Thursday, February 15, 2007

House of Chaos has finally moved.

We're now located in

See you there!
I approached this acquaintance on the situation of her cat.

The cat still hasn't had any vet visits yet. And she told me she will be moving out of the current flat in April & her new flatmate is not a cat-friendly person. And the flat has too many expensive designerish furniture so it would not be suitable for her to take the cat.

For the other 2 flatmates - one is moving back to where she came from & the other is moving to LA. So where does that leave the cat? The consensus among the three is none is able to take the cat with them and none has managed to work out a solution on what to do with the cat.

She wants to talk to her circle of friends who have cats but she hasn't run that by her flatmates. One of her flatmates jokingly suggested leaving the cat in the hawker centre so that it won't starve. I told her my concern is more than just where the cat finds its next meal.

I offered to take over the cat. I will arrange the vet visits, a shelter & eventually find a suitable home for the cat. However, they will relinquish all rights to the cat (I think that is hardly an issue to them). She said she will discuss with her flatmates & let me know the outcome.
Whatever it is, she promised me that they will leave the cat out on the street.

Knowing her, I won't hear from her for at least another month or so.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Refreshed, inspired & a little burnt.

Angkor Wat in the afternoon

Siem Reap is a charming little French colonial town but absolutely dusty. Walking the streets, we see constructions everywhere. It feels like the town is going to boon overnight & we will miss its growth if we blink our eyes.

But despite the hustle & bustle, the dust, the honking, the general madness on the roads, our entire visit is stress free. The Cambodians are very laid back. It feels like we are looking through a rose tinted glass but it is reality. Everything is easy, no problem, can wait, its ok. Don't worry, be happy. Really!

Siem Reap's claim to fame is of course the Angkor temples situated on the town's outskirts. One of the world's most significant ancient structures, the Angkors were mostly built between the 9th and 13th centuries and they are certainly one of the most breathtaking and amazing monuments.

But never had I felt more cosmopolitan than in Siem Reap. We are surrounded by the English, Americans, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Thais, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Koreans, Russians, Greeks & Australians. A tour to the temples, I can hear simultaneous interpretations in different languages.

The main mode of travel is motorbike. During my stay, I've taken the van (tourist), the tuk tuk (backpacker) & the motorbike. I wish I had a little more time as I would love to hang precariously for my life off the rail of a public pickup truck bus.

Anyway, this is just brief introduction of my little travel. More to come.

Meanwhile I missed Chaos terribly especially in the mornings. It has been a ritual that Alex wakes me up in the morning, come rain or shine. The first morning I woke up at the usual time, waiting for Alex to lick my face. But of course, he wasn't there. Ouch. So you can imagine, how I excited I was when I landed in Terminal 2 yesterday. I practically sprinted out of the terminus to the taxi.

Back home, I was hugging all my babies so hard, so long. I can't to let them go. I think I frightened them, but I don't care.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Chaos & I are taking a break ... away from each other.

Back in a week's time.

A good rebuttal on the call to ban cats & dogs in HDB.

2 February 2007
ST Online Forum
Writers' strong views on cat/dog ban in HDB flats worrying

I find the views of those like Mr Heng Cho Choon, 'It's not only the cats - dogs too must be banned' (Online forum, Jan 31), and Mr Peter Kuan, 'Why HDB should ban cat and dog ownership in flats', (Online forum, Jan 25), all too worrying.

Should they have their way, visually-handicapped Singaporeans who get by with the help of guide dogs and who live in HDB flats would have to find alternative accommodation.

From my research, a total of no fewer than seven articles on the usefulness of guide dogs to the visually-handicapped were published in Singapore's mainstream media, alongside the praise heaped on a multitude of government agencies for taking the proactive move towards making Singapore the best home for all.

While guide dogs are obviously suitably chosen and trained to very strict standards for their task, it seems rather inconceivable to Mr Heng and Mr Kuan that pet dogs can also be obedience-trained.

In addition, contrary to HDB's statement that 'cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and difficult to be confined in the flats', the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) asserts otherwise.

