Monday, 26 October 2009

Cleaning Up Our World

Friday, 23rd October 2009: Jewel Goes Home

The Nuisance, (hereafter renamed "H.") came over to the BOQ on Friday night to pick Jewel up. I showed her how to feed and clean Jewel, what food and supplements to give, and what to do in case First Aid is required. H. was quite attentive and Jewel warmed up to her quite easily, as Jewel is still very young and trusting. H.'s work is so much easier now that Jewel has lost interest in being bottle-fed (she ripped the rubber teats off all her milk bottles), and could eat from a saucer and use the litter tray correctly.

H. reported over the next two days that Jewel is a hearty eater who enjoys variety and has been having milk, wet food and kitten kibbles. Jewel plays all day until she is tired, eats well, uses her litter tray and enjoys being held. You couldn't ask for a better kitten.

Sometimes all that is required is for people like H. to be shouted into assuming responsibility. Once H. has been intimidated and threatened into assuming responsibility, she saw that it was enjoyable and not too onerous and that she could handle it herself without foisting all her problems onto others. H. loves animals and keeps her companion animals indoors. I am sure that Jewel will be fine. I will be collecting Jewel in 4 weeks for her first vaccination.

Sunday, 25th October 2009: Cleaning Up the Kanching Recreational Forest

Months ago, I joined a Facebook group called "Save Our Waterfalls", set up by nature-lovers and adventure tour guides who were concerned over the state Malaysian waterfalls were in. A grassroots action group was set up to organise nature clean-ups and to assist the indigenous communities whose territories we visit and trash.

When "Save Our Waterfalls" decided to organise a clean-up campaign at the Kanching Recreational Forest, I was one of the first to register as a volunteer, as I had spent many happy weekends in my childhood at the said Forest.

It was a matter of happy coincidence that the cleanup was planned to take place on October 25 in conjunction with the International Day for Climate Action ( Over 350 volunteers signed up online to participate in the cleanup exercise and to pledge to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. I can't think of a better way to spend one's Sunday morning.

Volunteers in their campaign t-shirts and tucking into breakfast at the event grounds at 0730h. I was pleased to bump into some of my friends from the Malaysian Nature Society there. I guess people like us do move in the same circles.

Bottoms Up! Volunteers digging up trash to be removed from the picnic sites. I had the dual role of removing rubbish and talking to members of the public about keeping our places of natural interest clean. Not everyone was as comfortable about public speaking as I am, so I gave them a short guide as to what to say when we encountered picnickers and litterbugs. Many picnickers were receptive to our message and were courteous and cooperative.

We were divided into teams to clean up different levels. The garbage bags would be collected at designated areas and transported down via a human chain.

I found housekeys! I don't think the poor soul who left these behind intended them to be litter, though.

A wild inflorescence surprised me with its beauty as I was picking up bottles.

Our beautiful and pristine Kanching waterfall: Let's keep it that way!

As we ascended the upper levels of the Fall, I told my friend Kim that I would like to enter the trail alongside the falls to collect some Styrofoam packaging I saw there. I made my way carefully down the rocky slope to pick the litter up. As I looked over the edge of the Fall, I went woozy with fear. It was such a steep drop, at least 4 storeys high. There was no pool to dive gracefully into below, only huge rocks and boulders. I wasn't even standing on solid ground, but on rocks covered with slippery leaf litter and other dirt. I looked up and yelled at Kim to give me a hand. Her back was to me and she couldn't hear me over the roar of the waterfall. My knees went weak. I pulled and crawled my way carefully back onto the trail. How could I have been so reckless as to venture into such a dangerous spot? I could have died over a few pieces of litter and no-one would have known. I still get panic attacks thinking about it. Each time I look back on the said incident, my chest tightens with fear and I find it difficult to breathe. It will be some time before I decide to be that adventurous again.

We formed a human chain to carry the rubbish down from each level. Along the way, some of the bags would break and spill their contents, and we would rush to double-bag the broken ones. It was back-breaking work and it took approximately 2 hours even though there were at least 350 of us.

We did it! We managed to bring almost 400 bags of waste down from the waterfalls and form a giant 350 with the bags! I am squatting at the crook of the "5" in the picture, but of course, you won't be able to spot me.

