Wednesday, 30 June 2010

chewie's final journey...

ok, i'm ready to post about this now. so sorry for not replying to some of your questions yesterday...
 chewie at 4 months old...

anyway, it all started last week, 22 june (incidentally, chewie's 3rd birthday!). i received a phone call from nicole, sobbing and asking me if chewie has had any injury when she was with me. i can't recall chewie ever had any form of injury, so i said no and asked what happened. in between sobs, she said they discovered that morning that chewie's hind legs were suddenly paralyzed and she couldn't walk! so they brought her to the vet for check-up and x-ray revealed that there's a fracture in her vertebrae, which is pressing into her spinal cord, causing her to loose all sensation in her hind quarters. she couldn't even feel extreme pain in her legs!

according to the vet, it could be caused by an injury sustained a long time ago, the symptoms only surfacing now. but she's not had any injury! so the vet said then it's a disc disease. but this disease is not common in dachshunds, basset hounds etc... basically dogs with longer bodies. it's rarely seen in cocker spaniel. but somehow, chewie got it.

they could only give her medications but only for up to 10 days, as the meds are very strong steroids. it's only to ease her pain and make her more comfortable. at first, nicole said if they were to operate, it'll cost more than RM3k! so they'll see how's her condition after 10 days before making any forward decisions.

i went to see her the next day after work and it was really pitiful. she's only able to sit up, propped up by her front legs. and if she wants to move about, she could only drag herself forward with her front legs. her back legs were totally useless! i just couldn't stop my tears from falling... she was only looking at me with her big brown molten eyes, unable to jump about or even wag her tail! i don't even know if she recognized me! :"(

i kept calling her name and told her she's a good girl, stroking her the way i used to do last time. i just hope she remembers me, and knows that i've not forgotten her...

the next few days, i did some reading up on disk disease on the internet. most websites said canine disk disease are fairly common and there are treatments that can be done. BUT this only applies to dogs that are limp or showed weakness in their movement. not when there's paralysis. when the dog is paralyzed, then there's not much hope for it to ever walk again.

but i still kept a small ray of hope within me... hoping for a miracle to happen. maybe, just maybe, chewie is a special case. maybe the medicine will help... maybe she'll be able to walk and run and jump again...

then on sunday, nicole's mom called me. she said chewie's condition is not improving and we have to discuss on what to do. they brought her to the vet again on saturday, and the vet said things were not looking good. now he said it's not operable and in his personal opinion, she'll not get any better. nicole's mom said it's very traumatic to see her condition everyday. when she hears people approaching, she'll want to go to them. she wants to move about. so she'll drag herself across the floor... and it's causing her "below" part to be sore and swollen. nicole's mom feels that we should put her out of her misery. if we were to leave her be, her condition will only get worse and in the end, we'll still have to do it. so instead of prolonging it until she's off the meds and really suffering, we should consider doing it now.

i told them that actually, the decision is not mind anymore. much as i love her, i'm not her human anymore, so i've no rights to decide anything for her. so she said they'll most probably give her only 2 - 3 day more and asked if i wish to go see her one last time.

this is so devastating! i was sobbing by then... and i feel i can't face it, can't face the thought that she'll be leaving us forever. so i decided that no, i'm not going to see her. i'll only cry and cry in front of her, and what good will that do? i just asked them to inform me when they're gonna do it, so that i can chant daimoku to send her off.

then on late monday night, nicole sent me an sms:
"we'll be letting her go tomorrow noon around 12.30pm. it's one of the most difficult decision to make but it's the best for her. thanks for giving her to me, chewie has been one of the best highlights for the past 2 years. she'll always be in my heart. i love her dearly."

so the next day, 29 june 2010, chewie took her final breath at 12.20pm, at age 3 years and 7 days.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

in loving memory...

beloved pet, baby and best friend,
22 june 2007 - 29 june 2010

how do you say goodbye to something that was once wholly yours and that you've loved with all your might? baby, so sorry i wasn't with you in your final moments. i just couldn't face it. please understand... but i'll be sending you my prayers for your early reincarnation. please come back to me in your next life, hopefully without such crappy karma. thanks for all the joys you've brought into my life. i love you and will be loving you always. goodbye, my baby chewie...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

what's with football anyway?

