English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Vroom vroom!! The Ducati Multistrada are coming!

Do you know what Ducati is? For those of you who know, great!! And those who don't... well, which planet do you come from? ;-)

Ducati... MotoGP... Superbike.... ring a bell yet?

Jokes aside, Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. is a motorcycle manufacturer in Bologna (Italy) producing motorcycles for both road use and motorcycle racing. A key part of Ducati's marketing strategy since the 90's has been fostering a distinct community identity in connection with branding efforts, including online communities, and local, regional and national Ducati enthusiast clubs. There are more than 400 Ducati clubs worldwide, and 20,000 registered users of the Ducati Owners Club web site and 17,000 subscribers to the racing web site.[29] Enthusiasts and riders are informally referred to in the motorcycling community as Ducatista (singular) or Ducatisti (plural).

So how is this little nugget of info related to today's post?
Ducati Malaysia is bringing you ‘Experience Borneo with Ducati Multistrada‘ convoy trip from 25th November – 4th December 2011!! Today, bikers from all Asia-Pacific regions will be arriving in Kuching, where they will be flagging off from tomorrow, and throughout the next 10 days, they will be riding through different routes in Borneo, namely Kuching – Sibu – Miri – Brunei – Labuan – Kota Kinabalu. That's is one loooooong journey, going through rocky roads and off road, spanning a total distance of 2,000 kilometres!!

And the best news of the week so far..... I will be joining them on some part of their journey! :-D Specifically, to Pulau Tiga and back to KK.

Pulau Tiga? The island’s claim to fame is none other than being the first ever ‘secret’ location for the hit reality series, ‘Survivor’. Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island. Located just 10km off shore on the West Coast of Sabah, you can enjoy a day trip to the island but many recommend spending at least a night or two.

The island has two resorts, Pulau Tiga Resort and Borneo Survivor Resort. There’s plenty to see and do here: spend the sunny days swimming or snorkeling in its surrounding clear waters or go kayaking. Divers can explore its underwater treasures (diving courses are available).

Pulau Tiga is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud. Looking for some wildlife? Say hello the island’s famous residents: Iguana!

Whooo yeah!!!!

Well, don't be jealous just yet... because YOU too can be a part of this trip on 30th November!!

Just leave a comment at www.smf.net.my on the post about  'Experience Borneo With Ducati Multistrada' with your contact details. You also need to fill in the survey form to be entitled to an immediate invitation.

You can also stand to win the following fantastic prizes if you are one of the first 50 people to fill in the survey form at www.smf.net.my!

– Ducati x Borneo T-shirts

- AND / OR -

– Ducati merchandise voucher worth RM50

AND .......... by filling in that survey form, you will be given a chance to win the lucky draw of Ducati x Puma merchandises worth RM500 (x3 winners)!!
So... what are you waiting for? Hurry on now and fill up the survey form!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained ;-)

For more updates, follow @DucatiMalaysia on twitter / http://facebook.com/ducatimalaysiaofficial &
@smfaisal10 on twitter / http://facebook.com/smfdotnet!



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Donations needed for Sabah's first animal adoption centre!

Zeta (left) and Zorro (right)
Zorro and Zeta are sleeping soundly on my lap as I write. They are my latest adopted pets, my 2nd attempt after Joy, my 1st adopted pet died from a mysterious virus attack. So far so good... Zorro and Zeta has been behaving very well, and it seems they have been toilet trained already, so no problems there at all.

I think about the many homeless cats/kittens/dogs/puppies that I have seen, and the volunteer stories I have heard, over the past few weeks as I make my rounds as a new volunteer to prepare a press release on SPCA KK and I think how sad it is the way love and compassion seems to have deserted my community. Just look at the number of dead animals on our roads any given day.

I mean, if people can be as heartless as to dump their helpless newborn kittens and puppies to die, or simply leave their pets to fend for themselves when they move away, can we actually be surprised at the number of baby-dumping cases that seem to have emerged over the last few years? There seems to be a new irresponsible culture of 'don't want = just throw away'.

I found out about the existence of SPCA KK only early this year, when they were one of the six charity nominees for Twestival KK 2011. What I do know about SPCA is from my days as a volunteer for RSPCA Queensland during my free time as a student.

