PS” Sorry for the “dirty” background. Blogger will not allow uploading spreadsheet, and I print two sides for sustainability 🙂
Normally I didn’t celebrate birthdays. Families still send me greetings but I don’t usually go to a restaurant, or buy something for myself, or get my self plenty of attention. Surprises come once in a while, but my birthday this year brought so many unprecedented surprises that I have to share just a little bit more, as a formal gratitude to all involved, and to Our Father in Heaven who send hordes of gracious people for me to stumble upon.
The first gift I received came far before my birthday from a fellow crafter Andrea. She sent me a few precious jewellery from her charity shop.
But that’s not yet all the magic, but we will get there near the bottom.
Then comes a sweet surprise from Germany:
The 24th of October is my youngest brother’s birthday. God is playing games with my mother. Her first child (me) is born on Oct 25 first thing in the morning (just a minute pass midnight!) and her last child (my youngest brother) was born on Oct 24 at the end of the day. No one in my family notice, but I have God that works mysterious way, so I just laugh it off.
That’s not my point. I am working late that day and my cell phone has been vibrating almost non stop. I thought it was broken, though seriously I don’t expect a brand new cell phone broke that easily.
I was shocked to see almost 60 notification in my facebook personal page or The Syndicate’s page, and since I am unpopular, I thought someone is spamming the facebook, or that it’s petition day or something the like. I learned later on that it was the mischief of my sister at heart, who posted a challenge on FB, saying she will donate $1 to The Whiskers’ Syndicate for each birthday gift on the The Whiskers’ Syndicate facebook page:
The mischief was exacerbated by Team EFA‘s captain Nicole Planchon (she owned Brizel4TheAnimals, a wonderful animal charity shop on Etsy!) who posted Lori’s challenge all over Etsy For Animal Team’s FaceBook page:
Throughout that day and beyond (since Indonesia is at least 12 hours advanced from USA and Europe) the two posts, along with shares from my other sister Ekeim Teeuwise and EFA team mate Elizabeth Ruffing (she made cutest slug toys in the world!), set my personal and Whiskers’ Syndicate’s page on fire with birthday wishes, some brought in friends that I never knew is on FaceBook, and many other from complete stranger, who generously shared Lori’s challenge without knowing who I am or what I do. Perhaps what they know is that the wish will help feed hungry kitties, but their wishes made my heart bloom and make a stranger happy on her birthday is still a charity.
A package from Japan:
People often mistaken me for a boy because they heard my late father calling me “my son” while it is actually “my sun” which give idea to my uncles and aunt for the package and it’s wishes “for our sunshine”.
The weirdest phone call comes from the post office. They want to deliver a package from Australia (guess who?) but my door is locked and I am not home the whole day so they ask me what to do. I picked the package up during my break time and get another gift from my Australian parents:
My mother’s butterflies made me smile, the last sentence in her card (above all those kisses) sent me to tears. Away from my family for a very long time, and live in a hostile community devoid of seeds of virtue, her heart felt expression is the warmth of the sun touching a frozen ice desert.
My Indonesian mother sent a smiling bomb:
The wrap is a humble, plain, printing paper with the message hand written with pen right on top, but it hides another big surprise from one of my brothers (not the one who celebrate his birthday on Oct 24):
Lenovo Ideaphone S 890 is the most recent issue (launched January 2013) from the ex-IBM bought by China and it’s yet to enter Indonesia. My brother was abroad so he didn’t know that I already bought myself a cell phone, however, this one has dual sim card so I can connect and call simultaneously. I am sure he consider this phone because he knows that I spend the whole day on the street. Still, it’s a nice and generous gift from afar!
Coming next is my American “mother”:
And a long time friend, back to my Care2 days:
Then entered a long silence over the cell phone, and I think the party is over. By late night Oct 26 (11:02 pm as indicated by my post below) the fund raiser stopped at USD 669 out of USD 700, and I think I will end the month as is.
Now, remember my friend Andrea, who started all this up there? She left this for me to find the next morning:
While I am sleeping, she covers what is left to fund raise for Whiskers’ Syndicate, and by doing so, ending the birthday bash that sent me shock waves across three days.
Not really though, there’s another one:
I thought that dried orchid was dead (see the leaves), but I keep it anyway and water it every day, and it gives me a full bloom on the 25th.
The name of the orchid? Golden shower.
