Vegetarian FAQs

I will eat you and all of those you cherish, happy eggplant.

As a relatively new vegetarian, I’ve found myself answering the same questions over and over again. It’s interesting that people suddenly take an immense interest, sometimes even offence, to a lifestyle choice I’ve made. Buzzfeed has a good summary. So, as to ease the pressing questions, many people seem to have about what I ingest, digest, draw nutrients from, and expel, here’s a handy FAQ guide.

When did that happen?

It happened just after I moved to Singapore.

Ahh, so the meat’s not good there?

It’s not great, but that’s not the reason I stopped eating it entirely. Most of the meat here is sourced from the around the region: Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia so on, and most of these countries don’t have the best track record of animal welfare. That was my initial line of thinking, it then progressed to me realising whole meat industry does not have the best track record for that kind of thing.

Are you eating enough protein? What sort of supplements are you taking?

Let me answer your question with another question: have you ever heard of anyone being protein deficient? Iron deficient, certainly, but protein deficient? Nope. I do appreciate your concern though. I’m not taking any supplements. Fortunately, I regularly eat my body weight in Asian greens and tofu, both excellent sources of protein. Also, though trying to generally reduce my intake of animal product, I am definitely not vegan and continue to ingest inhuman amounts of cheese and Greek yoghurt. Thank you again for your concern.

Is this a weight loss thing?

Really? What exactly are you implying? But no, absolutely not. That’s the dumbest reason ever to remove entire food groups from your diet, I’m talking to you non-Coeliac, non-allergy, gluten haters!

But you’ll have a big steak when you go back to visit Australia, right?

No. Steak is meat.

What about barbeques??

Veggie burgers are delicious and come in many forms. I have an awesome recipe for chickpea patties actually. Plus salads, bread, beer, etc. Rest assured I can still enjoy many barbeque staples and I won’t ruin your good time, promise!

What about the plants? They’re alive, they might have feelings too.

Ok. Oh. Kay. This question makes me conclude that you’re being facetious and therefore an arsehole, or you’re legitimately asking and therefore you’re an idiot. Firstly, plants don’t have central nervous systems so it’s pretty safe to conclude they have no pain receptors. Furthermore, plant are generally fixed in one place and can’t escape predators which also lends itself to the pretty solid theory that, seeing as they make no effort to avoid it, plants don’t feel pain. Also, I hate you.

What about your poor partner?

My poor partner, I hear that a lot actually, I wonder what that means? Anywho, as I mentioned, he is still resolutely carnivorous. This however is a trait that is increasingly incompatible with his aversion to cooking. I cook most nights so he eats vegetarian most nights. If he wants meat, he can cook it himself, the freezer is well-stocked. He still orders meat when we eat out and has it for lunch most days, just not so much at home.

You’ll get over it.

Thanks for the support, Mum!

Hawker centre special: Huh?

No meat, no seafood. This dish, no meat. Just vegetables! Yes, no meat! No crab, no seafood, just vegetables. Tofu is ok. Just vegetables? Ok? Ok. Good. Thank you, Auntie.

Singapose?

Thanks to a combination of working from home and the omnipresent heat, I have joined the cult of Ceebs. Short for CBF, which is short for Can’t Be Fucked. Ceebs: when you’re too lazy to even use a three-letter abbreviation. The Ceebs garb consists of whatever is on the floor, today it’s a pyjama singlet and a hand-me-down skirt from a former housemate. The cult of Ceebs is non-committal on issues of hair. Long hair, don’t care. Short hair, don’t care. Hair, don’t care. Proper bras? I’m sorry but you’re not an ideal candidate for this religious movement. Deodorant? Well, actually yes because it’s 32 degrees and 95% humidity, show a little consideration!

My cult of Ceebs has had little uptake here in Singapore though. It appears to be limited to me and elderly Chinese grandpas. They rock the knee socks and sandals combo, often paired with no shirt and safari shorts, like no one’s business.

No, appearances are a big thing here. Labels, designers, malls at every train station. The constant, relentless pursuit of what is new and trendy. Do people still say trendy? Anyway, as Barney Stinson would say, “New is always better”. He could have been talking about Singapore rather than boobs.

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I think I have cracked it though. The reason for the constant shopping and reflection-checking. The holy grail of “New is always better”. Bow down, sinners, and drink from the sacred, everlasting cup of Selfie. The Selfie reigns supreme and we are its mere followers. Repent your invisible, undocumented, offline existence, and you too can be saved! Testify, Tweet and praise the name of the Almighty Selfie. Blessed is thy profile, Facebook be thy name. Thy Kingdom come on Earth as it is on FourSquare. Forgive us our daily down-votes, as we forgive those who have down-voted against us. That was fun, but I’ll stop now.

Case in point:

A friend was visiting so we went to a hawker centre on Marina Bay for dinner last night. It was a beautiful spot, looking out over Marina Bay Sands (boat hotel), the Singapore Flyer (Ferris wheel), and the merlion (still not sure what it is). The group on the table next to us were taking photos. Fair enough, it was a touristy spot and very photogenic. But they weren’t capturing the bustle and colour of the hawker stalls, or the city lights reflecting off the water in Marina Bay, they weren’t even Instagramming their food. Selfies. A girl whipped out her telescopic selfie stick, extended it to a good metre in length and snapped flattering, high-angle shots for most of their meal. Not capturing candid moments of friends sharing a meal, or even the beautiful view in the background. Just themselves. It was deeply weird. It makes you wonder about the barrage of images their online friends and followers must be battered with. To quote Facebook: “I don’t want to see this”, “Hiding post…”.

Selfies are epidemic here. In the strangest places: in front of billboards, waiting for and riding on public transport, in the bathrooms of shopping centres, everywhere. Trying to think of a word to describe is it difficult, vain seems too callous, as does self-obsessed (maybe selfie-obsessed?). It’s almost an national youth identity crisis. The classic case of if a tree falls in the woods and no one sees it, photographs it, uploads it to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, hashtagged #tree #nature #goingdownyellingtimber #fail, and used three different Emojis in the caption, did the tree really fall? The lesson being that the tree is the real winner, especially when you’re too busy looking at your phone to notice said tree looming in front of you. Don’t worry, the girl was fine, she didn’t even drop her phone.