Monday, August 29, 2005


Sam Kee (Dessert place- at 1am where I had yummy almond dessert soup)





A book for me perhaps

I across a book called 'being vegan in a non vegan world' from vegan momma's blog

From chapter one:

All of us who are vegan have at some time or another just felt like absolute outsiders in the places that we’re supposed to be the most comfortable… our homes, our jobs, and with our friends and families. Though most vegans are likely not any “freakier” than your average person, the simple and compassionate act of denying animal products for ethical reasons can literally make you into the weirdo at the dinner table, or in other social and personal contexts.
.

I haven't got it YET but judging by that quote alone I want to. Perhaps the hardest part about being a vegan isn't the food, or the shoe shopping (although at times that part is tricky) but attitudes from others.

As argumentative and passionate as I might be, I don't preach, well certainly not to acquaintances anyway. In fact I've even learned that when someone asks you why you are vegan at a meal time to simply reply with 'if you really want to know ask me at a time when your not eating'.

I've learned lot alot about people since becoming vegan. Things that I would never have imagined. The word vegan is simply said (often by other people) and I don't even have to say another word without assumptions being made, and defensiveness, anger, frustration, someone wanting an argument, or to get a rise out of me. Someone proclaiming that it is a faze, or that i will get sick, or that it is crazy or god knows what else but you can be sure I have heard it all before. One guy even told me that his idea of hell was discovering that he couldn't eat meat. A certain ex boyfriend had this whole idea that my veganism (and my concern for anything he disagreed with-womens rights, the environment) was just a way for me to isolate myself and so that I could feel different. Because being different is so much fun (idiot!). Everyone also has a story of someone they knew who was vegetarian once and went back (many who suprise suprise got sick as a result of a french fries diet). Somehow I'm also made out to be this extremist animal rights activist who is yelling murder at the top of my lungs when I'm just sitting there eating my food and wanting to be left alone. Answers are demanded from me-why? (its all in the way you say why, its a dead give away) and a thousand others. You can also be sure that I know my nutrition back to front (a lot of people seem to get their nutrition advice from tv ads- the dairy corporation has done very well for itself in that respect), and I won't even honour a response to the 'but plants have feelings too'-pllllllease stop wasting my time and my energy.

I should probably say that its all in the tone, I have plently of meat eating friends who I never have these conversations with, and plently who ask out of genuine curiosity. I don't mind answering and explaining to them. I was certainly one of those people prior to being a vegan and I guess thats why I was suprised by others reactions towards it. My family is perhaps the worst, you would think I would have created a crime the way my grandmother goes on about it.

Mr T is vegan too but has a very different approach. In fact quite often he will tell me not hide the fact that I'm vegan which I must admit I do at times just to avoid confrontation (see above), sometimes I just want to be without having to explain my lifestyle choices. In a similar way I don’t throw around the f word (yes feminist). Both words create a lot of feelings in people and its not nice to be the person on the receiving end all the friggin time.

He on the other hand will proudly tell everyone he meets and explain it with patience. I have a few theories on this. One i've been a vegan slightly longer than him and therefore have learned my lesson, or otherwise exhausted from explaining/defending my choice within my life whereas it just hasn't got to him YET (pessimistic i admit). Two, different cultures perhaps chinese are more open minded to veganism and not quite as defensive as Australians are (although doesn't quite sound right). Three, he is simply more patient and pessimistic (he thinks that they everyone will be open minded).

12 comments:

yuanna said...

I really like reading your entries, always so funny and genuine. Are we allowed to talk about Mr. T behind his back?:-)

I have always been interested in the F word too though I admit I was for a while distracted by the fall of masculinity. But my approach is I prefer the emphasis on femininity rather than equal rights. Femininity is a category above all, not something that can be easily imitated, parodied or mocked at.