i'm not a football fan. in fact, growing up, i hated football because every time i'd have to fight with my brother for tv rights when there's a match on. now, i don't hate it that much but i still don't like it!

however, with the world cup going on now, i still seem to know all the scores and goings on in the football field. how come, you may ask? because, all the kaki bola (malay for football fan) on facebook has suddenly become football commentators! every morning, i'll see the final scores of the previous night's games, and also some comments/taunts/opinions being posted up.

but come on lah! is there really a need for that? i mean, anyone who cares would have either watched it themselves or find out about the scores the first thing they wake up. and for those who don't care, what makes you think they'll be interested in your status post? *rolls eyes*

Monday, 21 June 2010

clearing out the fridge

"do they eat your food in the fridge?"

staying with friends and housemates, i'm always being asked this question by friends who are staying on their own or with their family. what they don't understand is, when you're staying with people who are non-family, you don't simply take things from the fridge that aren't yours. i can totally understand their little "concern" about this, though. when i go home to bear hill, i just take whatever i like from the fridge without stopping to ask whose is it. i mean, it's my family's things in there, and being part of the family, of course i'm entitled to it too! hehe...

anyway, with my impending move out of my current abode end of this month, i took advantage of the weekend to clear out the fridge. a task i thought to be rather difficult, considering the fridge is always packed to the max that sometimes it's hard to even find space for a can of coke, it turned out to be quite a breeze! reason being, most of the food stuff in there were past their expiry dates, so all we did was dump them into the bin! "expiry, 2007. throw! expired, throw! best before 2009. throw!"

not only did we not take other people's food, we even forgot to take our own food! seems like our hobby is to buy food, stuff them into the fridge and then proceed to forget all about them! we even found stuff belonging to ex-housemate M, who moved out more than a year ago! whole bars of unopened chocolates, a large pack of unopened hersheys' kisses chocs, jars of jam still 3/4 full, a whole compartment full of wet wipes taken from restaurants, another whole compartment full of McD chili sauce packets, a container of white rice from don't know when, bottles of carbonated drinks, dried up fruits, vege with some alien-looking things sprouting from them, etc... no wonder the fridge is full all the time. stuff only goes in, but none ever comes out! :D

me: hey, all these 100 plus are only 1/3 bottle left. do you still want them?
P: eh? i thought they're yours?
me: no, i've never bought 100 plus lar. i thought they're yours!
P: no ler, not mine!

see, we still fight over food, but not over who ate who's food... rather, it's more like who those food belonged to!

from this fridge cleanup exercise this past weekend, we've come to a conclusion: we'll never get to eat any chocolates in our next life, due to all the negative karma we've created from wasting and throwing away good (and expensive!) chocolates! :(

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

miri/mulu: day 2

the next morning dawned bright and early. have to lar, coz we were setting out to see more caves at 8.30am!

morning view of benarat lodge...

it's situated right next to a river!

after breakfast, we set out for more spelunking on the longboat... but why the big bag? coz we'll be going straight to camp 5 after. so need to bring our 2 nights worth of clothes etc, as well as the things we'd need for the climb up mount mulu. the rest of our stuff, we left in a storage room at benarat lodge.

one of the more common mode of transportation there...

on the way to the caves, we made a short stopover at a penan village in kampung bungah.

in a bid to boost the economic status of the penans, the mulu national park authorities made this stopover as part of the itinerary. there's a small area set up to display and sell the penan handcraft...

hey, this looks very familiar... it's the horizontal snail we saw yesterday! ok, not the exact same snail, but you get what i mean!

penan woman weaving basket...

according to ryuu, this practice of extending the ears in penan women is a dying tradition. as more and more penans of the younger generations move into town and assimilating with the rest of the civilization, they become very ashamed of their long ears. those who've not started "extending" their ears will not do so, and those who've started will go have their ears sewed back!

some of the crafts being sold...