A divine message from above that made my day.
Oh, and just in case everyone is wondering what I did on my birthday?
I worked double shift during the weekend (24 – 27 Oct 2013) to pay USD 350 mortgage due on Nov 5 🙂
There’s an ancient Japanese saying that when someone going to die, his or her life is played before them.
I am not going to die, but every year on my birthday, my life replayed before me, and along with each moment, my gratitude is overflowing to those who crosses over my path and send me strength to climb every mountain.
Below is only a tiny part of them, but you are all welcome to taste the joys of my path along animal rescue, and all the blessings I have been abundantly showered in the forms of friends and supporter around the globe.
Happy many returns of the day, I think I know where that saying is coming from.
The prayers rally had begun. People are rushing home with their motorcycles, or cars, weaving a random mess on the main street from my house. The impatient honking, the urging zooms, the careless turning.
It will be the same any given day, but it’s worse when people just want to get ready to party.
At the break of dawn tomorrow, when all this chaotic noises will fall silent, a cursed day will be upon us, upon me, at the very least.
Literally across the town, and around this merciless country, the floor of every mosque will be bathed with blood from animal sacrifice. The pure, light air of the hillside will be temporarily replaced by the suffocating stench of bloody iron, mixed with the sickening odour of raw flesh, and then, burning coal, and after that, barbecues.
The ritual supposed to revoke within human heart, the spirit of sharing with the less-than-have, and by doing so, flush the sins of greed out of ourselves and purify our heart in the face of God.
Somewhere in time, however, the ritual shifted into get together time for families, and then it drifted further into barbecue party day. People still brought in their goat, or cow, but those who purchased the sacrifice also waited in line, at the very front, choosing the best parts of the animals that they want, go home with plastic bag stained with blood, where their wives and children awaits with seasoning and watery mouth, impatient to start the joy. Leaving the worst part for the less-than-have. They are of lesser degree, they deserve the less.
According to the newspapers, or internet, or whatever channel people are watching or listening, every year, those less-than-have have to push and squeeze each other to get their rightful share, running from mosque to mosque to get their prize, and growing number of those are crushed to their death among the pile of men trying to get hold of a barbecue party, just for that one day in a year.
My mind wanders for a minute as I joined the rush on the street heading home, about what kind of God that demands that the floors of his house be bathed with blood, but only for a minute.
Because really, I should get myself ready with my own sacrifice. It’s long weekend, and I only have two sheets of five thousand Rupiahs (about half a USD) in my pocket and a few small changes. If I am being a good girl and sacrifice some dinners I might hold on until Wednesday, when working day restarted and I can show up for some side job to keep food on the table. Meanwhile, I just need to save money by walking half an hour uphill in the cold wind so I don’t have to pay some bike taxi to get home.
And then in the corner of my eye I saw a cat crouching in front of a man selling traditional fried chicken, his body frail and seemingly so sick, trying to beg silently for a piece of meal, when the man leaning defiantly on his big motorcycle with one leg crossed the other, arrogantly puffed smoke from his cigarette as he ignorantly watching his cell phone, as if nothing exist between his world and this.
I am not suppose to look; and even if I see it anyway I suppose to ignore it. Every day, hundreds of street animals died, and another one shouldn’t be no different.
My house is full. One more drop, and the cup will spill. The rain already come, but my medicine bag is still mostly empty. Indonesian Rupiah against US Dollar plummeted, and after years of Pro Plan for the cats, I can no longer afford to pay over half a million Rupiah for a sack of cat food that lasted only 2 days and a half. The government keep saying that Indonesia is safe, safe, safe. We are strong, strong, and rich, but inflation is already 10% down below their thrones and fancy cars, and I can’t be sure if it will not be 15% or more by the end of this year, for which they will find another reason to blame.
There are about 15 cats waiting in line to be spayed or neutered before they start yowling, spraying and sitting on top of each other and brings an influx of kittens into my already overflowing backyard, and Whiskers’ Syndicate shall come down into chaos.
One cat overlooked is OK. One cat sacrificed for the sake of forty, it’s OK.
But even as I keep telling myself it’s OK to just pass, my legs made their U turn and in a few minutes I am already behind the crouched cat. The man had moved somewhere nearer to his fried chicken stall, leaving the crooked beggar in its current position.
