage, first read the following article and then click the link near the bottom of the article:
A reader sent the following book news.
In The Kind Diet, actress, activist, and committed conservationist Alicia Silverstone shares the insights that encouraged her to swear off meat and dairy forever, and outlines the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, high energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how meat, fish, milk, and cheese–the very foods we’ve been taught to regard as the cornerstone of good nutrition–are actually the culprits behind escalating rates of disease and the cause of dire, potentially permanent damage to our ecology.
Yet going meat- and dairy-free doesn’t mean suffering deprivation; to the contrary, The Kind Diet introduces delicious food that satisfies on every level–it even includes amazing desserts to keep the most stubborn sweet tooth happy. Alicia also addresses the nutritional concerns faced by many who are new to a plant-based diet, and shows how to cover every nutritional base, from protein to calcium and beyond.
Alicia Silverstone is perhaps best known for her generation-defining turn in the film Clueless. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Christopher, and their four rescued dogs.
Danny Chu of Enso’s Kitchen will be teaching ‘Appreciation of Shojin Ryori Japanese Zen Cuisine’ on 18 Oct, 3-5pm at Goto Japanese Restaurant, 14 Ang Siang Road, #01-01 , S. 069694. The event is organized by People’s Association at a price of $29-$35.
For details: http://www.ensokitchen.com/event.htm
Kampung Senang is bringing back the versatile Mr Oh Chong Fah for another round of unique bilingual cooking classes, this time on tempeh making, salad creams and whole grains. These classes are in conjunction with the Holistic Wellness Symposium 11-12 Sep at Quality Hotel.
For details: www.eco-harmony.net or 6749.8509.
The World Health Organization (WHO) maintains that billions of people may become infected with swine flu. “This virus travels at an unbelievable, almost unheard of speed,” the WHO Director-General was quoted as saying recently. The “most worrying fact,” according to the Director-General, is “that 40 percent of the fatalities concern young adults -- in good health -- who die of a viral fever in five to seven days.”
In light of the current situation, Dr Michael Gregor of Humane Society International recently released, ‘Flu Factories: Tracing the Origins of the Swine Flu Pandemic’ on DVD:
On Monday, 7 Sep, a VSS Exco member represented us as an invited guest at the opening of the NUS Green Carnival at the NUS Central Forum, organized by NUSSU SAVE (Students Against Violation of the Earth). The NUS President, Professor Tan Chorh Chuan (pictured above in an earlier photo), along with GOH, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, spoke. What stood out were all the green measures that NUS has been taking, including setting thermostats at 25 degrees, using financial means to encourage people to bring their own bags and food containers, and discouraging the use of bottled water.
Most outstanding is that from the week of the Green Carnival forward, NUS will celebrate Meatout Thursdays. Apparently, many non-veg stalls in the NUS canteens will have veg dishes, in addition to the three existing veg stalls on campus. Plus, in his speech at the Carnival opening, President Tan said that he too is trying to go vegetarian every Thursday.
Recently, at age 60, I made an important decision. I chose to celebrate life by becoming a vegetarian, thereby joining millions all over the world who every day make the same life-affirming choice. It would have been better if I had gone vegetarian at a younger age, but better late than never!
Since going vegetarian, I have never looked back, thanks to the health benefits and the sense of fulfilment I enjoy. Indeed, it was ignorance and fear that caused me to procrastinate before making the switch. But, as I learned more about the harm caused by my protein rich meat diet, I could no longer ignore the many benefits of a plant-based diet:
1. My health has improved.
2. The efficiency of vegetarian diets makes more food available for the 100s of millions of chronically hungry fellow humans.
3. Vegetarianism could save 10s of billion of fellow animals from a life of suffering and an early death.
4. Plant-based diets protect the beautiful planet we have inherited from past generations, a beautiful planet that we should bequeath in the same condition to future generations.
Being a Vegetarian Society ( Singapore ) member has made the switch to plant foods much easier. For instance, the electronic newsletter tells me about recipes and new eateries. Also, activities conducted by the Society bring likeminded folks together for sharing and encouragement. I have also joined Singapore Vegetarian Meetup. Their activities make the vegetarian journey even more fun and fulfilling.
To conclude, VSS brought Professor T. Colin Campbell, an expert on nutrition, to Singapore , and I had the good fortune to attend one of his talks. Prof Campbell put it beautifully: for a healthy lifestyle, we need a biological symphony of vegan nutrition, exercise and water. Let’s be living examples of what we believe. So, please look good and feel good with green living! - Jennifer Tan
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