I am a HUGE Bonds fan but I see the beauty of the female form rather than just tits and lots of computer work. I think the model they use is quite "neutral". I'm doubtful about the healthy/sexy strategy of Victoria Secrets but the other extreme would be the ads from Agent Provocateur. It's a joke on men's infantility, the fact that they still enjoy the role-playing thing and mammy's spanks.

But whatever you call/label yourself, there's bound to be stereotypical assumptions. I'm really glad that you've found your tags. They are the first things that Toby said to me about you. Weird images did flash for two seconds but then I thought, "How cool is that?" All my life I've only been labelled as STUBBORN. Urgh ...

Harmonia said...

I saw you on Vegan Momma's Blog Comments and had to visit! Great place you have here. I'm located at: http://harmonious.blogdrive.com - mind if I link you?

kristy said...

Harmonia, no link away, i'll be sure to check out your site too.

Yuanna,thanks for commenting. Yes I know mr t proudly boasts about me being a feminist and a vegan. I'm not sure how most of his friends react to that. But i know he does it because he is proud of those things (which is cute in itself) not becauses he sees me as just those two catgeories. And yes lets talk about him behind his back :P. Ohhps too late for that!

You can be a feminst and be feminine, I don't see the two as mutually exclusive. I also see the beauty of the female form but the bonds ad isn't showing the complete female form either. The problem which breaking it down into parts in this add (breasts and butt)is it helps to reinforce the notion of women as possessions. It also doesn't help with female body image-which is a huge huge problem when you look at the frequency of eating disorders in young girls.

The other problem is the male gaze which encourages women to view their looks as a 'source of power and to predicate their self-esteem on their ability to attract the male gaze'. The male gaze is so 'normal' within media that most women don't even notice that we are constantly seeing images of other women as objects to be desired. Perhaps we also start to adopt a male way of seeing other women as well. We are however more than pretty girls yuanna, and certainly more than a couple of body parts.

Btw, do they have bonds in HK (i never saw any)?

ann said...

Hi Kristy, I came to your site through some Melbourne friends and blogs. Glad I did! I like your photos and writing. My site is www.anns-kitchen.blogspot.com

yuanna said...

Kristy, you've got a fanbase here!!

Yes I'm aware of the male gaze. Can't undo it. Can't ignore it either. But I believe sometimes parts can speak for the whole. I guess writings would be a more neutral zone if we are to discuss femininity - I might be getting essentialist here.

There's an old Chinese phrase that goes, "Women please who pleases them", rather than just "Women make themselves happy." The first time for "women" to be a subject actually shows how subjected we are.

Have you watched Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? It's a great family movie. I mean Burton is an interesting director. He adds the bit about Willy Wonka's father and my first reaction was hello, where's the mother? Shouldn't both parents get blamed if their son is weird?

Having said that, I do get my satisfaction from romantic love (feel free to equate that with "men"). Ask Mr. T, that's all I care about!

No Bonds in Hong Kong except big department stores like Sogo in the Mainland, where some of their stuff is made I guess.

kristy said...

Yuanna, I wish we could sit down and have a drink and discuss this in more detail. Maybe you should start a blog as Mr T suggested.

Ann, thanks for commenting. So many people visit without commenting and I have no idea who reads it at all. I checked out your blog and we seemed to have moved in opposite directions you from Melb to HK and me from HK to Melb.

tekanji said...

First off, I'd like to say great post. I'm sorry that you've come up against such virulent attitudes.

Yes I know mr t proudly boasts about me being a feminist and a vegan. I'm not sure how most of his friends react to that. But i know he does it because he is proud of those things...

Hearing that gives me a warm fuzzy. It may sound silly, but it's gratifying to know about the partners out there who are overtly supportive of unpopular stances like feminism and veganism. Especially in the face of possible pressure by friends - I know a lot of men and women who have been influenced by their mysognistic friends. I also love finding feminist men, which Mr. T seems to be from all I've read about him.

claire said...

hey kristy.
I was a vegeaquarian (a vegetarian who eats seafood) for six and half years, and then, when I was overseas recently I broke my resolve and began eating a little bit of meat, at the time it was partly because I was in a country where I did not know the language and could no longer be bothered with trying to find out what did not contain meat.

