Sunday, 30 August 2009

Weekend Duty

Saturday, 22nd August 2009: Weekend Duty

I had pledged to be on mobile registration duty on Saturday, and so I was up early to clean the cage and litter trays and get the kittens ready to go to the SPCA before I left for work.

Dr. Pushpa was already at the SPCA feeding the animals when I arrived before 0800h, and had been expecting the Whisketeers and me. She advised me to let the Whisketeers be put up for adoption at the Outreach Booth this weekend at the Tropicana City Mall, and I concurred because their chances of adoption would be better there. I kissed each kitten goodbye and good luck and left them in the care of the good doctor until Jacinta and Nicole arrived to collect them from the shelter.

Tropicana City Mall, just down the road from the BOQ

Arrived at the Office at 0815h and got to work straight away. It was a productive morning and everything ran smoothly. We were done for the day by noon, and our coordinator sent for pizza. It started to rain torrentially just as we were in the middle of our scrumptious pizza lunch. I finished my meal, thanked my colleagues and our coordinator, and drove back to the parental home for the rest of the weekend.

My heart was aching over having to part with my beloved Whisketeers, although I didn't let my sorrow show. I prayed that the Whisketeers would find good homes and that they would be happy and healthy always.

Sunday, 23rd August 2009: Another Soiree

I had spent much of Saturday and Sunday giving Amber a bath, cleaning the parental home, spring cleaning the parental kitchen cabinets, washing the cars and helping Covert Mum re-pot her chilli plants. Sunday was also Vinayagar Chatthurti, or Lord Ganesha's Birthday, and the parents and I went vegan for the entire day to prepare for our temple visit in the evening.

Made another futile attempt at filling in the rest of Covert Mum’s faded Scrabble tiles with the Sharpie I had used the week before. There wasn’t anything wrong with the Sharpie – it’s just that the original green paint from the tiles kept coming off and clogging up the nib of the Sharpie. I hit my head repeatedly against the side of the coffee table in my frustration. The glass felt cool against my forehead.

“Why are you hitting your head on the table?” Covert Mum wanted to know.
“Because if I were to hit someone else’s head, it would be assault and battery,” I sighed.

Covert Mum took away the Sharpie and applied heat to it but it didn’t help. Another good pen destined for the landfill. So long, pen.

Left the parental home at 1900h to attend my buddy Adeline's soiree. Adeline's baby, Meagan, turned two, and a gathering of family and friends was in order. I met some of my buddies at the party and made a few new friends.

Here I am, reading to Meagan.

It seemed like only yesterday that the football team attended Adeline and Philip's wedding at the church in Brickfields, and now their little one is already two. It won't be long before I am ready for reading glasses, Birkenstocks and a Zimmer frame. C'est la vie.

Many Happy Returns, Meagan.

Monday, 24th August 2009: SPCA on My Day Off

Weeded my unruly little yard in the BOQ in the morning before leaving for the SPCA. I was anxious, of course, to see if the Whisketeers had been adopted. They hadn't. They were still there, active and ambulant but otherwise missing me. They clambered up the side of the big cage they were currently housed in and cried plaintively at me to pick them up and bring them home. I spent a quiet moment with them, explaining why I had to give them up, but promising them that I would do all I can to ensure that they go to happy homes.

The weather was fair and I wasted no time getting to work washing the Pound Dogs. I hauled a pail of tickwash over to the Pound and started leashing the dogs. Many were skittish or displayed antisocial behaviour such as snapping and snarling. Thean came up to me and asked if I could let two volunteers assist me. I turned around and, lo and behold, it was the two gormless youngsters who had hindered my work 3 weeks ago.

I hadn't expected to see them again but I had hoped that they would have learned something about volunteering and the care of animals in their last couple of visits to the shelter. They hadn't. I let them handle the more good-natured dogs while I took on the snarling, biting ones. They stood there watching me with glazed eyes and their hands at their sides as I wrestled with a churlish Alsatian-cross. They provided me with an audience I never requested, watching me work while they stood there with the hose in their hands, water running down the drain, while the dog they were supposed to wash stood there shivering in a shampooey mess.

