Who Let The Mouse Out?

Compared to four years ago, the whack of losing my PayPal account is not as devastating. First off, I am not in the hospital. I am a free man and I can take necessary measures. And then, since I can monitor what goes into and out from my email, through my cell phone, at almost real time so I know beforehand what is coming.

If anything, I am four years older. I have experience, I learn, I evolve. In the year that past, whenever things comes right onto me like tsunami I’d be mad; and I mean mad, as in losing my sanity. I’d villainize¬† everyone, everything, even God. The universe is conspiring against me, and then I’d slide into self pity. No one cares, no one will help, everyone is trying to kill me, everybody is happy to see me suffer, the universe is laughing maniacally in glee as I stumble, fail, and eventually die. I would never be allowed to reach my dream.

Well, it was what happened. Being the personal assistant to a commissioner and founder of the entire holding company plus sixteen subsidiary all over South East Asia, I am always pinned between the 1% and the 99%. I have to manage the delicate balance between the employer and the employee. Fourteen hours a day, with huge pay, but leave no space for personal life.

At that same time The Whiskers’ Syndicate is growing, and I was always torn between raising the baby of my dream and doing my job because it pays for the baby; while pregnant with Whiscraft.

Trying to feed all branches that sprouted in my life, I am choking myself and dwarfed my personal growth, if not pushing myself into schizophrenia.

But four years later today, taken the leap to follow my dream and never look back, embracing all the risk of being an artist (with non-steady income), I learned to choose; at least which one must go first. I still have a hard time letting go of a potential income or put non feasible idea aside (to come back later), but I come to realize that in order to reach my full potential, I cannot spread myself too thin. I cannot hold the sand too tight, or I will lose everything, including my dream, my effort, my schizophrenic lesson in life.

I learned to ask; and it’s God damned hard. I grow up socially awkward, and I the environment in which I grow up is choke full of norms, values, rules, beliefs, traditions. To be different is a sin, to achieve more than anyone else is a sin, and to ask is even worse. Do it your best, and if you fall short of your own (and mostly the “world”) expectation, that means you have less value than the other; no question asked and no exception made because God make everyone the same.

I have always turned to the power of my own talents to get around, big or small, more or less. I got used to live by myself, work by myself, do things by myself, as much as I can, especially because I am different, both in person and in profession. I have been stepping forward and backward and forward again and Lori knows how annoying I can be in that matter. I am so glad and grateful that although she said (of all things) she cannot be patient, she stick by my side better than glue as she keeps repeating herself that I am not a failure, I am not hated, that people care, people love, and “For crissake, jump into the water already!”

The level up exam came when I lost my ATM and my mortgage. I blurted out just that from the bus about what happened and practically let things rolls into place as I do my best, one thing after another. What else can I do? And then when the mortgage is paid, the cat food was delivered and the litter sand was ready, PayPal decided to be a jackass and ask me for documents that I don’t have, despite all the fact. So I didn’t sigh in relief yet. I was given about 7 days (including weekends) so I withdraw every penny in my account and contacted my brothers to see if anyone can lend me their PayPal account.

One of them step forward, but he is the kind of person who come to set things up and then disappear in the middle and come back three weeks later with the whole different concept and understanding (or misunderstanding) and do it all over (or continue but take another direction), so while I guide him into making a PayPal account and he disappeared in the middle I just go ahead with plan B: have Lori hold the money fin her PayPal while I am looking for a reliable virtual credit card provider.

From bank to bank, one finally told me that if I open an account with them they can link me to their VCN service.

I complied. I follow their direction and pay the fee for sms banking, internet banking, phone banking and put more money into the account than the minimum requirement for all the fees that arise from creating the account and all sort of facilities.

I was told that the VCN can be requested immediately, but when the system came back to me and said I am not yet eligible to use VCN, I called phone banking three times at different time to ask for more information and all three told me that my debit card has to be linked to MasterCard.


