My Dear Okja

Its 4:27am. Baby watch. Baby mama is sleeping, baby is sleeping. Want to write this fresh on my mind. Maybe I’m sleepy or I’m crazy being up this late. I feel like I’m in college. A 21 year old young, ambitious, want to do it all, conquer the word mind.When my mind is at its oddest times when I can think the most vivid and focused. Lets go for it.

I feel this energy and wave in the air I haven’t really felt in a long time time. I feel hope. I feel this momentum slowly churning in the midst. Tides are turning and its just a moment of time.

With “What The Health” featuring on Netflix and now “Okja” a Netflix-produced movie on its featured movies. Its ever so exciting for animal cruelty and environmentalism to be on the forefronts of the entertainment industry. Okja was the movie and face of My Dear Layla. What I seek to achieve and convey was in that movie. Animals like Okja are something to love, adore and care for. That have a higher meaning in a very simplistic way. Maybe it was some fake CGI character but nonetheless it represents all the factory farm animals. That there is much more to the game that what we can see face value.

There is environmental degradation, profits, corporate greed, marketing, friendship, all at hand. Okja was not shy to portray the horrors in a more graphic but not brutal way. I was surprised to see so many stars willing to join in on this movie. Jake Gyllenhaal? Who would have knew he would want to be a focal character. Steven Yeun from Walking Dead? Wow! The movie want to come out and say it. Here’s the reality of what is happening. WATCH IT and THINK ABOUT IT! Its everything thats going on that you don’ want to admit. When you cut up that piece of steak, thats whats going on the background. Ignorance is not bliss. Think about it next time you grab that knife and fork.

The main word to use and keeps come back to is “Compassion”. Thats the trigger. We want you to think about what is going on, I don’t want you to blindly follow. But if you just sat and think about it, you can see that there is much cruelty going on. It simply is not worth the pain and suffering of so many millions of animals all for what? To eat some good food? At a higher level of understanding. People can come to realize animals have feelings and just want to be loved. I like how it plays the industry as well and not some sappy feel good movie. People need to know whats going on. Once adults can learn, their kids can learn. That is the way. It shows that there is a bigger industry going on than they think, that there is a control and greed by these companies to produce meat. Profit is the main driver.

I’m glad and do not believe that the movie glorified the Animal Liberators as Robin Hoods of the animal world. That people think they need to go to such drastic measures to get the point across. Unfortunately, big dramatic gestures typically do not end in the results seemed to achieve. It is much more slow and methodical. I have dreamed in the past myself doing some crazy heroic deed in which a grand display or act showcased my passion and heart for animals or Cambodia. That this glorious act to throw in the face of millions of people watching would change their minds. But in the end, I look from an outside view and see this martyr as some maniac. Or it would be today’s hot news flash that would be gone in the next tweet or viral image.

It helps me keep going. Now even at 4:51am, that I don’t need to do something crazy. That a movie can change minds. That people on Instagram are posting healthy vegan lifestyles. They are sharing vegan meals, promoting it, trying to help others. That slowly but surely whatever I can do is contributing as well. That My Dear Layla can share her voice with others such as Okja did on Netflix. All it takes is for one person to change or think about it. They cut out meat for one meal or want to shop at compassionate animal farm. And that it itself is a difference. Then I keep going and hope to maybe change another mind. One by one, it keeps going. Until hopefully we can change how the way things work. That one day everything can change. That we will not just be an individual, a community, a society, a country, but a world were suffering is no longer condoned for any animal life.

Thank you Okja for helping my sweet Layla.

The Fight Within

My journey as a vegetarian is ever evolving over the past couple years. There are dozens of scenarios that have come my way which make me think and debate on what I’m doing and what I’m trying to accomplish. I have admitted in the past I do eat meat with family occasionally. To refuse food from a family member or in law is very disrespectful in asian culture. And that remains powerful in my decisions today. Though it is very limited and accounts for very little of my diet, I’m often at conflict if my stance should change.

I use to think that some leftover meat being thrown away is terrible and that I would rather eat it and give some sort of purpose to this animal. Rather than it be thrown away and died for nothing. To have died to only be put in a trash can is just depressing to me. No, none of this is an excuse or lying to myself to eat meat. If i felt the need, I would do it

Other times, I do not want to get into a debate or make others feel bad to eat meat. So i just eat it anyway. TO just let people enjoy and not make this some vegetarian agenda. I’m starting to rethink it now. What am I doing and do I hold my morals through. Do I accomplish what I seek by giving in from time to time. I use to say the animal is dead no, lets not waste it. But for me to get my point across and care for animals, the animal would still have died. So my actions will not matter either way. But if do not eat meat at all and let it go, i still hold morals and can shocase others that it is strong .

