I saw a lady two days ago, parking on the roadside near a campus. She wears impeccable Korean style make up and hair do, red, full lips, a wine colored hug-my-curve knit and a legging riding a Vios. It appeared to me at first that she is probably a well off professional, or the wife of an accomplished man. Beyond doubt, she has higher education.

She locked herself out her sedan.

She tried rummaging into her bag for cellphone, but failed to think who to call. A SIM Card (in Indonesia, cellphones are all unlocked, it’s our right to use what service when and how long without any strings attached) seller, another lady at the same age, though with lesser socio-economic standing, suggested that she called car workshop, or her husband.

Her face contorted, a few seconds later, I can read her lips saying “mama”

I wanted to smile. A woman of that stature and that age, turned out to be mama’s girl. No wonder though, she seemed to come from a well off family too, she must have had everything comes to her easy.

But then if I want to know who is dearest to someone, that’s how I do it. Put them under duress. Whether it’s mock up, or just slight tension, as long as the client believes they are under duress, the first person that comes out, is the person dearest to them.

It is by no means the only way, or the most accurate way, but nine out of ten it comes up with the right person.

That dearest person can change. With age, with social status, with financial adequacy, with circumstances, but the way someone will unconsciously turn to their dearest one under duress never change, whether or not their dearest one can help them in such situation.

I no longer need to use such trick to anyone, now that I am dealing mostly with animals. They never lie, they don’t have to. The only skeleton they are hiding is their own.

And then, two days ago, my cellphone pings me a news from New York Times, a news which soon become the trending topic in many other major publication. The headlines told me that Facebook is changing their algorithm to lift up “friends and families” above all else.

The change in the algorithm means that what friends and family shared over Facebook will be prominent, instead of those of the big gamers. The post where people tag their friends in comments will be important. Pressing “like” and walk away, won’t do the trick. We have 1,500 something followers, One thousand five hundred people claimed to “like” us; but for whatever reason, only a small percentage are active on the page. We know everyone is busy, we know Facebook doesn’t always show everything. We know people are tired and have lots to worry about. We’re so grateful to everyone who does like and share and comment, but if we could get more participation on a regular basis, it could very well mean the difference between The Whiskers Syndicate life and death.

It brings me back to the scene of that woman who locked herself out of her car, and turned to her dearest: mama.

I have no one to turn to. 95+ resident cats in the shelter have no one to turn to, the countless of those on the street and in the graveyard have no one to turn to, because despite what people said, the fact is, less than ten fingers ever comment, even fewer than those ever share.

By fate as per the new algorithm, we will be drowned. We will disappear, and one day, if ever, when people snapped out of it “Oh, I remember that girl in Indonesia… what’s her name?” by then we’ll long be gone.

How many people in this world can see the future coming? I am one of the lucky few now.

No, I will not ask people to please share. I won’t spam everyone with behest to comment. I won’t pester anyone by reminding them every single second that we want to live, we need to live, please share.

Naturally, people will share what is dear to them, be it political news or hilarious photos of their relatives, or copy and paste those chain mail post that wrote “Hug your closest ones today because everyone can have cancer…” or “This is X disease awareness month so please copy and paste…”

People will naturally share what is dearest to them, even if those are the click bait post that said “If I am your friend comment with a word of how we met”

I have some of those “fun” post in my page, and they have like one thousand people seen, but how many seen the real post? less than two hundred.

While I do not have to have one thousand people see my post, or like me, or love me, or “admire what Josie do”, should I believe that what I do really matters?

Next come the uproar. The journalists who put their time and great effort to style their news that people will read their first; the editors who wring their brain to put the correct words so that it will show up in the small window as Facebook flashes their boosted post, the celebrities on their way up or on their road down, the charities who scrape heart and soul to survive against the marketing propaganda of larger “non profit organization” that spend millions of their donations for marketing agents and pay their director’s house.

Facebook’s answer? “There will be anxiety”

That’s it.

We all know there is no point writing these nags to the people “Please, please share” or “far and wide!”
We all know people never listen, right?

If what we do is important, if what we do means a lot to people, if what I wrote is good enough, people will share it regardless; people will come regardless. They will remember. This is why I never blame Facebook (nor do I blame those around me who suggested Facebook is to blame; they are trying to be kind and I appreciate it)

There are other things too; like God separate the lambs from the goats, like His harvesters separates the grass from the grain. I will have the chance to see who really does care, and who said it and never meant it, or those who never exist beyond adding their names to the numbers.

I am quoting one of the vice presidents in Facebook, which hold high value to me and why I most value the few good men who really care:

“If you bother to actually take the time to respond to something that I posted, a picture of maybe my two kids. It’s a pain actually to type on a mobile phone. Liking is pretty easy; …”

I will have the chance to decide with them, where are we going from here, and what we are going to do about it, and how; and I will be honored to do so with those who really matters.

I, who never had that chance to sit down with my friends and family in real life, due to differences in the value of animals and way of life, now will have the chance to confer with real friends and family who shares the same goal and visions.

The Whiskers’ Syndicate and I will see to whom we really hold any importance, and who we are travelling down this journey with.

Until that day come, whether we will reach Canaan, or end in Calvary.

~ 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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