Wednesday, 27 April 2011

PetFinder Charity Fair Weekend

I have been in a state of perpetual melancholy since Louis' demise. The daily thunderstorms and the fact that I am overwhelmed with responsibilities do nothing to improve my mood.

Every week is an endless stream of football matches, reports, research papers, housework and volunteer commitments.

I am currently providing treatment and care for 2 kittens, Toby and Oscar, under Project Second Chance. If it weren't for the fact that I have to be in Singapore this weekend to play in a football match, I would be bringing home another 2 from the office, Hopscotch and Duchess, for medical treatment and vaccination. In the meantime, my colleagues will have to help me feed the two feline waifs until I am back from battle.

Last Sunday had been another wet and blustery one. It started raining when I was in the middle of giving tick baths to the SPCA dogs, so I moved on to cleaning the kennels and cattery instead. However, as the floodwaters kept rising, I decided there wasn't much point in cleaning and disinfecting the floor, and started checking on the animals in the lower-lying parts of the shelter instead. After securing tarps over the cages and making sure our drains and rain gutters were clear of obstructions, I barrelled over to Sunway Pyramid to join the SPCA Marketing & Communications team at the PetFinder 3rd Anniversary Charity Fair.

PetFinder is a local online portal with the objective of rehoming animals and reuniting lost pets with their human guardians. Unfortunately, there are no restrictions as to who may utilise its services, so it is widely used by backyard breeders and pet stores as well as rescue groups and animal welfare organisations. Still, any effort to rehabilitate and rehome animals is better than none.

The beneficiaries of the Charity Fair are:
- SPCA Selangor;
- PAWS Animal Welfare Society;
- Save A Stray;
- MYAnimalCare.Org;
- Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better and Malaysian Cat Care Project; and
- Paws Mission.

While many recognise SPCA and PAWS as registered organisations and MDDB/MCCP and MY Animal Care Org as established animal rescue groups, organisations like Paws Mission and HOPE are new volunteer-run animal rescue and care groups that operate out of the homes of members and volunteers with the help of vets, much like how Project Second Chance started 3 years ago.

The Charity Fair was a resounding success, as the photos below attest:

Nicole and Kelvin attending to customers at SPCA Selangor's merchandise and outreach booth. This is Nic's standard pose.

These puppies were brought in as mascots and have already found homes. Here, the puppies receive some much-needed tender loving care from kind visitors.

Adorable Henry Cats mousepads, keychains and magnets for sale to raise funds for Paws Mission, an animal rescue and welfare group based in Old Klang Road.

Mr. Brownie the Chow-Chow raising funds for his less fortunate brethren.

Case histories, with before and after pics, from MYAnimalCare.Org.

MYAnimalCare.Org is an animal rescue & welfare organisation that also does pro bono public education and awareness work and produces publications for distribution.

"All Lives Are Precious", avers this beautiful sticker produced by MYAnimalCare.Org. I acquired one for That Special Someone and one for myself.

Bola, the 5-month-old Pomeranian, helped to raise funds for his less fortunate canine and feline friends.

"Rescued" may be my favourite breed, but I couldn't resist giving Bola a squeeze.

Adorable cell phone pouches for sale to raise funds for PAWS Animal Welfare Society. The PAWS Animal Shelter (yes, it's still running and it's
still located in Pillmoor Estate) also houses dogs captured by the Shah Alam and Subang Jaya local councils.

Easter cupcakes given out to volunteers at the end of the day. Yummers. I had the blue one and Nic had the pink one.

Escaped helium balloons adhering to the ceiling. Save-A-Stray was offering a balloon for a minimum donation of RM5, so that's RM35 over there stuck on the ceiling.

The fundraising canine team all ready to go home after 2 days of hard work. Poor doggies hardly had any rest. All the visitors wanted a photo opportunity with them.

A group photo of the representatives of the various organisations for posterity.

Cash donations amounting to RM20,362.70 were collected and distributed to the aforementioned organisations, and the organisations collectively made over RM15,000 from the sale of merchandise over the weekend. Heartiest Congratulations to PetFinder on their 3rd Anniversary and many thanks for the funds raised for these deserving animal welfare organisations.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A Final Letter to A Dear Friend

Louis Michael Sellier

16th Feb 1937 - 16th March 2011

Dear Louis,

I trust this letter finds you well and in the company of your beloved Elena. I don’t know what your beliefs on the afterlife are, but I do know that someone as good as you cannot die.

You left us exactly a month ago, Louis, and I didn’t find out until today. For that, I am racked with guilt. Forgive me, my friend. Right now my grief is so huge that it is choking me and crowding out every other concern in my mind. I have to wake up at 0500h tomorrow for a football match in Seremban, and right now I have a rescued kitten, Toby, screaming for attention in the kitchen and another rescued kitten, Oscar, who is outside in Bravo’s old cage wanting to come in but he is not allowed to because he is still under treatment for mange, but all my thoughts are filled with you.

I can’t share my sorrow with anyone else, Louis, because as far as others are concerned, I know you only through e-mail and our blogs, and therefore you aren’t a “real friend”. And your loved ones probably don’t know of my existence, or perceive me to be nothing more than another commenter in your blog, and therefore not important enough to be notified of your death. I don’t blame them for this, Louis. For who else could understand and appreciate how real our friendship is, and how much you mean to me?