You see? I am not wrong. For that man, nothing exists between his big motorbike and his damned cell phone, a pride of Indonesian man.
When I lift him up by his armpit the cat yowled; but his yowled a sore voice, far away to resemble a meow. His body is stiff out of cold,and his skin is hard with crust. His belly is round and big, but his body is only bone and skin. Every other breath I heard him struggling to draw some air into his lung.
As I carry him inside my jacket, I could feel he tried to resist, but too tired to struggle. It doesn’t take long before he just stay still, probably trying to feel the warmth that he almost forgot. I ended up using one sheet of those five thousands Rupiahs to hire a bike taxi and get me uphill faster.
When got home, I perched him on top of the table and give him another sacrifice. A bowl full of cooked minced beef and chicken with scrambled egg for the nursing ladies. Tomorrow I will use the last sheet of five thousand Rupiah to get the ladies another portion.
He eat like the devil.
I touched his skin, but he care only of the warm slur in the bowl that is a silver platter perhaps this only time in his entire life. I pinched his scruff but it didn’t come back down.
He is dehydrated, and even a raisin still look better than his chapped ears and wrinkling neck. I grabbed the fluid bag and get him ready for a subcutaneous fluid. I know he won’t care as much if something stings a little behind him, so I pinch away and push the needle.
I am right again. He didn’t care. He didn’t care even when I have to keep pinching for a while to make way for the fluid to come in, as his skin stick together in the absence of natural fluid.
My fluid bag is half empty in minutes. It dripped like rain.
Between his snort and sneeze he just gobble down his meat. I decided that since his sinus is so bad I took antibiotic first instead of de-wormer, and squirt it into his bowl. Again, he didn’t care, but he eat so greedily that he ended up throwing half of his stomach a few minutes later, including the medicine.
It is obvious that there will be no use trying to tell him not to eat so fast, so I just give him some more food, one spoon at the time, adding softened dry food, and re done the medicine.
He is into nebulizer next. When he’s done, green slime is oozing from his nose, but that’s not what made me shudder.
His face; his droopy, tired eyes, his crooked nose, his half ridden mouth cavity, his charred ear. The remaining two fangs that are in his lower jaw protrudes out in an oblique angle to end almost right under his nose.
And then, his crusty skin disease. His dried, wrinkled skin, his dandruff, the loose skin flakes dangling on his coarse fur, his discoloured coat, semi bald tail, his crooked back.
I saw worse, but it’s still hard not to gulp at such grotesque view that is now looking back at me, trying to figure what comes next.
Perhaps he went through so much already that nothing really matters. Perhaps he walk through the hell and back again that nothing really surprised or scared him.
But to live to such age, to hang on just another day, to keep putting one of his leg in front of the other, and go on living, he must have made a lot of sacrifices.
Until he can take none other, and give in to beg for a piece of recognizance, though from a wrong man.
Which make his guardian angel hit his forehead and instead, guide the right person to pick him up, and share him her sacrifices.
a.k.a Handsome Teddy Bear Boy.
That’s what our new rescue will be called if we lined up all the finalists.
Let’s see all the entries again:
3. Teddy Bear + 5 votes
5. Baron +4 votes
6. Cooper +4 votes
8. Oscar + 7 votes
10. Sebastian +15 votes
11. Handsome Boy +6 votes
12. Grayson + 2 votes
According to the tally here is the position:
1. Sebastian (15)
2. Oscar (7)
3. Handsome Boy (6)
4. Teddy Bear (5)
6. Baron and Cooper (4)
7. Grayson (2)
8. Teddy, Bear, Menanggung, Dante, Caesar on the last places.
Until late Sept 23, 2013, it seems like the fate of Sebastian has been sealed. The name burst out of a sudden like a shooting star, until suddenly, near midnight, our email indicated last entry for the contest. Cooper catches up with 7 more votes.
It’s such a sprint, though still not enough to zoom pass through Sebastian; but it seems like the voter realize that too, because five minutes later this fervent supporter added 13 more votes to Cooper, totalling 20 more votes for the name that represent the coppery colour of our rescue’s captivating eyes.
So the last result is:
1. Cooper 24 votes
2. Sebastian 15 votes
3. Oscar 7 votes
4. Handsome Boy 6 votes
6. Teddy Bear 5 votes
7. Baron 4 votes
7. Grayson 2 votes
8. Teddy, Bear, Menanggung, Dante, Caesar on the last places.
We thank you for all the contestants. In our utmost honestly, we have never dreamed that our event will be so merry with numerous entries because we can only offer a humble handbag and pouch.