"Come on," I urged them, trying to sound friendly and encouraging. “The poor dog will catch his death of cold. Just give him a good wash and let me have the hose next.”

I thought I was going to die of old age watching the youngsters tickwash the dog. We finished washing all the Pound dogs and I cleaned the place up. The youngsters slouched off to do whatever inconsequential thing they had been doing before they came to ‘help’ me at the Pound. I commenced cleaning the Cattery and scrubbing and disinfecting all the cat baskets, litter trays and food and water bowls.

Beautiful cats for adoption at the SPCA. Won’t you give them a home?

Next, I cleaned the dog and puppy enclosures and Maternity Kennels. I washed and disinfected the Front Reception/Admin/Office area and took out the trash. I worked solidly for 2 more hours until the shelter was clean enough to meet my exacting standards. It was 1930h when I was done. I went up to the Bungalow to shower and change. Jacinta and Nicole were surprised to see me, as they were not aware that I was having a day off and had been at the shelter all day.

Stopped by the SS2 night market on my way home. I am convinced by now that you can purchase everything and the kitchen sink at the night market. I swear I even saw a stall selling Made-In-China sex toys (“Love Stick” and “Nipple Play”, anyone?) in between the stalls selling Korean kimchi and bubble tea. I stocked up on organic fruits and veggies to last me the week, polished off a chilled young coconut and headed home to the BOQ.

The coming workweek brings with it the promise of new adventures.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Letter to the Editor: Make Welfare of Zoo Animals A Priority


I concur with SM Mohd Idris' view that Zoo Negara should place more emphasis on the welfare of its animals (Letters, 25 August 2009).

For years, complaints from disappointed visitors and outraged animal lovers were met with the official response that once funds have been received, Zoo Negara would be able to upgrade its facilities and improve the living conditions of the animals. Years have passed but the animals are still living in squalor. Very little effort is made to truly educate visitors on the animals' natural history or on animal welfare and wildlife conservation issues.

I am of the opinion that improving the quality of life of zoo animals need not be a costly exercise. The management of Zoo Negara could take basic steps such as the following:
1. All washable substrates should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and rotting food and animal waste must be removed from non-washable substrates as quickly as possible for health, safety and aesthetic purposes.
2.There should be proper drainage systems in the animal enclosures and there should not be standing water in the enclosures after a heavy rain. I have noticed algae-infested enclosures and food and water receptacles each time I visit Zoo Negara. This creates a risk of contamination of food and water, and of injury to animals and people due to slippery surfaces.
3. All animal enclosures must be of sufficient size and complexity to allow the animal to display species-typical behaviour such as dust-bathing, climbing or roosting, and must have sufficient variety in the substrate and topography to allow the animals to withdraw from social interaction with other animals and humans if the need arises.
4. Animal enclosures must not be overcrowded and must allow animals an opportunity for privacy. This is especially important in the petting zoo section, as most of the animals there did not appear to enjoy being handled by humans.
5. The animals at Zoo Negara appear to have been mostly grouped together according to taxonomy, i.e. all primates, or all birds, as opposed to being grouped in ersatz environments that attempt to resemble the animals' natural habitats and social groups.
6. I have read media reports that enrichment programmes were being carried out for the Zoo Negara animals but have not seen evidence of this in action. The animals at Zoo Negara looked invariably bored, listless and lethargic. Enrichment programmes such as food puzzles that help develop natural hunting or foraging skills, and auditory and olfactory simulations that resemble what an animal may hear and smell back in its habitat, do not cost much but will be able to provide animals in captivity with mental and physical stimulation.
7. Since the moats at Zoo Negara appear to be perpetually dirty, stagnant and foul-smelling, I would suggest filling up the moats where practicable and building solid walls with overhangs instead, to prevent escape and human-animal conflict. Viewing panels could be built into the walls, and some of these viewing panels should be of appropriate size and strength to safely allow for photo opportunities. This would eliminate the need for constant cleaning and filtration of the moats, create more land space in each enclosure and eliminate the problem of humans feeding junk to the animals or throwing things into animal enclosures. The walls could be constructed to appear more naturalistic, for example, to resemble a bamboo grove or tree trunks.