mostly baskets, bead-work and stuff made from parts of plants... no, we didn't buy anything coz those are really not the kinda stuff we dig.

penan woman showing how the nose flute is played...

finding nothing interesting at the "market", we decided to go take a look at their longhouse. N was a tad disappointed to find that they use these vinyl mat for their floor... hello, people need to advance also, ok?

a real-life longhouse is THIS long!

on our way again...

we'll be visiting the wind cave and the clearwater cave today, situated right next to each other.

at the king's chamber in wind cave.

next, we walked about 4km along the plankwalk built onto the outer walls of the cave towards the clearwater cave.

lots of rajah brooke's birdwing (or just rajah brooke) butterflies here, named after james brooke, the rajah of sarawak.

passed by this parking area for longboats...

before going into the clearwater cave, we had a short tea break provided by the organizers at a picnic area there. really applause their efforts... they had to haul all the mugs, hot drinks (coffee and tea), sugar (for the drinks), food and eating utensils along with us! i think if we were in KL, the organizers would've just given us milo packets or something!

after tea, we went into the clearwater cave, where we saw the subterranean river system. according to our guide, richard, this river system is ever expanding and they're still measuring the length and exploring it. also, it seems that there's another underground river system directly underneath this system (sorta like double-decker river system), which will emerge like hundreds of years from now due to earth movement and whatnot. (photo from gunung mulu national park)

out from clearwater cave, we had our lunch at the picnic area. lunch was packed rice, fried chicken and vege. and of course, free-flow of hot coffee & tea! ;) then we were brought by longboat to the spot where we'll begin our 8.8km trek towards camp 5.

at the beginning part of our trek. still very energetic... we were very excited to see this hanging bridge. "faster take photo! faster take photo!"

we joined a group of 15 (noisy) students from UUM for this leg of the trip and one of the guys took on the all-important job of "egg-bearer". crossing the hanging bridge is the most challenging part for him... whether or not we'll get eggs in our meals during our 3D2N stay at camp 5 is all dependent on him!

halfway on, it started to rain. i'm the only one who put on my poncho. the rest just sloughed on undaunted! but it's good that it rained, coz leaches don't come out during rain. it's only when the forest floor is wet (but not raining) that the leaches come out searching for prey.

short stop to rehydrate... i decided to walk in the rain like the rest, coz the feeling of wet poncho (from sweat) sticking to your skin and clothes is really uncomfortable!

this is at about the halfway mark... as you can see, we're all tired out! not to mention drenched from head to toe in both sweat and rain...

even tho' drenched, we were very hot! so hot that some of the members just dunked their heads into the river. ah, must be very refreshing... but we refrained from doing so, tho' god knows we wished to! :P

imagine our joy, when after walking on and on and on in the jungle for the longest time, we saw this sign... it's like the happiest moment in our lives!

finally! after trekking for more than 3 hours, we finally saw some sort of structure just a mere few steps away!

there's a river next to camp 5... and guide richard wants us to jump into the river once we arrived, coz bees will be attracted to our sweat stink! but N and i decided to just dash into the bathroom for a shower, which was a wise decision! coz there were only 2 shower cubicles, so we were the first to shower while the rest were still in the river... :D

our sleeping quarters... i wouldn't call it a "room", coz it's without doors and people walking outside can easily peep in. and  the quarters were allocated according to our groups, so boys and girls of that group would have to sleep together! anyway, each of us only got a thin mattress, so it's a good thing that N and i always travel with our trusty sleeping bags!

getting ready for bed... we had to start early tomorrow. it's gonna be another long and tiring day...

