Veganism in Malaysia: Year in Review 2016

world vegan day 2016
World Vegan Day Potluck 2016
world vegan day 2016 world vegan day 2016
World Vegan Day Potluck 2016

For years, when asked about the state of veganism in this country, my usual response has been veganism here is in its infancy. A few malaysian vegans, scattered around the country, and some in other parts of the world, and not much happening, though there have been attempts and some small initiatives. However, 2016 changed that. We have begun to walk at a steady pace and, without a shadow of a doubt, the year 2016 has been the best year for veganism in Malaysia thus far. Here's why.


To start, there's been a significant increase in the number of vegans in Malaysia in 2016, and also many collaborations, discussions, events, outreach and meet-ups. Just scroll through our Facebook Group, or search for the popular vegan hashtags for Malaysia on Instagram such as #vegansofmalaysia, and you'd see the huge number of discussions, posts and images during the year.


world vegan day 2016
World Vegan Day Potluck 2016


Potlucks

We've had several potlucks this year, two of the larger ones organized by Elina Nasution. The first one was in April, called "My Vegan Meet Up". This was quite possibly the first ever vegan potluck in Malaysia. The second one was held for World Vegan Day, which falls on 1st November every year. This was also the first time that World Vegan day was celebrated in Malaysia, a joyous occasion savored by all vegans throughout the world.


MY Vegan Meetup
MY Vegan Meet-Up


Potlucks are a good way for strangers to come together and get to know one another. Food is shared with each other, over light and pleasant conversations, which encourages the building of friendships, and these were just what veganism in this country needed as boosters. And as you would know if you had attended these events, or even just looked at the images here, they accomplished just that.


MY Vegan Meetup MY Vegan Meetup
MY Vegan Meet-Up


MMU Vegan Week 2016

Next, we had the largest vegan outreach event in Malaysia this year, at Multimedia University (MMU), Cyberjaya. The event, called "MMU Vegan Week 2016" was quite possibly the first time vegan advocacy was done in a Malaysian university. As the name suggests, the event was held for an entire week. Some of the activities included screening of animal rights/environmental documentaries, armwrestling competition with a vegan armwrestler and sale of vegan food and products; with the overall goal of introducing veganism to not only the university students, but also the general public.


MMU Vegan Week 2016 MMU Vegan Week 2016
MMU Vegan Week 2016
MMU Vegan Week 2016


Life Love Vegan

One must also not forget what Pamela Nowicka and her group "Life Love Vegan" has been doing for veganism in Penang this year. From vegan advocacy, to screening animal rights documentaries, to vegan workshops, and talks, to name but a few. If you happen to be in Penang and would like to help the cause, she's the person you should be contacting.


MY Vegan Meetup
Life Love Vegan Life Love Vegan
Life Love Vegan




Vegan Businesses

There's also been an increase in the number of vegan businesses and products in Malaysia this past year. The new vegan restaurants that started in 2016, or towards the second half of 2015, include LN Fortunate Coffee, Justlife Cafe, Kon Rak Pak, Roots Organic & Wholesome Living, and the latest to this list is Wholey Wonder. Not to forget that a new Sushi Kitchen branch was also opened. On top of that, two businesses selling only vegan cakes started this year: namely The Honest Treat and Freaking Wholesome. Grocers, such as Jaya Grocer and Village Grocer, also began stocking more vegan products such as vegan cheese and yogurt on their shelves.



Furry Friends Farm

One final event that deserves special mention is Furry Friends Farm's 10th Anniversary Celebration, where most if not all the food served for visitors was vegan. Being an animal sanctuary (and a great one at that), it is commendable that they chose to serve only cruelty-free food to visitors.


Furry Friends Farm
Furry Friends Farm Furry Friends Farm Furry Friends Farm Furry Friends Farm
Furry Friends Farm's 10 Aniversary Celebration


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So, as I'm sure you'd agree with me by now, we did have a terrific year! More so if you've been vegan for a number of years like I have been (since 2009), and realised that there really wasn't much going on in many of the previous years. Although I couldn't attend most of these events due to health issues, I am glad I was still alive to see them unfold, really grateful for all the progress we've had and to have contributed to some of these events along with other amazing vegans.



Hopefully the coming year 2017 will only get better. We have to move forward, as there's still a lot that needs to be done. More peaceful outreach, more meet-ups and potlucks, more vegan businesses starting up (and the current ones growing and improving further). The rise of veganism should first and foremost be seen as relating to efforts to making the world a more beautiful and peaceful place for all. And therefore, peaceful approaches to promoting veganism is highly encouraged.



-Ratnasingam

More Photos from 2016


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