To be successful, Zoo Negara needs to do far more than just expand its collection of animal exhibits. Zoo Negara must be seen to practice and promote animal welfare. Zoo Negara's current strategy of adding animal exhibits without first attempting to reduce animal deaths simply defies science and common sense. A zoo that meets its purpose and acceptable standards is one that emphasises education and creates opportunity for scientific research and animal propagation to support wildlife conservation programmes.


Friday, 21 August 2009

What a difference a month makes!

This is the true joy in life - being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
~George Bernard Shaw

It has been a month since I started working here, and things just get better every day. I believe I am growing as a person and progressing well in my training programme. I have registered to volunteer for hotline duty on weeknights and mobile registration duty on Saturday. Minor duties and assignments after official work hours aren’t inconveniences, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It is a privilege and a pleasure to be able to be of use and of help, and I hope I can be both to the people I work with.

Saturday, 15th August 2009: What A Difference A Month Makes

Saturday, 15th August 2009:

What a difference a month makes to young animals! 5 weeks ago, when I first brought Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty home, they were skinny, sick from eye infection and mild flu, and full of worms. I dosed them with deworming pills every 2 weeks, took them to our ever-patient and ever-competent Dr. Steven when they were unwell, and had them vaccinated on 8th August. I fed them at least 4 meals a day -- 2 of dry kibbles and 2 of canned food/boiled chicken mixed with Felavite vitamin paste, Liv .52, Vitapet vitamin oil and crushed chlorella and spirullina pills. I cleaned their 'room' frequently and supplied them with fresh water and stimulating toys. The kittens responded by doubling in size and weight, and growing into the sweetest, brightest little cats ever.

I wish I had the resources and capacity to keep Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty for myself, but alas, as with all animal rescuers and fosterers, the time must come when we have to put our animal babies up for adoption and pray that they find good and loving homes.

It was with a heavy heart that I cleaned out their room and loaded them into the carrier on Saturday morning. I put the Whisketeers in the large multi-tiered cage in the front area of the Shelter together with other kittens of the same age and size. Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty huddled together unhappily, fear and incomprehension written all over their tiny faces. I felt miserable when I gave them a good luck kiss each.

Reve cheered me up tremendously when she informed me that the kitten that Muniandy removed from the gap in the roof last week had been adopted the day after her dramatic rescue. I didn't think that the little one would find a home so soon, but I am definitely happy and grateful she did. Apparently, the kitten's new parents were taken in by her long whiskers and her fine but unruly hair. She looked quite a character, and I am glad someone else thought so too.

I went about my usual duties at the shelter, giving the pound dogs baths and tickwashes. I had to stop when the sky turned dark and overcast, so I put away the pail, shampoo and tickwash and started cleaning the kennels instead.

Dr. Lim advised me that the Whisketeers should be kept at home for another week for their immune systems to develop, as seven days after vaccination was a little too early for them to be exposed to other cats just yet. I wanted to bring the Whisketeers home straight away but Reve persuaded me to wait another day, just in case any of them get adopted on Sunday. Reluctantly, I agreed, but promised the kittens that I would come to pick them up on Monday after work.

I cleaned the Cattery and scrubbed out all the cat baskets and litter trays. Then I washed and disinfected the Maternity Kennels and the dog enclosures behind the office. Reve supervised the dogs at play in the compound while I cleaned and disinfected the Front Office/Admin/Reception area.

