February 28, 2007

Malaysians in buying bid to save forests, says report

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysian environmental and residents' groups are joining forces to buy swathes of forest in a desperate bid to save them from developers, a report said Tuesday.

Four groups, including WWF Malaysia and a residents' group from Petaling Jaya, a satellite town near Kuala Lumpur, will set up a national conservation trust fund to collect money to buy land.

More than 60 other non-governmental organisations and residents' associations have also pledged their support for the proposal, said the New Straits Times.

"We want to appeal to the public to give any amount to protect the environment," Victor Oorjitham, a Petaling Jaya resident and the chairman of a committee for the fund was quoted as saying.

"When it comes to green open spaces, it is only logical that people subscribe to such a proposal," he said.

Another activist from Petaling Jaya, Edward Lee, said the groups had to take action after years of protests against environmentally damaging construction had failed to achieve anything.

"By setting up the fund we are putting our money where our mouth is. We can't see it any other way," said Lee, who has met with Malaysians in three states to garner support.

"We are not fighting with anyone. This fund will be a collaborative effort," he told the newspaper.

The groups have said the trust fund will have its own board of trustees to ensure proper management and will also appoint auditors, according to the newspaper.

Land purchased will be converted into areas of national heritage, it said.

Malaysian residents' and conservation groups, particularly in and around capital Kuala Lumpur, frequently engage in battles with developers and local councils to save areas from being developed.

Groups have also appealed to the government to protect these areas as park reserves, criticising what they say is unnecessary development.


Previously along my trips to Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, I noticed the drastic changes in Johor's pristine landscape. From vast acres of orchards and primary rainforests, the land has been facelifted into a terrain of barren-like brown land and clusters of terraces that dot its undulating landscape. I read a past issue of National Geographic with a feature article that depicts vividly the problem of land grab and the destruction of the Amazon forest.

Almost everywhere I go, the media are covering stories on land loss and conservation.

What would it be like to live in a world without forests?

February 25, 2007

These dogs await some JUSTICE

From a life of domesticity to the dangers of street life, these pet dogs were forced by human action (or inaction) to forage for food, fend off existing stray packs, seek shelter from the December monsoon, avert oncoming cars and battle with the encroachment of ticks, mites and fleas.
From hopelessly waiting for news of their whereabouts to going on a wildgoose chase for the lost dogs, from hearing tall tales from irresponsible owners to threat calls and virus-infected SMSes, from getting involved with unreliable caretakers to settling them down at their new shelter... the rescue journey for Ginne and Junior, two dogs suspected to have been abandoned by their owners, has been only unexpectedly arduous.
To date, these duo are fighters in their own right and loving gals who ultimately long for a home.
Junior is all-black while Ginne is black/tan.
Feb. 03, 2007: Junior and Ginne boarding at a private shelter. Both were significantly thinner and suffering from extensive diarrhoea. Junior was also suffering from rashes - hair loss.

Dec. 18, 2006

Feb. 7, 2007: taken to the vet. While Junior's loose stools problem improved, her rashes problem was a bit worrying (chest and belly).

Quite shockingly, the dogs were much thinner than when they were found. Their ribcages showed more protrudingly than before.

Feb. 24, 2007: the gals were happy to see us. We were just as happy to see them!

Junior coming up to give the camera lens a good wipe.

As with almost all cases, we seek your help in contributing to the gals' lodging fees. It was beyond our imagination to see them living at shelters after they were rehomed to a supposedly good home. As the girls are hardly the "street dogs" they were born out to be, we are also on the lookout for good families who can take them in as family companions. A walk with the dogs is ever such a blessed thing.

Interested, pls contact projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg or 9026-2733/ 9090-8592.

Ruby doing well

February 24, 2007.

Back on the road into the heart of our strays after what seemed like a lapse since last June when we revolved our schedules around the core management of the street animals.

And for such an eventful and enriching experience today, we'll document this recap in subsequent posts in some main areas that have touched our lives today, and reminded us why we started doing this in the first place.

First stop, we went to Dr T's to check on how Ruby, our rubbish chute gal, is doing. At 4-5 months, she can't be any sweeter, she can't be any bigger as a puppy slightly taller than a beagle. She's grown so reliant on and attached to the vet assistants but in equal measure, is willing to open her heart to a friendly human hand.

At present, Ruby has gone through the necessary medical procedures, such as spaying and microchipping, typical of any dog rescued from the throes of street life. We are appealing to you to contribute to Ruby's boarding and where possible, to help us look out for a potential adoptive family because our doe-eyed gal is just so sugar-natured.