According to AVA's 'Cats as Pets' brochure (available on the AVA website): 'Cats do perfectly well in a confined environment so long as all their basic needs (that is, food and water, shelter, a comfortable living environment and veterinary care) are provided. This is quite contrary to the popular belief that cats can only be happy and contented if they are free to wander outdoors.

Given that AVA is the veterinary authority in Singapore, it would appear that HDB officials are ill-informed.

Of course, objections to the HDB ban on cats (and Mr Kuan's proposed ban on dogs) are multi-faceted and cut across a range of issues.

One objection is that pets cause too much noise. Another, that cats and dogs dirty the environment.

While neighbourly concerns do need to be taken into account, I find that those who advocate such a measure as drastic as a ban on pets in public housing silly.

In the multicultural public-housing environment that Singaporeans have lived in for years (and will have to continue to do so); in the land-scarce polity that the Government wishes to pack more people into; in the proactive measures that government agencies have taken towards Mr Kua Cheng Hock who has lobbied for more than 20 years for guide dogs to be allowed, surely learning to accommodate another's differing way of life ought to be seen as a valuable lesson in empathic understanding?

If no, then well, here's just one more snippet from AVA's website:

'It is a misconception that pets cause asthma. Asthma is a genetically inherited condition... Recent studies also show that children living with a dog or cat at home are less likely to develop asthma. This research supports the current thinking among allergists that exposing a child to dust, animal dander and other allergens at a young age will help him build up immunity that will reduce the chances of him developing asthma.'

In other words: Are Singaporeans - in always wanting to ban this or that; in always expecting the Government to take the high-handed route; in wanting the Government to nanny them to the grave - simply a tad too pampered?

Soo Kwok Heng
Victoria, Australia

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This is a rant.

I don't understand. I don't understand how Singaporeans with all our affluence and education, are intolerant, inconsiderate and treats life 'below us' so flippantly, so disposable.

I am upset that people thinks that as long as a living being ceased to be of benefit to the society, it is alright to kill them off, as long as it is done humanely. First of all, to deliberately cause death to another being just because it serves no purpose is NOT humane no matter what method is employed. Second of all, what values are we teaching our young? That is alright to humanely 'off' us when we are old, useless and a burden???

I hope 30 years on, I won't become another death statistic just because I am old and useless to society. Not that younger Singaporean will care then.

I am upset that we think we can treat our domestic helpers and foreign workers with snobbery. They are looked down upon, shouted at, invisible to us all when all this time we know jolly well we can't live without them. Not that we care. They are disposable items in our books.

But don't forget, our grandparents and great grandparents were once the Amahs, Ahmads, coolies. They used to do backbreaking work under the hot sun. Just because we are privileged now, doesn't mean we should forget where we came from. Where is our humility?

The debate on the HDB's ban on cats goes to show how intolerant Singaporeans can be. So dogs bark and cats caterwaul. Humans are guilty of bigger crimes. We litter, scream, shout, laugh, sing, play out loud without consideration for our neighbours. But we generally tolerate these nonsense. Why? Is it because we are humans and therefore our lives are valuable and important and animals' are not? Or is it because animals are smaller & therefore we can speak against them but humans are bigger & therefore to save ourselves from a whallop we swallow the inconvenience in silence?

Just because we have a bigger brain doesn't make us better. Animals live on this planet longer than we have. And I bet they will be around after we humanely kill each other off.

I question our education. I bet most of us don't even understand the purpose of education. You may disagree with me but the way I see it, education is not about scoring good grades and making into the university and getting a well paid job. Education is about developing yourself, your mind and your character, to become a better person to serve the society.

A society with intelligent people but without kindness and compassion is not well served.

Yes, I am in bad mood. I'm sick & miserable right now. And I am probably not making any sense here. Hell.

Monday, January 29, 2007


From Sports Illustrated, by Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

85 times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in Marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars--all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the US on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much - except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life'', Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an Institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering Department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate.

"No way", Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke", Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!"

And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!" And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few Years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway. Then they found a way to get into the race officially:

In 1983 they ran another Marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year. Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried. Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time?: Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 - only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it," Rick types. "My Dad is the Father of the Century." And Dick got something else out of all this too.

Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago." So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his Dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

"The thing I'd most like,'' Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."

TODAY's Voices

Coverage on the 'cats in HDB' debate.
Read the letters here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Found blood in Wawa's urine this evening. Vegancat said it is FLUTD & recommended wet food with salmon & lots of water.

I think Beauty has it as well. Caught her urinating outside the litterbox twice over the last two nights.

So no more dry food for Chaos, only wet ones for now. Poor Ruby. She's gonna be hungry. She's not much of a wet food cat. She loves dry food despite being toothless.

Fast Food Nation

Gives a good insight into the fast food industry and meat packing industries as well.

After this, you probably will think twice before sinking your teeth into that Big Mac or cut into a beef steak or chicken chop.

So if you are a die-hard meat eater, this book is probably not for you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Had another conversation with this acquaintance of mine about her kitten.

She insists that kitten is not really hers. It was her expat flatmate that took the kitten home & therefore the kitten should be the flatmate's. She just happens to live there & therefore happens to play with it.

However, she does sometimes buy the cat food because the 'owner' is a scattered brain. Just the other day, she was telling me they fed the cat bread because they ran out of catfood. I ended giving her the reserve I had stashed for Peanut & Sesame & some cans of tuna (originally meant for Tua Tao).

I asked her again, have they or has she plan for the future of the kitten? Still not vaccinated nor sterilised. No cat food in the flat. This arrangement is unacceptable. I told her if she is unable to care for the kitten, please bring it to my office. One more cat here is not going to be big difference to us.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Alex is down with a very bad case of flu. He's a mess right now. He had been sneezing most of the night.

Suspected so. He was pretty down last week, losing interest in play, food & even free cuddles! Have put him on Vibravet & extra Vit C & monitor his condition closely. Looks like the trip to the groomers this Saturday will have to be postponed.
Picture's very out of focus - this is what happens when I operate without caffiene ....

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bathe Time

The kittens got their weekly bathe today. The Auntie uses baby wipes & they got a rub down from their eyes, face, all the way to their little backsides. She was very thorough.

I have to give it to her. Auntie really has her ways with the kids. They didn't put up any fights whatsoever.

She used to bathe the cats with water & Dettol until I found out & gave her baby wipes instead. For her, Dettol is the cure for everything external. I had to use the word 'poison' to stop her from using Dettol ever again on cats.

First was Sesame.
Then came Peanut & Auntie finally captured on photo!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grumps finally on YouTube!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Have you ever finished a day feeling rotten? I mean most days, I would finish work feeling good. Tired but good & sometimes accomplished. But not today. I am ashamed of myself, to be honest.

I had a late lunch today in Maxwell. As I was heading back to my office, at the cross road junction I saw an hunched back old man. He looks like a rag-and-bone, collecting soda cans from the rubbish bin. And he looks a little mentally-challenged to me. He shuffled very slowly to the traffic light, carrying 2 large bags of empty cans.

I was waiting to cross to another side of the road. Because he shuffled so slowly, he missed his green man & had to wait for the next one. In that moment when I saw him, a voice inside my head said 'help him, talk to him.' But my feet didn't move towards him. Instead, I turn to cross my side of the road.

During the walk back, I silently cursed myself. Why didn't I help him? I wasn't rushing for time. In fact, I had time to spare.

Then a thought struck me. I was embarrassed to be seen helping him. I started thinking of past encounters where I could have stepped in to help but didn't and it was pretty consistent. I was embarrassed & I did not want to be the odd one standing out. I want to belong, to be popular, to be able to blend into the group.

This afternoon I saw ugly me and I'm not proud of me.

Dim Sum's Fisher

Fisher's family has finally sent me photos of him. This is the first I have seen him since he was adopted a year ago.

He is now called Nicky. According to his mom Shira, Nicky loves to look out the window after his meal. And he loves his snacks and it is the only 'bribe' he accepts.

But Nicky is smaller than the other house cat Zoe. From this photo I can only guess that petite & leggy are their family trademarks.