How could I expect those who haven’t had the good fortune to have known you appreciate what a kind, gentle, considerate, intelligent and supportive friend you are to me as well as others, and how could they understand how much I looked up to you? I wish I could have told you when you were still alive how much I wanted to be as wise, insightful, compassionate and thoughtful as you, and how much I want my future marriage to be as full of love and strength as yours and Elena’s. No one could have understood how much your emails and your comments in my blog nourished me emotionally and encouraged me to do better. You never gushed or overpraised – you know I would have hated it and seen the insincerity in it, and besides, you couldn’t be dishonest or hypocritical if you tried. Your views were always balanced; always full of humility, kindness and empathy. In this troubled world of ours, where there is so much anger, hostility and self-righteous airing of opinions, I look up to you as someone who is fair-minded and principled.

The last time you wrote to me was on March 3, before you left for Arizona, and you had expressed your intention to come to Malaysia. I had told you of my plans to plant a tree for Elena and informed you that I have managed to secure a plot for Elena’s Tree in the Kota Damansara Community Forest, and you had requested to be there for the tree-planting ceremony. I had looked forward to your visit, and had planned to take leave from work so I could take you to all my favourite places during your visit.

Your silence since then had left me uneasy, but I had attributed it to you being on holiday and therefore away from your iPad and PC. It was not until Pak Idrus and Pat expressed the same uneasiness that we started asking other bloggers and netizens in earnest if they had any news of you.

I did think of you on March 16, Louis, but it was an optimistic thought, with no premonition of your passing. I had been having dinner at Vegelife Cafe with Vegan Eugene and other friends. It was a restaurant I had reviewed before, and you had described my review as “appetising”, and on March 16 I had thought of the dishes I would recommend to you when you came to Malaysia. I guess I won’t have the chance to buy you dinner anymore, will I?

I have never believed that relationships end with death, Louis, and I will never believe that you and I will not meet again. We will meet again, someday, and until then, I will do my best to keep your legacy of gentle wisdom alive.

So long, buddy. I will never forget you.

P/S: I guess I will be planting 2 trees now, instead of just one.

P/P/S: The next animal I rescue will be named Hopscotch, in your honour.

P/P/P/S: I know you will be watching me at football (i.e. soccer) tomorrow. Just don’t laugh when I fumble or screw up, okay?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Hodge Podge

What with the Sarawak State Elections, work, letters to the Press to be drafted, volunteer commitments, animal care duties and football practice every other day, I didn't have the time to post a blog entry last week.

A Fortnight's Roundup, In Photos:

26th March 2011: The 6th CETDEM Hari Organik was held at the SS2 public park. The objectives of Hari Organik are to encourage consumers to purchase and consume local produce, to help new organic farmers/traders establish their market, to promote healthy and environmentally-conscious living, and inculcate community spirit. Visitors and consumers were encouraged to bring their own shopping bags and food containers to the event to minimise packaging and waste.

26th March 2011: Children "fishing" out cards bearing the photos of vegetables to help them learn to identify and recognise local and seasonal vegetables.

26th March 2011: I purchased more organic vegetable seeds than I needed but was fortunate in that there were many takers for the seeds. My friends and I now have a seed network started. It's only a matter of time before we can start harvesting our own vegetables.

Bird Plant (Pedilanthus bracteatus) finally in bloom in my parents' garden. Can you spot the bird-like inflorescence?

Chilling out at Sunway Lagoon on 1.4.2011 with two of my best friends, Glyn and Nicole (i.e. Glycol) before Glyn's return to the UK. Here they are waiting for the arapaima fish that never surfaced.

1.4.2011: Making Zoo Check observations and notes at the Sunway Lagoon Wildlife Park after I have had enough of splashing around and swallowing chlorinated water at the water park.

This is my latest rescued kitten, Toby. I found him wandering in my office car park with skinny limbs and a belly bloated with worms on 4.4.2011. We are very lucky in that we have already found him a home through my network of friends. Thank you, Chelvi K., for offering to adopt Toby!

Latest rescued kitten, Toby. Age: 2-3 months. Breed: Domestic Short Hair Medical History: Dewormed on 7 & 8 April 2011 Given flea bath on 5.4.2011 Vaccinated on 9.4.2011.

When I brought Toby to Dr. Steven Yoon of Healing Pets Animal Clinic for vaccination, the doctor and his wife very generously gave me a bag of pet food and treats for the SPCA animals when they realised that I would be going there to help out in the afternoon. Here are their kind contributions sitting in the shelter office.

12th April 2011: It's time for another quarterly visit to the National Blood Bank! I requested statistics this time around and was very pleased to learn that there was almost zero wastage of blood at this facility. Due to the high demand for blood in government and community hospitals, almost all blood donated is put to good use, and the only blood destroyed is tainted or diseased blood.

12th April 2011: One of these days I'm gonna steal me a kidney dish and serve Chex Mix in it.

12th April 2011: A gift, for me? Why, thank you! It's...umm... a little splotch of blood. I'm absolutely charmed! How very kind of you.

Covert Operations, OUT.