We also thank our benefactress Lori Skaggs, who, taking the opportunity of the game, is fanning the fire by challenging every contestant to vote like crazy because each vote and, or entry will be matched. This coinciding challenge literally brought the game to a new height, in which everyone can have fun, win prizes, do good, and double the impact.
However, the ultimate joy in our hearts does not come from the festivities of the game. It comes from knowing that although we are ridiculed, abused, neglected on the streets of our own homeland, we have fellow cats and their people rooting on us, cheering us along the way, and share the joys and sorrows of our Quest to Canaan together. It gives us strength, and warmth, and power to put one more paw in front of the other, with hope that maybe, we will be liberated on the next step.
Thank you again, your participation means more than just donation. It means more than a heart beat.
Now, when we are all heating up for a new name, what does the subject do?
Congratulations to Trish Geidel from Australia for winning through her entry “Cooper” and Thank You for loving “Cooper” truly, madly, deeply. Since Google and Blogger kick us out, we will be sending your gifts on the first week of October.
As appeared in a post by Lori Skaggs on Facebook
Hi all Lori again.
I wanted to let you know that Josie may not be on much for the next few days. She’s working on upgrading the website and I promised to watch over the FB page for her. So I’m here talking to each and every one of you. You know Josie and you know the awesome work she does. You may not know this however. October is the start of monsoon season in Indonesia. In a few weeks, Josie will once again be fighting that horrific bacterial infection that takes so many of Banding’ s street cats. She will also be facing flooding in the sactuary.
There’s something we can help her with that will help keep the kitties living in the sanctuary dry and healthy…That’s donations. You all know I’m doing what I can to rally you all to donate $5 or $10 each so we can make sure the cats have what they need but the truth is that the $700 to $800 we raise each month doesn’t leave any extra for things like building a cat tree for the kitties to play on or a drain to keep the kitties dry or an isolation area for sick kitties. We are like the little boy who put his finger in the hole in the same to keep it from breaking. We get the job done but it’s not the fix that is needed. On behalf of Josie and the Syndicate, I am asking each of you to do what you can this month to make it the best month we’ve given Josie. There are now 166 friends on this page. If each of us donated just $10 that would be $1,660 and enough to make the sanctuary even safer, dryer and healthier for the cats. We need your help. It’s that simple.
In response to this heart touching post:
Josie T Liem
As my sister Lori has indicated, the domain registration for The Whiskers’ Syndicate will end on October 5 this year. It’s not supposed to be a problem if the rule is the same like the previous year. However, this year Google is changing the game. Instead of allowing us to pay with Paypal, they required all subscribers (Blogger/Blogspot) to pay through their own payment gateway which called Google checkout or Google Wallet or credit card. Google Checkout/wallet is only available in USA or UK, and I don’t have a credit card. Indonesian debit card is not accepted elsewhere in the world. This means I have to move the entire website to other place, or The Whiskers’ Syndicate is history.
If you all care enough to drop by to http://www.whiskerssyndicate.com, you will have the chance to go through our journey to Canaan since 2010, when I was given the domain name “whiskerssyndicate.com” as birthday gift from a supporter in Sweden, and through the website, has since have met the most wonderful, generous, kind hearted people all over the world who join our quest through their comments, emails, supports, and shares. I do not want such precious bonds been thrown to the “recycle bin”, erased, deleted, dumped – whatever the term used, by some techno geek in a gigantic company who might not even know what he/she is deleting, nor take chance to understand that without the website, Whiskers Syndicate will no longer exist to give hope to as much as 750,000 (and most likely more) stray animals (dog, cats, birds, macaque monkey, etc) who count on their survival in a tiny packets of food dropped on the street which they can drag to a safe place to eat.
I can guarantee you that beyond the borders of Google’s Blogspot, the price is going to be swollen because we have to pay for our own hosting, and typing our own code. But once again, I refuse to just sit and weep, and for this resolution I am given two wonderful sisters and friends: Lori And Ekeim, and as I scramble to move the entire website to a new place only within one week, I will count on them to speak on behalf of the abused and neglected animals who fend themselves on unforgiving Bandung streets.
Can they count on you as well? Only you can answer.