I finished cleaning the shelter around 1900h and went up to the Bungalow to shower and to meet Nicole and Cue for dinner. We discussed the new staff and volunteer guidelines that had outraged all of us. Of course, I had to suggest ways to circumvent the guidelines, but I added the proviso that all my great ideas have always gotten me (and occasionally, others too) into trouble. I paid for dinner and walked the short distance to the shelter in the rain to kiss the Whisketeers goodbye and assure them that I would come to pick them up on Monday.

Returned to the BOQ, tidied the place up, prepared food for the Rowdies (I was by then missing preparing food for the Whisketeers already) and drove back to the parental home for the rest of the weekend.




Sunday, 16th August 2009:

On Sunday, I gave Amber a bath, cleaned the parental living and dining rooms and polished the furniture, prepared lunch, cleaned the kitchen, collected rainwater for reuse, sorted out the things for recycling, filled in the faded letters on Covert Mum's Scrabble tiles with a set of Sharpies and took Amber and Chocky for a car ride and walks. It has been a good and productive weekend, so why do I find my mind drifting to the Whisketeers so frequently?

Monday, 17th August 2009: Home again, for the time being

As per the arrangement, I went back to the SPCA on Monday evening after work to pick up Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty. Reve had been too optimistic: my beautiful babies had not been adopted. They were very happy to see me and climbed gratefully into the carrier without me having to put them in there myself.

The drive home was terrible, due to the heavy rains and flash floods. 52 years have passed since Independence and we still don't have a good stormwater management system in the capital city. What rum.

Thankfully, the Whisketeers slept through most of the drive home, their little bodies pressed against one another in the carrier for warmth, the bells on their smart little collars gleaming in the dim evening light filtered through the carrier opening. I felt such a pang of love for them then. "Dear God, please keep them safe. Please keep them healthy and happy, and find them good homes", I prayed fervently.

We reached home after over 2 wretched hours on the road in the migraine-inducing rain. Made a semi-hot meal for the Rowdies and Whisketeers, of canned food, cod liver oil and cat multivitamins. I will have to part again with the Whisketeers this coming Saturday, so I intend to make the most of the time I have with them.

Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty ~ Know that wherever you may go, there will always be a special place for you in my heart.

Shadow trying to get chummy with Mitchell

Pixie giving Tabitha a kiss

Shadow chillin’ out

Mini-Me hogging the wicker chair

Friday, 21st August 2009: ‘Healing Pets Animal Clinic’ Tribute Page Goes Live!

My Facebook Fan/Tribute Page to the wonderful vet and crew of Healing Pets Animal Clinic, Damansara Jaya, is up and running!

The exterior of the Clinic

The man himself, Dr. Steven Yoon!

Dr. Steven and his crew have never failed to impress me with their professionalism, competence, and most of all, compassion. This is definitely a vet who makes saving lives a priority!

I have utilised the services of at least 7 other vets before, but my search ended when I discovered this clinic and the wonderful service they provide. Not only do they treat human clients with respect and empathy, and animal patients with kindness and understanding, they also do their own rehabilitation and rehoming of strays and abandoned or rescued animals.

TEL: 03- 77256254
H/P: 012-3132865

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

‘Science of Survival’ Exhibition and other news

Saturday, 8th August 2009: Science of Survival Exhibition at the National Science Centre

I have read many good things in environmental education forums on The Science of Survival, an award-winning travelling exhibition on scientific and technological solutions to environmental problems, and so when the exhibition was held at our National Science Centre, I persuaded my like-minded friends to visit, in the hope that we may get more ideas for our future nature and environmental outreach activities.

Our respective social, volunteer and work commitments made it impossible for us to settle on a date to visit until last Saturday, 8th August, and since many of us had prior weekend engagements, I decided it would be best for us to visit in the morning and be done by noon. We met up at the National Science Centre at 0900h, not expecting to find the whole place crawling with ankle-biters in surgical masks with similarly bemasked schoolteachers. We had expected the young’uns to stay home due to the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak. As with most other places of interest in Malaysia, the National Science Centre was rather rundown and many exhibits were missing vital pieces or were not functioning.

