VSS eNewsletter 1 July 2011
1 July 2011
How I Became a Vegetarian
VSS Participates in Veggie Thursday Launch
Interning wth VSS
Talk-Cum-Movie for Students
Feedback to the Government
VSS at Green Living Carnival in Bukit Panjang
Trip to JB Animal Sanctuary: Full
Dinner & Talk: Joints, Muscles, & Bones: Full
The VSS InBox: 4 Items
Save the World's Saddest Dolphins
Guide to Food Ingredients
US Unis Add Veg Eats & Courses
Consultancy Available for Veg Outlet Startups
Veg Restaurant Guide for SE Asia
New Classes from Halimah
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Natalie Teo, pictured here, is an NTU Communication
and Journalism student. Here's the inspiring story of
how she went veg.
Why I crossed over to "the dark side".
Every time I get asked this question I find myself
rattling off the same chain of reasons that most people
have already heard – for the environment, for our
animals, and also because of the cruelty of factory
farming. But what really started me on the road to
vegetarianism was my mother – ironically now the
one who constantly hovers over me, worried that
I'm missing out on nutrition.
I recall the months after my 'A' levels when I was
pretty sure I had bombed my examinations quite
spectacularly and was looking at the possibilities.
I even considered signing on with the army!
My mother then went to a temple and prayed for my results, promising to go vegetarian for three months
if I managed to make it to University.
Long story short, I made it. My results were far from
sterling but they were pretty good. I took on
my mother's promise and went vegetarian for three
months even though I'm Christian. I lost a bunch of
pounds and felt a lot cleaner inside. But that didn't
quite motivate me to continue.
Fast forward a year with massive weight gain from
freshman year and really clogged up insides from
the hostel life of nightly suppers, alcohol and unearthly,
dangerous sleeping hours – I decided to go vegetarian
to save my health (and hopefully my waistline).
It worked – I dropped the weight again and I made
longer miles at the gym.
What really changed this time that made me stick to
vegetarianism, however, was not how a plant-based
diet could make me look better. I began to discover
more about the killing of animals for food and worse –
the cruel, inhumane conditions of factory farming.
The issue of global warming became very real to me
as I watched videos, read reports and looked at
What have I gained from being vegetarian? I think
health reasons aside, I feel a lot happier and like a
much better person. I've become more conscious of
the environment and the importance of preserving it
as best as we can. And now that I form the minority
in my circle of mostly carnivorous friends, I suppose
I am more acutely aware of how difficult it must be
to be different, and I try to be more tolerant and
accepting of others. I think opting to go
meatless turned my life around, and I will probably be
doing this for a long, long time.
Veggie Thursday – www.veggiethursday.sg –
is a project of about 28 local NGOs who have come
together to encourage people to go plant based
at least once a week. Veggie Thursday had its
media launch on Thu (of course), 16 Jun. The event
was held at Le Caire, a Middle East restaurant on
Arab Street, and drew coverage from Shin Min,
Lianhe Wanbao, YES933 radio and 938Live.
On 25 Jun, at the invitation of our friends at
the Malaysia Vegetarian Society (and at no cost
to VSS), a VSS representative was a panellist at
the Health Education & Health Awareness
(pronounced 'HeeHah') exhibition at Mid-Valley
Megamall in KL. The event was an opportunity to meet
Malaysia's Health Minister, Dato' Sri Liow Tinong Lai
(pictured here), who is a vegetarian. Also present
were Dr Kamalanathan Sappiah, president of MVS,
(which had a booth at the exhibition);
Mr Jowly Yohanesh, Secretary of the Indonesia Vegetarian Society; Prof Li Duo, organizer of the
Asia Vegetarian Congress, to be held 8-9 Nov in
Hangzhou, www.5avu.com, and Prof Maitree Suttajet,
president of the Asia Vegetarian Union.
Upon meeting the Minister, we invited him to attend
the event in Hangzhou . He explained that the health
situation in Malaysia continues to worsen, partly
due to diet. For example, Malaysia is #1 in obesity
in SE Asia , and 43% of adults suffer from high blood
pressure. Mr Liow observed that mobilizing people
to fight communicable diseases, such as dengue,
is easier than convincing people to tackle
non-communicable diseases, such as
heart disease and diabetes.
In response to the ongoing epidemic of
non-communicable disease, Malaysia 's government
has roped in ten ministries, including MOE.
The government also welcomes NGOs, such as
St John's Ambulance, to apply for grants to do
campaigns that emphasise prevention.
Mr Liow discussed the negative role of meat and
urged people to ignore the siren song of
meat advertising. He recounted that when he was
a boy, meat was only eaten on festive occasions.
And, when meateaters tell him how much enjoyment
he is missing by being veg, Malaysia's Health Minister
counters by telling them how they are missing the
enjoyment he gains from the taste of fresh vegetables.
Earlier this year, VSS was fortunate to begin our intern
with a non-veg SMU student. We are very happy with
her work. Here's a report from her perspective. If you
know anyone interested in interning with VSS, contact
info@... [Warning: salary is only $300/month]
Interning with VSS has been an eye-opening experience
for me. For one, all my friends are envious that I have
the luxury of planning my own time. For another,
I've learnt the importance of eating less meat to help
not only myself, but also to be kinder to my furry friends.
Through this internship experience, I have met many
interesting people from varied walks of life. Through
helping the VSS Exco, I have learnt that staying
connected with people and helping them is important.
You may never know when you might need their help.