"350" stands for 350 parts of CO2 per million, which is the target environmental groups have set for the international community.

Now that we've had a day of hard work, it's time for tea and a bit of fun! I received the blue Bros bottle as a door gift for registering early, and I won the grey one in the Lucky Draw. What luck! I was sweaty, grimy, stinky and covered in mud, but then again, have I ever been anything but?

It is important for us to remember that our daily actions must reflect our environmental values. Let us lobby the governments to protect watersheds and rainforests, but let us also do our part in environmental conservation!

Monday, 26th October 2009: Letter to the Editor

On Oct 25, I had the privilege of participating in a waterfall cleanup campaign at the Kanching Recreational Forest together with over 350 other volunteers, as part of an environmental initiative by the Waterfall Survivors Facebook group.

The volunteers collected and disposed of close to 400 bags of rubbish, almost all of it litter left behind by picnickers over the years. While the effort by the group is commendable and praiseworthy, I worry that not enough is being done by the authorities to deter visitors from leaving litter behind in recreational parks and forests. Environmental action groups appear to be preaching to the converted, and a vast majority of Malaysians still lack the maturity and mindfulness to keep places of natural interest clean out of their own volition.

I urge the Ministry and NRE, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and management bodies of parks and recreational forests in Malaysia to look into long-term solutions to the perennial problem of littering in Malaysia. I appreciate that enforcement is a problem, as there can never be enough manpower to issue fines to culprits. Therefore, I propose the following measures for your kind consideration:

1. To charge a deposit on all food and beverage containers and disposable packaging brought into park premises. In order for this measure to be effective, all concession and snack stalls must be outside park premises. Park attendants can check the belongings of all visitors and charge a deposit of, say RM1, for each cigarette packet, plastic bag and food and beverage container or packaging brought into the park at the entrance counter and inform the visitors that they will get their deposit back if they were to bring the items back for disposal upon exit. To ensure its effectiveness, all unofficial entrances to parks will have to be closed off and the park gates must be closed at night, not only to maintain the cleanliness of the area, but also to prevent the parks from being utilised for vice, illegal activities and drinking sessions after which broken bottles are left lying around.

2. To impose a higher fee on plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging to reflect their cradle-to-grave cost and the true environmental cost of cleaning up clogged drains and rivers. This will, in turn, encourage manufacturers, retailers and consumers to look for alternatives to disposable and non-biodegradable packaging.

3. To institute a nationwide deposit system for recyclable items such as aluminium cans, PET bottles and beverage cartons. The cost of purchasing packaged food and beverages in Malaysia does not reflect the cost of disposing of them and managing the waste generated. If a 20-sen deposit were to be charged for each unit of recyclable packaging, which will be claimable at designated recycling centres, it would create an incentive for people to collect and redeem their recyclables for cash, and this would also hopefully translate into less litter ending up on beaches and in parks.

It is my contention that Malaysians do understand that litter adversely affects wildlife and environmental quality, and as such, education and awareness campaigns will have little, if any, positive impact on an informed but apathetic population. As such, different strategies are required to deter littering. Although littering may not be high on the country's priority list, littering is a completely preventable and unnecessary activity that affects how a country or community views itself, and must, thus, be prevented and rendered needless.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Awesome Deepavali Weekend!

It has been a busy week, memorable mostly for the discomfort that the dental treatment has left me in. I have since learned to adapt to using my ill-fitting immediate dentures and am trying to get over the horrible lisp it gave me. My friends are getting a big kick out of making me sing "Rhinestone Cowboy". I never realised how sibilant the song is until I developed a lisp.

As for Jewel, she is back with me. Although Mama Cat was nursing her, Jewel wasn't receiving very much in the way of protection and supervision. The people she was in the care of thought that leaving 3-week old kittens to roam alone in the driveway all day while they went to work was the right thing to do. I didn't know it until I arrived at their home last night to find Jewel missing. I had a nasty scare and decided that Jewel would be safer with me. Now I will have to bottle-feed her and make her eliminate waste daily, but I'll learn through trial and error.

The Nuisance received a shelling from me on her lack of responsibility, and now she has decided that she wants to keep Jewel for herself. The Nuisance wants to pick Jewel up this Friday. I hope that her decision was made because she is able and willing to care for Jewel, and not just to spite me. In any case, I will try to remain informed as to Jewel's well-being.

