Hong Kong vegan festivals, organisations, meetup groups and internationalism 香港純素食團體組織、社交聚會、嘉年華活動與國際化

中文譯本於英文版本後:

When HappyCow founder Eric Brent visited in February 2015 he remarked, “All vegan roads in Hong Kong lead to Shara.” On the eve of HK Vegfest 2016 Shara Ng gives her recollections on the blossoming of veganism in Hong Kong.

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Organisation in Hong Kong

“As long as there’s been people there’s been vegans even before vegan was invented as word in the 1940s. In terms of formal organisation in Hong Kong, Dr John Wedderburn was the founder of the HK Vegan Society in 2000. He worked for a lot of animal activist organisations such as Moon Bear looking to free bears in Asia used for their bile.”

“In 2008 I started devoting my personal time to vegan promotion in Hong Kong. John Wedderburn was approaching retirement. He really wants to promote veganism. He saw my website and felt I could take over what he had started in Hong Kong. So he asked me to do it. There was an issue with red tape transferring the Hong Kong Vegan Society to my name. To get around this it was simpler to continue with a new name. After discussion we agreed that instead of the Hong Kong Vegan Society I’d go forward with the Hong Kong Vegan Association. So the Hong Kong Vegan Association started in 2008. John subsequently retired to Indonesia a few years ago and still does animal activist stuff from there.”

john-wedderburn

(John Wedderburn)

“At that moment still not many people in HK knew what vegan was nor how veganism can help the world. I was promoting veganism so people would gain more awareness and interest about it. In HK we don’t just use the Vegan Association website to promote it. There’s been smaller promotional stuff like cooking classes.”

Meat Free Hong Kong meetup group

“Before the meetup group was called Meat Free Hong Kong we called it The Vegan Club. It felt like no one in Hong Kong understood what vegan was at that time. There was a lot of publicity from a group in the US promoting the meat free Monday idea. We worked with them to promote the meetup group. The meetup group started in 2009 as part of the worldwide meat free Monday idea. I did work for Asian countries like Taiwan, China and Japan to translate some articles for them on meat free Monday. The meetup group was re-named more than once to what became Meat Free Hong Kong. At that time after it was renamed ‘Meat Free’ instead of ‘Vegan’ the group started to become popular.”

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(Shara [2nd right] and 40 others attended Saravana Bhavan for the 405th Meat Free HK meetup)

“We use the Meat Free Hong Kong meetup group to let people try vegan food. Hong Kong then wasn’t like it is now where there seems to be a new vegan restaurant every month. Every week we tried different vegetarian restaurants and ordered all plant derived food. We’ve had over 400 meetups over seven years with more than 4 250 group members. Now the Chief Organiser is another volunteer as you know organising meetups on different days of the week.”

Vegfest

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“Something else in 2008 is I went to Tokyo, Japan. There is Yoyogi Park where every October they have a vegan festival. At Yoyogi Park there are over 100 booths along the path. We could walk along the path and eat every kind of vegan food. I loved that so much and thought we should have Vegfest in Hong Kong. So when I came back to HK I talked with some other organisations. It’s not just me as my efforts alone aren’t enough to make such a big event. So I talked with some other organisations to see if we can work together to deliver Vegfest.”

“The Adventist Hospital staff, The Adventist College people, some grassroots people like Club O, some young people who contribute their effort to promote veganism. And lots of other people all working together and volunteering. 2013 was the first HK Vegfest born from that visit to Tokyo. This year’s will be the fourth HK Vegfest.”

“The first Vegfest was free to the exhibitors so we could get exhibitors to attend. We did a Vegfest magazine and sold advertising space in that magazine. That generated some money to help pay towards the rent of the area for Vegfest. The first year was very successful since everything was free, even to the exhibitors. Much of the payment for the first Vegfest came from our own pocket money. People enjoyed it. We built that up to almost 6 000 attendees last year.”

“From the second year we started asking each exhibitor to pay for a booth to cover costs of the rent of the space, water, electricity etc. The entire costs for the year was less than 100 000 hkd so this was a very small budget event. It’s just a small amount of money to have Vegfest unlike other events where they pay a lot of money for advertising that we can’t afford.”

“Vegfest is mainly grass roots people and is much less commercial than those expos at the HK Convention Centre that include vegan components. HK Vegan Association also supports the vegan components of those expos. For example we have invited some speakers from overseas for the organisers of the Vegetarian Fair Asia at the HKCEC. Sometimes we sponsor a speaker’s air fare. I’ve also promoted the expos using our Go Veg website and magazine.”

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Representing Hong Kong internationally

“Much has been done with the HK Vegan Association and such like promotion of veganism in HK. Awareness and interest has increased here as has our press coverage. Within the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) is the Asia Pacific Vegetarian Union (APVU). Historically it was named “vegetarian” but since 1996 the agreed strategy has been to promote vegan. People aren’t forbidden from being lacto ovo vegetarian but we don’t promote milk nor egg. People outside HK saw we have a vegan community here. So they approached us three years ago. We now work together to promote veganism internationally. We represent HK in the APVU and for example give presentations on how to promote veganism.”

PS In glorious sunshine HK Vegfest 2016 was delivered to make it HK’s best Vegfest yet.

