WHERE THE GREEN GRASS GROWS

She went to where the green grass grows; on the warm sunlit hills. Though the night is long, and the journey is never ending.

She went to where the green grass grows, waving by the gentle wind blow. Though her tummy was crumbling, and her tiny legs were failing. Along that hot burning road, she looked back, but where she left behind is still not home.

She went to where the green grass grows, wet from the morning dew. Though her throat was choking and her eyes were dry. She ran under those bent palette; full of bottled water, but there was no drip that would quench her thirst.

She went to where the green grass grows, long may it come, unreachable it may be. Though she stopped more often, though she rested and keep herself together.

Until a pair of hands touched her back, and lift her up, to the air, domain she never knows. Though they hold her tight, and it’s dark all around, she heard that rhythm, the heart beat, the breath, the thickening bosom, and deflated lungs. One after another, two and many more.

And she went to where the green grass grows, when the hands that hold her opens, and she runs on the warm sunlit hills.

She went to where the green grass grows, when the voice from above whispered “Welcome home, Heidi” waving by the gentle wind blow.

She went to where the green grass grows, as she ran to kibble filled plate with fragrant smell and crunchy taste, dip her tongue to a pond like bowl, wet and cool just like morning dew.

She went to where the green grass grows. The night is long, and the journey never ending, but as long as it may, it comes, and there she will dwell forever.

~ Josie

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LOOT THE BURNING HOUSE

For Americans, it’s the presidential election 2016. For Britons, it’s Brexit. For France, Emmanuel Macron.

But even after the election is over on April 17, the social media war did not die. As our general election commission perform voting calculation, hoaxes, fake news, lies, slandering, social media war made our peaceful country into house of flying dagger.

The presidential contender and his Islam hardliner friends continue their relentless provocation, and in the bulls eye of their call for persecution are us: Chinese descent and non Muslim. All the hollow prejudice used in 1998 racial cleansing that washed out thousands of Chinese Indonesian and non Muslim came back alive. If we are not “native” and not Islam, we ought to die.

When the election commission announced the voting result, riots broke in our capital leaving six dead – now seven – and hundreds injured. For two days starting May 22nd, the capital was in the state of emergency. Eight countries including USA, UK and EU have issued travel warnings. Hundreds of businesses burned, many offices and business districts are destroyed.

In the attempt to curb fake news, hoax and slandering, the government had shut down access to social media: Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp from May 22 to May 25, which is why I lost touch with my beloved Whiskers’ Syndicate.

Although hundreds of our Armed and Police Force had regained control, the contender officially contested the voting result, tension will continue to rise until the supreme court verdict on May 29.

It becomes difficult for me, Chinese descent and non Muslim – hence a double minority – to find a job I need to keep my shelter and my family alive, due to the burning racial prejudice. It becomes even more difficult because I have no access to the Internet.

It is impossible because May is ending and with the new month comes Muslim holiday when businesses shut down for at least two weeks. As we stand at the end of this week, we only raised USD 210.

Then comes a message to our page: Please try again to get more money the cats need you [sic]

She has no [bleep] idea, and I could have broken my own fist on a stranger’s pretty face.

Still, I am trying to restrain myself from commenting on any messages or comments knowing full well the unrest around had affected me and the volatility of my emotions at this time. Above all, I know full well the importance of a delicate approach for the livelihood of our shelter, despite my natural fiery character.

I try my best, in most part as my respect and appreciation for our loyal supporter’s hard work and efforts, as well as precious assistance from our admins and our community outreach front liners, who has been vital in keeping Whiskers’ Syndicate alive.

The rest of my strength comes from this baby, and many more in my home just like him.

His name is Misha. He is two months old, starving and sick, sitting alone by the pillar of a motorbike taxi shelter just outside the bus terminal across the street from a small landfill. If I hadn’t grabbed him off, an ignorant six years old boy would have stomped him to death as he boasted about his new fire cracker he just bought.

For a week, he can only drink water and honey, sometimes diluted nutritional gel. On his sunny days, egg yolk and antioxidants.

When he is stronger the next week, we cleaned him, and remove the entire nation of skin parasite.

One week later, he can eat soft food.

Two days ago when I woke up in the morning, a smiling face over a deep sleep.

For a decade, a face like his has been my life purpose. For many nights and many days through that decade, many of you have walked this quest to Canaan by our very side.

I hate it so much to call it quits, but across my idealism; our idealism, we have to face reality.

Reality that we cannot fly without wings for a long time, reality that we cannot continue without adequate resources, reality that this photo that brighten my day, Misha’s face, will be the last.

We are giving our best effort, each and every moment, but as much as the strength of a nation is only as strength as its people, the strength of our shelter is only as much as us.