Jewel with Mama Cat. Goodbye for now and thank you for the milk, Mama Cat!

I am trying to cultivate the appearance of cheerfulness, although my heart aches for little Jewel.

17th October 2009: Deepavali Valthukal!

I have created a special post on Deepavali in Brickfields and another on Brickfields in general. Please drop by for a visit and vote for my posts! Thank you!

I was up early on Deepavali morning to mow and weed the yard and give the Rowdies their bath. I left for Coach's house at noon for a scrumptious Deepavali lunch. I wasn't able to eat much due to my teeth but it was good to meet everyone again.

Coach's dog, Bima, ignored the rawhide baseball I brought him as a gift.

Someone had given Coach a cigar and he hammed it up for the camera.

Coach and I.

Lara and Matthew decided to sit next to me so I could tell them all about plants and animals. What can I say, I'm a kid magnet these days!

I did not drink, as I was still on antibiotics, and I could not stay long, as I had promised to be at the SPCA to help out so the Hindu staff could leave earlier. I bade everyone goodbye and left by 1400h.

I arrived at the SPCA, parked behind Reve's 4x4 and got to work almost immediately. Rose had been on duty since morning and had managed to tickwash some of the dogs. She pointed out new arrivals to me -- puppies so round that they rolled over and rocked like eggs when tickled.

It had rained before I arrived, and it threatened to rain again as I tidied up the newspapers and donated items. It looks like I won't be able to wash the dogs today.

I got to work cleaning the Cattery and disinfecting all the cat baskets and litter trays. I gave the cats fresh food, water and bedding, and replaced the cardboard pad in their Scratch-N-Play.

Reve let the dogs out to play after they have had their evening meal, and I soaped and disinfected the cages and enclosures while the dogs and puppies were at play in the compound. After that, I cleaned the Front Office/Admin/Reception area and scrubbed and soaped all the tiles, steps, fixtures and sink.

I moved on to clean the Maternity Kennel and water bowls, and cleaned the Central Area and Puppy Area while Sugen and Reve took the food bowls away for washing. We told Sugen he could go home early and we would take care of the rest of the cleaning up.

Reve and I finished cleaning the shelter by 1900h and we had a coffee while we chatted about the changes we would like to see in the administration of the SPCA. There are so many things that are wrong. It would only be a matter of time before the problems and failings overwhelm that in the system which is currently working.

I left for Bukit Gasing after the SPCA, as I had agreed to go frogging with Lillian, Hurnain and the rest of the herpetofauna enthusiasts.

When I first informed Coach and my other friends that I would be going frogging on Deepavali night and invited them to come along, they were incredulous.

"Frogs? What, to eat?" they exclaimed in surprise and curiosity.

Hey, just because I am of Chinese ethnicity doesn't mean that I eat everything with four legs except a table!

Frogs and toads are fascinating, and are good indicators of the environmental health of an area. Since amphibians are particularly susceptible to contaminants and are very sensitive to the changes in their environment, a decline in the amphibian population is a warning to us humans that an area may not remain safe for human occupation for very long.

The MNS Herpetofauna Special Interest Group , under the leadership of Hurnain and Lillian, has been conducting nocturnal frogging excursions in Bukit Gasing, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) and other secondary forests in the City for years, for the purposes of data collection and research, and to inculcate greater appreciation for nature and indigenous reptiles and amphibians among city-dwellers.

The Bukit Gasing Forest Reserve is special in that it straddles the border of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya. It is a secondary forest and green lung covering over 100 hectares. It is worth noting that 36 hectares of secondary forest in the Petaling Jaya side were gazetted as a greenbelt in 1961, while the Kuala Lumpur side remains unprotected. I hope that the Ministry of Federal Territories accords this issue with the importance that it deserves and takes steps to gazette this green buffer zone in the City.

The last time I conducted a Green Living - Eco Kids Day Camp here was in 2007. The beneficiaries were the able-bodied children from the Taman Megah Home For Handicapped Children.

Happy faces after our Day Camp in 2007. The children received their certificates after making their Green Living pledges. I had initiated the Camp and was, and still am, very grateful for the support of my key volunteers: Yanty, Serina, Mariam, Hui-Min, Christine and Mohala.