So I came back to the bank, asking them to link my debit card and again, when I tried, no VCN. I told the bank officers to be serious and professional or I am filing a complaint and then they admit that no one had asked them about VCN before, at least in that branch. They finally was willing to ask their manager, and the manager actually called Jakarta and ask about full information.

You see, it’s not just me who is afraid to ask. Generally here in Asia, if you ask, you are worthless and incapable. We are demanded to be a super-me while ourselves a Supermee (mee = noodle. Supermi is a brand of instant noodle).

It was only then I was notified that to apply for VCN, you have to link your debit card, and then wait for seven working days.

That means the end of next week; practically the beginning of two weeks from now.

And I only have USD 250 left in my account. I have a kitten with broken leg, I have sick cats, I have kitty season, Pie had just been diagnosed with FIP (Feline Infection Periotnitis), I have neighbors knocking on my door giving me cats and kittens (more on that in another post).

I have to eat.

Meanwhile I do it right and put my Etsy shop on vacation, for the first time in four years, because I don’t have a PayPal account to receive money if someone orders. Facing the possibility that I will lost my venue at Etsy worried me because it means losing my income. All this time, my Etsy shop have been one of my financial support in funding The Whiskers’ Syndicate. Still, I put faith that every clouds has silver lining, and turn my shop into vacation via Etsy app on my mobile. That was last week if not more.

And yesterday I receive a notification from Etsy, congratulate me for a sale. Then PayPal notify me that a payment is floating in the air for that order and if I want that money, I should open a business account.


I went back to Etsy standard version (instead of mobile version) and found out that my vacation setting had been removed. Then I when I poked around I was shown a disclaimer that the app is not hand made by Etsy so if it didn’t do the job its not their fault.

It is a common practice here in Indonesia that after you made a new PayPal account, you just let it idle for a week, and then start small (under USD 10) for some times before increasing, otherwise they will limit your account.

But I can’t explain all this sh!t to a stranger who innocently buys my stuff. I have reputation to keep and professionalism on the gambling table; so even before I get the VCN (if no more glitch) I opened a new PayPal account with different email address and receive the money. If PayPal limit my account, it will mean I fill the order for free.

It was USD 22.

You bet PayPal limit my account immediately and ask me for a credit card or I cannot withdraw the money.

So I have to stretch the remaining money to include a USD 20 order, and stuck with half done PayPal account that cannot be used at all and give me even more things to do.

Great. What’s next, God?

Sure, I am complaining again, just as I was complaining four years ago; but this time I try to do it smart: I didn’t complain to long, and I didn’t stop at complaining. I kept going.

I remember all of The Whiskers’ Syndicate’s supporter. I remember their names; I remember they have jobs, they have family, they have expenses, they have troubles, ordeals, sickness, they go through unfortunate events. They all struggles, but everyone just keep going and do whatever they can to help me, because they believe in me. They will not have tax exempt donating to me, but they support me anyway because we are in the same road. Different lanes, but we believe in the same thing, we have the same dream, we have the same cause that we hold in our heart so dearly, we don’t mind the distance, the tax, the hassle of moving donations, the trouble of reading and scouring Google to tell me about other options that I might have.

I have so many people around me extending their hand, telling me to just fall forward. I’d be an a ho to stop right here and whine and pointing finger.

So while waiting for the VCN, I learn about Western Union, Money Gam, Rapid Fire. Despite all the fear surrounding the ease of retrieving money, Western Union actually offer a better exchange rate than PayPal, which will stretch the donations a little bit further. So Lori is transferring all of your donation to me via Western Union so I can buy cat food and pay for the vet.

While waiting for the PayPal to be verified I can just do the order, as best as I can, so that when my PayPal is finally ready I have one more happy customer who might lead me to another.

Yes, this time is different.

This time, I have you.

Thank you very much, for the best gift ever given to a stranger: faith.

Thank you for having my back.

~ Josie


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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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