The The Science of Survival exhibition, however, made up for the mediocrity of the Science Centre. Although it was a rather small exhibition, its interactive nature and the information-packed displays and games made it worth the rather steep ticket prices.

The exhibition hall looks like something out of an 80’s video game, doesn’t it?

Eugene, Mohala, Cindy (Cerys in arms) and Lavanya at the concourse of the National Science Centre.

Me checking out the virtual pool which bears the message:
"Of every 100 drops of water on earth
97 are too salty to drink
2 are locked in ice and snow
1 is fresh water"

The display on water purification, desalination, extraction and conservation innovations featured, inter alia, a toilet lid sink, a play pump, a rolling water drum (Q-Drum), a heavy-duty rainwater barrel, an emergency water desalination kit, and a fog net for water collection.

Lavanya, Eugene, Mohala, Cindy and Cerys challenging each other in the water conservation video game.

Food security and sustainability: Will there be enough food for everyone to meet the Millennium Development Goals? Can food be sustainably and safely produced, transported, prepared and preserved? The displays featured, among others, an Egloo portable chicken coop, a solar cooker unit, a pot-in-a-pot electricity-free cooler, fungus-based lab-cultured meat substitute and a kitchen composter.

Playing the food distribution game. As you can see, Vegan Eugene and Lavanya had loaded their plates only with vegan food, those crazy grass-eating, treehugging, hippies!

My turn! I have... broccoli, bananas and pizza. Whose idea is it to leave desserts out of my menu?!?!

Designing our own vehicles for Future City.

Fuel-saving innovations and alternatives to fossil fuels: A kite-powered ship which can reduce diesel consumption by as much as 20%, the Airbus A380, and hydrogen fuel cells, among others. Even if you are one of those who believe that climate change is not caused by human activity, when is it ever a bad idea to be able to run a vehicle on half the fuel it normally consumes?

Alternative building materials and energy-saving fittings. I loved the tiles and bricks made of once-used plastic resin, aluminium and plastic/rubber foam. Now isn’t that a good way of putting to use plastic and other waste that would otherwise just take up landfill space?

The little town I created was entered into the network so it could join all the other development projects in Future City, and we could see the environmental impact of the kind of lifestyle we chose to have.

My buddies chose to stay on a little longer to look at the other exhibits in the National Science Centre. I bade them goodbye and left the Science Centre by 1230h, as I was anxious to take the Whisketeers to the SPCA for vaccination, and didn’t want to leave it too late.

Although the games were much too easy for my gang, I did feel that it was money well-spent as the exhibition was informative as well as engaging, and ultimately, forward-looking. It wasn’t another all-doom-and-gloom exhibition about deforestation and global warming, although those are also important components of environmental consciousness. Instead, it was one that offers solutions and alternatives, and celebrates creativity and innovation. It showed us that humans can meet our own needs without having to destroy our natural environment, displace indigenous communities or deplete our resources. It showed us how everything we purchase, consume and utilise, from biofuels and organic produce to SUVs and ocean liners, have an environmental cost. And ultimately, it showed us that humans can be agents of positive change, and that the choice is in our hands.

Saturday, 8th August 2009: SPCA Saturday

I went back to the BOQ, cleaned up after the kitties and put Tabitha, Mitchell and Rafferty in the large carrier. So off we went to the SPCA for the kittens’ first vaccination. The kitties were rambunctious, as usual, but thankfully did not foul up the carrier. We arrived at the SPCA safely and Dr. Pushpa was very helpful in getting them vaccinated immediately so I could put them in a cage with food and water to rest until I was ready to take them home.

Cindy came by on her bike to discuss some of her concerns about her coordinatorship of Green Living. I thought her ideas very brave and ambitious but assured her of my support. Thean and Rose joined us for tea at the warong and I left after I finished my tea, as I wanted to get to work at the shelter.