Tonight, there would only be a handful of us. I pulled up at the entrance of the trail and joined Nain and Lil, pockets bulging with flashlights and mosquito repellent.

The local authorities must have thought it was a good idea to put these rock gabions here and create an embankment for our little stream. Perhaps their intention is to reduce or control soil erosion, but it has created siltation and reduction of flow in the stream and affected fauna that relies on the natural foliage growing on the riverbanks for shelter and food.

Lillian remains an active volunteer despite being in her fifth month of pregnancy. Her spirit of volunteerism is infectious!

Rana Raniceps / Hydrophylax Raniceps, commonly known as the Copper-Cheeked Frog. See how its beautiful skin glistens in the night!

Lillian showing little Cerys the proper way of holding and handling a Copper-Cheeked Frog. Nature awareness and education should begin as early as possible.

Bufo Parvus: We learned to identify it from the hourglass-like marking at the back of its head.

Hurnain and Lillian trying to locate the position of the frogs by their calls.

We heard Hurnain hissing to us from 10 metres away and squelched up the stream to see what he was so excited about. It was worth the hurry! Hurnain had spotted a Dogania Subplana! What luck! It hasn't been spotted in Bukit Gasing in ages!

Dogania Subplana: Malayan Soft-Shelled Turtle

The Dogania perceived us to be a threat and tried to get away by burrowing under the sandy stream bed. There was a plastic bag in the way and I offered to remove it. Hurnain and Teck Wyn cautioned that the Dogania would attack, and that it has a very painful bite.

I was adamant that the plastic bag be removed, and was not worried about being bitten. After all, I get bitten at the SPCA by new arrivals and nervous animals at least once every six months. I tugged gently at the plastic bag until it came loose and we collected other plastic litter from the stream.

L-R: Hurnain, me and Lillian with a message for joggers, picnickers and hashers: Please do not leave your litter behind. Littering is a poor return for the enjoyment you have derived from our natural spaces.

We saw another Dogania a little further upstream. This really is a serendipitous night for us to have spotted two in the same hour. This is a good sign that the water quality is good enough to create liveable conditions for wildlife.

While we were photographing another Bufo Parvus, I spotted another frog, sitting very still, next to it. It took a while for us to realise that it wasn't another Bufo Parvus but a frog which we have never seen before and could not identify. We proceeded to take photos of it from all angles to help in its identification.

Little Cerys was exhausted from her long day of Deepavali visiting and trekking, and so we made the decision to pack up for the night. We brought the litter we collected out with us, congratulated each other on a productive night of nature observation, and promised to come back again soon.

Our Deepavali wish would be to see green spaces given due protection against unnecessary development. There are enormous environmental and economic costs associated with the destruction of forests, such as an increase in the incidence of landslides and flash floods and the rise in tropical diseases. Similarly, there are enormous benefits to be gained from the preservation of rainforests and their ecosystem services such as carbon capture and as water catchment zones. A well-cared for green lung or forest reserve will also have great tourism potential and will be an asset to any state!

May we all tread gently upon the good Earth and show love and respect to other beings that share our Planet!

Please vote for my frogging post!

Thank you!

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Jewel is a very tiny kitten who has made a very big impact in my life. I must admit that I didn't, and still don't, like the circumstances in which I acquired her.

Someone who I no longer consider a friend (due to her parasitic tendencies and penchant for pushing responsibility to others) found a tiny kitten while driving home on Monday night. She (hereafter to be referred to as 'The Nuisance') brought the kitten to me without trying to do anything for the kitten first, on the basis that she is busy with work (What?!?! And the rest of us are employed to drink tea?!?!) and that she has another cat who might not like the presence of a new cat (so what?!? I have 6 cats and all of them are hostile to new cats for at least a week). I was in excruciating pain after dental surgery and practically broke after paying for dental treatment, car repairs and the vet bills previously incurred by the Whisketeers. But of course, to The Nuisance, her problems are the biggest in the world, and no one else has to work or will be inconvenienced by a kitten except for her. Only her problems matter.