Rusty was a rescued 3 -week old puppy that a rescue volunteer found left to die next to a dumpster by her heartless owners. The vet gave her only 3 days left to live. She survived and is now a big healthy dog except for some neuro problems.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kota Kinabalu (SPCA Kota Kinabalu) has actually been around for sometime - it was officially registered on the 14th February, 2006. However, due to lack of funding, the organisation has not yet (until recently) been able to have an official animal shelter from where their activities are based. Instead, the organisation had to rely on the goodwill of its volunteers to temporarily place the rescued animals at their own homes.

As such, space is very limited, especially since there are only a handful of volunteers who are willing to help out. And from what I understand, a lot of the running expenses (food, medicine and others) are borne by the volunteers themselves. As one of the volunteers told me 'it is not like we WANT to feed animals, but we HAVE to, we can't allow the animals to continue starving or feel suffering'. It is estimated that SPCA KK currently has altogether 160 cats and dogs under its care.

Future animal adoption centre site at Kampung Lomun
The good news is that SPCA KK has recently been able to locate and rent a piece of land in Kampung Lomunu Penampang and construction is currently underway to build an official animal adoption centre. This centre is expected to be completed sometime in mid-December. However, the cost of constructing this animal adoption centre is estimated to be a whopping RM100,000, which is not inclusive of current funding needed for operations and welfare work. Other costs include veterinary fees, medication, food and other necessities which are estimated to be approximately RM11,000 a month.

Currently, a few dogs are sheltered at the site in Lomunu 
SPCA KK is now appealing to the general public and their generous support in terms of monetary donations to build this animal adoption centre as the organisation does not currently receive any government funding for its operations. Help is requested urgently in order to be able to continue with their care for animals. Fundraising efforts are currently ongoing until 31st December 2011.

Four main functions of an adoption centre:-

1. To provide a shelter with proper care for animals pending adoption (primarily dogs and cats)
2. To be the nucleus of stray animal birth control program by means of education and sterilisation
3. To increase the prospect of adoption
4. To educate the public about respect for animal life and kindness to animals

All donations made to SPCA KK are tax-exempt
Donations can be made via

1. Cheque, payable to "SPCA KK" and mail it to SPCA KK, P.O. Box 17338, 88873 Kota Kinabalu Sabah Malaysia

2. Fund transfer to Maybank account number 560072005581( under "SPCA Kota Kinabalu")

3. By cash through the volunteers (like myself). Just remember to ask for a receipt!

A cat currently housed at a volunteer's home
I had the privilege of meeting a couple of volunteers who were kind enough to share with me their stories. However, their identities have to be kept confidential as it is noted that some people take for granted that the existence of SPCA means that they have an excuse to simply dump their unwanted pets and wash their hands off the whole matter.

The endless commitment of these volunteers are evident in the way they set aside time from their busy schedules for their volunteer work. In spite of being retirement age and loaded with housekeeping tasks, they always ensure that the animals are fed 3 times a day. For them, waking up in the wee hours of the morning i.e. 4.30am to prepare food for the animals, is not a task to be taken lightly. They also told me that it is the wee hours of the morning that they are able to 'connect' with the strays (especially dogs) as they roam about.

Please adopt me! - At the cattery
Some of the more difficult jobs they had to face as volunteers are rescuing animals, sometimes having to climb into deep drains. Volunteer work can also be an emotionally distressing job, having to deal with animals that have been knocked over on the road, finding 3-day old puppies that have been dumped by unscrupulous people. Even as they rescue and save animals, there is no guarantee that the animals are able to be rehomed / found new owners after being traumatised by the experience they have been through. Some of them develop health problems, or become aggressive. It is estimated that only 2 out of every 20 rescued animals are fit to be adopted.

Indeed, a whole load could be lifted off their shoulders if more people come forward to offer their voluntary services. One of the things they said to me is that the older generation has more compassion than the young people of today. You see it in the way school children abuse and bully dogs, the way people no longer care in the suffering of others.

Do you think it is true? If not, what are you going to do about it?

A little help goes a long way, and there are many other (non-monetary) ways you can help SPCA KK:-

1. Adopting. 
As space and resources are limited, by adopting, you are helping to save the lives of two animals- the pet you adopt and a homeless animal somewhere who can be rescued because of the space you helped to free up. In my experience,it is a personally satisfying experience - to know that you did something good. And even animals express their need for love and even know how to show gratitude, you can see it in the way they behave. The number of times I have been to a pet shelter, I have found the animals to be extremely friendly and affectionate.

