Archive for the ‘prata’ Category


The No Trans Fat prata campaign

March 4, 2007

Once again, yours truly was in the papers today, this time in The New Paper on Sunday (4 March 2007), which highlighted my “wish list” for trans fat free roti prata.

If you recall, this started off in this blog, when one day I discovered that I had unknowingly eaten trans fat for breakfast when I had roti prata fried in margarine. That led me to realise not only that:

  1. a lot of prata is being cooked with Planta (margarine)
  2. that it is actually very easy for prata sellers to go trans fat free — just swich to using gingerly (sesame) oil which was traditionally used to cook prata.

The difficult part is to get the message out to the prata sellers. One way, I thought was to go through Tamil Murasu, the Tamil language newspaper that would be most likely read by prata sellers.

The other way would be to print flyers, in both English and Tamil, to distribute to prata sellers. And to give them a “No trans fat” sticker to put up once they have made the switch.

This second way, I feel, would create a greater impact. It would not only reach out to prata sellers, but also send a message to prata eaters to heighten their awareness about the harm of trans fats.

Only thing is that there are logistics issues to be solved.

Firstly, I need money to print the flyers and stickers. It won’t cost a lot, probably just a couple of hundred dollars for a couple of thousand flyers and somewhat more for the stickers — except that I am pretty broke right now due to past business failure and unwise spendings. Anyway, this can be quite easily solved.

The bigger problem is how to distribute the flyers and stickers. How to reach out to the thousands of prata sellers spread across Singapore?

As The New Paper article pointed out, I am currently running this “STOP Trans Fats” campaign as a one-man show, so if any of you indentify with this cause and are willing to help out, I will be grateful.

The journalist who inteviewed me for the article asked (actually, she was told by her editor to ask) if I had approached the Ministry of Health or the Health Promotion Board about my proposed ‘No Trans Fats’ prata campaign.

My reply was that the MOH / HPB and I “don’t quite see eye-to-eye”. The government health authorities don’t seem to view trans fats as a serious enough problem and they continue to focus their public education efforts on telling people to avoid saturated fats or, at most, both saturated and trans fats.

Sure, it would be a lot easier if I just tow the line and parrot what the health authorities say. But I cannot do that when I have come across so much information that tells me saturated fats are not harmful but, in fact, necessary and beneficial for health.

If I want to tow the line, I might as well not do anything. Just let the HPB do — or don’t do — what they have been doing / not doing all along.

So this is a lonely campaign to put across a vital message that the government health authorities won’t put across. I do feel lonely running this campaign all by myself, even though I also do feel encouraged by the support of readers like MKO, YCK, Singapore Cityzen and others.

For the STOP Trans Fat campaign to create a greater impact, however, it needs to go beyond websites and blogs out into the real world. It could start with the prata campaign or with anything else.

If any of you has ideas, and is willing to help out, let me know.

Let’s do something — for health’s sake.