Damn, I Hate Cats!


WARNING: Cat lovers, walk away right now…you may not like this post

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(Cats are evil indeed. Image source: http://www.debate.org)

One of the joy of moving a new house many years ago was the chance to do up a garden.

It was a joy because we used to stay in apartments which does not enough space for a garden (I mean a proper garden where we can dig in and plant things). So when I had the chance to buy a house of my own, I had great ideas on what I wanted to do with my garden, starting with beautiful carpet grass. And when my dad retired and looking for a hobby to spend his time at home, he took up gardening. And he was good at it too – a mango tree at the front, several types of flowering plants and he would spend hours running through the carpet grass to look for weeds. At one point, carpet grass was clean and trimmed and was wonderful to walk on.

And then evil descended at my neighborhood…

I am not sure how they came – maybe an UFO dropped them off in the middle of the night or perhaps the ground opened up and they came out from the hell underground. Soon one fine morning, there were 4-5 cats at our neighborhood. At first, they kept themselves close to other houses and don’t wonder around. Soon they started their nuisance – at first by sleeping on the middle of the road. I lost count of the times cars had to slow down or slam their brakes to avoid those cats. And one day, when I opened the front door, I saw one of the cats sleeping under my car in the porch. I shoo-ed it away but it did not go off immediately. It stood up and gave me the stare. You know about the “stare” right? The stare that seems to be showing me the middle fingers and telling me to f-off and leave the Lord of the Land alone. The stare that implies that humans were born just to serve the cats. When I was pretending to kick the cat so that it will move, the Satan stood it’s ground and only left rather casually.

My experience with cats in the past has not been a pleasant one. When I was small, we only had fish and even dogs as pets but never cats. My old neighbor had a cat but the whole house smelled funny and the whole family (my neighbor) seemed to exist just to serve the cat. The cat goes and comes whenever it want and there was nothing that the neighbor could do about it. Then we rarely had any encounter with cats when we moved to apartments (we don’t have any encounter with rats too).

Many many years after that, we were at the shopping mall and my wife and my son wanted to have fried chicken for lunch and we headed towards the nearest KFC. We sat down and was just about tuck-in our meal when I saw an ugly, sick looking cat inside the restaurant, walking around diners’ tables looking for scraps. I was very angry of the fact that the KFC staff allowed a stray cat in and worse, did not do anything of clearing the cat from the premise. It went to the table where another family was having their meal and the stray cat started to get into their nerves and one of the guy gave a good kick and the cat went flying. Someone from another table commented that the cat was “innocent” and does not deserve such punishment. Another retorted that there should not be any stray animals in the premise in the first place and threaten to report the premise to the authorities. That “woke up” KFC staff and soon one of the staff came over and grab that cat and took it out (I hoped that he washed his hands before handling the food after that).

This is one key reason why we try to avoid some of the Malay restaurants that has great dishes but marred by presence of cats – no wrong assumptions here – we have experienced more than once. Some years ago, as my friend was having her meal, a stray cat (which was a resident in the restaurant) came over, jumped on the table and try to steal the fish from my friend’s plate!! And when we complained, the only response from the restaurant owner was “kesian kucing itu, mungkin dia dah lapar” (pity the cat, guess it is hungry now). Mind you that cats can be very persistent when they need you throw down a good portion of the fish from your plate and to them on the floor. We were surprised with the response from the restaurant owner – he did not see the problem of his cats stealing food from his customers. Needless to say, we walked out and boycotted the restaurant ever since. So these days, one of the first thing we check when we walk into a restaurant is to see if there are any cats around.

Anyway back to my garden and the Satan at the neighborhood. One day, I noticed something on my fine, beautiful carpet grass – cat’s poop!!

Damn, the culprit was nowhere to be seen but I had a good idea “who” it was. I would have skinned the cat alive if it has remained there. The poop attracted flies and it was messy & smelly too. We quickly put some sand over the poop to stop the smell and the flies. Later my wife scooped it (sorry dear) and threw it away. Thinking that it is a one-off incident, we let our guards down but it happened again and at the same spot too. This time, the Satan was seen leaving just moment before we could get close to it. It stopped for a moment and looked at me for a moment before leaving. Ya, it gave me the stare as well. My hatred to cats multiplied many times over immediately because we have small kids at home and I know how dangerous cat’s poop can be.

Cat poop could give you a fatal disease

Remember that T. gondii parasite? Normally, it doesn’t do anything to harm those humans whose brains it calls home (well, except make you love cats) because your immune system knows how to handle it. However, for those people whose immune systems can’t handle it, exposure to the parasite can cause a disease called toxoplasmosis. It can either give you mild flu-like symptoms, mental disorders like schizophrenia and depression, or kill you.