2. Providing a home as a foster family.
If you are unable to commit to taking care of a pet for a long period of time but still would like to help, you may opt to provide foster care.

A foster family is a temporary home (around 1-3 months) for stray dogs and cats while they recover from their sickness and injury or while they are waiting to be adopted. As a foster family, you are expected to provide a safe and suitable home environment, coupled with appropriate care, love and compassion. Usually, the animals requiring a foster home are:-

i. Puppies / kittens which are too young or immature to be adopted
ii. Injured dogs / cats or those recuperating from surgery
iii. Dogs / cats with special medical needs
iv. Abandoned mothers with litters of puppies or kittens

During that period of time, SPCA will provide help and guidance, medical fees, pet food (when available) and on-going promotion for adoption of your foster animal.

For adoption or foster care enquiries, contact spcakkadoption@gmail.com

3. Signing up as a volunteer. SPCA KK is currently short-handed in several departments. Your help, in whatever capacity, is very much appreciated. Even if working onsite at the shelter is not really your thing, there is a wide range of tasks that require volunteers to help out that do not necessitate contact with the animals such as organizing events, writing articles, or helping the website team. Among the available tasks are:-

Volunteers for the rescue team are needed to help resolve as many reported cases of animal suffering as possible. This job is most suitable for those who may find fulfilment in saving animals from abuse, accidents, and other incidences - and aren't afraid of the occasional hazardous work. On the job training will be provided.

We require people to help deliver food to our shelters in the evening. All transporters of food need to do is to collect and deliver the food to our shelters, and return the food buckets to our cook if possible. Transporters who are able to send back volunteers doing the feeding from the shelter would also be much appreciated.

It can get costly running a society for the animals we rescue. This of course includes food, medical attention, and infrastructure. You can help a lot by contributing to our donations committee to help look for sponsors or helping to organize donation drives.

Needless to say, we are in need of people to help out the publicity team to get things moving at a brisker pace. In particular, the need to communicate with members and volunteers. This is of course in addition to the promotion of the SPCA-KK through the media, social networks, and other forms of mass communication.

We also need more volunteers to assist us in keeping our house in order. If you are comfortable with working in a desk job, this would be the perfect role for you. We have documents that need updating and reorganizing.

If you are interested in any of the tasks above, or believe there are other things you can assist in that would be most appropriate for your skills, please email volunteering@spcakk.org

4. Donating needed items.

SPCA Kota Kinabalu is always in need of items for our animals. Any contributions of the items below directly help to bring down our operating costs. We want as much of our budget going into direct outreach efforts for the animals.

Towels (all sizes as long as still in good condition)
Dog/cat cages/carriers (in good condition)
Leashes/Collars (all types/sizes)
Dog/cat dry/moist food (any brand/size)
Cat litter trays (all sizes)
Food/Water bowls

5. Spay or neuter your pets.
Spaying and neutering helps reverse the tragedy of pet overpopulation, reduces your pet's chances of developing deadly, costly medical problems, and improves your pet's behavior.

And so there you have it. A few things that you can do to help our furry friends. 

“We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them and love them as we love ourselves.” 
― César Chávez


Thursday, November 3, 2011


Exactly two weeks ago... tragedy struck my family. The most unthinkable and unforeseeable. My mum was rushed to the Emergency section of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in KK.

I still remember that evening. I was just having a rest at home, clearing up the contacts list on my mobile phone after finding that it was a mess that needed to be sorted out. Ashley, for some reason, fell asleep on the bed by 9pm.

I was jolted out of my preoccupation by my phone vibrating with an incoming call from my brother. He said, 'Bapa bilang Mama jatuh di airport, minta bawa baju untuk Mama di hospital'. Hospital?? I sat upright on the bed. Mama jatuh... maybe she just slipped on the floor and fell down and hurt her leg or something.

Deciding to not to wake up Ashley and worry her over nothing, I quickly went to my parents' bedroom. Can't find what I was looking for, so I asked my niece. At that point of time, I still didn't think it was anything serious. Until I called my brother to confirm where I should bring the clothes - the emergency room.

