Thursday, 21 January 2010

AfA Conference & Adventures in Singapore!

The Asia for Animals Conference is a forum to bring together veterinarians, animal welfare/rescue professionals, government agencies and animal welfare organisations in Asia to develop winning animal welfare strategies. Many animal-related issues are unique to Asia, for instance, dog meat consumption and the capture of wildlife by impoverished indigenous communities for the wildlife trade, for which the developed world has not been able to offer solutions.

The theme for the Asia for Animals Conference 2008 in Bali was "Lessons Learned", which places emphasis on collaboration and the sharing of knowledge. The theme for the
Asia for Animals Conference 2010 in Singapore is "Achieving Long Term Positive Change", which speaks of our resolve to implement changes and produce results which will improve the quality of life of all living things.

I was again part of the SPCA Selangor delegation to the Conference, and I like to think it is due to my ongoing contributions to the organisation. I have, upon return from the Conference which ran from 15 Jan - 20 Jan 2010, already drafted a strategy plan which included new educational and outreach programmes, a volunteer manual, and draft statements on wildlife issues.

It wasn't all hard work, however, and I had a highly enjoyable week spending time with family and friends, old and new, as the following photos attest:

The Conference was hosted by ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society) at Furama Hotel, which Glyn and I insisted on calling "Futurama Hotel".

Here is one of ACRES' displays on the smuggling of orang utans. In 1990, 6 baby orangutans were smuggled out of Singapore in small crates for the wildlife trade. Each crate contained 3 baby orangutans and were so small the orangutans could hardly move. All 6 later died.

My friends, Dr. Pushpa and Chelvy of SPCA Selangor, at the Conference, looking rather sombre.

Karthik Satyanarayan of Wildlife SOS India delivering a rather affecting presentation on the rehabilitation of Indian Sloth Bears that were previously used as dancing bears by the Qalandars.

My friends Jacinta (SPCA Selangor), Glyn (Global Animal Welfare Solutions) and Dr. Karen (SPCA-DBKL Klinik Kembiri) having a pow-wow at the Conference.

My buddy Glyn and I took the opportunity to stroll over to Clarke Quay for a lager on Friday night. The Clarke Quay Promenade looks almost magical at night.

Bungee Rides at Clarke Quay. Glyn says: "Watch out for the wee and puke! Don't stand too close to the rides!"

Big Bro and Sis-in-Law, who live in Chua Chu Kang Crescent, spent Sunday with me visiting outdoor places of interest, as I have no interest in shopping. Here they are at the Henderson Waves, a ribbed, wooden pedestrian bridge over Henderson Road.

Cable car shopping booths at the Jewel Box, Mount Faber.

Pinball Wizards? Hardly! Big Bro and Sis-in-Law try to solve a pinball maze puzzle at the Horticultural Park, but it is far harder than it looks.

Having fun on the elevated steel walkway at Telok Blangah Hill, arguably the highest point in dimunitive Singapore!

Knowing my love of architecture, my Big Bro and Sis-in-Law took me to see the Church of St. Theresa, Singapore, which was constructed circa 1929. Note the symmetrical Grecian columns, the recessed Art Noveau / Art Deco style entrance and the ornate entablature.

Another gorgeous Neoclassical structure, the SP Jain Centre for Management in Hyderabad Road, forms an oasis of calm and greenery amid the neverending traffic and high-rise buildings of Singapore. Check out the narrow windows (considering the full surface of the walls), the spandrels with geometric motifs and the decorative moldings -- all elements of Art Deco architecture!

My new friend, Anbarasi a.k.a. Anbu, of ACRES, giving us a briefing on ACRES' operation and their wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre.

Penny, a differently-abled dog at the ACRES office. Isn't she lovely?

My new friend Sathya of Blue Cross of Chennai and me at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Please do not ask me why there are band-aids on both my shins.

Delegates from Buses 4 & 5 visiting the Singapore SPCA at Mount Vernon Road.

Cute puppy loves me right back!

The Singapore SPCA houses a total of 170 cats and dogs at any given time, and fortunately for these puppies, there is no timeline for their adoption, i.e. they are not going to be euthanised if not adopted within a certain period.