Feline feces are true safe havens for T. gondii, so you can contract toxoplasmosis by cleaning up your cat’s sh*t.

(Source)

Further analysis shows:-

People usually contract T. gondii in two ways — by eating the undercooked flesh of infected animals or through contact with cat feces.

The parasite causes a disease called toxoplasmosis. Most people experience mild flu-like symptoms before it goes into a chronic and dormant phase. But the disease can be fatal in people with weakened immune systems and in fetuses, which can be infected through the mother. This is why women are advised to avoid contact with cat litter boxes while pregnant.

Some studies have shown that mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety are more common in people with toxoplasmosis, while others have suggested that the disease can influence a person’s levels of aggression, extroversion and risk-taking, the researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden pointed out.

(Source)

We had to stop the cats from entering the house compound but no matter what we do to block their entrance, they always able to come back and mess up the whole place and leaving silently. And when I back from work and find them lying on the lazily and does not move even after my car is very near to them and after I had honked them, running them over with my car did cross my mind. Just think about it – my tires crossing over the cat’s soft stomach and causing the guts to burst open and the Satan ends being a nuisance. A very simple solution, right? However at the last moment before my tires connects with the soft stomach of the cat, I always change my mind and slams the brake and avoid the cats all together. The Satan lives another day to mess up the garden. Ya, damn me.

Perhaps I am being too soft with the Satan. The time had come for me to be a hard cold killer. The time had come to take extreme measures which also included violence (lots of violence if possible). We started off with sharp spikes that we hope that “once bitten, twice shy”, the cats will remind themselves not to enter the war zone unless they want to commit hara-kiri. The sharp pikes – anyway it is not real spikes but rather plastic spikes – I got a few of them from those Japanese themed supermarkets that sells items to stop cats & birds from messing up home gardens. We laid them around the grass randomly, hoping that the Satanic cats will step on them, rather painfully and will remember not to return back to the same place. We were so wrong!!

Couple of days later, there was a load of fresh cat’s poop on the small space of grass that was NOT covered by the plastic spikes. Somehow the Satan have found a loophole or rather, a way around the minefield. I can imagine that it must have taken them several missions to find the way through or maybe they just saw the easy way through from Day 1. Time to reconsider the strategy to stop the Satan from messing up the garden but since it will take time to do the research, we decided to just cover up the place with large wood boards temporarily whilst we look for permanent and feasible solution (laying metal spikes and animal traps that will maim the cats for live did cross my mind)

However laying wood boards, in a way stopped the Satan from visiting the favorite pooping spot. But that also meant we lose the garden and the nice carpet grass that we have painfully cared, forever. I was sad and angry at the same time. Sad for the grass, angry on the cats. Considering that these cats at the neighborhood could be stray cats (means it does not belong to anyone), I decided on another step as well – lodging a complaint with the local council to catch these stray cats. I even posted the photos of the Satan roaming at the neighborhood. They came and search for cats (not sure if they tried hard enough) but they replied that they did not find any cats and went off. It was surprise because those cats was indeed went missing for a few days before making their appearances back to be a nuisance.

Then we learned another trick from another neighbor who also had problems with the cats and basically wiped out her garden full of flowers and vegetables, not to mention leaving a loadful of poops. Short of basically coming out with samurai swords to basically skin the cats alive, she discovered another thing that cats hate and cause them to stay away – black garbage bags. The only downside of using garbage bags is that when it rains, it tends to collect rainwater – a potential breeding place for mosquitoes. We rearranged the wood boards, covered some areas with the spikes and other places with garbage bag (we keep a close eye on the pools of rainwater after it is rains “cats” and dogs).

It has been several weeks since the Satan last made the visit to my house and there is no more of cat poops to handle. The garden – the beautiful garden with it’s nice carpet grass is gone. Now my garden looks more like a construction area and that looks ugly too. My dad suggested we replace the grass with pebbles and transform the garden into a Zen garden instead. I still see the cats around and in front of my house, often staring at me with a strange, angry look. I sometimes catch them gathering in front of the house (no poops though) and I would immediately shoo them away – most will run away except one or two cats who won’t budge an inch. Instead they would just stare at me and seems to tell me to “f-off”. But because I don’t have them pooping in my garden (or whatever that is left of the garden), there is some peace in the world for now. But that does not means I hate less the cats now – my hate remains unchanged – they have destroyed my garden, I am not going to forgive them for that.