If you'd like to be part of Ruby's transformative process, please email projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg

Ruby: should she even be a rubbish chute gal?

Look at how small she is (by street standards)!

February 22, 2007

Just wanted to share

a phrase from my reading this morning:

"Do not waste time taking offence. Instead, waste no time taking care of problems that cause anxiety and fear."

In all aspects of our life, this holds true.


We believe it's only appropriate, to say the least, to establish, hopefully, once-and-for-all where we stand in this constant campaign for a better treatment of animals, whether in captivity or footloose, domestic or wild.

ProjectJK was so forth started because we felt it was only necessary to document all of our welfare work on this blog to (a) serve as a mouthpiece of our animals (b) educate the public on the realities of the stray situation (c) platform what we do and our ideas to both existing and potential supporters in this one, same common cause that disparate special interest groups and societies are working towards. We still feel the same way.

In the course of this enriching yet treacherous journey, we've been met with blessings as well as misfortunes, the latter that hindered our work which stems from our simple intention of improving the lives of our animals.

We help a multitude of caregivers, fosters and strayfeeders but essentially, when we take time off and "conduct some groundwork", we "go on the road" with one caregiver who'd been taking care of street animals for more than half her life.

When we say "our team", there are essentially ONLY two of us. One a student and another, a working professional. Time to time, we are blessed with support from people who believe in our cause and who render us support financially, morally and physically. Yes, we rope in personal contacts such as close friends or friends of friends or friends of friends of friends, or even complete strangers, to, say, provide transport for our dogs for sterilisation or help in the bathing of dogs at a private shelter.

We are not a society, but a group of people who long for a better day for our animals. We contribute when we can, if our schedules permit or if an urgent matter needs to be attended to physically. Other times when we are not "on the road", we could be exchanging emails with potential adopters and supporters or just updating this blog from behind our screens.

Yet, we daresay we've been hounded by barrages of questions (and allegations) about our alleged "inefficiency", "carelessness" and what have you, of the terms that were thrown at or assigned to our work. It'd gone so far that we were "stealing" away supporters who "belong" to another group to ours, we were told. We do not know where lines were drawn and if lines could ever be drawn in this respect.

On another level, it'd gotten to a stage when we had to permanently block someone capable of so much groundless slanders in our emails. And it's times like this when we could legitimize all intended acts to wash our hands from animal welfare and rest on our laurels as individuals romanticizing that all animals are well, as long as we don't see them.

But, we don't.

If anything, we only want this to be as open as possible. Not something that shrouds a hodge-podge of snide remarks or badmouthing or disgruntlements brewing in the background of the picture.

And it's precisely what this blog is about -- to serve as a two-way communicative avenue between the public and ourselves. It is through such sharing that we can constructively move forward in this cause and the picture-perfectness of it is something that we will not be able to see in our lifetime.

This post is not intended to anyone but is a disclaimer of sorts to clear the air. Constructively.

Where humans are involved, it cannot be more compelling that our animals are simpler beings to treat and handle. Our caregiver remarks that "humans are worse". However loose this remark comes forth, it largely echoes a general sentiment agreed by a lot of people.

But there is definitely hope in humanity and humaneness in the treatment of animals still stands in the heart of hearts.

February 21, 2007

Lucas adopted!

Due to some technical glitches with blogger (and the fact that quite many things happened during this period of absentia), we were unable to update our work on this blog. In any case, we'd like to share with all that LUCAS HAS BEEN ADOPTED!!!

A few weeks ago, we moved Lucas from the shelter where he'd become close pals with a much older female labrador to a foster home where he became fast friends with the resident lab, another six-year-old female. He was well taken care of for one week at a home where the leaves of age-old trees swayed with the tranquil afternoon winds, where he basked belly-up in the sun at sideyard, where he sometimes wrestled with the resident female lab over the toys she buried in the garden -- our Lucas uncovered her toys and was reprimanded by her that her toys were her property.

And a week later, we brought Lucas to his (hopefully) forever home where we were allowed to recce the outdoors -- the semi-landscaped gardens, yards and garages. Lucas has joined a family who'd taken him as a family companion and who'd kindheartedly donated to our cause.

I don't think I'd ever forget the brief but enjoyable moments I'd spent with Lucas -- how he bounded to the gate with what we deemed as a "human face", when we hollered his name from outside, how he naturally snuggled still in the crook of my lap during the car ride on the way to his adoptive parents and how he always seemed to smile with each friendly pat, connecting us with his contentment, his joviality, his happy-go-lucky-ness, a Dogtalk that is, perhaps, what keeps us going in our belief (albeit waning) that there are good families out there, and in our faith in humanity.