I remember... the last time I saw Mama was on Tuesday morning as she was rushing to get to the airport to fly to Langkawi for a meeting together with some other tourist guides, presumably for a big meeting on tourism. Later that day I had a job interview, and my thoughts that day was that I wanted to share with her some details of what had happened, only to remember that she was on a trip. Never mind, I thought. When she comes home.

Only that the next time I saw her, she was lying in a stretcher in the Emergency room with a neck brace, looking scarily purple and asking again and again for her identity card, while her eyes were closed.

The first thing Bapa said to me when I arrived, was that it was a freak accident. Mama was trying to get into the car after arriving on a flight at the KKIA Terminal 2. Bapa had parked wherever space he managed to find, as the terminal tends to be very busy in the evening with several flights coming in at once. He said that Mama told him that the space available to get into the car was too small, next thing he knew, she had fallen into the big, deep monsoon drain and hit her head.

Waiting to be called into the Emergency room was one of the most difficult waits ever in my life. And also a mix of conflicting emotions. One feeling was that I can't wait to get in to see Mama, but the other is... I don't want to hear the bad news. I am scared. The moment we were called in, I was given a bag of her clothes, some of which were blood-soaked and wet. Is this a bad dream? Let me wake up now.

They took her for a CT scan, then to the X-ray room. She seemed quiet, as if asleep. Without the dried blood all over her face and nose, it would look like she was just at home and having a nap. Everytime she was woken up by a doctor, she just kept asking about her IC, and that she was very dizzy and sleepy. One of the doctors was someone I had met from my usual fitness classes at Core Fitness, so I was kind of relieved to see a familiar face. It was said that from the way she responded to all their questions was probably due to a blood clot in her head.

Seems like there are always friendly people to talk to you when you are in a crisis. One lady came up to us and told us about how Mama arrived to the Emergency room that night, carried by Bomba (Fire and rescue). Apparently, the monsoon drain was really deep, so they couldn't get the medical assistance from the ambulance to lift her out

It was a long night, but I had to go home because my sister brought along some of her kids, so I have to drop them off because it was late. And check up on Ashley. She was sleeping as peacefully as I had left her that evening, like nothing had ever happened. I just lay there for a long time, just thinking... before I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, the first thing I received was a call from Bapa. Mama has been moved to a ward. I decided that I really need to take emergency leave, there is no way I could function on a day like this.

From that day...I realised I hate hospitals. I feel scared. There seems to be a sense of foreboding the moment I stepped into the grounds. Like, what will greet me today? Good news, or bad news?

First day, I arrived to the neurosurgery ward to see Mama sleeping on her side, still with some bleeding from her head. A group of doctors came and one briefed the others about her basic details, what had happened and so on. Looked at some details. Lots of hmmmm... haaa...oooh. They asked questions like, was there a witness who saw her fall. They wanted to ascertain whether the bleed in her brain was caused by the fall, which is less complicated than if she had bled before the fall. Then they showed us the results from the CT scan and X-rays which showed fractures and bleeding.

For the next 3 days, Mama just slept and slept like a baby. It would seem like she behaved like one as well, resisting our efforts to feed or dress her. At times she would awake but say nothing but how dizzy she was and that she was very sleepy.

It was like in Hollywood movies, where a person loses their memory - she doesn't recognise you. She repeats the same question over and over. Or she recognises your face, but she cannot place where she has seen you before. Even as the situation improves, some memories come back to her from long ago. She gets confused and upset at why she can't remember names, or details and so on. Or worse, she is distressed to hear that her mother and father and brother-in-law had died (even though it was ages ago), and feels like she has been away for many years and have not seen us at all.

I only wish I could be more of a dutiful daughter that stays home to take care of her sick mum. But, exams won't wait and students need their lecturer. And other things that cannot seem to take a backseat. I feel overwhelmed and suddenly I feel tired. I don't want to do anything, yet I have to.

Mama is now at home for the past week and improving daily, even though she is yet to really leave her bed. Everyday it seems like she has many questions to ask, because she has forgotten. I really hope we get her back soon, and in full recovery.

She is the person I often confide in, vent my feelings or hear advice from. I wish I could hear her advice now.

I miss you, Mama.

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