Reve was busy with the potential adopters visiting the kennels, while Marianne was similarly occupied feeding the kittens and cats out in the Front Office/Admin/Reception area. I got to work cleaning and disinfecting the Cattery and cages.

Halfway through cleaning the Kennels, after the vets and staff had gone home, I spotted what I thought was a dead black kitten stuck in the space between the beam and zinc roof of the Cattery. I shouted for Reve to come help me remove the poor kitten, when the kitten suddenly gave a little squirm. It was alive, but weak! There was no way the kitten could extricate herself from that tight space. I tried stacking up the chairs and climbing up, but had a nasty fall. Then I thought of climbing up the shelter roof from the outside, since that particular part of the shelter was below street level. I ran out, briefed Muniandy (who was already off duty and was having a cigarette outside) and Reve, Muniandy and I got to work testing the roof (so we don’t fall through the broken bits and hurt the animals that we might fall on). Reve and I tried to lean far enough over the edge to catch the kitten but it was far tougher than it looked and I developed vertigo after my 3rd attempt. Muniandy approached the tiny kitten carefully so as not to spook her and cupped her swiftly in his hands. She was safe! Muniandy was a hero!

Reve put the tiny kitten in a cage with 2 other kittens that had just arrived and gave her a dose of deworming medicine. We will try to find her a home, failing which, Project Second Chance will take over and vaccinate, neuter and rehome her out of my own resources.

(Update as at date of blogpost: Reve managed to get find Ebony, the black kitten, a new home!)

I offered to buy Muniandy dinner but he was quite bashful, so I didn’t push it. I resumed cleaning the shelter and soaped and disinfected the floor and all the enclosures and fixtures while Reve hosed it off. The shelter looked and smelled a darn sight better when we were through.

I cleaned myself up, put the Whisketeers back in their carrier, and barrelled on home to the BOQ. After ensuring that all the kitties had food, water, litter and clean bedding, I hugged them goodbye and went back to the parental home to spend Sunday with the parents, Amber and Chocky. Sunday was spent cleaning the parental home, dismantling and cleaning the cookerhood and stove, giving Amber a bath, walking the dogs, and accompanying Covert Twin and his girlfriend to the official launch of the housing area in which they had bought a house.

It’s been another good weekend.

Tuesday, 11th August 2009: Animal Welfare Update

Animal Welfare Update: Remember the Letter to the Editor that Pat, Larnee, Charmaine, Christine and I submitted on the use of bullhooks on the elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary? Well, the Sec-Gen of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has responded, and they reported that they have done away with the use of bullhooks at the Centre! Read all about it here: No More Bullhooks. It sounds too good to be true, so the public and animal welfare groups will have to be vigilant in monitoring them and providing checks and balances. The official statement from the Ministry was, of course, highly appreciated. Hurray for a better quality of life for the elephants!

Charlie Mike, Commando!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

'Hari Organik' Weekend and other news

My original plans for the weekend were to clean the BOQ on Friday night, attend CETDEM's 'Hari Organik' (i.e. Organic Day) event on Saturday morning and volunteer at the SPCA on Saturday afternoon. But things don't always work out exactly the way we want them to, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

As part of my ongoing waste reduction efforts, I found and acted on this great tip from the Recycle This website which prevented Jake's stale tortillas from being consigned to the compost pit. I made tortilla chips from the dry and otherwise unappetising tortillas in our fridge on Friday night. I have managed to salvage a sizeable and clean pizza box from the office after one of our pizza lunches, and will be transforming it into a solar oven, so the next batch of tortilla chips can be baked in my solar oven. (I sometimes wonder if I should be going out on Friday nights more.)

On Saturday morning, as planned, I borrowed Jake's bike and helmet (my T-Bolt is at the parental home) and cycled to the SS2 junction to meet Vegan Eugene after his tennis match. I had suggested cycling to CETDEM's Hari Organik event as it was less than 10km away, and I felt that putting another car on the road (even if carpooling) would defeat the purpose of Hari Organik.

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.