I am still eating meet now, feeling a little worse for it too. I am having ethical issues with myself because of it. Another reason for giving up my vegeaquarianism was because I feel like a pain in the arse when people had to accomodate for me and make something not meaty if I went to their place for a meal, probably not something I should be feeling bad about, there are HEAPS of choices when cooking without meat I guess a lot of people just aren't aware of it. The other reason I am still eating the poor animals is that I became quite lazy, bad me.

Anyway, what you wrote has reminded me of something that used to be so important to me, where has my resolve gone?? I think I'm going to back to being a vegeaquarian.

Out of genuine interest, why are you vegan and not just vegetarian?

kristy said...

Hi claire, and thanks for commenting. I know myself it can be hard overseas. I try to prepare food whenever or wherever i am going so others don't have to worry about me and everyone(who is willing to try) always seems pleasantly suprised with my snacks/meals. Btw, do you have a blog? or is this the claire i know in real life?

To answer your question I first I gave up dairy for health reasons which kind of got me thinking about my diet in a different way which actually led me to vegetarianism.

But the reasons I stay vegan are quite varied. In summary though its all about trying to reduce all types of suffering or rather not wanting to contribute to any more suffering. Whether that be for animals, people (my health plus the whole poverty argument) and the environment. Its the easiest way I can be an activist every single day and stand up for what I believe in. I only wish i could stand up for all the other things I cared about so easily.

I'm not sure if that answers your question or not. To be more specific, I don't believe vegetarianism goes far enough. Not only because the veal calves (perhaps the most reprehensible of all) are a bi product of the dairy corporation but also because of health reasons (i feel much better on a vegan diet), poltical reasons (i almost feel like the dairy coporation has everyone brainwashed into thinking dairy is the only source of calcium), and the dairy cows also contribute to Global Warming/ Greenhouse Effect (yes through their flatulence-hehe) (see www.notmlk.com for more reasons).

Besides there is just something that doesn't sit right with me about consuming another animals milk. Particuarly when we are talking about artificially inseminating a cow (and you thought female humans had it bad) so it will produce a calf then taking a calf away (quite often to be made into veal) so we can steal its milk.

I hope that answers your question. I know I've answered to one specific thing -dairy products but that seemed to be the part that people question the most.

tugboatcaptain said...

tekanji,

I am pro-equal rights as I was so lucky that I read the right newspapers/magazines/books when i was a teenager.

I think it is great to have a partner who share the same visions.

Vegan Momma said...

I can relate to what you are talking about. It does get frustrating at times explaining repeatedly where I am receiving my protein, fat, calcium, et cetera.

I do realize that a lot of people are curious because we seem different. In a world where animals make their ways into many things, even items we might not realize, seeing someone consciously avoiding them seems bizarre, almost freakish. I have had a lot of people wonder how can I possibly avoid eating animals? It seems, to them, nearly impossible and incredibly hard since they have not been around anyone such as myself. Guess what it’s not! :-)

I have always been interested in my overall health and well-being and I have a genuine love for all animals. It never seemed right that some animals were given the title ‘pets’ and were loved and taken care of while others only purpose was to be fed to us. I was a long-term vegetarian a little over 12 years. I was a ‘strict vegetarian’ or as I liked to call myself a ‘happy vegetarian’ for many of those years. Which meant I consciously avoided consuming all animal. When I eliminated them from my clothing and home. I became Vegan.

I have found that most people after being around me see my lifestyle choice is not as strange as they initially thought. There are quite a few that have changed their eating habits and are not eating as many animals. Like you I do not preach at them. I think that is a huge turn off but I try to lead by example.

claire said...

yep this is the claire you know. the 'vegan freak' book sounds interesting... I might get a copy.

It is strange that humans have become so accustomed to drinking cows milk, which is made for baby cows, and we are not baby cows!