I railed and ranted at The Nuisance and made her go out and purchase kitten food, but what I didn't tell her is that I had already fallen in love with the tiny calico kitten. After The Nuisance left, I tried giving the kitten, who I have named Jewel because she is such a precious little thing, some wet food mashed with warm water, but Jewel, who I estimated to be between 1 and 2 weeks old, cried constantly and would not eat.

Jewel crying for her mama as I held her.

The following day, I purchased Kitten Milk Replacer and a JustBorn nursing bottle and tried to bottle-feed Jewel. She continued crying herself into starvation and would not feed. I tried using a medicine dropper to feed her but it was a slow and messy process, and I was really fearful that she might develop aspiration pneumonia from inhaling the fluid.

My last resort was to find someone with a nursing mother cat. I called up the SPCA but Reve could not find a nursing mother cat for me. My friend Azura has a mother cat who has just finished nursing her kittens and was supposed to be spayed in a few weeks (I had obtained the spaying/neutering vouchers for her during World Animal Day). Would Mama Cat be willing to nurse Jewel? It was worth a try.

I brought Jewel over to Mama Cat. Jewel was by then quite weak and unable to stand. Azura showed me how to rub Jewel against Mama Cat's kittens (to be vaccinated, put up for adoption and scheduled for neutering soon) so that she would have their scent.

We then put Jewel against Mama Cat's abdomen. Jewel made a frantic search for Mama Cat's teats. Soon she was suckling contentedly, and both Jewel and Mama Cat began purring.

My gratitude towards Mama Cat knows no bounds. Mama Cat is a hero for saving Jewel's life! Azura is very generous and understanding about it and has offered to foster Jewel until she is able to eat from a bowl, after which we will make plans to find Jewel a new home.

Jewel may be no bigger than my palm but she occupies a very large part of my heart right now.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Your Vote Counts!

I’ve been pretty much in pain all week due to a dental surgery that I had to undergo. The dentist cut open my gums and the roof of my mouth to extract a particularly recalcitrant tooth. Since I don’t want to rely on painkillers, I’ve been in a pain-racked haze and completely off-form this week, hence the absence of one of my interminable weekend posts.

I’m competing in a blogging competition organised by the Ministry of Federal Territories. I beg your kind indulgence to please visit my blog here.

And if you like what you see, please vote for my entry by clicking the button on top of each post. Every vote counts! Your kind assistance is highly appreciated!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Air Travel for Tree-Planting Exercise Environmentally Unsound


I refer to your report, “Planting Trees to Mark 25th Year” (Metro, 8th Oct). While I applaud AEON’s environmental initiatives such as planting trees, reducing the use of plastic bags and collecting waste items for recycling, I must express serious concern over the environmental cost of flying in volunteers from Japan to plant trees in Malaysia.

Relying on the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s and CO2 Balance’s carbon emission calculators, I have determined that a return trip for just one person from Tokyo to KLIA would generate an estimated 2.51 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

This calculation is in accordance with the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2008 Guidelines to Greenhouse Gas Conversion Factors. Multiplied by 500 volunteers, this would amount to 1,255 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Let us take into cognisance the fact that mature trees offset far greater amounts of CO2 than young trees. A tree will only begin to be effective in absorbing carbon in its tenth year. A 25-year-old tree will be able to absorb approximately 0.0011 tonnes of CO2 a year. Over 25 years, we would need 36 trees to offset one tonne of CO2.

A concession would have to be made for the fact that the majority of the trees planted at the Malaysia-Japan Friendship Forest are actually hibiscus and small shrubs, not indigenous rainforest trees, but the principle of benefit of the doubt will be applied in this circumstance.

In order to offset the 1,255 tonnes of carbon dioxide generated by flying in 500 volunteers from Japan, AEON would have to plant and maintain at least 45,180 forest trees of significant size, and ensure that the said trees stay alive for at least 50 years. Disease, deforestation and reclamation of land for development will have an impact on whether or not a tree survives for 50 years and beyond.

Instead of sponsoring air travel for its volunteers from Japan, AEON could, alternatively, engage the assistance of the expatriate Japanese community in Malaysia, sponsor and mobilise wholly local volunteers, utilise technologies such as video conferencing or make video recordings of the event to be viewed by Japanese counterparts. Environmental responsibility entails long-term commitment, creativity and an intelligent assessment of all the social, economic and environmental aspects of a project, on the part of the project proponents.

