Why vegetarianism? What’s the basic concept?
Different people have different reasons—health, religion and compassion for animals are some of them. Besides that, meat eating is very wasteful. You’ve got to feed a cow 10kg of food to get 1kg of beef. So there are ecological reasons too. All this food for the animals means less food for people who are dying of starvation.
How long have you been a vegetarian and how did you get into it?
Twenty-five years. I had read this book called Diet For A Small Planet about the inefficiency of eating a non-vegetarian diet. But now my number one reason is compassion for animals.
Why do vegetarians need a society? Do they feel marginalized or something?
Yes, you could say that I guess. One of the primary reasons, besides supporting vegetarians, is to educate others.
How did you end up as the president of the Vegetarian Society?
No one else wanted to be.
Is one of your duties conversions? (Like to convert all meat eaters into vegetarians?)
Do you have something like a de-addiction center for people who want to quit eating meat and eggs?
No, but that would be a good idea. We do have a VCD that sometimes turns people completely off meat. To others, we say, try it gradually if you can’t go cold turkey.
Can you list out the five most important benefits of going green?
Help the animals.
Help the environment.
Help people without enough food.
Strengthen your altruism muscle.
Eating too much meat is bad for your health.
Are there any drawbacks?
I’m not personally too worried about the whole protein deficiency debate. You get supplements and fortified food that does just the same thing.
How do you rate Singapore as a place for vegetarians?
I think it’s a great place. There’s a lot of variety and people go out of their way to accommodate you.
What’s the best vegetarian eatery in town?
Personally, I like my own kitchen.
Do your friends look at you as the habitual pain in the neck when going out to eat?
It’s different with different people. As long as I don’t get in their face about eating animals, they don’t get in mine.