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Monday, 7 June 2010

teaching an old dog new tricks?

a few weeks back, i'm suddenly being bombarded with lots of phone calls from my bro, asking me questions about the old pc that i "dump" back home when i got my laptop. what's the ram? why is it so slow? do you still have the manual? can i delete all your files? it got me curious, because every time i go home, the old pc was just sitting there on the study table in the spare room, untouched, like how i first left it 2 years back. and brother has a pc and laptop of his own, surely he can't be interested in that old junk... so why the sudden interest in my pc?

i found out the answer when i made my monthly trip home to bear hill last weekend. apparently, my mom has started learning to use the computer, and is even taking classes in ms applications! wow... impressive. so bro has been summoned to set up my old pc at home for mom to "practice"...

anyway, during a particularly dull (and humid!) moment yesterday, where normally my parents would be taking their sunday nap in the 2nd hall, i discovered the rattan reclining chair to be empty! hmm... a short search brought me to the downstairs spare room, and that's where i saw mom, hard at work clicking away at the computer! so i walked in and asked what's she doing. "just revising", she said.

so i sorta just hung around, curious. after a while, she asked, "how to...". i knew this was coming! it seems that her class was learning how to create tables and columns and rows on ms word, so mom was just going thru the lessons... but she found that the table she's created doesn't have enough columns, and she's forgotten how to create more columns.

so i taught her the more "advanced" method of highlighting the columns and using right-click to add. but apparently, this is too advanced for her! "but teacher never teach us right-click!" whoops... and she seems to have some trouble controlling the mouse. in dad's word, "she doesn't know how to catch the lao-shu (mandarin for mouse)". hehe...

which got me thinking... can old dogs really learn new tricks? i mean, save for a few who's really tech savvy, the older generation are sorta wired differently. we can teach a 5 year old kid (or even younger!) to use the computer and they can pick it up so fast, but try teaching a 60+ year old senior citizen who erstwhile had not had any experience with the computer... i was doing all i can from getting all frustrated and raising my voice, and trying to be REALLY patient in repeating the process step-by-step for the umpteenth time. at least mom's trying to advance and better herself, right? but i can only say one thing: i really salute the computer teacher who took on this task!

Friday, 4 June 2010

miri/mulu: day 1

this was a trip we planned about 1/2 year ago, when airasia had one of their promo... at that time, when we bought the kl-miri flight, we had no knowledge of what miri is like or what we can do there. we just know that we wanted to go to sarawak, and miri seems like a good place (other than it being cheap!).

it was only later, after much research and reading up that we found out that we can actually "do the mulu", which is only a 1/2 hour flight from miri! but the mulu package is like 20 times more expensive than our kl-miri flight, because there's no other way to mulu from miri, other than taking the maswing.

anyway, as our flight was in the early morning (7.20am), we decided to take the first klia transit train from bandar tasik selatan (bts), with their new klia transit to lcct package. basically, with this package, we stop at the salak tinggi station and from there, their shuttle bus will bring us to lcct.

in the website, it stated that the first transit train will arrive at the bts station at 5.40am. but when we got there at 5.15am, the electronic board showed that the train will be arriving in 10 minutes time! what the... so we hurriedly went to buy our tickets, but guess what?! the ticket counter is closed! fine, we'll buy from the ticket vending machine... but guess what again?! the vending machine don't sell the klia transit to lcct tickets! what the... how come this was not stated in their website??? with only 8 minutes to go before the train is due to arrive, we quickly made the decision to buy just the train tickets to salak tinggi, and then try to find a way to get to lcct from there (coz in their website, it was stated that shuttle bus tickets will not be sold at the salak tinggi station).

and when we were buying our tickets from the vending machine, another hiccup! there were 2 vending machines there, so i took one and N took one. but when i slotted in my RM10, nothing happened! no tickets came out... and when i pressed "cancel", it went back to the main screen, but didn't return my money! what the...!! i was so pissed! and the PA system was announcing that the train will be arriving in 5 minutes time... panic, panic! the only other person at the station was a security guard, who was dozing away on a seat nearby. even if we were to wake him up, i don't think he'd be of any help. so no choice, had to fork out more money to get my ticket from the other machine. @&%%^;^#*@^(&)#*$*^)!!!

the train came at 5.25am sharp... they can't even get their schedule right! *sigh*

when we got to the salak tinggi station at 5.50am, luckily their counter was opened there. so we went to inquire about tickets for the shuttle bus. we explained that the counter at bts station was closed... so ok, we're able to buy our shuttle bus tickets, but guess what? we had to pay a higher price! but it wasn't our fault for not buying the package from bts station!!! what a "fantastic" system they have! and don't get me started on our long wait for the shuttle bus to get going! %@*#)@I#$@$&#(&;*(^!!

