Life as a Vegetarian

As some frequent readers of edonn.com will know, I am currently serving my two plus years of national service — at present I am undergoing something called BMT, or Basic Military Training.

I have been posted to Charlie company (one company consists of about two hundred recruits). In my company, there are only two vegetarians, one of whom is me, the other a muslim who is probably vegetarian for religious purposes.

Vegetarianism, I believe, is not very popular in Singapore, and especially not so among the male Singaporeans.

Why I am a vegetarian

I turned vegetarian really out of fun. My sis had just started trying out the vegetarian lifestyle, and I thought “why not?”, and decided to join her. For a year I ate no meat except seafood; this was followed by my completely cutting out seafood as well.

My turning vegetarian has nothing to do with religion (or, at least, very little; you could argue that Catholic’s no meat on friday had something to do with it), and little to do with health (I only learned recently that those with blood type A might benefit from a vegetarian diet).

After I got myself an Apple eMac though, I have started to have doubts as to whether or not my turning vegetarian had something to do with my wanting to be “different” — I am not proud of wanting to be different, but I would not rule that reason out; I do like the limelight once in a while.

Missing meat

One of the most frequent questions I get asked about vegetarianism, especially after one learns I converted out of “fun” as recently as three years ago, is whether or not I get cravings for meat. The answer is “no”.

Cravings for meat is something meat-eaters get, but not for most vegetarians.

You can understand other beings only to the extent that you know yourself.

A person who had never consciously experienced bodily pain could not possibly know anything about the pain suffered by others.

E. F. Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed

Harder to eat meat

I have had people praising me for my “faithfulness” and discipline to keeping to a vegetarian diet for so long. Perhaps I should make it clear that being vegetarian no longer requires much discipline nor effort. At the start of my conversion, I have to admit it took some effort. Right now though, if you asked me which was easier, being a meat-eater or a vegetarian, the answer would most definitely be “vegetarian”.

It is harder to convert back to eating-meat than it is to remain where I am. As such, as much as people praise me for remaining vegetarian, I can praise them for remaining meat-eaters.

Problems with vegetarianism

Vegetarianism has played with my mind a bit. I used to have no qualms squashing ants or slapping mosquitoes — “die! die! die! to hell with you pesky insects!”. After a year or so of a meatless diet though, killing even the peskiest, most terrible insects, feels like sin.

Eating out with friends also becomes quite a bother. No more McDonald’s or most other fast-food restaurants anymore, and barbeques can be difficult to plan.

Majority rule

I guess the problems that plague Mac users are very often similar to the problems that plague vegetarians — too many companies cater only to the majority, leaving out the minority to fend for themselves. If the majority of the people were vegetarians, eating out wouldn’t be a problem, nor would people have problems catering to vegetarians at barbeques.

Perhaps that too reflects “democracy” — majority rule may work most of the time, but “most of the time”, when concerning the lives of millions, may be too little. If an elected government wins by 75% of the votes, you can say that it was a convincing win, and that one should be in pretty safe hands.

But 25% is no small percentage. When do we get returns of our money that large? Do banks ever pay interest so high? If a shop offers discounts of 25%, we would believe it is a good deal, so what makes us so generous with the voting of the government?

But then again, are humans meant to be governed in the first place?

One thought on “Life as a Vegetarian

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