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Posts Tagged ‘ignorance’

It has been raining for three days now. The land is wet and soaked, the rivers running fast, and it’s dark sooner than other days. Sometimes the wind blows so hard, the wisps of the trees is shaken and bend.

I cannot go anywhere in the rain like this, so I sit down on my bed and trying to read. I’ve been longing for a time like this for so many times.

Across my bed against my foot, Goldie is wiping herself silently. Next to her Tacos and Nachos, her adoptive kittens curling against each other soundly asleep.

I smile to myself, thinking how fast the time flown. Last year in a rainy night like this, Goldie was still a baby, crying and yelping under the rain with her two siblings, calling for anyone to save them from the pouring water in the freezing night.

baby goldie

Baby Goldie

There were three of them. One male I named Goldwyn (from Metro Goldwyn Meyer), and two female I called Golda (from Golda Meir) and Goldie (from Goldie Hawn). No particular preference, they just happened to be all yellow, and all of those public figures had “gold” as part of their name.

The boy, Goldwyn, was weaker than the other, and so he died two weeks later.  I continue to bottle feed the remaining girls in the hope that they would somehow survived the nasty weather.

It’s nice to know that they are holding on. With works taking more than 8 hours a day, I can only feed them twice daily, to which they always look forward.

I wonder, however, how they would pass the day when I work.

Kaitou Nursing

At one year old, Kaitou is a good big brother

Kaitou took care of them. As the eldest in the gang, he often acted as a benefactor to the younger, and in the case of these two golden girls, he curl up and allow the girls to snuggle on him for warmth.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, except the fact that Kaitou is male.

There are more than one occasion when during sleep, the two girls try to breast feed from him, but he never seem to be disturbed by it. He just let them be.

After Golda joined her brother last Christmas during a parvo outbreak, Goldie grow a deep attachment to Kaitou. She look up to him as her own parent, and follow him everywhere. He, in turn, taught her everything he know, from staying safe while jumping from roof to roof, getting to know the neighborhood, to hunting the rats and presenting them on the doormat like first class gourmet.

goldie in a bag

Goldie's favorite hangout (when she's home)

Unfortunately, however, because she is learning from a male cat, she become a tomboy. She is never at home, she is grumpy, she is everything you can imagine in a tomcat. She also spray, by the way. A habit that gave me headaches, although I can be rich if I manage to get her in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The only thing I haven’t see, and wish not to, is her trying to mate with another girl.

Following the advice of my regular pet supplies store, I went to spay her earlier. Anyway, the vet, not believing what I said that she is a grand tomboy, failed the shock test.

Goldie ran away. She went missing for two whole weeks despite the vet place is only one block away and she used to pass that place every day.
When she is home, at last, she is full of cuts and bruises, dirty, smelly, and hungry.

I truly question if I should have separate her from Kaitou back then.

When I moved to a rented house a few months later, she hasn’t been home for a week, so I decided to go back later at night and wait for her by the door. Though she is a troublemaker, I don’t want to let her go. Funny enough, however, she catches up with us as the pick up drove away, yelling angrily to me as she ran by the car.

In the new house, she is the first to went missing again.This time, she went home pregnant.

As much as I saw her grow into a tomboy, this time I see her grow into a lady. She is home a lot, she is clean, and she diligently browse into every hole for her labor day. She still play with other cats, but she is no longer a rambling rose.

A few months later she went missing again, but I was not surprised. It’s hard to stay put if your blood is boiling with curiosity. Besides, she is girl outside, man inside. But I was wrong. She went home crying, panicking, and tripping me all the time.

At one point I see that she is trying to tell me something, so I followed her.

She lead me to a nearby river, where I later rescued River Phoenix (read her story here: By The River Piedra I sat down and Wept).

River Phoenix, then, followed her everywhere, looking up to her like Goldie is her own mother. She doesn’t mind. Being pregnant herself, she have plenty of time nursing her teen stepdaughter.

