March 5, 2014

  • A Third Round in Australia

    So I'm back in Melbourne. I first came to here for studies in 2007 and spent the next three years earning a piece of paper and having what was probably the nicest three years of my life (after college, which I think was the best!). Since I'm in between jobs, I decided to come back and on another piece of qualification which I hope can take me places in the next phase of my life, which is work in the government or corporate sector.

    Being back a third time, things do feel familiar, yet different at the same time. It almost felt that I've never left. The greatest difference now compared to 5-7 years ago is that there are lesser friends around. People do matter in making your life more interesting.

    Initially, I thought it would be more relaxing to be studying full-time.. IT IS NOT. Somehow the pressures are greater than when working. Or at least for me it was. It's also combined with the fact that it feel very sucky to not have an income after four years working full-time. It feel like part of your manhood has been striped away.

    Still, I'm trying to enjoy and appreciate my time here as much as possible, but at the same time can't wait to go home and get on with it. May the Lord continue to show the way while I'm here and beyond.

     

September 20, 2013

  • Ipoh Road Trip

    It's been awhile since I was able to make a social group road trip, which is (technically) non-BB. This time it was just a regular break to spend time with Sarah, who recently came back the United Kingdom, taking a break from her studies. Jarod and Ruth, recently engaged in Bali, also sought a vacation. Together we formed a party for a little getaway in Ipoh.

    I've been to Ipoh many times before, but not as a tourist.. seeing places, saddling a camera and just snapping away at stuff as-though-where-I-come-from-don't-have. But hey, that's all part of the fun!

    I stay at Sarah's place for a few days, since her brothers were off to Taiwan for studies, giving me a spare room to use. On the morning of our trip we left her home for Jarod's grandparents place, somewhere near the local Ipoh airport. Our first stop together was for breakfast at one of Ipoh's best laksa shops, according to Jarod anyway. It was good! But for a KL guy, I think more santan would've been nice.
    Nice Laksa in Ipoh

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    Next stop was Kellie's Castle. Well, it's not really a castle.. but a really big mansion build by a former Scottish tychoon called William Kellie Smith. The BB people at this point will go "ah", because it sounds like William A. Smith, the founder of the Boys' Brigade, who was also from Scotland. But no, different William Smith. This guy was a businessman, but I guess he was a shitty one cause his fortunes diminished quickly despite booming economic times in the Malayan Colonies.

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    Like any rich tycoon, it is in their impulse to build a house on top of a hill, beside a river if possible, to show the world around them - "hey, I'm the biggest and the best! You all suck!", which is exactly what William Kellie Smith did.  He built a house for himself and his family, but never really got to use it much as he was constantly travelling. He had a room for his son (who was a WWII and got killed in action), daughter and of course the himself and wife. There were two additional guestrooms, feature on the tower, what I would think is 3rd and 4th floor, giving guest a great view of the estate. Funny though, that the family themselves didn't want a nice view for themselves.

    Anyway, it was a nice place.. them seem to have done it up a little. Last time when I came by they didn't have the facilities they now have in place.. cafeteria and so on. Though it was (extremely) dodgy that the place was directly under the governance and care of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, instead of the local State Tourism Department, which is normally the case.. I mean, duh, main tourist attraction = money for the State, if Federal cut it off then it's robbing the Perak people, isn't it?

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    We checked out another place called Gunung Lang, nearer to Ipoh town. It was a gorgeous place, a lake full of fish in the middle of a mountain complex.

    But that's about all to it. Not much to do there. There were animals. But yeah.. it's a purely sight seeing place.

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    An interesting story was the shadow of a lady on the hillside. Can't remember the story though. Perhaps a a-bomb exploded and she was the only victim?

    I guess the part I loved the most about the trip was seeing all of Sarah's cats. I looooveeeee cats. And Sarah had 16-17 of them. Awesomeeeee..

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    Left: Gingy, the timid gingery cat. Center: Sabrina (or at least I call her that, cause she's black ) the friendliest cat of the lot! Right: Randy, the manly looking cat.