ok, ok *breathe* we kept reminding ourselves not to be complaint queens... (^_^)

finally, after much hiccup, we arrived at miri at 9.40am...

our connecting flight to mulu is at 2.25pm. so i called up ryuu, who's based in miri, to come bring us out for brunch. yeah, we know it's a weekday, but since ryuu is the head of his department, he can just stroll out right after doing his morning briefing and whatever else he needs to do with his staff and disappear for 1/2 the day!

so we were whisked off on a slow drive ("slow" is the only speed there is! all the mirian drivers are slowpokes!) for some tour around town and then for some authentic sarawak laksa...

eating utensils came soaked in a mug of hot water! according to mon, that's a standard practice in sarawak...

fluffy white clouds in the sky, but not directly above us... these were AWAY from the mirian sky. all these while, since being posted there, ryuu has been complaining about how hot miri is with little rain fall, but we all thought he's just being a drama queen. but here, we saw it with our own eyes. the mirian sky really has no clouds at all!

as we still had some time to kill (coz really, miri is only so big that everywhere is near the airport!), ryuu purposely made a detour to show us this crazily and jaw-droppingly humongous house own by some filthy rich mirian (according to ryuu, most prob a chinese fuzhou!).

a mere hour later, N said she's hungry again! =_='''
so we went to this place opposite the airport for some kolo mee...
 don't be fooled by the colour. it's not bland at all!

only N ate. ryuu and i just had some drinks...

it's either the kolo mee is very good or N was really hungry!

back to the airport, waiting for our connecting flight...

yay, first time going on maswing!

only a 30 min flight away... the mulu airport is so small, we just walked across the tarmac to the terminal building. it's something like the kerteh airport. and they didn't have a conveyor belt for the luggage! even kerteh airport has one... they only dump our luggage on top a wooden table.

the arrival hall weren't even air-conditioned! but fret not... i have my personal hand held battery-operated fan! v(^_^)v

we were picked up by our tour operators there... and were told we'll start our cave visits immediately, coz the national park closes at 5.30pm! what the... we were in long pants! i sure as hell ain't gonna walk into some guano-filled cave in long pants and my good shoes! so we protested and insisted that we HAVE to check-in first! in the end, they had no choice but to bring us to their boss's home for us to change.

here's me trying to catch-up with our guide, anthony, who was
walking rather briskly... "have to walk faster, park closes at 5.30pm"

dunno the real name of this leaf, but we call it "totoro's umbrella". we're always very excited when we see this... hehehe... this is the biggest we've seen so far! N purposely asked me to put my hand there, to show exactly how big it is...

the first cave we visited was lang's cave, "lang" being the ang-moh who discovered it. lang's cave is known for its great rock formations...

N and i were quite disappointed to learn that the caves here are well-paved and well-lit. not very adventurous... but quite informative lar, as we've not seen some of the things before.

an imprint of a fossil on the limestone...

cave bells on the ceiling... formed by some water swirling, difference in temperature, chemical reaction between the water, minerals in the limestone, guano etc...

 next, we went to deer cave, just next to lang's cave...

it's called deer cave it seems that this is the water hole for deers in the area a long time ago...

can you see lincoln's silhouette?

deer cave is home to tens of thousands of bats, so can just imagine the stench of guano we had to endure! here, the bats are leaving the cave for their nightly forage for food...

from the observation platform, where we can sit and watch the bats leaving the cave. but seems like the bats had an early start that day, so by the time we got to this platform, they were all gone...

on the trek back to meet our van, we saw this snail with its horizontal shell!

finally, we were able to check-in at benarat lodge! simple and back to basics, but it's better than we expected... however, they will only on their generator from 6pm - 12am! so after that, no fan! it was quite stuffy and i'd say we did not sleep too well that first night...

the dinner served by benarat lodge... quite big portion. and we thought we'd starve over there, so we actually bought some KFC chicken nuggets to bring over! hehehe... so it was a very full dinner we had that night! :)

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