A gorgeous kitty at the SPCA Singapore Cattery awaiting a permanent home.

Beautiful kitties awaiting adoption at the SPCA Singapore Cattery. Wouldn't you like to bring them all home?

The Story of Singapore, Part 1 (As told by CovertOps and Covert Big Bro):

A long time ago, Singapore was terrorised by a Giant Flying Prawn. Human sacrifices had to be made to the Flying Prawn to appease it. The people flocked to houses of worship which were cramped closely together to seek refuge from the Giant Flying Prawn, though some were less concerned than others and carried on dancing. The Giant Flying Prawn was finally defeated by a brave woman with exceptional earlobes who stroked the Giant Flying Prawn's beard, which had a soporific effect on the 'Prawn, and the 'Prawn was euthanised using the sap of the deadly traveller's palm. The End.

The Story of Singapore, Part 2 (As told by CovertOps and Covert Big Bro):

Until quite recently, all bank tellers in Singapore used to be terrorised by a dragon with googly eyes. The economy came to a standstill and the people of Singapore were so poor that they survived on durians, mangosteens, prawns and coconuts that fell off the back of trishaws. Singapore was saved when a giant orangutan and giant African Grey Parrot dropped cable cars on top of the Dragon's head, killing it instantly and mercifully.
The End.


Pat said...

Enjoyed the post, E. And the highlight? Those cute, fat puppies, of course! Oooooooo, I wanna squeeze them, too!!!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thanks, Pat! Don't you feel like bringing the pair of roly-poly puppies home? I don't think they'd have difficulty finding homes, though. The animal people are now lobbying the Singapore govt to allow ALL HDB flat occupants to keep cats and small to medium size dogs. Can be done, if regulated. Make sure all are vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. Govt can subsidise that at a low cost.

P/S: Better not let Toffee hear what you just said, she might get jealous!

Cat-from-Sydney said...

Am not sure about keeping dogs in apartments as they bark and poor things will suffer if they have lazy owners who don't take them out for walks etc. As for cats, we are high rise dwellers ourselves and loving it. No need to roam about or get into fights with strays.
Oh yes, totally agree on the vaccinated, neutered and microchipped part. purrr....meow!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Dear Kitties-in-Sydney,

Personally, I don't like to see animals in apartments, but I know lots of people in New York and London keep animal family members in apartments and they are all fine and happy, as long as the humans put the furkids' needs first, always! Singapore has no choice, being land scarce, so lots of animal lovers have to live in flats. To say they can't keep dogs would mean lots of rescued dogs and puppies at the SPCA and pounds will have to be put to sleep. Surely you don't want that?

louis said...

That elevated steel walkway is fantastic!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Thank you for coming by, Louis! I agree, I love the walkway and it was really good to see families and friends getting together to jog, cycle or skate along the walkway in the evenings!

mum said...

ok the covert family tree expaaaaaands : now there is a covert bro and covert sis-in-law...



how nice it must have been for you to attend an event that is SO totally after your own heart...

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hello again, Mum-In-Malaysia! Yes, there is also a Covert Twin, who you haven't met, 2 Covert Canines and 6 Covert Rowdy Cats! So nice of you to come by. Glad you enjoyed reading about the event. It was a fruitful conference. Thank you for coming!

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time - animal talk participation,etc, family, friends. So cuddly puppies- my Rob came to us when he was a big one.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Hello, Keats! Thank you for coming by! I had a great time, although we did have to view documentaries of suffering animals to help us learn what we could do to help them. The Singapore SPCA visit was definitely the highlight of my trip down south!

Angie said...

Ooh the puppies are so cute. I am also planning to adopt a dog but with the restrictions on size for HDB I am not sure if we are allowed to take any of the dogs home. Tho I have seen a neighbour bring a Golden retriever from a HDB flat. Very well trained doggie. Will take a ride to SPCA once I am settled into my new home.

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Yes, please do that, Angie! Save a little animal's life! Just find out the requirements from the SPCA and see if you are allowed to have a doggie. All you need to do after that is get all the shots, microchip, fixing etc done and use a leash and pooper-scooper when out for walks -- which is what EVERYONE should be doing in the first place! Get a little friend for Pocket!