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    Left: Puttie, the queen of the upstairs. She is the only cat allowed upstairs.. cause she fights with everyone. Center: Chiba, the prettiest one.. super fluffy and bushy tail. Right: Poor Fairboy. Someone pour hot water on him. Not as bad compared to Ruby below.

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    A few months back, some spawn of satan poured boiling hot water on Ruby. She suffered many burns and almost died. But what a fighter, she lived on and is still in high spirits, purring when Sarah plays with her. Believe it or not, the above picture are of her being much better healed compared to the day she received the injuries. Yes, with the exposed flesh, burnt-away eyelids, etc. As a cat lover, this breaks my heart. I hope they catch whoever is responsible before any more cats are harmed. The culprit is living in the area of Bercham South.

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    Another feature of the trip was visiting a place called Burps and Giggles, a very exotic and nicely done up coffee shop in the hear of Ipoh. Alot of their things were recycled and made to furniture. A must visit! Food is not bad too.

    All in all, it was a wonderful trip to Ipoh.

     

    By the way, Xanga recently changed it's interface as it was taken over by WordPress... and it's UGLY.

July 13, 2013

  • More Owls and a Scorpion

    Early Saturday morning, around 7am, I was awaken by the familiar hooting sound cause by the owl I saw two days ago. I was dead asleep like a log on the bed.. so for a good 45 minutes, did nothing to seek out where it was. I finally got up at my scheduled alarm time (plus one snooze) at 7.55am. Almost at the same instance, my mother barged in to tell me they spotted the owl from their bathroom window, starring directly at them 

    So it's fun with the camera again! Yep, it was the same young owl. Nice, pretty and white. Unfortunately the windows got in the way (those finned types) preventing a full-clear shot, but it was good enough to capture its essence. 

    The young barred eagle owl roosting near the house

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    After spending 10 minutes snapping pictures, I notice in two occasions that feathers were dropping from above. My mind was still slow then.. but soon it caught on to me there was another bird directly on top. So we looked out for one.. and did notice a dark patch behind the leaves, barely visible even in the above picture. 

     

    It was an adult! Couldn't tell if it's the mother or father, but it collaborates the claim that it the parents are always near by. The one seen in the above picture is not the owl the feathers were dropping from.. there was another owl out of view higher in the tree - a total of three owls. This was really my most blessed day!

     

    Notice the cute hooting at the start of the video. It made that sound all morning. 

    An adult barred eagle owl. It actually looked smaller than the juvenile. 

    Two owls in one frame.. flipping awesome.

    I had to leave for work (was almost late) at 8.25am.. but when I got home at 5pm.. they were still there! On different branches though. I mounted my tripod and went in for a closer look. Unfortunately I spooked the adult away. 15 minutes later, a massive storm came in and they went elsewhere to seek shelter. 

    According to my dad, he has been hearing their hoots for many days.. just never occurred to us that it was an owl. From that one hoot in the video, I'm sure anyone would mistaken it for.. I dunno.. a pigeon? For all we know, they could've been our neighbours for a long time.. I seriously won't mind if they were! Of course there was the concern with the cats. We might think of covering the entire enclosure completely. At the moment the top is exposed.. a security risk for the cats. There is also suspicion that the owls came from another patch of land a few houses away which was recently cleared to build a house. Hope is not the case. If we do completely enclosed the cat area, we might consider making a new home (bird house) for the owls. That will be alot of fun..!

     

    My wildlife encounter continued in the evening when I mom came home, sounding frantic. Reason - there was a scorpion right at our doorstep.

    We've seen this one before. It was a Asian Forest Scorpion. Non-lethal venom, but it will still hurt like hell. 

    What's worse? Well, it could've got into our shoes.. and that would've been more exciting. Notice the shoe rack.. one door is missing. Basically cracked. I got it fixed immediately after this encounter. 

    My dad removed the stinger-ready bug using only a small handheld dustpen. Apparently he used to play with scorpions when he was a kid. 

    Truly an exciting day.. thank God for it too. I really needed the distractions. We'll see if they were worthwhile. 

