Monday, January 16, 2006

"And we are both utterly humorless about our vegetarianism."

The line above was part of a Simpsons episode which at first I didn't really understand. Sometimes Simpsons seems to pack everything into being a joke so sometimes it is easy to think that something is a flat joke when it is not. But now I may have realised that maybe there was a vegetarian amongst the scriptwriters who was trying to relay a general experience.

Last night, I had dinner with a primarily Mainland Chinese group of people. And with every new person came the thrice repeated series of: "Oh Daniel's vegetarian" "Oh, how many joys and pleasures you'll miss out on." "How will you ever become full?" "Do you eat fish? Some vegetarians eat fish" "What about prawns?" And for once I was starting to get a bit humorless.

A Chinese student of mine, with some insight, may have explained to me earlier about how Mainland Chinese have a harder time understanding voluntary vegetarianism (or any semblance of animal rights). He mentioned that Chinese have starvation in their far too memorable recent past (barely a generation ago). With all the culinary bliss to be thankful for it is a sin not to take all that you can.

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