With each adoption, we only find ourselves steeped in a dilemma (sometimes, a trilemma) in going ahead with entrusting a dog lifelong in the care of an adoptive home or keeping him as he is -- in the familiar surroundings of street life, shelter life or in the calm embrace of the fosters we meet, the Samaritans who weave in and out of our lives and the lives of our animals.

And it only brings us endless questions on the integrity of humans, on ethical choices, on ultimately, are we doing the best for these animals? If they'd a voice, what would they whisper into our ears, what'd they echo into our consciousness? And what'd they like to tell the world about what they'd been through and... what place do they have in our urban ecology?

With each adoption, we withdraw into a reflective state and ask questions that we can never find answers to. We question our acts that we cannot find labels for, we attempt to categorize things that will never be absolute, and we yearn for more, yearn for so much more for the animals on the streets, behind the grilles, in confinement, bounded by leashes, and the people who, rain or shine, sickness or health, are constantly on the road to look out for those whimpering under the trucks, trembling in the cold or dragging their beat souls across the tarmac of the streets.

We yearn for a better world where humans and animals reconcile to live harmoniously in the delicate yet perfectly connected ecology that had been preordained and mapped out on the face of this earth. A better world where inter-species respect is possible.

Lucas... all the best.

Lucas and his pal at shelter before leaving for domestic life

Lucas all cleaned up and awaiting whatever bone of excitement is thrown in his path

A rubbish chute is not a home

Ruby has been sterilised, microchipped and vaccinated. She's all ready to go to a good home. We estimate her to be just about 4 to 5 months old. A little shy to strangers in the beginning, but give her a few minutes, and she'll warm up to you, wagging her tail gently. Looking at you with her big doe eyes.

Ruby is very much a little lady. Very gentle and light in her ways. A rubbish chute should never be the place for her. Do consider giving her a warm, loving home.

Please contact us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg or hp: 9090-8592 if you would like to see her.

February 19, 2007

That's no stray, she's our ambassador of love

A MONGREL has managed to do what grassroots organisations, religious bodies and Government organisations have long strived to achieve: A common bond, a warm sense of belonging and harmony among neighbours.

Blackie the stray has become a pet - and passionate - cause for a residents from 11 blocks at Yishun Street 81.

They are a diverse lot - young, old, married, single, - from all races and religions. Alas, today, the last day of the Year of the Dog, brings news that Blackie's days may be numbered.

Blackie has been living in Yishun Street 81 for the past three years. In that time, she has touched the lives of many of the resident there so much that she has brought residents from 11 blocks together to fight to keep her alive.

Last week, someone complained to the authorities about the four-year-old dog. And so Blackie may now be put to sleep.

That has marshalled the residents from Yishun Street 81 into action.

First, a resident took Blackie to a kampung in Lorong Buangkok, off Gerald Drive. Then came the petition. Residents gathered the signatures of 76 people living in 11 blocks in the estate to stop the authorities from taking the dog away.

They wrote to their MP, Ms Lee Bee Wah, to intervene. (See other report.)
A resident, Madam Dulcie Lim, 59, described Blackie as their 'ambassador of love'.


'Before, I didn't know many of the residents here,' she said. 'Most of us kept to ourselves. But Blackie has helped us break the ice and even bond with each other. Isn't that what our Government always wanted to achieve?

'Blackie has done so much for this neighbourhood. It is not fair that she has to leave this place. We all love Blackie and we want her back.'

In the letter to their MP, the residents wrote about how Blackie has become an integral part of their community.

'We sincerely hope that you, our good MP, can understand this strong bond we share with this very special dog... spare the neighbourhood the heartache of losing this dog,' the residents pleaded with their MP.

Blackie, who is known as 'Xiao Hei' (Mandarin for little black one) was found abandoned at Yishun Stadium three years ago.

A resident spotted her and brought her to Block 825. That became Blackie's home.
But last week, the Centre for Animal Welfare and Control (CAWC) of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), received a call from Ang Mo Kio-Yishun Town Council about two stray dogs in the area.

On 8 Feb, the CAWC team checked the site and spotted Blackie. Five residents spotted the officers from their flats and rushed down to save the pet. Fortunately, she was not impounded that day.


The residents were told that Blackie cannot be kept at HDB void decks as it is a public place.
Under HDB policy, Blackie is too big to be kept in a flat.

HDB residents can keep one dog of an approved breed such as silky terrier or Maltese because they are smaller and more suited to living in flats.