So, in the punishing and relentless heat we pedalled, dodging heavy traffic and potholes to get to the playground in Jalan 19/22. I am glad Vegan Eugene was with me, because I would never have been able to locate the event grounds on my own.

As we were pulling into the playground, we saw Anthony and Mr. Gurmit leave the event grounds (a bit of a blow to me, since I had wanted to talk to Anthony). We locked our bikes to a signpost and almost immediately began bumping into friends.

James C. came up to us with his friend Mr. Khoo and ribbed us about the bikes. Then we met Mohala, who had set up a booth to sell forest portraits. At the same booth, we met Vegan Eugene's friend Lavanya. Moseying around, I bumped into Sheela P., Chung Lu, Yao, Petri, Natasha and Edo. I find it remarkable that people from various diverse non-governmental organisations still move around in the same circles. Hundreds of people at an event and I know at least 10% of them.

I forgot to bring my bike lock so Vegan Eugene had to lock my bike with his.

Booths selling local organic produce having a busy morning. I bought trail mix and sugarcane juice for Eugene and myself, and fruit and vegetables for the parents.

Mohala helping Noah J. sell his hauntingly beautiful forest portraits.

Hello! What a pleasant surprise! It was good to see Chung Lu and Yao's friendly faces.

Organic cookies for sale. I bought peanut and oatmeal cookies and apple crumble (which, true to its name, crumbled into a gooey (but still delish) apple mess in its container after being bounced about in my backpack) for Jake and Jess.

Sheela is going to cook someone a yummy organic dinner tonight!

Petri pretended to concentrate on a banner when I told him I was going to take a photo of him. Come on, give us a smile, Petri!

The CETDEM organic garden across the road from the event grounds.

May Leng from Green Meadow giving a demonstration on preparing vegan food. We learned how to make yummy vegan spring rolls, seaweed handrolls and tofu pockets. Drop me an email if you would like the recipes.

Eugene and I getting ready to go for lunch after the event, at 1600h.

I had wanted to leave before 1300h in order that I may still go to the SPCA to volunteer in the afternoon, but we ended up spending more time at the Hari Organik event than I had expected. In addition, Jake had advised me against going to the city centre due to the police crackdown against the anti-Internal Security Act protestors. I was informed that the roadblocks had caused traffic jams lasting up till an hour or more. Considering the impracticality of going to the SPCA that day, I decided to stay on at the Hari Organik event and help out.

Eugene and I helped our friends pack up and carry their goods to their vehicles and to the CETDEM community centre. Our friend Edo gave us some tapioca to take home, and another friend from CETDEM gave us glutinous rice rolls. We helped to tidy up the event grounds (which was really very clean as hardly any waste was generated) and chatted with our friends before finally leaving at 1600h for lunch.

We weaved in and out of traffic and through the back alleys, with our now very heavy and ungainly backpacks and the tapioca poking into our backs as we rode over bumps, until we reached Giant Bowl, our favourite restaurant at the moment. We had a late lunch of noodles and chilled out for a bit before we cycled back to Eugene's place.

I played with Eugene's cat, Pearl, and we watched some YouTube videos before I went home. As it was still warm outside, I gave the Rowdies a bath. Pixie practically deafened me with his wailing, but the other cats behaved really well.

I met up with fellow blogger Keats on Saturday night, to discuss the possibility of conducting a Green Living programme for the Sunshine Ladies, a team of amazing volunteers who carry out enriching activities at a welfare home for the disabled. Keats took me out to dinner at the Decanter. I got to see Keats' lovely home, meet her husband and daughter, and play with her handsome lab retriever, Robbie. (Thank you for having me, Keats. I really appreciate it.)

Sunday was spent back at the parental home. I cleaned the house, checked the cars' oil and radiator water levels, washed and walked Amber and Chocky, spring-cleaned my bedroom and cooked the tapioca I had been given.

I may have missed the opportunity to help out at the SPCA this weekend, but at least I had the pleasure of spending time with my friends.

CO78, Over.