     

July 11, 2013

  • First Encounter with A Barred-Eagle Owl

    We got a real treat today when an owl popped by over our house this evening, around 7.30pm. We were observing my cats which were starring at something at the side of the house and did see two birds flying away, gliding rather than flapping wings, but were never able to identify them. That brought our attention to something else, a noise seemingly coming from the other side of the house. I went over and looke

    d about.. and saw a white animal on one of the branches of the tree located in the middle of the house. 

    Being a little far away, I couldn't tell what it was until I got the camera and snapped a few shots. I was excited to find that it was an owl. I went back into the house again to collect the tripod as the camera needed a more stable platform to be able to "collect enough light" that late in the day. 

     

    The darn thing wouldn't stay still though.. constantly moving it's head sideways. I wasn't able to focus well enough for most of my shots, but did manage to capture the feature of this animal. 

     

    It was a Barred or Malay Eagle Owl. Despite it's size, it was still a juvenile, which we can tell from it's white feathers. The adults are brown. It has interesting eyebrow/ears, which define it's main features.

    It was clearly unafraid of us, flying from one tree to another tree towards our direction, coming towards us, eyes fixed in us. It was curious of who we were. After a 10-15 minute show, it flew off to the trees opposite of the house.. too dark to notice anymore.

     

    Checking up more on the internet, I found that this species was quite interesting.. mating pairs mate and stick together for life, go back to the same nest every year and take care of one egg/chick annually. The parents of this owl was probably hanging around somewhere when this picture was taken. 

    Although it was quite a cool experience, we were worried for our pets.. one swoop from an owl this size.. it's truly bye-bye for any animal. I guess we need to be extra careful. 

May 24, 2013

  • A New Home

    An entry overdue, but one significant enough not to miss. 

    On 31st January 2013, my family and I officially moved from our dear Taman Universiti Indah home to the neighborhood next door called Taman Equine. 

    We lived in Taman Universiti Indah (such a mouth full, isn't it?) since 1993, having stayed in two other locations also within Seri Kembangan.. and prior to that in Klang. Describing the place simply as "the place where I grew up" doesn't do it justice, being the place where I spent my entire time growing up. All my major exams in Primary and Secondary school, college, parts of university life. Where all the dramas unfolded, happy memories, sad memories, times of anger, times of confusion.. all experienced under this very roof which often leaked at my parents bedroom. It's an average terrace house on top of the hill, offering a nice view. 

    My old room.. in it's original messy state

    The only major complaint I had with the place was parking. It seemed that I'm the only person living on that street which had to park the car two streets away due to a lack of space while everyone else conveniently parked along the narrow road plus an idiotic family which lived on a corner lot taking a disproportionate 4 parking. 

    Anyway, onward to the new place. In mid 2007, my father told me that he was planning to buy a piece of land to build a new house. I thought he was joking as I expected to live in our Taman U house pretty much forever. Less than 6 years later, after more than a year's worth of delays from the original shift in date we finally moved in (we originally intended to move in in time for CNY 2012, but instead had to settle for CNY 2013, which excludes at least 2-3 other postponements).

    The place was designed by my father, who of course is a qualified architect. He wanted an open concept, friendly to the environment, hence preserving trees. The design of the house revolves around several trees. In fact a main feature of the house are two trees through an opening in the center. At the moment, the lots surrounding the house are not yet developed and hence left the trees in its virgin state, full of trees. You could say that I live in a jungle. There is an opportunity to see wildlife daily and swarms of mosquitoes to keep one busy. 

      

     

     A mini enclosure for the cats.

     Almost five months on, this place is slowly starting to warm up. The first week was a little difficult as it felt like I was staying in a hotel where I did not belong. Trying to get used to the new routine driving home.

    There is still much to be done. The fish pond at the back of the house has the longest way to go. None of the picture frames are hung up. The list goes on. Anyway, it's great to call this place home.. and really good to finally be able to park the car just a few meters away from my room. 

     

May 2, 2013

  • Inside a Cats Ear

    Recently my cat, Remy, had been scratching up his ears a little more than usual. There seemed to be some infection, with darkish fluids secreting from his ears. Initially I thought it was nothing more than normal cat ear wax discharge, but my mom insisted it was something more. We decided to take him to the vet.

    Wow, what a surprise we were in for. 

