Wednesday, 30 June 2010

My World Cup Runneth Over

This is the month of sleepless nights. This is the month we go to work with uncombed hair and dark rings around our eyes the size of the Jabulani.

This is the month when potato chips, instant ramen and Coke are consumed every night in lieu of square meals. This is the month I am permitted to go to work in my electic collection of football jerseys representing my favourite clubs and teams.

This is the month cheers of triumph and groans of dismay are heard from every house in my street, from 2230 - 0000 hrs and 0230 - 0400 hrs on an almost nightly basis. The cable TV-equipped little coffeeshops in our neighbourhood are doing a brisk business and closing later than ever since mid-June. This is the month we high-five random strangers in restaurants and coffeeshops, as long as we are all cheering for the same team.

This is the month all of us afficionados become know-it-alls who are smarter than the 'stupid' managers and 'blind' referees. This is the month when it is acceptable to celebrate Father's Day in front of the TV with a pizza dinner and a South Africa 2010 Official Licensed Merchandise polo shirt ("I haven't the time to wrap it or to get you a card, sorry Dad").

My friends and I have set up an ad hoc support group for People-Who-Suffer-Chronic-Neck-Pain-From-Falling-Asleep-On-The-Couch-Every-Night-Since-June-11. As the popular sportswear TV commercial goes, I have Footballitis. There is no cure. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, 20th June 2010: Of Piñatas and Potluck Parties

The children of Compassion Home had a good time at our MNS Open Day on World Environment Day, and so my blog buddy Ellen, who is a member of the
Fun Club that takes the children out for outings and buys food and provisions for the Home, deemed it fit to invite me over to the Home for the end-of-school-hols barbecue party. How could I refuse? She was lovely enough to make sure there was plenty of meatless goodies for me to enjoy!

I made my way to the Home after the World Refugee Day celebrations bearing with me a non-food contribution -- a Back-To-School piñata that I made out of recycled/reclaimed materials and stuffed with school supplies, World Cup themed merchandise and teeth-rotting candy.

My piñata is as gaudily hideous as can be. Most piñatas are made to resemble cartoon characters or burros or something recognisable. Mine looks like a gay pride hanging flowerpot or something equally frightful.

A birthday cake for all those born in the months of May and June.

Olé! A palpable hit! Our little champ is actually looking at the piñata from under his blindfold!

Collecting piñata swag is as much fun as the hitting part!

Please meet the best-behaved kids in the world! You can leave cigarettes, alcohol, great big scissors and all manner of contraband items on the table and it won't result in an 'incident'.

The two youngest boys were sorting out piñata swag. All the swag was to be shared out equally. There was no fighting and no claims of "I got it first". Even I can't boast of that level of discipline and self-restraint.

Mad Props to Ellen, the Fun Club and the wonderful children and caregivers of Compassion Home for an awesome party!

Thursday, 24th June 2010: Project Second Chance Updates

Whoosh has been adopted by the family of one of my colleagues. I've been told that the little girl for whom Whoosh was adopted has a learning disability and having a companion animal has helped boost her confidence tremendously. The child has become calmer, more responsible and less shy after having the little cat as a companion. I am touched and gratified that Whoosh has found her calling in life as a Therapy Cat. Perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps it was destined that I was to bring Whoosh home and rehabilitate her and then rehome her with this loving family with a lonely little girl who was just waiting for a cat who would love her unconditionally.

Estel, on the other hand, went in heat a few weeks ago, and so I arranged with VJ and Sara to have her spayed as soon as her cycle was over. As usual, I made arrangements with the SPCA vets and our cat caretaker, Kak Mazni, to enable Estel to be spayed on a weekday when the vets are able to fit an extra surgery into their schedule.

Kak Mazni would not accept any payment from me for boarding all my strays and fosterees, and she told me it was because she sees me as a friend and not a client. The night I went to pick Estel up after spaying, I gave Kak Mazni a canvas shopping bag filled with chocolates, potato chips and coffee mixes, and told her that she must accept my gift in lieu of payment for all the times she looked after my Project Second Chance fosterees for me.

Estel is currently still in my Bachelor's Quarters, waiting for her family to collect her, and is as rambunctious as ever. Further proof that spaying doesn't necessarily make them more placid or docile.