Even the beautiful can be 'ugly' sometimes :-)

She was angry at Alex for taking up her 'Beauty' time with mommy ... Doesn't matter that she already had a full 15 minutes of mommy's undivided attention before Alex appeared. It is still his fault.

HDB's anti-cat policy is antiquated

Simple & to the point.

ST Forum
19 January 2007

I AGREE wholeheartedly with Miss Elaine Neo Yan Ling's comment that cats make good pets in flats ('Don't ban cats in flats, HDB'; ST Online Forum, Jan17).

Over the years, I've written many times to the Housing Board to request that the policy on pets be updated to allow for cats to be kept. But each time the reply is the same:

'Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and difficult to keep confined within the flats. Due to the nomadic nature of cats, the nuisances caused by cats, such as the shedding of fur, defecating and urinating in public areas, noise disturbance, and so on, would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates. In view of this, HDB has a policy of not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats.'

I have sent the HDB information on new breeds of cats that are suitable for apartment living, and have even disputed some of the dog breeds which have been approved as suitable pets for apartment living, with supported facts from pet review sites.

But each time, it has always been the standard reply from HDB.

HDB's policy on pets is antiquated and should be reviewed and updated based on the latest information regarding dog and cat breeds available now.

The Government is constantly telling Singaporeans that in order to progress, they must constantly review and update themselves according to the latest trends, but somehow I don't see government statutory boards following the same call.

David Tan Hee Tuck
Hong Kong

Thursday, January 18, 2007

"Human beings also kill animals not just for food. They take the animals' skin to make shoes and hats and clothes. And even that is not enough. They take these animals' bones to make necklaces or buttons or earrings. In short, they kill many, many animals in order to sell the animal parts for money. Because of these desires and this strong animal consciousness, human beings fight with each other, and destroy nature. They do not value life. So now this whole world has many problems; problems with the water, problems with the air, problems with the earth and food. Many new problems appear every day. These problems do not happen by accident. Human beings make each and every one of these problems. Dogs, cats, or lions, or snakes - no animal makes as many problems for this world as human beings do. Humans do not understand their true nature, so they use their thinking and desire to create so much suffering for this world. That is why some people say that human beings are the number one bad animal in this world. So human beings must soon wake up and find their original seeds, their original nature."

~ Zen Master Seung Sahn
The Compass of Zen

Ruby Getting Along :-)

Lighter Moments

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Xiao Hei Enjoying Sun

Tua Tao's Fresh Sores

A new sore on Tua Tao's back. A few more small ones on his sides which he won't let me take pictures of.

The Auntie suspects he bites himself because his new skin itches. But it seems unlikely to me. The spot where the sore is (on this picture) is an unlikely spot where he can bite himself. I could be wrong. Tua Tao could be an acrobatic cat for all I know.

I have asked Auntie to cut back on the cod liver oil supplements to thrice a week & add lysine to all daily feed.

Meanwhile, the kittens are venturing into my end of the street.

Monday, January 15, 2007

"We are all here on this planet, as it were, as tourists. None of us can live here forever. The longest we might live is a hundred years. So while we are here we should try to have a good heart and to make something positive and useful of our lives. Whether we live just a few years or a whole century, it would be truly regrettable and sad if we were to spend that time aggravating the problems that afflict other people, animals, and the environment. The most important thing is to be a good human being."

Junior's Mark

Jr dashed out of the flat this evening when I opened the door. I picked him up & was about the carry him back when my neighbour's daughter-in-law came up the stairs. The boy clawed his way out of my arms to dash back home.


Vegetarian Evolution: A Case of West Meets East

By Anna Mundow for Boston Globe
January 14, 2007

Tristram Stuart, a graduate of Cambridge University, has written for Indian newspapers, edited a book on Himalayan nomads, and been a project manager in Kosovo. "The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism From 1600 to Modern Times" (Norton, $29.95), his first book, is an astonishing examination of mankind's changing perception of its place in the natural world and of what it means to be human.

Stuart spoke from his home in London.

Q What was "the bloodless revolution"?

