Guesting today on RTHK Radio 3 discussing Vegetarianism

Today’s Backchat show on RTHK Radio 3 had Vegetarianism as the primary discussion topic. A delegated media request from the Hong Kong Vegan Association was received and fulfilled. A podcast of the show is now available here. With numerous other people on the show and limited time frame it’s unrealistic to expect the chance to personally reply to most points made in the broadcast. Thus here’s a further very short response to three of the points raised in the show.


a) Nutritional effects of a vegan diet

In April last year I signed up for a health screening (something I do periodically). At the end of the assorted tests a report is produced and de-briefing arranged with a doctor. That doctor verbally summed up the report in four words; “very healthy, everything fantastic”. So if the doc says “very healthy, everything fantastic” to a vegan of 15+ years how can the assertion made on the show be true that it’s impossible to have a balanced vegan diet? If someone on a non-vegan diet wishes to sign up for a health screenings I am happy to submit my report for comparison.


b) Health effect of soy phyto-estrogens

Health concerns regarding phyto-estrogens in soy is a regularly rolled out scare story myth. This is attributed at least in part to a determined smear campaign against soy by the Weston A Price Foundation. In today’s show the gentleman who made this assertion admitted his family raise cattle. Thus he seems to have a vested financial interest in demonising popularly used alternatives to meat such as soy.

The soy scares have long been de-bunked. e.g. This Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine article on soy is well worth reading. If though you are still scared of soy, remember soy is by no means essential in a plant based diet. The genuinely worrying source of phyto-estrogens consumed by humans is beer. Thus if the scare stories regarding soy frighten you so much then no doubt you do not consume beer either. This is of course all your choice as the consumer.


(Presenters Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings are on the left. Fellow guests Tse Yip Fai and Simon Chau are on the right).

c) Ethics and morality (partly responded to in the show)

As mentioned in the broadcast let’s take the principle of humane and / or ethical to be that as suggested by esteemed ethicist, Peter Singer; namely that:

  • humane is something you are happy to have done to you and those you care about most

Animals that end up packaged for human consumption have been slaughtered. They don’t die of old age. Slaughter is of course a violent act. It is extinguishing of life for an animal that 100% wants to continue living. If slaughter can be done so humanely then why don’t people volunteer for it in droves? Similarly other animal industry marketing gimmicks and euphemisms are intended as an emollient to nullify consumer feelings of guilt. The systematic commoditisation, enslavement, abuse, violence, torture and slaughter of animals in reality is a horror story.

Communal meal time such as family dining is the most basic ritual in society. This is used as a mechanism to condition children from all but their breast feeding years to accept it is normal to consume animal products. This produces a culture where slavery, cruelty and violence against non-human animals is conditioned and supported by daily food rituals. This ritually sanctioned cruelty then re-appears in other parts of society such as violence against women. In an FBI study of mass murderers, 46% of respondents admitted that during adolescence they had harmed animals. The connection is there.


Thanks to Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings for hosting the show and Queenie Man for similarly professional production. Worthwhile contributions were made by fellow guests, Simon Chau (Greenwoods Cafe) and Tse Yip Fai (HK Vegetarian Society). Both Simon and Yip Fai like this website advocate wider vegetarianism as only a step in the right direction towards veganism.





5 thoughts on “Guesting today on RTHK Radio 3 discussing Vegetarianism

  1. Thanks Stevie – good to read an expansion of some of what was covered on the podcast. Out of interest, where do you go for your medical checkups, and what kind of tests are included? I’ve been on a vegan diet since last March and I’d be interested to see how my body’s doing. I’ve found a wide range of tests available (and a massive range of prices, too!) but am not too clued up on which tests would be useful.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Loz,

    Thanks for having checked out the article and podcast and also for your question. As your question implies the cost of medical services in developed countries can be pricey. When my lady and I go on holiday we usually consider if there’s any medical activity we can take advantage of overseas at more attractive pricing. e.g. at a very simple level we usually get our 6 monthly dental check up and teeth clean when on holiday. The medical screening I referred to in the article was in Penang last year when my brother was there. We went with Gleneagles simply because that is who my brother suggested. I seem to recall they had a choice of three packages plus additional optional extras. I chose the middle of their 3 packages (the package name was “Deluxe”). I also elected for these additional extra tests:-

    lower abdomen ultrasound
    Urine Microalbumin
    Cancer Markers
    : AFP
    : CEA
    : PSA
    : CA125
    : CA153
    : CA19.9
    Helicobacter pylori IgG

    The most important of these to me was the test for cancer markers since cancer has affected 3 of my direct family members (one of those though was lung cancer and clearly related to that person smoking tobacco).

    As you correctly allude to other medical organisations offer health checks. When in Penang I noticed there was an Adventist Hospital there. I expect they offer something like the health checks I had but I am unable to comment on experiencing their services. In the past I have had health screenings with each of Bupa and Nuffield. That is since they had the health check contracts with the company I was employed with at the time.

    Another reason to sign up for something like this package is it included having a doctor explain:-

    * the results in the report
    * if any actions need to be taken

    I had no actions required on this latest occasion other than continue as is. In my health check around I think it was 2009 I was told to introduce walnuts to my diet to correct the level of a required fat that I was low on. I did as instructed and it’s never been an issue since.

    My spouse and I are just back from a trip to Siem Reap. We considered getting some blood tests there to get a report on levels of some stuff not covered in the above package. This is for example:-

    * B12
    * D3

    However there seems to be only one international standard hospital in Siem Reap. They said that for these kind of blood tests they’d have to send the blood to Thailand for analysis taking two weeks. We thus decided not to go ahead with it and instead wait til next time we are somewhere we can have the results in person (the trip was only a week long). Having now been on the radio show I regret that somewhat especially with regard to B12. I expect to have good results and would like to have been able to quote that on the show.

    Regards, Stevie


    • Hi Stevie,

      Thanks very much for your response. I’m sorry to hear that your family has been so affected by cancer – it’s also in my family history so I’ll make sure I ask for those marker tests too.

      It looks like my life insurance includes health checks, so I’ll do some research into that and see if it leads to a more affordable way to get tested in HK. (will post an update here if so)

      I’d hope to be ok on the B12 front as I’ve been having occasional sublingual cobalamin, adding nutritional yeast to cereals, soups and salads, and it’s also added to the milks I use.

      Thanks again, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply so thoroughly.


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Obtaining B12 from non-animal sources |

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