Said a resident who wants to be known as only Priscilla: 'We were so worried that the AVA officers would return for Xiao Hei. So for the time being, we've housed her in a nearby kampung.'

The 52-year-old housewife said: 'I've known Xiao Hei for three years. Every day I would buy $2 worth of roast meat for her from the market. She is a good dog and never bites anyone.'
Added Madam Lim: 'Blackie is very friendly. She even shares her food with the stray cats.
'I've seen how she would let the cats eat first. When she feels that they have had enough, she would shoo them away and eat her share.'
A resident claimed that she saw Blackie trying to save a kitten which had fallen into a drain.
Madam Hasmisah Mohd, 42, unemployed, said: 'I heard a kitten crying for help but I couldn't find it. It was Blackie who led me to the injured kitten inside the drain.'

Ms Joyce Koh, 31, another resident, said: 'Whenever she saw my car driving into the carpark, she would run behind my car. She would then wait for me to park and walk me to the lift.'

Poly student Ashwin Gunapathy, 19, said that there are more than 70 residents vouching for Blackie.

He said: 'We want her back in the neighbourhood and we are all willing to put our names down to apply for a licence so that she can stay here.'

He was among the 30 residents who met this reporter at Block 825 last Monday.
Madam Juliana Tan, 53, said: 'I lost one of my daughters over a year ago. She was 28 when she died of a blood disorder.

'I used to be afraid of dogs, but I don't know why I started talking to Blackie about my dead daughter. I was mourning and Blackie gave me solace.' Madam Tan lives with her younger daughter in a three-room flat.

A couple, Madam Soh Oi Chue and her husband, Mr Tang Yeo Soong, recalled how Blackie would accompany them to the market.

She said in Mandarin: 'At 7am, Blackie would be at the foot of the block, waiting for us.
'She would follow us to the market where we would buy her her favourite duck's neck. I miss Blackie terribly.'

Mr Tang helped to bathe Blackie and clean up her makeshift home daily.
He said: 'Our three children have already grown up. Blackie is like our little daughter. Some of us even chipped in to have her sterilised.'

When Blackie was knocked down by a car last December, it was Ashwin's father, Mr Gunapathy, who took her to the vet. The fees came to $200. He also helped move Blackie to his temporary home.

The New Paper team tagged along with a few housewives last Wednesday to meet Blackie in her new home.

She wagged her tail and ran towards the housewives when she saw them and jumped on them. It was a touching scene.

Madam Lim said: 'We call ourselves the desperate housewives. But we are not desperate for men. We are desperate to save Blackie.'

Home for Blackie might be answer

SHE was pleasantly surprised when some residents asked her to help save a stray dog.
'I believe what they told me is genuine. Apparently there are people who want the dog and some who don't,' said Ms Lee Bee Wah from Ang Mo Kio GRC.

'We'll handle this the same way as we have handled stray cats. We will do a survey to see how many residents want to keep the dog in the neighbourhood. 'If the residents feel so strongly about keeping the dog, we will be able to find a solution without breaking the law.'

Like finding someone who lives in the vicinity to take in the dog, added Ms Lee.
Mr Madhavan Kannan, head of AVA's centre for animal welfare and control, told The New Paper that they are unable to acede to the residents' request and have advised them to find a home for the dog. 'The residents may keep it in boarding farms at Pasir Ris Farmway or Seletar Farmway till they find a home for the dog,' said Mr Madhavan.

For the purpose of rabies control, AVA impounds dogs found wandering in public places.
Mr Madhavan said: 'Although some dogs may be tame, there could be times when a dog can turn aggressive and may attack another person's pet or children.

'There are also people who fear the physical presence of stray dogs at the common areas of an housing estate. Some people are also disturbed when dogs come close to them and sometimes sniff.'

Since Blackie is not allowed to roam freely in public areas and she is considered too big to be kept in a HDB flat, would Ms Lee then consider building a shelter for her at the void deck?
'I don't rule out that possibility,' she said.

It will all depend on the survey results which her committee members are helping to conduct.

February 17, 2007

Ruby the rubbish chute dog

First was to Girl, and as usual a muddy welcome by the whole gang. They are as well as always.

Next, we went to look for this dog who has disappeared for days. When she was first spotted, she was extremely thin. Apparently, the man cleaning out the rubbish chute took her in. However, the man disappeared 3 weeks back and had just left the dog on her own in the room behind the rubbish chute.

V then got one of the indian workers from the nearby quarters to help feed the dog. But few days ago, that man also was nowhere to be found. The dog also disappeared. She was nowhere to be found nor heard.

