Friday, January 13, 2012

How to perpetuate the effort of vegetarian movement

Vegetarian awareness in Singapore is definitely on the rise.

Yesterday I received a call from The Strait Times
surveying the trend of vegetarian outlets in Singapore
asking a lot of questions about the demand of vegetarian fodd
and the owners' intentions of setting up vegetarian outlets in Singapore.

Meanwhile, as published on
we also see that vegetarians are getting
more vocal and defensive about their aspirations

And, looking at the feedback column following both online articles
it's thrilling to see the endless debates between
pro-veg and anti-veg sentiments.

I noticed this situation many years back,
and was indeed very puzzled
why even with the hard solid facts and figures
general public are still "not convinced" to go a little less meat...

I later got some guidance/inspirations from teachers
that the vegetarian movement
has to go beyond just raising awareness,
and evolve into imparting proper education on vegetarianism.
-- This so as to perpetuate/sustain the effort of vegetarian movement
done so far in Singapore.

From what I have been experiencing,
proper veg education isn't that straight forward
like running a weekend Veg Roadshow
or putting a few veg lines on FB.

That is at most drawing public attention/awareness,
and merely suggesting to the public about
how they may go via a plant-based diet
to improve their health, protect animal welfare and conserve the environment.

Vegetarian community has to take one step up
to adopt a more holistic educational approach
via a "planned" step-wise nurturing process:

The followings are some suggestive steps that fellow vegetarians may adopt
to better convince/influence family and friends to go less meat more veg :)

Step 1. befriending with non-veg
            -- greet them with smile and kind words always, to establish a good first image :P

Step 2. building rapport/bonding with non-veg
            -- by participating in their lives
               e.g. go non-veg restaurant with them (but order veg option) and do sports with non-veg

Step 3. establishing moderate and trustworthy image of a veg
            -- interact with non-veg by good will, without prejudice,
               shower them with compassion and always willing to add value in non-veg's lives.
               This is a critical bridging step for subsequent "information transmission"

Step 4. gradual information feeding to non-veg
            -- subtly and casually pass on information on plant-based diet (with positive vibes)
                e.g. the anti-aging benefits of phytonutrients

Step 5. engaging non-veg in *omnivore-friendly* veg events/activities
            -- that is to receive non-veg friends in veg events with sincerity and
                absolutely avoid anti non-veg sentiment during conversations.
                This is so that non-veg would feel welcome and won't feel out of place.

Step 6. confer proper education about vegetarianism
            via good books, videos, lectures and workshops 
            -- these educational info has to be fact/science based, absolutely no emotional remarks
                and most importantly with moderate views.
                Otherwise, non-veg tends tp think veg are just a bunch of extremist.
Step 7. lend non-veg friends unconditional support/love
            when they decide to try out a vegetarian regime
           -- when non-veg step out of their comfort zone to try out a new diet,
               support and love are essentials to give them a sense of security and
               to gather courage to move on.

As one can see from above,
promoting vegetarianism is not going to be
simply opening our mouth and argue by the facts and figures
(and stirring up heated, meaningless debate sometimes).

Vegetarian education movement takes
a great deal of energy,
a lot of patience to nurture,
a very deep compassion to educate the non-veg public

Only by a holistic approach to educate,
then only vegetarianism will continue bloom harmoniously in Singapore.

Well regards,
Kee Yew

{Learning Holistic Wellness for Wisdom and Compassion}

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