The following is an article by Carol Pan, a Singaporean vegan. Carol shares with us her life story as a vegan and how was it like surviving as a vegan in Singapore.
I had officially started my life journey as a vegetarian since 1999. In fact before that I’d tried once not having any meat consumption for a week. But I did it because of my religion as a Buddhist. That one week to me seems one year, as I was too young and was not guided on how I should start off, so I took plain biscuits for my meals. On the third day of the week I started feeling weak, worst of all I started vomiting, having diarrhoea and fever.
I consulted a doctor and was thus diagnosed with dengue fever. For the rest of that one week I totally lost my appetite till I started recovering after three days of good rest. Then guess what? I find myself too pathetic starving so I decided to give up. The first thing I did was to dial for KFC delivery and I enjoyed a chicken feast!
One fine day in 1999, my mum casually passed me a DVD from one of the Buddhist temple of how farm animals are slaughtered for food. I was so terribly shocked after watching. I wasn’t aware that cruelties are injected to the poor animals such as being enclosed in small cages; pigs got electrocuted, their ears nipped off without any anesthetics during the process. I cried while finishing the whole movie. I can remember that’s the moment when I swore I’ll never eat them again! All the more I couldn’t bring myself to hurt any animals whom are of the same kind like my pet dog.
Nevertheless, I still eat eggs and dairy products since I thought they don’t have to die for them. My family wasn’t vegetarians but they do respect me for being one. So usually we’ll visit different vegetarian restaurants for any festive celebrations. I don’t force them to think like me, but I never stop educating them all these while.
Most typical people always think that meat is very essential for our health wellness and it’s hard to change them since eating meat has like been a tradition for the Chinese. I was very firm and never have the urge to consume any meat at all throughout these years. It wasn’t at all difficult when we find ourselves very good reasons why we shouldn’t! That’s why my second attempt lasted for more than ten over years.
Fortunately, there are many good vegetarian restaurants around in Singapore. So I don’t find any difficulties having delicious meals outside at all! The other benefit about being a non meat-eater, I look so much younger than my actual age. I was also very often complimented for my good complexion too.
Several months back I began to visit the vegetarian and vegan pages in Facebook, that’s where I found myself many vegetarian/vegan friends all over the world. The truth of the meat industries became more visually exposed to me. I realize that eggs and dairy products were produced through the animals’ sufferings too! Even those of our daily essential needs such as fur wears, cosmetics or beauty products also support animals’ cruelty.
That’s when my final or complete stage of being a vegetarian had reached its peak.
I switched to a vegan by stopping eggs, dairy products, honey and I buy eco friendly products for daily essential usage, and somehow it automatically shoo me away when I saw leather products too during shopping. I ensure I watch out for the ingredients contained on every choices of food I’d chosen to be fed into my stomach.
Now I ate lots of fruits and veggies. It makes me feel wonderful. I felt lighter, healthier and most importantly enjoy a more complete guilt-free lifestyle. I don’t contribute sufferings to the other sentient beings. I’m more clear-headed on what I want in life. I hope to fight for the voiceless, as long as I’m still breathing in my remaining life. Just my strength alone can be too weak and I know very well it’s beyond my ability to change the entire world. But I won’t stop, even if at the end of the day I might only change one person’s view, I will pass on without regrets.
There’s a favourite quote of mine I’d like to share with all of you:
‘I won’t die if I don’t eat meat, but they definitely will if I did.’