    The vet took a simple swab from Remys ear and placed the dark stains under an electronic microscope. We were then in for a treat. There were micro-mites in his ear!

     

    It was like a flipping aquarium, mites and eggs swimming everywhere like freaking cockroaches. What an eye opener. 

       

    Unseen to the naked eye.. a hive of activity inside a cats ear..

    So, are you aware what's going on in your cats ear? I certainly wasn't until now. Apparently this thing is highly infectious, so if there are lots of dark stuff inside your cats ears.. best to get it checked out and medicated. Cats which are allowed to roam outdoor have a higher tendency to obtain this infection. 

     

    Remy turned his while when I tried snapping his ear and gave us some How To Train Your Dragon action. This pic has nothing to do with the mite entry.  

     

    Video taken in the vet showing micro mites swimming around. Enjoy!

     

     

April 20, 2013

  • Hornbills, Bees and Owls

    An interesting visitor came by the house on the 18th April 2013 early in the morning. More commonly associated with Sarawak, a hornbill, was seen near the house.

    My dad was doing some work in front of the house when he heard some loud squawking nearby. I heard it too, it woke me up. The squawking sounded very mechanical, I thought it the noise of machinery from a nearby construction site.. so I went back to sleep not thinking much about it (you can't think very much when you've just woke up anyway). Then my dad knocked my door and asked me to get the camera. 

    He pointed me to the trees where this big bird was perching. It was obvious from the tail and beak that it was a hornbill. 

    The species we're all more familiar with is the great hornbill from Sarawak, with it's massive yellow beak and horn of which its name came from. Most urban folks think hornbills are only found in Sarawak, but this is untrue. The first hornbills I've seen in Peninsula Malaysia are in Pangkor, small enough to fit into coconuts to nest. 

     

    Our customer this time is a female black hornbill. it has pinkish patches near its beak with the "hornbill" more hump like than a horn. Still big and decent sized, long tail with a white tip. Beautiful thing. Unfortunately I couldn't get a good shot as the sun wasn't fully up, had to overexpose or get it too shadowy which didn't work too well. 

     

    Black hornbill perched on the big tree in front of my house

       

    Another interesting character which came by today was a blue nee, more specifically a neon cuckoo bee. Did you know there were blue bees?? I certainly didn't until I took this picture. 

    Fafa curiously checking out the bee

    I only realised what it was when I reviewed the pictures, thinking it was a beetle. Evidently.. if I knew it was a bee I wouldn't have let my cats play with it. But apparently this species doesn't have a stinger, so phew.   

     Definitely something you don't see everyday. 

     

     Now for something you don't see every night - an owl!

    I was working with my dad near the kitchen on an outdoor table we were making. In the dark along the forest floor within the house compound, I saw a pair of bat-like wings flapping on the ground and off again. I had a closer look thinking it was a bat, but noticed a bird-like figure on the fence. I didn't know what it was but I instinctively knew it was an owl. I ran up to grab the camera.

    Taking a night shot with my Olympus Pen proved to be quite a challenge as I was not familiar with its manual aperture settings. So I got my dad to shine a torch light on its side and got the shot above. We tried to re-position the torch, but it ended up scaring it as owls don't like light.  Nevertheless, we got a nice shot. 

    A very small owl! I think it's a baby clops owl, based on the online birds database I use. You can compare its size with the fencing, which openings can just nicely fit the palm of an adult humans hands through. This is the second owl I seen since moving in, the first one in February, was much bigger.. about 40cm in height. Hopefully I can see more in the nights to come as we can hear them hooting away every night, just that the jungle is too dense and dark to see anything. 

     

March 19, 2013

  • The Blue-throated Bee-eater

    Was walking out of the house to throw away some trash, then I saw a pair of these striking green birds sitting on the lighting pole. I dropped the trash and dashed back in to get the camera. When I came back out, only one was still hanging around. in fact, it was curious in me too.

     

    It flew from one tree to another, even directly over head me at times. Most of it's body is green, but had parts of blue and a red head. My internet research later revealed that it was a Blue-throated Bee-eater.

     

     Nice catch. But I need a better lens and a better tripod!