While I laud the corporate social responsibility efforts of many retail corporations, great pains must be taken to ensure that these are not reduced to opportunities for a tropical junket, or mere exercises in ‘greenwashing’ that may end up causing more harm to the environment, or, at best, be of no benefit to the environment.


Flowers for Breakfast, Cowdung No.5 and WAD 2009

Friday, 6th October 2009: So long and good luck, Baby Otis!

It was with a heavy heart that I brought Otis back to the SPCA for adoption on Friday, but I know that every good fosterer must have the courage to let their foster babies go, and to trust that the new parent would provide proper and adequate (if not sufficient) care for their adopted babies.

Otis had a crowd of admirers holding him and cooing at him almost as soon as he arrived. Well, at least he wouldn't be lonely there. He was friendly with the other kittens(a bit too bold, might I add) in the enclosure and affectionate and playful with the humans. What a classic dream cat Otis is. Who could resist his charms? He was adopted almost immediately. The couple who adopted him did not ask for a discount (of the adoption fee, which covers vaccination and neutering) and pledged to keep him indoors and provide for all his needs.

I was relieved that Otis did not have to stay at the shelter, sad to have to say goodbye and sorry for all the other kittens who did not get adopted. To take my mind off the turmoil of emotions I was going through, I resorted to hard labour. I informed Dr. Pushpa that I would be tickwashing all the dogs in Kennels E and F. I went into the Surgery, got the Tactik EC solution ready and hauled my dog-washing kit over to the Pound area.

Roli (The Kindest Man In The World) seemed pleased to see me on a weekday, and we chatted (shouted to, more like) with each other over the din of barking dogs. I leashed, shampooed, rinsed and tickwashed the dogs two-by-two, and treated wounds and sores with Woundsarex. Roli came to help me hold a few of the rowdier dogs so they wouldn't hurt themselves trying to escape.

Some of the pound and forgotten kennel dogs are absolutely sweet-natured and lovable, and I really hope that potential adopters would look beyond their non-pedigree status and adopt these pooches instead. I finished washing, grooming and tick-washing all 20 dogs by 1700h. I had half an hour left, so I cleaned and disinfected the Cattery and cat baskets while Reve cleaned the Front Area of the shelter.

I showered, changed and left the Shelter by 1800h to meet up with my dear buddies Patricia and Larnee at Swensons Ice Cream Parlour in SS2. The traffic was horrible and I came close to tearing my hair out in frustration. I texted Pat and asked them to start eating without me because I was still stuck in traffic behind buses that materialised in front of me out of the emergency lane. Where are the cops when you need them?

I finally arrived and we had a capital time catching up with each other over dinner. The service was appalling but on the bright side, it gave us the opportunity to spend more time together. I learned from this incident that the next time I go to an ice-cream parlour, it would only be for ice-cream. We should always have our dinner elsewhere.

We parted ways around 2200h. Pat gave me a gift of incredibly fragrant and delicious cream puffs from her talented son, Dan. I think our next dinner date should be at Pat's house, with a special order for 30 of Dan's cream puffs. Sure, I'd die fat, but at least I'd die happy. Bring it on, Dan!

Saturday, 3rd October - Sunday, 4th October 2009: Manure Madness and Flowers for Breakfast

Our Malaysian Nature Society Branch Committee decided to hold a Strategy Workshop-cum-retreat at Titi Eco Farm this year, to enable the Committee to work on a 3-year strategy plan for the Society. In retrospect, we chose the right venue. It was so dull and so devoid of distractions that we managed to get the Strategy Plan drafted in a little more than a day. If there had been, say, cable TV with the ESPN Sports Channel, or access to pubs and a snooker parlour, or even just a swimming pool, the Strategy Plan would be swimming with the fishes right now.

In search of something to do outside the main lodge.

Workshop in session: What would our conservation plan be?

Working on the environmental education and awareness plan.

From left: Me, Lili and Seng. There is a rather unsavoury story behind the tiffin carrier.

A very odiferous walk through the vegetable garden. Everything smelled of manure for ages afterwards.

A incriminating shot of Bernie with a long bean.

Yadz demonstrating mad skillz on the rings... NOT!

For the record: I did NOT make the papaya tree fall over. I found it that way.

Can we, like, make the log swing go any faster?