The battle won, the war is still on-going…

Expensive Pandas & Pretty Girls


Read this first:-

(RM20 million for a couple of pandas – are you sure we are not getting the real-life Kung Fu Pandas for a kill? Only in Malaysia you can get this kind of crap from those entrusted to manage and safe-guard tax-payers money. Image source: http://deseretnews.blogspot.com/)

I guess it will get crazier as we get nearer to the general election…

RM20 million Pandas

Damn, are these jokers serious…are they really serious?

Animal conservation groups just don’t understand why the government is spending RM20 million on two pandas from China when some of our own species are facing extinction. They say the RM20 million would go a long way to save our species.

“This is a case of [Malay proverb) kera di hutan disusukan anak di rumah mati kelaparan [Importance is given to outsiders rather than own family],” said Professor Dr Maketab Mohamed, president of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

He stressed that local species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, the Malayan tiger, the tapir, pangolin and elephants to a certain extent face extinction. “The budget allocated to Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) for its conservation efforts is hardly sufficient. For enforcement effort itself, the budget will usually run out in three months,” he said. The pandas are on a 10-year loan from China and will be housed in special air-conditioned enclosures in Putrajaya wetlands.

(Source)

And before you think that we have plenty of spare change for the 2 pandas, air-conditioned enclosures, specially imported bamboos and related unnecessary expenses, this was reported on the same day:-

The Finance Ministry has tabled the Supplementary Supply 2012 Bill for RM13.79bil to meet additional expenses on services and specific purposes not provided for under the Supply Act 2012. The Bill was tabled by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein for first reading with allocation for 14 ministries including the Prime Minister’s Department and the Election Commission.

(Source)

The RM20 millions on the panda may not cover the shortfall of RM13.79 billion (with subsidies taking a big chunk of it) but RM20 million (rest assured in a couple of years, this is going to balloon to another couple more of millions due to rising air-conditioning electricity bill, high price of imported bamboos, etc) is still a lot of money and these jokers have the cheek to spend it on some pandas from China? Who is going to pay for this and who is going to get a chunk of the tax-payers money – the Chinese Government or some politician linked cronies? What else this RM20 million suppose to cover – just the loan and maintenance of the pandas in the country or it is just a tip of the iceberg – we are going to get the other nonsense like an undisclosed supply and support contract coming up soon)?

And this nonsense with public funds should just stop – why we always seems to have the village idiots at the pilot seat whenever it comes to allocation of public funds for more crucial development expenses like educations (PTPTN seems to be short of money) or healthcare (remember the 1Care nonsense?) or at least on the conservation of threatened local wildlife. It is either this or having politicians and their families using public funds for their own private expenses

As I have said in the past, it has been sometime since we got someone who is bent on maximizing the income for the Government (by closing the loop-holes for corruption, tax-evasion, etc) whilst at the same time, slashing down unnecessary expenses and then with the funds available, prioritizing the spending of the limited resources for the right, non-political biased purposes (or perhaps repay some of the ever growing foreign debts)

And I don’t see why we should provide these people who abuse the public funds another lease of life in the next general elections (not that it will be easy to do considering that there are people out there who are more worried on other things but remain silent on other major issues like the RM20 million for the 2 pandas. What next? The price or the brand of underpants that the politician wears? Sigh)

(Women all around the world have fought for equal rights which includes the right to vote. The last thing they need is for some politician to come along to say that pretty girls would not vote if they have to put a mark on their finger. Image source: http://www.rense.com/general83/whywomen.htm)

Pretty Girls Logic

It has been some time since we heard something from Kayveas (ever since he lost the Taiping seat and PPP took a heavy beating in the last general elections) and unfortunately when he did, it simply sounded too stupid:-

Pretty girls would hate to have their beauty marred by indelible ink when casting their ballots during the upcoming 13th general election, said People’s Progressive Party (PPP) president Datuk Seri M. Kayveas. Addressing the Federal Territories (FT) PPP convention here yesterday, he said that beautiful young women might not want to cast their votes because of the indelible ink.

“Indelible ink lasts three months. In less developed countries where they do not have a voter registration system based on the identification card, this was used to cast the ballot,” he said. “Here we have identification cards which can be checked against the registration list.

“I don’t think beautiful girls will want the indelible ink to mar their pretty hands or nails. How are they supposed to paint their nails afterwards? They might not even want to meet their boyfriends after voting or they might not even vote. “Women should rise up and protest against the implementation of indelible ink.”

(Source)

Hmm, looks like things have not changed much since 2008.

Ever since the idea of using the indelible ink in the next general elections was mooted, there have been arguments for and against it and for those who had argued against the use of the indelible ink have argued to use biometrics instead. It is a very valid argument – after all, we have one of the best biometric systems already in place. But none of them have argued with the same “level of thinking” as Kayveas did.