     

March 18, 2013

  • New Hobby in Ametuer Photography

    Since moving into my new place in Taman Equine, Seri Kembangan, I've developed a renewed taste for photography. Thus far, I've only been posting pictures unto Facebook. But I am only keen of uploading one-picture at a time per-animal as I'm aware that people "check-out" the photos more frequent than here. Blogging would also allow me to share more thoughts of what happened with each shot. Hence, I'm using this blog as an avenue to fuel my new hobby. 

    I used to interested in photography when I was very little. I won't say I was die-hard for it, but as the only kid with a camera (we are talking the entire secondary school time and the era before digital cameras), it just became second nature to cover events and snap away. Over time, I got better with my shots and realised it wasn't just about a picture but the story behind the picture. Positioning, lighting, angles and all factored in too, though not as complex as a SLR. Those days, film was costly.. making the need for the limited 36 shots count. 

    I'm rather new at nature photography.. more used to snapping people and sceneries. But after a round with a tarantula and a scorpion inside my own home.. I got slightly obsessed with wanted to snap more of this wildlife around my area.. especially when they present themselves so often.

    We will start the critter blog on events in the 18th March 2013, which proved to be a very busy day for my camera and I. My dad woke me up at 8.15am-ish, something he normally doesn't do, especially on my off-day when I usually sleep in. He told me to bring the camera along and I knew this should be something interesting. Peeping into the trees, I could hardly make up a figure moving about in my drowsy state. My dad kept saying "There! Can see or not?". I just aimed the Olympus Pen E-P3 towards the general direction he was referring too and snapped aimlessly. I asked him what it was and he told me it was a gibbon. Something that doesn't pass by often, but had been making lots of noise in front of the house just a day before. Now it's just several meters away from my sisters and parents bedroom window. I finally saw a distinct ape figure witch swung gracefully and effortlessly from branch to branch. 

    Failing to get the shot from my sisters room, we re-positioned in my parents bedroom where the creature finally stopped and was feeding off fruits from a parasitic plant latching onto another tree. It was darkish brown and had a white ring around it's grey face. Very interesting creature. I search on Google later revealed it was a Lar Gibbon. All gibbons are threatened. My dad said seeing one this close to the house is unheard off. Even when he was growing up in Temerloh village, he's never seen any in the wild.. though he did say my grandfather would rare some with little success (he had a permit by the way).

     

    The curious gibbon starring back at me from a distance

    I went back to sleep after the gibbon swung off elsewhere. Waking up an hour later, had breakfast, went back to the old house to collect piles of stuff and reaching home again.. a new set of fun begun. The gibbons weren't the only visitors this busy day. My cat was startled by something outside.. so much his tail went all bushy. It turned out to be a troop of silverleaf monkeys on the prowl in search for food. The settled in a section of forest beside my house for most of the day and evening.

    Silverleaf monkey climbing the tree next to the house.

    Two Mynas nested in a tall dead tree directly in front of the house. Didn't look quite like the common tiung though. 

     

     A pleasant surprise came in the form of a black long-tailed bird which visited more than a week before. Then I couldn't tell what it was as there was not enough colour and features. It had a pale, but clear green beak, black body and a round red ring around it's eye (next pic is more clear). It search on the Internet revealed that it was a chestnut-bellied malkoha. I saw this  while I was relaxing on the balcony next to my parents bedroom sometime after 5pm. 

      

    Another perspective of the malkoha. In this picture, it's red eyes are more striking. 

     

    More birds started popping up. This one is a type of fly-eater. Greyish and brown. 

     

    Saw two of these on different trees. It's a plantain squirrel. This one had a red-tipped tail.   

     

    The biggest regret of the day was not being able to get a clear shot of this bright feathered bird called the blue-winged green leafbird. It's colours were beautiful!

      Another shot of the blue-winged green leafbird feeding off the fruits of another parasitic plant. This one was taken in front of the house, beside the carporch. 

     

     Rounding off the day with a picture of a cute asian red-cheeked squirrel taken at the side of the house. The tree it was on is within the house compounds and my parents have always mistaken them for chipmunks (can't be as chipmunks have striped backs). They made a chirping sound, quite like birds. They were in distress as the silverleaf monkeys were near by.