Dinner, with mosquitoes for company. The meals were prepared without sugar, salt or oil. Just the thing for a detention camp.

Welcome to Lili and CovertOps's Retoxification Camp! We will reintroduce caffeine, alcohol, transfats, carbohydrates and salt into your bloodstream!

Lili sliding down what looked like a stormwater drain when drunk at 0200h.

Yoga poses while heavily inebriated at 0300h.

A mind-numbingly healthy breakfast on Sunday morning. Somebody, tell me those flowers are to be put behind my ear?

Sunday, 4th October 2009: World Animal Day at the SPCA

The SPCA World Animal Day Celebrations last year were held at the KL Tower Terrace, thanks to the generosity and kind cooperation of City Hall and other corporate bodies. This year, however, we decided that a small-scale celebration at the SPCA shelter in Ampang Jaya would be just as meaningful.

The SPCA PR team sent out a request for ideas over a month ago, and I am pleased to report that my idea was selected. We would have a candlelight vigil, Volunteer Appreciation Awards, and a pledge ceremony. I drafted the pledge within 20 minutes of being requested to do so, and was surprised to find that it had been adopted verbatim.

I managed to stop by the Shelter on our way back from Titi Eco Farm, and was glad that I could join in the later half of the celebrations, even if I could not arrive in time to receive my appreciation award. I was gratified and touched to see the candles lit for the departed animals and the number of pledge cards signed and taken home.

Candlelight vigil for departed animal companions. May we meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.

Sombre faces: Jacinta and I, after lighting our candles.

Cindy signs her pledge on the World Animal Day banner, while TeckWyn and Cerys look on.

Nicole was kept busy selling SPCA merchandise and collecting signatures for the UDAW Petition

Pris registering applicants for free Klinik Kembiri spay/neuter vouchers. For more info on the low-cost spay/neuter clinic, please click here.

Please take the World Animal Day 2009 pledge!
1. I pledge to look after, protect and provide for all animals under my care; to arrange for alternative caregivers whenever I am away and to find solutions for boarding and rehoming should I find myself unable to care for my companion animals any longer.

2. I pledge to vaccinate and neuter my companion cats, dogs and and small animals (e.g. rabbits and hamsters) and to educate my family, friends and co-workers on the importance of vaccination, neutering and obtaining necessary licenses for one's companion animals.

3. I pledge to gently advise neighbours who fail to provide proper care for their companion animals, and write to zoos, circuses, theme parks and other facilities that keep animals, in the event I witness any acts of neglect, ill-treatment or cruelty. If my advice should fail to bring about positive change in the treatment of the animals, I pledge to report the matter to the SPCA or relevant authorities such as the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

4. I pledge to assist the SPCA and animal welfare groups in finding homes for the animals under their care and advise my family and friends to spay/neuter their existing pets and adopt from shelters and pounds, rather than purchase from pet stores.

5. I pledge to live simply that animals may simply live. I will reduce, reuse and recycle more and use less fossil fuels and chemicals. I will dispose of hazardous materials such as paint, needles and cans with sharp edges carefully. I will use fewer plastics bags, polystyrene products and other materials that may pose a danger to stray animals and wildlife.

6. I pledge to be a more careful driver that I may avoid harm to animals that share our roads and neighbourhoods. I will provide all the assistance I can to animals harmed by traffic and people.

7. I pledge to vote against animal cruelty with my money. I will purchase and use only products that are cruelty-free and which do not cause animal suffering. I will avoid products that are known to have been tested on animals.

8. I pledge not to give animals as gifts unless specifically requested and chosen by the recipient. If I do get an animal as a gift, I will ensure that it will be vaccinated, neutered and given proper care. I will adopt from shelters, pounds and animal rehomers rather than purchase from pet stores and breeders.

9. I pledge to join or support wildlife protection programmes, animal welfare organisations and environmental organisations to educate myself on ways to reduce harm to animals and protect wildlife that are vulnerable to exploitation. Our collective voice and votes can help to change harmful governmental and corporate policies.

10. I pledge to opt for vegetarian food whenever I can. I will go vegetarian at least once a week. I will also actively look for alternatives to leather, suede, fur, honey, silk and ivory.

Happy World Animal Day, from all creatures great and small!