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Veros Support a Green Cause

As a logistics and financial hub, Singapore has an exciting spread of culinary delights to offer. Vegetarian cuisine is no longer the standard fare of green vegetables and tofu of yesteryear; today one can see vegetarian menus influenced by the creativity of different cultures around the world. The Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching) kicked off its 6th VERO(Veggie Hero)activity with “VERO Go!” and participants took the MRT in search of tasty vegetarian delights from around the world.

“Go Green, Be Bold!” Loud enthusiastic shouts could be heard emanating from the Jurong East MRT station on the morning of 12 November 2016. It was the official kickoff of the 6th VERO(Veggie Hero)activity, “VERO Go!”

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Luo Shu Min from NTU (leftmost) realised the great amount of water resources needed in the production of meat and decided that vegetarianism is one way in which she could go green. Photo by Chen You Yi

“Do you know what is the equivalent number of hours a bulb must stay lighted for, if one takes a lift up a floor?”

“When is the annual World No Tobacco Day?”

Before the Tzu Chings set off on their food search, every group had to complete a green quiz to ascertain their level of proficiency in the topic. The “VERO Go!” activity not only featured a quiz, there was also a food trail and various obstacle courses to be completed, all of which would offer valuable opportunities for learning.

“How much water is needed to produce 0.5kg of beef?”

This question had a great impact on NTU Tzu Ching Luo Shu Min who was a new joiner in the association. “It actually takes 9,500 litres of water to produce 0.5kg of beef. When I heard the answer, I realised that the amount of water used to raise cattle is so much more than that used to produce vegetables,” said Luo. She added that she could help the earth in simple ways, such as by following a vegetarian diet.

On the Trail of Being Eco-Friendly

After completing the green quiz, the Tzu Chings drew lots to decide which country’s vegetarian cuisine they would be on the trail of — would it be Japan, Korea, Mexico, Vietnam or Indonesia? They were to use the MRT to complete the mission and apart from sniffing out places for vegetarian foods, they also had to provide a review of the quality of food served and know the restaurant’s objective.

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After completing the green quiz at the beginning of the “VERO Go!” activity, each team drew lots to decide the country whose vegetarian cuisine they were to sniff out next. Here is one of the teams at a vegetarian restaurant they’ve found. Photo by Fang Qiao Lin

Following their success in nailing down the restaurants, they were given different tasks to complete. Two of these tasks in particular took up a lot of their time; the first was to locate a retail outlet that sold eco-friendly utensils and the other, to take a picture with three shoppers carrying reusable shopping bags. One group decided to make their way down to the Japan Home store at The Star Vista, and there they found the eco-friendly utensils.

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Tzu Chings at the Japan Home shop at The Star Vista searching for eco-friendly dining utensils. Photo by Fang Qiao Lin

Li Yi Qing from Ngee Ann Polytechnic had a deep impression of the latter activity. She explained that she had thought that the number of people using their own shopping bags in Singapore were few and far between as retailers were normally very generous in giving out plastic bags. Yet, this task was not as difficult as she had thought as there were still shoppers who would come prepared with their reusable bags.

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Tzu Ching Li Yang Yang (left) at a mall in Tiong Bahru after completing her mission to find three shoppers with eco-friendly reusable bags. Photo by Chen You Yi

“Us little Veggie Heroes, with haste reduce carbon output and save the earth. Let small actions become a pure stream, let us co-exist with the earth forever……” Tai Kai Pik, a Tzu Ching senior sang out his self-written lyrics as he performed the song entitled “Veggie Hero” at the activity.

“I decided to be a vegetarian because I did not wish to see my food choices become the cause for the degradation of the earth. Only by co-existing with the earth can we build a sustainable environment to live in,” he said, explaining the inspiration behind his song.

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Tai Kai Pik (left) performing the song “Vegetarian Hero,” the lyrics of which he had written. Photo by Fang Qiao Lin

Cai Wan Ru from Malaysia shares the same view as she feels that recycling resources can enable the transformation of trash into cash, as revenues from the sales of recyclables collected by Tzu Chi’s recycling points are channeled into charitable undertakings. In this way, we not only benefit mankind but also the environment.

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Experienced volunteer Wang Wei Xun encouraging Tzu Chings to bring back the knowledge they had learnt and spread it around their campus. He hoped that more would join the ranks of Vero in future. Photo by Fang Qiao Lin

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In just six hours, “VERO Go!” came to a conclusion and participants, together with event helpers, took a picture together for remembrance. Photo by Fang Qiao Lin

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