Then come that night, when I saw blood coming out of her vagina. She was busy running all over, so I thought she was near labor. I put her in a box filled with used and broken shirts, and try to make it as comfortable as possible.

When the bleeding haven’t stop on the third day, I knew something is wrong. so I contacted the vet, and told her what is going on. I feared that she had a miscarriage, or at least something wrong with her pregnancy. It was August 24, the day when Picassa will finish her last physiotherapy. I apologize to Picassa that she cannot finish it that day, but the vet called and she said, she had talked to her associate in her clinic and arranged so that we can treat both cats.

I borrowed company car and drove them both straight to the emergency door. Goldie was put into surgery room at once, while Picassa have her final therapy.

An hour later, the vet came out and told me what we feared: Goldie had a miscarriage. She had three kids, and all died inside.

Since she was already cut open anyway, she was spayed the same instant.

Though I know Goldie is a tomboy, that is no guarantee that she would be tough. In fact, even the vet didn’t know how she’d handle it. Every cat has their own way. Some mad, some sad, the other depressed, and some other lived on as if nothing happened. We can only hope for the best when she came around.

Fate again twisted the next day when I worked. All of a sudden I decided to take different route to go home, and on my way, I hear a kitten calling.

Literally. Call me crazy, but I swear I hear a calling voice. A familiar meow that I can directly interpret as a call to come over.

There, under the rain, I saw two tabby cats calling for help. Their mother are nowhere to be found, so I am sure someone dump them there. I cannot come into the alley because it’s barred, so I bought a piece of barbecue beef to coax them.

The problem is, I don’t bring a large bag. How am I supposed to carry them under the rain, with a bike?

Earlier that morning a friend of mine had sent me a package of shirts, so it gave me ideas. I sent my apologize to her for this idea, but I have no choice.

I open the package to use the shirts as a carrying bag, but out of my surprise, she wrapped the shirts in a wallmart bag.

God is merciful. He made my friend include the Wallmart bag with her package so I don’t have to use her gift.

At home, Goldie is waiting by the door. She still cannot walk properly due to the C section, but she walk anyway.

And as soon as I put the two kittens down on the floor, she immediately fall to her side and call the kitten to come over.

Oh yes, God is merciful indeed. He does work mysterious way.

I know I cannot open the bandages yet, but again, a crazy idea cross my mind, so I carefully cut holes on the area above Goldie’s nipple, without breaking the bandage, and there they were. Goldie gladly offer her milk, and the two kitten happily accept the benevolent offer.

As I cut more holes to expose more nipples, Goldie generously extend her offer to the other kittens: Nevaeh and Eden.

goldie nursing

Goldie is nursing Eden with bandage on, looking at the camera is Picassa, just spayed

A flash of thunder brought me back to the present. It seems like I wander in my thought long enough. The sky is already dark, and Goldie is already asleep. Beside her, all four of her adoptive kitten peacefully breast feeding.

Who would have thought that Goldie would change so much?

I don’t think so. Goldie hasn’t change. She is paying it forward.


A little note:

Indonesia has a native, exotic cat breed called “kucing mas” (pronounced: koo-ching mah-s). It has short hair, and all part of them are yellowish golden. The breed is now rare, and therefore expensive. Goldie is very similar to Kucing Mas that most people mistaken her for one. The other mistaken her as a Ceylon. I have no idea if she is indeed Kucing Mas, or some Kucing Mas mix, but even if she is, I am not going to commercialize her nor let her fall into the breeder’s hand.  There has been several time that some people approached me to adopt Goldie, but since they all seem to have the same hidden agenda (to breed her) I refused.

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“For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other; they all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again.”  Ecclesiastes, 3:19-20.

During my days at hospital I heard from their radio station that the infamous Hollywood’s “Avatar” director has awarded our president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his ambition to plant 10,000 trees across the nation by 2010; a campaign he takes personally by planting trees wherever he goes, while continuously ask his citizen to follow his “one person – one tree” campaign.