    Will probably post more pictures in days to come or whenever something interesting pops up. Will also try to identify it's species as that will be more informative and fun.

     

     

March 8, 2013

  • Cha Cha

    I've never talked about my "first daughter" before, not a posting on this blog nor have I posted pictures on Facebook. Now she's gone .. but it's not too late to finally honour her existence. 

     

    First glance at a hostile Mummy Cat.. which turned friendly after I offered her food.

    The kittens just days old

    Cha Cha with a proud Mummy Cat

    Cha Cha come to us under extraordinary circumstance. In June 2012, my mom heard faint kitten mewing sounds in her bathroom towards the ceiling. Curious, I took a ladder and went up and true enough, there was an adult sized cat near a small ray of light coming from my parent's bathroom. The cat, obviously a mother, was VERY hostile and hissed every time I poked my head up the ceiling. But a cat is a cat.  After I poured some cat food (Royal Canine) into a small transparent takeaway bowl.. true enough, the hostile mommy cat turned into a gentle kitty cat, mewing and begging for food. When I got a good look at her body, I was struck by her beauty.. the pattern.. the bushy tail.. and most of all (for the purpose of this tale) her very soft fur. She had three kittens in that small ceiling compartment. We cut a hole from the bathroom for direct access and feeding. So we gave Mummy Cat food and water everyday and she in turn would give nourishment to the kittens. Yes, I had to clean up her crap too. 

     

    Left: Just a month old and early signs of bonding with daddy. Right: Lunch time with.from mom. 

    From the beginning, among the 3 kittens, I've noticed the gentle white one with a long tail and decided if we were to keep any of them, it will be that one. We struggled to come up with a name for her at first, but while raising all of them until an age we can give them away, we named the brother (whom we also decided to keep) Bo Bo, after its short bowtie like tail, hence, naming the sister Cha Cha (Bobo Chacha, get it?). Reason for keeping them was because our first Son, Elphar, had just passed away and we felt that Remy needed company. However, after a month or two, Mummy Cat's heat/noise was too much for us to bear and we decided to give her and Tan Tan (the 3rd sibling which was not that nice to look at) away to SPCA for adoption.. under the most regrettable circumstances as I was very fond of her. She also didn't get along at all with Remy which was another reason for us deciding that two adult cats in the same hous simply can't get along. 

    Bo Bo had a charming personality and was a people person.. and quite a licker. He would be licking Cha Cha for up to an hour.. quite sick.. but that's how he showed his affection. He would also lick my fingers and on one occasion, licked my face which I immensely enjoyed! Unfortunately on 9th September 2012, Bo Bo was left unsupervised, strayed out of the house and into the jaws of my neighbours dog. It was a very saddening thing to have happened. 

     

     

    So we were left with Cha Cha. She was not a very socialable cat.. and by that I mean she's not the type that will go up to your leg rubbing it, nor is she the type that mews for food. The only thing she does respond too in the cutest way was when you walked up to her and called her name in her face .. "Cha Cha~", she will respond in a "mew" which almost sounded guilty but so cute it melts hearts. She was VERY adventurous and it seemed like nothing is too high nor too narrow nor too dangerous for her to take on. We thought Remy was very daredevil, but she was WAY more. But it was a point of concern for me as I didn't want her to get killed like her brother. She has a long tail, quite like Remy's which was gingerish with a tab of black. The rest of her body was as white as snow, except the head with had a small patch of ginger. Her fur, just like her mother's was as soft as wool.. quite different from all the cats we have.. she probably was double coated. Truly comfortable to lie ones head on. Compared to Remy, she was much smaller.. in fact the three kittens we took on a month and a half later caught up to her in size. She was miniature to say the least. Comparing pictures, she didn't grow very much beyond 4 months old. Most kittens respond to strokes, but she prefers a still, motionless hand. So just putting your hand parallel on her soft body is enough to make her purr.. and she oddly stops purring when the stroking takes place. Hence, she wasn't a very physical or touchy cat with humans. But she did inherit something from her lick-crazy-brother.. often seeking out Remy and giving him a nice love bite below his neck. Her body was long and I liked putting my leg on her (in a non-abusive way of course) which at times she seemed to enjoy. Like Remy, she doesn't really like me carrying her (what a shame), so when I do.. she'll let out a cute-faint squeal.. but otherwise held a very cool, confident and care free personality. I'd sometimes call her Kitten-Cat, cause that's what she really is.. too small to be a cat, but too big to be a kitten. My Kitten Cat. 

