I’ve been a proponent of the term, “Do what you love, love what you do” for some years. I’ve been blessed with an education in Communications that was generic enough to allow me to explore so many kinds of work – in radio, writing and editing, emceeing, newscasting, event managing and many bits and bobs in between. There are two career paths that I forged primarily out of passion: acting and plant-based lifestyle advocacy. I wish could say that my acting life is thriving. Things don’t always work out the way you want. Yet at the same time, things totally do.
If you told me as a teenager that one day I’d go vegan, I would have told you to get outta town. If you told me that I would one day go vegan AND make a living from it, I would have told you to take your grandma with you too. My upbringing was oppressed, emotionally abusive, and didn’t encourage any kind of autonomy or self-discovery. The people I would see, the places I would go, to an extent the work I would do, but definitely the food I would eat, was all predetermined. I was made to believe that my strengths were my weaknesses. Parents do the best with the resources that they have. I was given everything… except the freedom to be me.
I believe the reason why I’m so passionately vegan now is because of how long I fought to become one – with others, and with myself. I only got to start exploring my true identity in my mid-twenties. That being said, being a late bloomer has its advantages! You get to process better what you are going through, you deal with conflicts more deftly than you did in high school, your most important friendships have developed enough over time to thoroughly understand, protect and support you on your journey.
I learned how to properly cook at the age of 28, when I finally mustered the courage to move out of my mother’s house – just in the next suburb, but Hey, far enough! Up until then, I was terrified of cooking fire, and couldn’t even fry an egg. (I actually still am terrified of cooking fire; I just pull it together and get it done!) So when I see teenagers raking up views in the millions with their how-to cooking videos on social media, it brings up a tinge of sadness that I wasn’t able to have that experience in my youth, but gratitude that so many others out there do.
I don’t have a natural flair in the kitchen, and I definitely didn’t start out cooking as a passion. I was fueled by a determination to not make a vegetarian life as boring as what others and even I had believed. As a vegan, I am as equally determined to do the same for veganism! I count my lucky stars that my pursuit was in an area so unique in Malaysia 5 years ago, that others saw me as an expert simply by juxtaposition.
Being a pioneering Plant-Based Lifestyle Advocate in the country has forced me to face my lack of self-esteem head on. When I step on stage for a presentation, I tap into the warrior spirit that kept my inner light even at its dimmest still flickering. Finally, I have arrived at the part of my life where my intentions fully align with my values and principles.
Now, as Davina Da Vegan, I am mentally and emotionally prepared for the next adventure in advocacy.
Starting this month, I have joined SPCA Selangor to head their Plant-Based Campaign Unit. Armed with a spatula and a mixing bowl containing all that I have learned in my vegan journey, from overcoming obstacles, to dealing with being a walking guilt trip for others, to the positive plant-based moments I have given permission in others to experience, to all the amazing angles under the sun as to why and how this lifestyle Makes The Most Sense In The World, I’ll be inviting players in the Government, Corporate, Education and Food & Beverage sectors to explore being a part of the plant-based movement.
Always so thankful to my friend Sarah Lian of Suppagood who first spotted my potential and nurtured my role as a Plant-Based Lifestyle Advocate. Massive thanks now goes out to my friend Ee Lynn, the Farm Animal Welfare Manager at SPCA Selangor, who empowered and encouraged me to apply for the Animal Charity Evaluators grant that made my employment at SPCA Selangor possible, ACE for this golden opportunity, my colleague Jacinta for her faith in my capabilities and to the Chairperson of SPCA Selangor Christine Chin for her enthusiasm in welcoming me on board to well and truly Do What I Love, and Love What I Do.
Stay tuned to all of SPCA Selangor’s social media platforms to see what the Plant-Based Campaign Unit gets up to!