As a saying goes, "No one is an island". VSS is a
place where I have grown – inside and out.
On 26 Jun, VSS Executive Director for Education and
Outreach, Yeow, did a talk and video showing for
students from P4 and older. VSS has a wide variety of
videos and can speak on a wide variety of topics,
including health, environment, kindness to our fellow
animals and the intelligence and emotions of
Following on from VSS's participation in the successful
Animal Welfare forum last month, the event organisers,
ACRES, invited VSS to submit proposals to be
discussed with the government. Here is what we sent.
You are welcome to send your own proposals,
following the format below, to ACRES –
www.acres.org.sg – to be forwarded.
Overview of the Issue:
The eating habits children form when young can impact
them for their entire lives. Furthermore, the beginnings
of many killer diseases, such as heart disease and
diabetes, can be traced to the food people eat when
young, even if the symptoms appear many years later.
Thus, we need to strive to do what we can to start
children on the right path. In turn, children may even
be able to influence their adult family members.
The food in most school canteens, even much of the
vegetarian food, does not match health experts'
guidelines, as canteen food tends to be high in oil,
low in whole grains, high in animal products, low in
plant foods. Of course, children's preferences play
a part. Indeed, they often reject food that is good for
them. One reason for this rejection is price. Children
can be very price sensitive, and healthier food can be
slightly more expensive.
The government might want to consider subsidising
healthier options in school canteens. Vegetarian
Society has experience working with school canteens.
Our experience is that even when healthy, plant based
food meets kids' taste test, they won't buy it unless the
price is right.
We understand that there is already a precedent for
subsidising healthy food. At Khoo Teck Puat Hospital,
whole grain foods are cheaper than white rice:
Yes, subsidies cost money, but if we think long term,
perhaps we actually save money, because of reduction
in health care expenses and in lost time due to illness,
not to mention the suffering of individuals and their
families. Perhaps, a few schools of various types –
preschools, primary, secondary, JC, ITE –
could pilot such as scheme, including development
of age appropriate dishes.
We were invited to take up a booth at the Green Living
Carnival @ North West, at Bukit Panjang Park , jointly
organised by Jane Goodall Institute ( Singapore ) and
the North West Community Development Council.
The carnival was free and open to all.
Green Living Carnival is a festive approach to share
with everyone how we can help to reclaim our planet
and our health by the way we live. Every individual has
the ability to make a change every day by choosing
what we want to eat and how we want to work or play.
Guest of Honour was world famous primatologist and
environmental educator, Dr Jane Goodall. Dr Goodall
is a vegetarian whose most recent book is titled
'Harvest of Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating'.
Our 3 Jul trip to Noah's Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary
(NANAS) is full. We hope to have another NANAS trip
soon. We will blast the details as soon as they are
In the meantime, you can visit animal sanctuaries here
in SG, such as SPCA and Animal Lovers League.
The nonhuman animals who live there will appreciate
your visit. And, even better, you might wish to take on
the joyful responsibility of inviting one of them to
become part of your family.
The VSS talk on 3 Jul is fully subscribed. The talk by
Dr Casey deRoos is titled 'How Nutrition Affects Joints,
Muscles and Bones'. Dr Casey is a Doctor of
Chiropractic D.C, Cum Laude (USA). We have more
talks scheduled for later this year. Details soon.
1. Our last issue contained correspondence about
so-called 'free range' eggs. Upon reading that, reader
Jaipal Gill, from SPCA – www.spca.org.sg – wrote in
to say (reprinted with Jaipal's permission):
I just read your latest copy of the newsletter,
a fantastic read as always!
There was a short bit about "Freedom Eggs". Does this
refer to the newly introduced Freedom Range Eggs
which are produced locally? If so, they are not
free range as the name cheekily suggests. The AVA
does not permit free range chicken farming in
Singapore due to bird flu concerns. These eggs are
barn laid. The chickens can actually be seen if
you drive past their farm at Lim Chu Kang.
While there are many welfare problems associated
with the barn farming system (and free range as well),
it's still better than the traditional battery farms.
2. A reader wrote in to say that she was committed to
going veg but having health problems adjusting to
a veg diet. VSS does not dispense individual health
advice. However, we do have a list of health
professionals who, for their usual fees, will provide
health advice to vegetarians. She asked for that list.
To see the list, write info@.... No word back
from the reader.
3. Similarly, some JC students wrote in with questions
for a veg dietician, and we referred them to one on
the above list. The students wrote back to report a
4. About three issues back, we had a query about
veg shoes, and we referred the reader to the advice
offered by our friends at ACRES. Among that advice
was to try MacBeth shoes – www.macbeth.com –
which are not only non-leather, but also use glue of
non-animal origins. The good news is that another
reader recently spotted MacBeth shoes at a Bata shop.
The bad news is that if you're going for an interview for
the job of CEO of a Fortune 500 company, MacBeth
may not have any shoes for you.
VSS supports ACRES' ongoing "Save the World's
Saddest Dolphins" campaign, in which we humans
speak up for dolphins and urge Resorts World Sentosa
to shelve their plans to house 25 wild-caught dolphins
in their upcoming marine park attraction.
ACRES is doing a roadshow 1-3 Jul (Fri-Sun),
The Cathay, 2 Handy Road , 11am-9pm. Watch the
campaign videos and, most importantly, take a petition
photo on the spot. Please help the dolphins by
speaking up for them and asking Resorts World to
please let the dolphins go!
Find out more here:
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