2015年2月份,美國快樂牛網站(happycow.net)的發起人 Eric Brent 訪港,並為香港的純素發展下了評語。他聲稱:“在香港,全部有關純素食的路標都指向Shara。” 於香港素食嘉年華的前夕,伍月霖(Shara Ng)分享了一些契機並憶述純素食如何在香港萌芽開花。

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香港的組織

“1940年代純素(Vegan)這名字才被創出來。但其實遠遠比這年代更古遠,即自有人類開始,就有純素食者的存在 。”

“在香港最先正式成立的組織是香港純素食會(Hong Kong Vegan Society),由發起人John Wedderburn 於2000成立,他為很多動物保護組織擔任義務工作,如在亞洲拯救月熊離開被困的煉獄牢籠,扭轉一生要被活取膽汁的命運。”

“從2008年開始,我將自己的時間投入在推廣香港純素食。 John Wedderburn 當時已接近退休,他希望純素食能夠在香港進一步加以推廣。他看到我的網站,覺得我能夠在香港接棒繼續,他請我接下這個任務,然而將香港純素食會轉到我的名下手續非常反煩複,於是大家商量同意將名稱改為香港蔬食協會來代替原先創立的香港純素食會,香港蔬食協會在2008年成立並且馬上展開推廣工作。直至數年前,John 退休並離開香港前往印尼,繼續在當地擔任動物保護的工作。”

john-wedderburn

(John Wedderburn)

“當時在香港,知道什麼是純素(vegan)的人非常少,更不用說有人會知道純素食可以幫助世界永續。我個人推廣純素食,目的是希望令更多人醒覺,讓大眾提起興趣嘗試素食。在香港我們除了以網站來推廣外,更不時以小規模的烹飪課程來吸引大眾。”

無肉香港聚會團體

於我們的 meetup 改名為 Meat Free Hong Kong 之前,小組的名字是 The Vegan Club。 然而純素食並未受到廣泛認識。當時碰巧美國的素食團體在推廣週一無肉日,這運動在全球起了很大的迴響。作為全球性推廣純素食的伙伴,我們在2009年將這個運動加入了純素飯局的元素,並在當時為亞洲其他國家將有關推廣週一無肉日運動的文章翻譯成不同文字。隨著純素食(Vegan)這個名稱就被無肉(Meat Free )這一詞取代,這團體得到更廣泛的關注。每星期的聚會受到大眾歡迎。”

saravana-bhavan-21

(Shara [右二] 及其他40位參加第405次於Saravana Bhavan 舉行的Meat Free HK 聚會的會員)

“我們藉着香港無肉日聚餐(Meat Free Hong Kong Meetup)讓大家品嚐純素餐飲。當時,香港的情況並不如現時每個月都有新的純素餐館登場 。每個星期一我們會到不同的素食餐廳品嚐純素的菜式。7年來,我們已經舉行過超過400次聚會,擁有超過4,250個會員。現在的主要召集人為另外一位純素食朋友擔任義務統籌工作,已經眾所周知的是每星期在不同的日子都有舉行聚會。”

素食嘉年華

tokyo-vegefood-festa

“2008年時我到日本東京,有一個名為代代木的公園,每年在十月都有一個純素節日在那裡舉行,有過百家純素食攤檔,大家可以在園徑上一邊散步一邊選吃不同的純素食品。我非常喜歡,而令我有意在香港也搞一個素食嘉年華。回到香港,我與其他團體的領導商量,因為這些大型活動並不是我個人獨力可以做到,所以我與其他組織一起進行這個素食嘉年華的籌備工作。”

“港安醫院的職員,三育書院的人員以及一些草根組織如Club O, 一些年青人也一起展開義務推廣純素食的工作。自從在東京見過這類活動後,在2013年第一屆素食嘉年華在香港順利誕生,今年的素食嘉年華已經是第四屆了。”

“第一屆的素食嘉年華,參展商並不需要支付費用,所以我們得到很多參展商來支持,我們做了一本嘉年華會場刊,利用廣告的收入來支付場地的費用。第一年我們非常成功,因為我們免去所有的費用甚至連攤檔的費用也由我們大會支付。大部分的支出也由義工們出錢出力完成建立起來,入場的參加者都非常滿意,並非常享受這個活動,去年入場人數接近6000人。”

“第二年開始我們向參展商收取一些費用來應付租金和水、電的支出,全部費用不超過十萬元,所以這是一個支出預算非常低的項目活動,與其他商業性的活動不一樣,因為需要支付龐大的廣告費用我們負擔不來。”

“素食嘉年華主要對象為草根階層,比較於會展舉行的展覽活動沒有那麼商業化。另一方面,香港素食協會亦一直支持這些大型展覽中有關純素食元素的活動,例如邀請並贊助海外的專家來演講,為表示支持亞洲素食展的大會在會展舉行,我們的雜誌GOVEG以及網站也會替他們向大眾宣傳。”

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代表香港走向國際

“香港蔬食協會為純素食在本地做了不少宣傳,開始有本地傳媒廣泛報導,引起各界的關注和興趣。在國際素食聯盟中香港屬於亞太區的領域,歷史悠久的國際素食聯盟從1996年開始一致推廣純素食,雖然大會不禁止會員吃蛋、奶等動物食品,但不會支持或推廣這些食品。國外的團體亦留意到香港推動純素食的成果,於三年前已經與我們聯合起來,一起推廣純素食,我們亦很榮幸代表香港在國際舞台上宣傳香港的純素食餐飲以及分享我們在香港推廣的經驗。”

附筆: 2016年的香港素食嘉年華當日陽光普照,令其成為香港最成功的一個素食嘉年華。

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