James Cameron in his note following the award, applauded President Yudhoyono for trying to combat the rapidly declining rain forest, mostly due to opening of palm oil plantation and resort centers. The president, in return, asked that larger or richer countries do their parts in saving our “home tree” the only earth we have, to sustain every lifeforms that roam above it.

His speech, as quoted by the radio host, brings my mind flowing back to my childhood days, singing an old folk song praising the fertility of our land , the beauty of our beaches, the abundance of our oceans, and the lush of our forests.

Indonesia, once own 20% of rain forest in the world, now is the country with fastest rate of deforestation (4% per year). The day when we boasted ourselves as “the lungs of earth” has long a history. And along with the forest, goes the animals who we once boasted as “the richest in variety”

The oceans and beaches are in no better condition. The bombing of coral reefs during fishing, the many pirates that roam freely to take our abundant resources, and the poisoning of water for fast harvesting had rob us our title “paradise on earth”

While the slogan is still used occasionally in tourism pamphlets or fliers, there will be no paradise if you are actually lived every corner of the country.

From remote areas to biggest cities, animals are abused, exploited, exhausted to their last existence, treated as some “thing” instead of some”one”.

Though itself bound under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) that stipulates that endangered species must not be traded, Indonesia doesn’t have animal welfare law to protect its animal diversity.

By law, only licensed wildlife hunters and traders are allowed to capture and trade animal parts in Indonesia. In its investigations, however, PETA found most hunters did not have permits.

The Forestry Ministry Directorate General of Nature Conservancy and Forest Protection (PHKA) oversees the licensing and quotas for wildlife trade in Indonesia. PHKA director general Darori said his office provided permits to groups of snake skin collectors.

However, sequentially he told that “The ones who trap the snakes and lizards are villagers. They sell the skins to licensed collectors. It’s not possible for every single villager to obtain a permit”

Every year, his office releases a quota for the wildlife trade, based on recommendations from the Indonesia Institute of Sciences (LIPI). “LIPI checks whether there is an abundant stock or not. We’re bound to an international convention as well,” Darori said.

According to the PHKA data, the total quota for 2010 is 430,280 snakes; 413,100 monitor lizards, and 29,500 crocodiles, but the kill number is much higher on the streets.

Recently, PETA Asia Pacific released video footage from its yearlong undercover investigation of gruesome killing of snakes and lizards in five Indonesian cities. A National Geographic report shows that Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter of wildlife, including live animals for pets and animal parts.

In one of PETA’s footage shows a man in Tangerang chopping off snake heads and skinning their slithering bodies while the mouths of their severed heads are still opening and closing. In another shot, a light green lizard monitor is held by two men while they drain the blood from its throat.

A man in tangerang chopped off the head of a living snake, selling its blood for traditional medicine.

A snake head is chopped off by a man in Tangerang, highlighting some of the gruesome killing occurring in five Indonesian cities. A National Geographic report states that Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter of wildlife, including live animals for pets and animal parts. Courtesy of PETA Asia Pacific

When confronted with such fact, again, Darori, the director of Indonesia’s natural conservatory said his office made sure animals were not tortured during the killings.

“So, when a snake’s head is cut off, it is not tortured,” he said. Laymen would torture snakes they encounter, out of fear, compared to professional hunters.

“Because the skin is what hunters are after, they do it swiftly so the skin is not damaged. Commoners would batter a snake with a stick if they found one,” he said.

In a more remote part of the country, a wealthy landlord in Medan can be seen bragging his crocodile farm, when piles of saltwater or freshwater alligators been taken captive in filthy condition, piled up one on top of the other, stoically waiting to be slaughtered before their skin is exported to Hermes or other high brand fashion for bags, clothes, or shoes.

