"Mom, can we go meatless? My daughter asked me in tears."
Sixteen years ago, famous local actress Lin Meijiao and her daughter, who was still a primary school student, watched a documentary about the food industry. When her daughter, Chantalle Ng, saw how the animals were being slaughtered, she found it cruel and immediately burst into tears. She decided to become a vegetarian on the spot and persuaded her mother to also become a vegetarian. The mother and daughter have since been adopting a vegetarian diet for many years.
Lin Meijiao said happily: "Ever since I became a vegetarian, I feel happy and content. I feel that this is the most satisfying and the best thing I do with my life. I don’t feel any pressure being a vegetarian. Instead, my body and soul feel cleansed.”
On July 16, 2022, during the Zero • Market cum Super Veggie Super Fun event held at Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre, actress Lin Meijiao shared her 16 years of vegetarianism experience with the public. As an active figure in the local entertainment industry for more than 35 years, she revealed in an interview that both mother and daughter are vegetarians, but this was the first time she advocated vegetarianism in public.
"Vegetarians have a kind heart. For every vegetarian meal one takes, one gets to accumulate merits.”
She said happily: “Advocating vegetarianism is a very meaningful and important thing to do. If everyone tries the vegetarian diet after hearing what I said, I will be delighted.”
It All started with a Thought
Lin Meijiao shared that when she was a child, she was terrified by how the elders slaughtered the chickens, and she vowed that she would not want to commit such a cruel act. Only until she grew up to be an adult that she realised she could choose what she wanted to eat. She mentioned that when there are eating scenes during filming, the crews will prepare vegetarian food for her, which makes her very grateful.
The kind-hearted mother and daughter not only adopt stray dogs but also foster abandoned dogs at home. Lin Meijiao said that one of the dogs named Xiaobai was very ferocious when it first arrived at their home, and no one could get near it. However, the mother and daughter managed to build up trust between themselves and the dog gradually. Hence this made Lin Meijiao feel that animals are spiritual too.
Lin Meijiao mentioned that she usually persuades her friends to go meatless casually, emphasising that it should be done gradually and not hastily. She said that if we have the right mentality, we will not give in to discriminating thoughts when we encounter changes in the external environment. Things will happen naturally at the right time and with the right affinity.
Go Meatless to Protect Animals
The event was held at Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre, formerly Yishun Polyclinic’s premise. Volunteer Lee Teck Hock, who used to seek medical treatment at the old Yishun Polyclinic, mentioned that he often visited this place to see a doctor and get his cholesterol medicine.
"But after becoming a vegetarian, I regained my health, and I no longer need to use drugs to control my cholesterol level!" He shared proudly and was applauded by the audience.
Lee Teck Hock often assists Tzu Chi with carrying and moving supplies. After becoming a vegetarian, he still has the same strength to carry out the physically demanding chore. Hence, he appealed to the audience to be animal saviours and said: "You are what you eat. Let’s become vegetarians together, okay?"
He further emphasised: "The fastest way to save the earth is to be a vegetarian. Let us all work hard to promote vegetarianism and encourage everyone to adopt a plant-based diet slowly.”
Youths Go Meatless to Give Perfect Love
On stage, three young people born in the 1990s were invited to share how they changed their eating habits and embarked on the journey of vegetarianism.
A young vegetarian, Khoo Yi Shao, started adopting a plant-based diet at the age of 13, and his mother joined him a week later. The 26-year-old aircraft engineer shared that it was convenient for him to practise vegetarianism even while serving national service as he had the option of Chinese or Indian vegetarian meals.
He also revealed that he was required to slaughter a chicken during one of the training sessions, but he did not do so as he could not bear to do it. Although he did not complete the assigned task, he had a clear conscience and did not regret it. Khoo Yi Shao said that whether one chooses to be a vegetarian for health reasons, to protect the environment, or to protect the animals, the most important thing is that one must have a pure heart to protect the integrity of all life forms.
Lim Yu Jing, who is gentle and polite, was shocked by the process of animal slaughtering after watching the documentary "Farm to Fridge" when she was 19. She became a vegetarian since then.
"I thought cows lived in the vast grasslands, but the truth is they live in narrow sheds." Lim Yu Jing, who has pets at home, noticed that pets also fear death when the time comes, so she could not bear to hurt them.
In the beginning, Lim Yu Jing did not give up seafood completely until her brother, who was also a vegetarian, explained to her that marine animals would also feel hurt; they just could not express themselves. Only then did she become determined to stop eating seafood altogether.
"Discovering about the amount of pollution and level of damage brought by the livestock industry was the turning point for me to become a vegetarian," said Gan Ming De.
Since turning 21, Gan Ming De has been persevering in going meatless for eight years. He believes that animal life should not be sacrificed for human health because animals are just like humans, they only live once.
Senior volunteer cum event host Tan Seok Kee, who has been actively participating in the event preparation since April, said, "With the celebrity here to join forces with our volunteers, kind thoughts will be resonated. Knowing that it is not easy to advocate vegetarianism, yet we are seeing more people here together to motivate each other.”
On every first and third Saturday of the month, the Zero • Market which is held at the Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre promotes a zero carbon footprint lifestyle. At the Zero • Market, Tzu Chi volunteers hold fun and dynamic "Super Veggie Super Fun" activities to advocate vegetarianism. It has been held eight times so far, encouraging the public to start from their plates to protect animals and our environment.