       

    The adventurous Cha Cha. After Bo Bo strayed off and got killed, we were more cautious with her and tied her on leash and allowed her to roam the garden. You will find her anywhere, no matter how narrow or high. A very curious cat, which eventually got her killed. 

    We moved to this new house on 31st January 2013. This new residence is surrounded by forest and featured too many dangers, from a pack of a dozen wild dogs, to eagles, owls, poisonous snakes and the list goes on. I didn't want any of my cats roaming around freely due to these dangers hence locked them indoors. My new place featured a tree and opening in the middle - something which bothered me as I was sure Cha Cha would climb that as she climbs the tree in my former house's garden. But this proved not to be the case and I rested easy over time. Still, the cats got frustrated and clearly wanted out. We constructed a netted enclosure on one side of the house so that the cats get at least get a feel of the outdoors and nature.

    The most affected cat would be Remy. Cha Cha was his favourite friend. Saddens me to think that he has lost yet another best buddy. Prior to that Bobo was his favourite and before that Elphar. 

    Despite our efforts, on 8th March 2013, Cha Cha somehow managed to escape out of the house three times, suspected through an opening in a window. I spotted her at noon out in the forest, so happened to be looking in that direction when a flash of white moved around the bushes. I dashed out and managed to bring her home safely then. Little did I know the words I murmured to her will bear so much meaning now.. things like "I love you cat".. "Can't let anything happen to you".. "you're daddy's pretty girl".. and just admiring how soft her fur was as I threw her over my shoulder, the only cat in my household which allows me too like a rag. I enjoy carrying her on her back, facing upwards. She tolerates it for a minute and then goes into what I call a "rolling fish" motion. Just part of our love-hate thing.

    I went out to work right after that and met my parents in Monash as they came to pay fees around 3.30pm. They told me Cha Cha ran out of the house again around 2.00pm. Initially, I wasn't too concerned, knowing she would come back. But came 10.20pm when I got home from my night classes, I found out she still wasn't home. It was then when I got really worried. We tried searching for her till past midnight, forgoing my dinner. But it was dark and we were surrounded by forest. It was truly like finding a needle in a haystack.. worse yet, she doesn't respond to us.. so calling her name was of no use. My mom was speculating that she's gone. Killed by something in the forest as it was not possible for her to be out for so long. I went to sleep at 1.30am, worried sick but knew there was nothing more I could do about it. 

    At 8.30am plus, I was woken up by my frantic mom informing me that she found Cha Cha. Initially I was relieved, but later found out that she was dead. She was found along the fence, just 5 meters away from where my bed would be.. but at the other side of the room wall. My mom suspects that she came back 2-3 hours ago as the body was still soft (though her legs were stiff). Her body was wet, cold, had mud at parts and some leafs were in her mouth. The only wound I found on her was a puncture on her sides followed by a hairline cut. It's unclear what killed her as we can't tell if her bones were fractured, but it was clear something killed her.. possibly bitten by a poisonous snake just a few hours before finding her. Sigh, stupid cat... I don't know why she had to stubbornly get out of the house all the time....

    I was devastated, despite accepting her fate before hitting the sack. Not sure if I'm glad finding her body, which at least give us closure.. or if I preferred living with the fact if we didn't find her that she could still be alive somewhere out. Not like anything will change. We undid her collar, removed her tag and cat-flap magnet key, dug an unmarked grave behind the house and layed her to rest. 

    Last picture of Cha Cha alive.. not very glam

    I will miss her prettiness and soft fur forever. 

    Cha Cha's collar she had since birth. Unlike the other cats, she was able to keep her collar until she died. The red went well with her snowy white body. It's buried together with her now, though I removed the tag which has my number on it and the cat-flap magnet. 

     

September 2015
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