Kayveas said that beautiful young women (hmmm, no handsome men?) might not want to cast their votes because of the indelible ink. It seems that being pretty is a curse when it comes to casting of votes, so implies Kayveas. Is this politician saying beautiful young women are dumb and unpatriotic just because of a mark on their fingers? It does not make any sense ( just take a look at the Bollywood actresses including the famed Aishwarya Rai voted and having a mark on their fingers here and here and here) and certainly is not a valid and intelligent reason to opt for biometrics over indelible ink. And even so, the Fatwa Committee have given their blessings and the EC have decided to use indelible ink for the upcoming general elections.

Kayveas should focus more on PPP’s strategy and relevance in the up-coming general elections. As voters, we are indeed interested to know how PPP have made the transition from the time they were “slaughtered” in the last general elections. What is their game plan considering that we had Bersih 3.0 recently and the Pakatan Rakyat have somehow became stronger since 2008? We want to hear something worth listening or is this just another chapter of the circus that we expect to see before the general elections.

Hopefully we wise up when deciding who we will vote in next election – the last we want to do is to vote one that abuse taxpayer’s money on unnecessary expenses or our sense of intelligence.

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Panther! Stand beside one in Taiping!


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(I told you that I was standing beside a big “hungry looking” panther – so close that I could easily put my fingers in and touch the animal. I did not try my luck. The panthers were behind a cage and the cats have just been fed, phew!)

I had been planning to take son to the zoo for some time now. He is now able to recognise the different types of animals from the TV shows (such as the Big Bird in Sesame Street) and we thought it would be good if he could see the animals in real (as long as he does not ask about Big Bird).The opportunity was there when we travelled back to Taiping for the holidays. We planned to take him to the Taiping Zoo – it will be my 2nd trip to the zoo. The 1st trip was made just after we got married and we took the afternoon scroll in the park before venturing into the zoo (I will talk about it someday – I was exhausted after walking few kilometres).

So, when we reached Taiping on a Saturday morning, we were thinking of going to the zoo in the evening about 5.00 pm and thereafter have our dinner at our favourite spot. Unfortunately, it rained “cats and dogs” that evening. We ended holed up in the house, doing nothing but to enjoy the rain. However, when it continued to rain in the evenings for the next 2 days, we decided to go for night safari instead. We checked around and were told that the night safari is opened from 8.00 pm to 12.00 am. Great! We took an early dinner at our favourite spot (thankfully, by then the rain had stopped) and headed to the Taiping Zoo.

The ticket price for the night safari was higher at RM10.00 per adult (it was free for my son since he is below 5 years old). My initial idea was to take a slow scroll in the zoo but my wife was strongly against it as it was night & she was not comfortable bringing our son along for the walk (it turned out that she was right – some of the lanes were too dark to be walking, we will never know if any animals had escaped at the area). So, we decided to take the “train” which cost about RM2.00 per person. A guide was on the train and he was telling about the animals whilst we were taken around the zoo

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(Our guide with the mic – looks can be deceiving. The guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. We were sitting just behind the driver – it was a slow and steady ride through the zoo)

My son was excited and keeps pointing at some of the animals – some of the animals are very active during the night. Some were fighting, others were lying low. One or two was…ahem…just being “close” to each other. The disadvantage of using a very low end camera was noted at this time when I saw some of my pictures turned to be blank (my camera did not have the manual settings, so I could not play with the ISO or shutter speed). However, the train stopped at several places to allow us to take close up pictures – the best was at the Panther’s cage. There was about 5 Panthers and they were walking around their cage – none stop. Apparently, night was active time for them.The entire journey took us about 40 minutes – it was a good learning experience with some good pointers from the guide. Major lanes of the zoo is well lighted with a lot of people (I saw quite a number of “Mat-Sallehs” and schoolchildren) came for the night safari. There were plenty of places to sit down and enjoy the view.

There is a big difference of watching the animals during the day and during the night – well, it looks more scary during the night. That’s because the lights were dimmed (according to the guide, to mimic moonlight) and shadows & movements tends to play trick in our eyes. It was worth the price.

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(You are forgiven if you think this picture was taken at the Africa Plains at night by a National Geography Society photographer (cheh!)– low visibility and low tech camera makes a big difference on the quality of picture. This picture was different though – it was a picture perfect with the zebra’s eye reflecting back the camera’s flash)

Check out Zoo Taiping’s website for further details – the website is impressive for a government based website but a bit slow & need to update further.

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