I am beginning to suspect that the tiny black lightning bolt climbing up the living room curtains is a cat-monkey hybrid after all.

Saturday, 26th June 2010: SPCA Saturday

It was a genially chaotic day at the SPCA when I arrived at the animal shelter on Saturday morning. There were gaggles of schoolchildren in the front area arranging trestle tables and merchandise for the Jumble Sale the following day, and our general workers were busy scrubbing and disinfecting every surface in preparation for the hundreds of visitors and customers who would be coming over.

I got to work bathing and tick-washing the dogs in the B-Extension Kennels and Hospital area upon receiving my instructions from the vets. It was perfect dog-bathing weather, and it didn't matter to me that there were no other volunteers available to assist me. I sang as I worked and managed to bathe at least 18 dogs in a little under 3 hours.

"I don't like the way the shampoo makes me tingle all over!"

"Put that tickwash spray away or I'll eat your glove!"

I cleaned the kennels and Cattery after I had finished bathing the dogs assigned to me, cleaned myself up and went on my merry way back to the parental home, where more housework, yard work and dogs await me. The weekend has just begun.

Sunday, 27th June 2010: Newest Family Member -- Kuchbhi the Baby Koel

Took the parents out to a Sunday lunch before making my way to the SPCA in the early afternoon to help with the post-Jumble Sale cleaning and reorganising.

I was in the midst of cleaning the office and front area when a man and his children dropped by with an injured young bird in a plastic bag. They found the bird sitting helplessly on the sidewalk, surrounded by belligerent crows.

I took one look and guessed what had happened. The baby koel, being a member of the cuckoo family, was born in a crow's nest. The crows figured out that the big, ungainly nestling wasn't one of them and threw the poor little mite out of its nest.

I assured the kind man that I would take over the care of the koel and he made a donation to the SPCA. The SPCA supplied me with a cage and Ilium Dermapred for the bird's wounds and I purchased some bird food from the mini market across the road. Kuchbhi the Baby Koel was to be my latest fosteree under Project Second Chance.

"Kuchbhi" is Hindi for "anything", sometimes used to mean "What The Heck?!?"

I posted Kuchbhi's photo on my Facebook profile and kind words and offers of help came in almost immediately. My friend Loretta offered assistance as she has a heat lamp and no indoor cats. I brought Kuchbhi over to Loretta's house after completing my work at the SPCA for the day.

Other friends offered less than practical advice. "Give Kuchbhi a pencil", counselled a fellow birder, Tang. "Why?" I wanted to know. "So she can pass the time by solving the crossword puzzle," came the ludicrous reply.

It took what seemed like a lifetime for me to stop laughing. I am glad, though, that Kuchbhi is surrounded by so much love and concern. Loretta and I both hope she grows up to be a big, noisy, pesky koel.

Tuesday, 29th June 2010: Blood Donation Update

I learned something new today.

I learned that if I eat a big breakfast and drink 2 glasses of water and wear my heaviest shoes and leave my wallet, 3 bunches of keys, Blackberry, coins and Swiss Army Knife in my pockets during the weigh-in before donating blood, I could bring my weight from a paltry 46 kg to a whopping 50 kg!

I totally rule. Now nobody can declare me ineligible for blood donation.

The Blood Bank was festooned with red and white balloons in conjunction with World Blood Donation Day on June 14th. I just hope the balloons are made of biodegradable latex, if they are going to end up in a landfill.

During my last blood donation, I could only have a hot beverage because there wasn't any other refreshment suitable for vegetarians. I am pleased to report that they had quite a variety of refreshments this time around and I did not have to leave hungry. Thank you, National Blood Bank.

Across the Continent, my Special Someone was also donating blood at the same time. Bound together by our love of service and our concern for living beings, we are closer to free. The fact that I have found my Special Someone is enough to persuade me that even in the disorder and insanity of the Universe, there is room for equilibrium and perfection.

Covert Operations, OUT.


Unknown said...

Do teach me how to kick a football without me losing my leg as it hits the air!
I made a bird pinata for my one of my kids during a birthday party. How we whacked. Tough birdie!
Excellent blood donor you are! Is this your second donation for the year?