I know some might baffle that I eat meat sometimes. But I still sa hey better than nothing. Better than me being a 90% or 50% meat eater. But I’m starting to think how I portray myself to others and if I do find resolve to never eating meat, how can others change? Do people look down at me for making exceptions.

I’m starting to think that exceptions are not good. Whatever the scenario. You can take it else for another other goal or mission. Exceptions don’t help my cause to help animals. By me not succumbing to exceptions, that shows my beliefs are strong and that will showcase to others. There is no debate what I want and what my mission is. That there is no discussion on what truly matters but that animals need to be saved and are our friends. Maybe I just need to put my foot down with whomever ad wherever that NO I don’t care for meat at all.

Persistence But Respect Is Key

I haven’t heard from or received an email back from Congressman Connolly yet. I emailed him over a month ago. The last letter it took only two weeks from him to reply. I’m sure he has a vast of amount of duties and urgent matters to attend too. I decided to send my second letter again to each of his offices. Maybe his staff might open it up and remind him. I would like a response to my deeper questioning of the matter when it comes to advocating for animal rights and local ordinances.

It reminds me of Shawshank Redemption where Andy Dufrain keeps emailing letters to the county/state, I dont remember, about getting funds for library at the prison. Every single week he writes and sends letters. Every week no reply and rejections. But after a very long time, he gets a response and some money to just shut him up. Maybe I dont want to be that annoying, but I do want Connolly to know I’m not some fluke. I’m not some pushover who thinks this is a meaningless issue. It needs attention and needs it badly. Letters will be sent and he will be reminded that I think this is serious and won’t stop.

Which reminds me, I’m still learning the in and outs of politics and a whose who. But there is a delegate of the 38th district which is where my home resides. Perhaps I fine tune my local initiative into even more local. Time for her to receive some letters too. Time for Delegate of 38th District, Kaye Kory, to meet me.

Simple Yes or No. This Is Where To Go.

One of the early changes in my shopping routines with my wife after becoming vegetarian is “Well…What do I eat now?”. Lots of stuff are vegetarian such as pasta, fruits, vegetables, noodles, etc. But you have to figure out what to eat day to day. You need the good amount of protein with a well balanced diet. The kicker, it has to taste good too. No way you will last with such bland vegetables and fruits with meals. You have to be real and set expectations lower on how delicious your meals day to day can be. Not to say you can’t make good food.

Being a carnivore for 30 years, everything revolved around meat. Ok Steak with this and this, ok chicken with this and this, if not that much pork, then put this and this. It was the central focal point of nearly any and all meals. So I began to shop and find my places and things what to get. You need that substitute for hard protein. I found that Trader Joes, espeically one in Falls Church, was a great place to get veggie options. They have  soy sausages, soy chirizo, and even meatless breakfast patties. You’re not really missing out when you these things kind of available. The hard part is simply to know whre to go. You’re not going to know where you can shop and what you can get without visiting them. Knowledge is key. Trader Joes has a fantastic selection of vegetarian and soy based goods to apply to many meals. Even my wife was impressed with the soy chorizo and said it was hard to tell the difference. Thats how much flavor there is. She took the soy chorizo and mixed it with a spaghetti sauce.

Anyways, that gave me the idea to simply make a map of places that are vegetarian friendly. And I don’t mean, anything you can eat that is vegetarian. Obviously I know i can eat some pasta, some bread, some fruits, some candy, or eggs and be vegetarian. These things are offered at any grocery store. What I mean was for places that given a YES or NO to be a vegetarian and/or vegan friendly offerings from their store. Places with lots of soy goods or everyday household meals that are vegetarian or vegan friendly. So lets start it, google maps, and where can we vegetarians can shop and get lots of goods!!

**** The vegan cheese needs a considerable amount of work. I dont mean to be picky or choosy. And I know many times its not close to real stuff and thats not what I’m seeking. Half the time, I’m just seeking somethin bearable resemblance. The vegan cheese offered at Trader Joes,. major turn off. I could barely stomach it. Dont get it unless you want to support the cause.