See you later alligator

worker picks up a saltwater crocodile (crocodylus porosus) at a crocodile breeding facility in Jayapura, Papua, on Friday. The facility is breeding some 7,500 crocodiles for their valuable skins to make leather products for export to countries such as Singapore, Japan and Italy. (Antara/Oka Barta)

Ironically, while major environmentalists were busy fighting for animal welfare for Indonesia, however, Darori (yes, the director of Indonesia’s natural conservatory) instead said that Indonesia’s local fashion industry should use animal parts and develop its own brands

“We can make them as good as international brands. It’s just that our brands are not as big as international labels,” he said.

His statement sank in to me as the answer of why tiger skin, leopard’s fur, elephant’s ivory, and rhino’s tusk were freely traded while the owner animal hunted to extinction.

If wildlife suffers so much, what about domesticated animals?

The answer is: not better.

Just like how the crocodiles lives solely as financial means of their owners, cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, birds, reptiles, are exploited to their tiniest being for their mater’s maximum profit.

Here in Indonesia, it is the pet who feed the owner, not the other way around. The more exotic the breed, the more expensive, the higher the status of their owner and therefore, the more they can sell their pets.

What happened to the rest is a question of the strength of your gut. Cats are being crushed over, living goldfish thrown to the sewer, and while majority of Indonesian are Muslims who thinks dogs are unholy (haram) their fate is much worse.

Horses are often forced to carry harvests several times their own weight. The owner beating them to continue walking despite their foamy mouth, and when they are not strong enough to carry anymore, mostly from malnutrition or sickness, they are sold to slaughter, or been butchered by the owner himself so they can catch another one.

Rabbits are breeding machines. The older ones were skinned for their fur, while their meat sold by the street as traditional barbecue.

So if anyone in ever said that one story of a murder of a dog ‘heartbreaking’, I have seen much worse in daily basis and most of the time, I can’t do much because of financial and space limitation.

After being diagnoses with swollen liver and severe typhoid that require me to stay in the hospital for the whole month, however, the pressure of financial and space limitation is heavier than ever, more so because Indonesia also happen to be a country without social security, so I have to pay everything by myself.

Then what is it left for me to live on?

After all this years, after fighting for the entire 20 years of my life and dedicated each of my blood and tears for the welfare of abused and neglected animals, I have that right. I have that right to call it off, and return to my father’s homeland: Japan. I have relatives who will take care of me, friends who eagerly await me, and I don’t have to worry about financial restraint or spinning my head to meet my refugees’ end.

But Japan has Sensui Sannosuke and the many underground animal advocates. My beloved whales had Pierce Brosnan and Paul Watson. Canada has Nigel Barker and Senator Mac Harb defending their seals, Australia, UK, even South Africa has their own fighters, but if I am to go, who will stand for Indonesia?

I dreamed of a small place, a tiny house for one or two person with a small garden where all the tired street cats or dog can just escape from their tiresome life for a while and rest while I took care of their wounds. I yearned of a tree where the birds doesn’t have to fear of hunter’s gun, I relentlessly prayed to give my whole service for those animals: conceived without sin (to human), but mortally paying with their life, dying on the streets of my homeland.

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish this race and complete this task my Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying the gospel of God’s grace – Acts 20:24

I do not know how I would live, with an empty wallet and zero saving account. I do not know how I would be able to continue feeding my refugees, or pay the vet bill for the answer to that;

My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning – Psalm 130:6

but I asked anyway, and I know that I will be answered.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded

2 Chronicles 15:7

This is what my purpose that driven my life, the reason I am here, and the one thing I believe in.

Thus here I am again on the look of a good hand that will help me rock the cradle, to help me pass my day. Here I am again, on the street, during my quest to Canaan: the promised land, and I am inviting every caring heart to join me on the pilgrim.

There’s this Chipin page, to which you can fill in as much as you like. There is no minimum amount so you don’t have to be shy. Besides, there’s the magic of currency differences that cause 1 US$ to worth 9,000.00 Indonesian rupiah. What about that? not everyday your single dime can turn into a mountainous of good karma, and huge help for a private refugee house.

Thank you very much well in advance, though, cause we couldn’t have made it without you.

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