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The VSS Team
Clarence Tan - President
Clarence believes that animals shouldn't be treated as commodities. Turning living creatures into hamburger and soap just doesn't feel right. What's worse is the scale on which this is done.
Food journalist and author, Mark Bittman, gave a good analogy to illustrate the number of land animals slaughtered each year: if we strung them all together, they would go to the Moon and back, five times.
Our choices have a cascading effect, and deciding to go veg in 1990 has led to many a wonderful thing for Clarence. He is glad that the transition was surprisingly easy and can’t remember ever missing meat.
Clarence loves architecture, music and photography. The first of these, he was trained in. The other two buy him happy vegan Bak Kut Teh.
Navaneethan Neminathan - Vice-President
Nava is a native of Ceylon who enjoys living in Singapore. He has worked in the finance and legal industries in Asia, as well as in the Middle East.
Nava is attracted to vegetarianism because it allows him to live in accordance with his belief in “ahimsa” (non-violence).
Nava considers honesty and simplicity as his strengths and the reluctance to say “no” as his weakness.
Someday, he plans to return to Ceylon. In the meantime, Nava looks forward to recognising the best in Singapore as a model of how people can co-exist to build a better world.
Pauline Menezes - Honorary Secretary
Pauline was convinced that the vegetarian diet is the way to go, whether it is from the health, scientific, environmental or animal welfare perspectives and became a vegetarian in 1994. She then became a vegan in 2008 after learning about the horrors of factory farming.
She wishes some day soon, healthy vegetarian choices will be easily available to everyone, especially in schools and hawker centres. She feels she's benefited so much from a plant-based diet and would like to help others enjoy the benefits, too.
Pauline holds a degree in Mass Communication, certification in Senior Management Programme for Non-Profits and a Certificate in Plant-based Nutrition. She has over 20 years secretarial experience and has been volunteering for VSS since 2008.
Pauline has an eclectic mix of interests and is as comfortable with a paint brush as with a kitchen knife and as happy in a dive suit as in a go-kart.
Edmond Chua - Assistant Secretary
In 2004, due to his vegetarian parents, Edmond had been pondering becoming a vegetarian. Then, a friend gave Edmond the VSS VCD, titled "SEEDs for a Better World". This cemented his decision to go vegetarian.
After realising the horrors of factory farming, on his last day as a meat eater, Edmond took a few bites of a chicken's leg, but quickly spat them out.
Edmond is an engineer by profession and enjoys being active in volunteer work. In addition to VSS, he also works with Buddhist organisations and with organisations that, like VSS, promote animal welfare and environmental protection. In his free time, he enjoys cycling and going around trying out new vegetarian eateries and dishes.
Heng Guan Hou - Honorary Treasurer
Guan Hou is a long-time participant in local organic, environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility movements.
He was actively involved in NUS-SAVE (National University of Singapore –Students Against Violation of the Earth) during his university years. Since graduation, he has served in several Buddhist and charity organisations.
He co-founded and serves as a Director for The Sukha House Pte Ltd, a grower, importer and distributor of organic brown rice.
Currently, he is actively involved in several NGOs such as World-In–Theatre and Nyaung Kan Aye Dharma Society.
Jayachandran Maniyeri - Assistant Treasurer
Jaya had been vegetarian from a very young age, when he developed emotional rapport with domestic animals while growing up in an idyllic small town in the state of Kerala, in the south-west region of India on the beautiful Malabar Coast. Almost every animal at home was treated like a family member. Those tender encounters with animals during his early childhood led Jaya to choose vegetarianism.
After coming to Singapore, a chance encounter with VSS in 2007 broadened his knowledge of how one's diet can affect one's health and the health of the planet. The many resources from VSS helped him to live a much healthier life, knowing more about nutrition and the many places to find healthy, green food. He has been volunteering for VSS since then.
Jaya specialises in Distributed Computing and works as an engineer at one of the research institutes under A-STAR, Singapore’s lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent.
Ashley Chow - Education Officer
Ashley became a vegetarian in 2010 after watching Glass Walls, a video narrated by Paul McCartney about the horrors of modern-day factory farming. After reading up more on ethical philosophy, animal rights, health and nutrition, as well as environmental issues, she became vegan in July 2011.
Ashley's primary motivation for being vegan is her commitment to the ideal of non-violence. She also values the clean and healthy body that a well-planned vegan diet helps to achieve and her increased levels of energy (or what she likes to call “vegan superpowers”!).
Ashley is currently training as a lawyer in the financial services industry. When she's not working or volunteering, she loves to do yoga and reading.
Ganga Sudhan - Communications Officer
Ganga began his journey on true compassion in May 2008, when he stopped eating anything that had to be killed in order to be on his plate. From January 2010 onwards, after gaining a deeper understanding of the implications of animal based foods, he then refined his diet to exclude anything that involved harm or inconvenience to another being. On his journey, he has learnt that every individual has the power to impact change for the better simply through one's day-to-day choices - and therefore exercises this power himself every day.
Ganga's life has been a rollercoaster of experiences, from being a police officer to becoming an author, publisher and currently a lecturer with ITE. But in whatever capacity he finds himself in, the one constant has always been helping others, which he continues to do in a variety of grassroots work. As the Communications Officer of VSS, he hopes to apply his skills, knowledge and experience to help bring the Society to the next stage and achieve greater heights in shaping the climate of compassion in Singapore and around the region.
Alex Lim - Events Officer
Alex became vegetarian in 2005 after visiting punk rock band, Anti-Flag's website and clicking on a link to the 'Meet Your Meat' video. His taste in music has since evolved, but his belief that vegetarianism will make the world a better place still holds strong.
On top of spending his time thinking of ways to move people into action (in which he hopes he will eventually succeed), he drinks too much Chinese tea in his quest to figure out how to make Pu Erh and Tie Guan Yin taste better.
George Jacobs - Past President
George Jacobs became a vegetarian in 1980.
His main influences were a vegetarian cousin and the book Diet for a Small Planet. The main idea of that book is that eating meat is wasting food, because we have to feed many kgs of plant food to other animals to produce just one kg of meat.
In recent years, George has switched to a vegan diet.
George has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and works with schools and universities around Singapore and beyond. Born in the U.S. in 1952, he has lived in Singapore since 1993 and is a permanent resident.
In his free time, George enjoys racquet sports, bicycling, children’s literature, and hanging out with his wife, niece and nephew. Mangoes are among his favourite veg foods.