A It became a perennial battle as envisaged by vegetarians, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, for justice to both humans and animals. This was particularly imagined by late-18th-century revolutionary vegetarians in the French Revolution who saw their fight as reaching back to the 17th-century radicalism of the Cromwellian revolution.

Q And Eastern philosophy influenced those early radicals?

A That was a revelation . I knew about the enthusiasm for Indian culture at the end of the 18th century, but what surprised me was the influence 100 years earlier, when Europeans first traveled to India in significant numbers and wrote travel books that became bestsellers . These travelers were fascinated by vegetarians they encountered, particularly in western India. As a result of those texts, vegetarianism as witnessed in India became a major subject of debate for philosophers and scientists, who discussed the moral and nutritional implications.

Q In that sense, is the history of vegetarianism also the history of philosophy?

A Absolutely. Of course the term "vegetarianism" was only coined in 1842, but the ideas that composed it -- the objection to killing animals or the belief that meat was bad for the human body -- go back through history. From the nutritionists who said that meat "furs the vessels," to the philosophers who said it's wrong to kill animals, to the religious believers who said that God made Adam and Eve to live in harmony with all the creatures in paradise. You can't separate any of those strands; they're all linked.

Q What was the heyday of vegetarianism?

A There were three heydays. The mid 17th century during the Cromwellian revolution, when dissenters protested against the elite, which was represented by the conspicuous consumption of meat. The second was during the Enlightenment, when nutritionists and anatomists began really to examine the human body and to argue that we were herbivorous by nature. Then at the beginning of the 19th century, radical thought, scientific inquiry, and the interest in India fused into one movement.

Q When did the idea of "the natural" as the fixed essence of our being arise?

A It was an Enlightenment idea that harked back to ancient Greece and probably beyond. Certainly it became a fixation that took many different forms. In the 17th century, biblical philosophy regarded paradise and the original state of the earth as nature. By the 18th century, that idea became more secularized as people strove to revive a utopian "state of nature" cleansed of the corruptions of society and civilization.

Q Tell me about Tyson's chimpanzee.

A Well, that was an absolute watershed in Western science, when the first ape was dissected by Edward Tyson in 1699. His drawings were extremely accurate and were still being consulted in Darwin's time. The experiment triggered a debate about whether this animal was herbivorous and, if so, were humans, who were almost identical, also herbivorous.

Q Do you have a favorite vegetarian?

A Yes, Thomas Tryon . He grew up in the Cromwellian revolution and in 1680 began reading about India, where millions of people were following what he regarded as the original law of God: Do not kill your fellow creatures. He extended that in so many ways that we can recognize now: lamenting deforestation in America; becoming antislavery well before his time; worrying about the pollution of rivers affecting fish and poisoning humans, about soil erosion and cash-cropping in Barbados, where he lived for a while. He is an astonishing character, yet there's no biography of him and virtually no research. I discovered a number of books which had been lost or not identified as his just sitting in library archives.

Q If Tryon's your favorite, I suppose Hitler is everyone's least favorite?

A That's something that haunts the vegetarian movement. What I try to tackle when describing Hitler's vegetarian ideology is the idea that because Hitler was vegetarian, vegetarianism has something inherently fascist about it: that argument is obviously false. So you get vegetarians who deny that Hitler had any vegetarian views, when the fact that he was vegetarian is no more relevant than the fact that Stalin ate meat. Gandhi, for example, had many of the same dietary ideas as Hitler, but his political views could hardly have been more different.

It's fascinating, by the way, that Gandhi was brought up vegetarian but was not convinced of vegetarianism as a philosophy until he came to England. Before that he rebelled against it. He took back to India the arguments for [it] that had originally come from there to Europe.

Anna Mundow is a correspondent for the Irish Times. She can be reached via e-mail at
The kittens catch the opportunity to sun themselves
Ah Hua doing the same

I spot a few fresh sores on Tua Tao's back but he has become a distant with me again. He ran away before I could whip out my camera. :(

Maybe he is just a practical cat. Now that the holidays are over & Auntie has resume the feeding duties, I'm no longer of value to him ;)