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Thank you for the report(s). Especially on Whoosh and Estel. Oooohhh...that Koel...imagine if it's in our house. I would have such fun. I'll call it Tweety though... har har har *evil laughs*

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hello there, Keats! Football is a lot like snooker -- the ball will go in the direction you are looking! So face the right angle, keep your posture right, look where you want the ball to go and KICK!
I am sure your bird pinata was a hit with the kids. I could never bring myself to hit anything shaped like an animal, though. I couldn't even eat Easter bunny chocolates or animal crackers.
As for your question on Blood Donation, yes, it is my second donation of the year, thank you!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties In Sydney,

Do koels tweet? I always thought the babies just chirp or chirrup. Maybe they Tweet instead of tweet, but with the poor internet connection over here, I doubt it!
Whoosh, Estel and the rest of the gang send their love and purrrrrs!

louis said...

Hi CO'78,
I had intended to make this a comment on that fantastic dramatic opening line "This is the month of sleepless nights". Who would have though a commentary on soccer...ooops, football... could attain such literary height!

But then that item on your piñata gave a me a cultural shock. A piñata in KL!!?? The one you made is positively artistic. Defiinitely more aesthetic than the usual animal figures I dutifully got for every birthday party of my kids and they for theirs now. Who knows, Mexico and Southern California may begin outsourcing piñata manufacturing to Malaysia. Get ready to ramp up your production.

Ellen Whyte said...

The kids enjoyed meeting you - and the MNS day too! Come again next time.

Darn it, I have to give blood. Yeck.

Pat said...

I'm not a World Cup anything, but I love the way it's 'joined' so many people together! I can hear screams of 'Goal!' from the mamak shop behind my house sometimes - and they all sound so happy!

Is that baby koel a girl? Or do all babies look like that? I didn't know they were like cuckoos, though! Amazing!

I hope that baby does well and grows up to be another one of those that'll sit at my window and LOUDLY call, and call, and call, and call....

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Louis,
Thank you for your kind words about my hideous piñata! I think most Malaysian children first learned about piñatas back in the '80s through programmes such as Sesame Street, but ready-made piñatas weren't available here until Toys R Us started stocking them in the '90s. Still, they were incredibly expensive and purchased mostly by the American expatriate community. Later, many of us learned to make our own from the Arts and Crafts columns in children's magazines like Delite and Bang On The Door.
So glad you liked my piñata!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ellen,
Do you also hate it the moment the needle goes into your vein? I could never watch them doing it! I will look away and sing "la la la la la" in my head!
Thank you so much for having me! I would love to plan a Green Living Day Camp for the kids for the next school holidays. Thank you also for the yummy quiche and potato salad!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Pat,

Many of my non-football fan friends love the World Cup for an entirely different reason -- better traffic flow during matches, cos everybody will be at home or the stalls, glued to the idiot box! Apparently, South American and British police confirm that crime rate drops during the World Cup! Even burglars can't bear to miss the matches, ha ha!

I think only female koels have speckles and bars like that. The males are all black with baleful red eyes. Kuchbhi is adorable, is she not? Once she is a big strong 'un, I will send her right over to your place to scream at your window!

Thanks for coming over!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hi again, everyone.

Kuchbhi didn't make it. Loretta did the best she could. I don't think anyone could have done better. The SPCA vets didn't even want to try.

RIP Little Kuchbhi. I am sorry we didn't manage to save you. I will never forget you.

mNadeshiko said...

yay~!!! good for whoosh!!!! its so cool that the cats in malaysia are mostly tame and nice and friendly. cats overhere are very....hmm.. shy? they wont even come near you seriously.. T^T

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Ili,
Yes, you can relay the good news to your sister. Whoosh is happy now. I am glad she found a home. Now I can concentrate on bringing home and helping more animals. You would have loved Whoosh. She was like a puppy. She wouldn't leave people alone. Too friendly.

Pat said...

So sad to hear about Kuchbhi. I hope she's reborn as a bird whose mum/dad make their own nests next time.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you, dear Pat. Your reply made me laugh --- as though all birds who build their own nests come to no harm! But yes, I hope Kuchbhi gets a good rebirth. I will do a Pattidana puja for Kuchbhi tonight.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-in-Sydney,

Kuchbhi a.k.a. Tweety is with Reve now. Reve will take care of our little feathered friend.