Then, just now, as I walked round the rubbish chute, hoping to find that indian worker, his friend was there and said that he just saw the dog around the area. I went back to tell V that the dog must be nearby. As I walked back to speak more to the man, there the dog was, lying on the grass under a bush! Looking calm and cool.

The indian worker told us that we have to remove her cos their manager wants her out of the quarters area. And no one will be able to help look after her.

So, we had to take her away. We took her to the vet to be sterilised and microchipped before we decide the next best step for her.

Initially shy, she turns out to be a sweetheart. Silently curious in the car, she was sitting up and peering out the window after awhile. And giving me shy licks and glances along the way. Lovely doe eyes.

She will make a sweet family pet. Her name is now Ruby, the rubbish chute gal.

* We are raising funds to assist us in expenses which will be incurred for:

(i) sterilisation

(ii) microchipping
(iii) medical bills

(iii) transport charges for urgent cases

We sincerely seek your financial support as we persevere in the need for sterilisation of our local strays.
Kindly email us at projectjkteam@yahoo.com.sg for more information on how you can support us.


February 16, 2007

Been a while since I went on the road,

I wonder if some people out there somehow think that we can be out there on the road with V every single day.

Much as I wish to, we are unable to.

Looking at the scheme of things, and mulling it over in my head as we drove along today, let me clarify here to all our supporters: there is no way, right at this moment, for us to be on the road as often as we know we should be, if we are to rectify the stray population issue in time.

We are not full-time in this. Though I wish I can be.

The issue of our stray population has fallen into the hands of small core groups scattered over our island. There is insufficient manpower who is able to get onto the road every day or at least a few days a week, very regularly, to get close to the dogs so that they can be caught to the vet easily.

Many people have a misconception that such a responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the stray feeders. Some people even point fingers at stray feeders for causing the stray pop problems.

Let us take a step back, retreat into our hearts, think, and find out the truth before jumping to conclusions.

Firstly, find out who exactly are these stray feeders. You will find that quite a few of them are getting on with age. They had been active in stray sterilisation in their earlier years, and had done all they can to control a problem, in as humane a way as possible, which actually falls under the responsibilty of a greater authority. Or so I think.

Stray feeders are on the roads everyday. It is easy to arrow them to catch the strays along the route since they are already feeding them. From my encounters, the stray feeders I know are NOT able to handle the task of (i) feeding....(ii) plus catching a stray...(iii) plus driving the stray to the vet....all on their own. It is unsafe to drive with a feisty stray jumping around in your car with no one to hold him/her down, and it is not possible to place a big cage in a sedan.

And as for finances, who will shoulder the entire costs of all the sterilisation, medical needs, transportation costs? Each society has their own fundings for their own needs. For a group like ours, who is not a registered society, fundings is currently irregular and coming in on a per case basis. We do not have a reserve of funds for our use as and when it is needed. But we carry on with urgent cases, trusting on in faith, that as we walk on, our needs shall be met.

When you get down to the grounds, you see for yourself that many strays are near impossible to catch, no matter how long you have been feeding them. They just do not come near. Which may be a good defence, as that makes them less likely to be caught for culling.

So it may appear that some stray feeders are at an area for many years and yet unable to catch a certain dog for sterilisation. To the lay person, they don't understand that. But for those on the roads, we see the truth.

I see the viscious cycle coming round and round if we miss just one female dog on heat. The result is 2 to 10 puppies scampering around in a few months time, and the dreaded decision of bringing them to SPCA.

I understand that people will openly lament on why aren't we working fast enough to catch and sterilise those dogs on our routes? Why open the door to yet another litter of pups who might have to be put down?

Let me hereby seek your understanding that we are just 2 people, finding as much time as we can, to get onto the road, and offer a hand in this big arena of issues termed animal welfare, which somehow seemed to have mortified into 'human affairs'.

In fact, I think we have to look far and beyond scattered groups of people working on their own, digging deep into their pockets and giving up their personal lives to remedy an issue that sometimes seem too big for us to swallow.

This issue of stray population control must be taken up by the authorities if the results are to be widespread and permanent.

We are fighting the little fires. And the bushes keep on burning.

If you are reading this blog, and your heart is not in line with ours, with thoughts other than to lend your support, then I do humbly ask of you to reconsider your participation.

The people on the roads deserve your co-operation and encouragement. Let us not be a hindrance and discouragement instead.

February 14, 2007

Been quiet for a bit now,

here's getting back into some action.

Glad to share that Lucas has been adopted. We will be following up again soon and update with pix. For now, he has a cavalier king charles as a buddy, and another pal from SPCA to join him soon.