Many times in the past, together, we have erased that word “only” as we raise from the depth of hellhole back to life. Many times we have shown the world the power of small people standing in unity.

I hope we can still do the same today, and make many more Mish’sa who otherwise will only be a spatter stomped to death by ignorant six years old boy on the street.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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THE OTHER BABY

There was not just one cat in the small food court, where I took the baby who was kicked by military boot.

The diner was full that lunch hour, and he slept on one of the few remaining chairs.

Few patrons who walked into the diner and saw him, moved away peacefully, seeking other place, or waited for other patron to finish. Some were smoking, some were chatting; but even before they were seated, the food provider would come and ask them what they ordered, so they won’t need to wait too long as soon as they can find a place.

Came a woman with fancy clothing, lipstick thick and red as blood, walked right pass the line and saw the cat sleeping. I was a few steps away, picking the baby and trying to calm her down, when I saw the woman shake the chair, trying to get the cat to move.

He didn’t. So she used her hand; that failed to cheat the sign of age, though her finely manicured, red nails were trying so hard. She took her handbag off her shoulder, and slapped the sleeping cat off her chosen chair.

She was shocked to see me sitting on that chair, as if I didn’t see anything, with two kittens sitting on my lap.

I was too busy taking picture of my new rescues, to measure how big her thick eyeliner was, and everybody else were too deaf to hear her shouting that she was there first and some *bleep* took her chair like a *bleep*

She had to wait until my ride came, though by that time, all the others who waited for an empty table all got theirs. I could still hear how she shouted to this seller and that seller, to make this order and that order, and to make those first before others’.

The parking lot guy said, she is a local government officer; but no one takes her seriously.

He was just as badly undernourished as the baby. He was just as sick, he was just as suffered.

For three days, both were crying in pain and fear restlessly; but while the baby who was kicked eventually stop crying when he crossed to the land of healing, he stopped crying as he picked up his pace, though very slowly.

His piercing and relentless cry earn him his name: Sonic.

Here he is, three weeks later.

~ Josie

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WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY

We spent the whole day weaving our way through the increasing madness of Bandung traffic; creeping inch by inch, slipping here and there, so long as we can gain advantage a wee bit more.

In my hand I have a white envelope and a vial of blood. Under normal circumstances, that one vial will only take fifteen minutes to arrive at the lab, two hours processing, and result immediately by email. In the days of Ramadhan; the largest Muslim festival, of which community our country host the largest, that fifteen minutes become one hour.

I rub that long bump in that white envelope with my thumb; just once. That vial contains one and a half cc that will determine the life and death of our Julius, and that is why at all cost I will deliver it myself, when no one cares enough to do it knowing the full challenge of the traffic.

For three days no, Julius refused to drink; refused to eat. All the muscle that build his handsomeness is now gone, though his voice is still loud, piercing even deep at night.

He sounded just like a cat in heat, so we thought, it was the remnant of his hormone leaking out one last time after his neutering. That was what our vet said as well.

As plausible as it is, it doesn’t sit well with us. Something is wrong, so we took him early morning before the road went mad. In the initial checking, our vet found many little bumps in his kidney.

We want to be sure, so she ordered a blood test, but by then the roads had become complicated. Since no one want to go take the blood to the lab, we will do it ourselves.

Julius has kidney failure. He is only two years young; but the earliest days he spent on the road until I picked him up, emaciated, from the pile of garbage, nobody knows.
The earliest days that rendered his tiny body so weak he can barely stand, nobody knows.

I regret that all the best that I have been giving him cannot undo the damage; but although I cannot catch the cloud, nor prevent it to pour down rain, I can hold the silver lining.

It’s the chance that he can still be alive with proper medication, with tailor made diet, with love and care, just the same and even more. It’s the opportunity to up my game, and help one more. It’s the clarity above others, that Julius himself keeps on fighting.

It’s the truth that if there is a will, there is a way.

With less advanced veterinary technology, the road is longer and narrower: meticulous food intake, supplements, detox, subcu everyday, and frequent vet visit.

But Julius has the will, so we will find a way.

The journey to his recovery will be costly; and cost is not my close friend, nor my talent, and even less so my privilege. Funding is luxurious, tiny, and far between. It’s a rare species and very hard to get.

But Julius has the will, so we will find a way.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

 

RIGHT LOVE AT THE WRONG TIME

His message was short and straightforward: “I picked up a kitten off the street on my way to the factory; she has no mother, can you pick her up?”

I wasn’t expecting any of that. My hand was glued to my cellphone waiting for an update about Miko, and here comes another trouble.

I was about to say no. I have five cats at the vet right now: Rexie has Megacolon and requiring surgery, Miss Kitty has a lot of blood work and X Ray to do (turned out she has Toxoplasmosis, and so needs medical treatment for at least three months), Sassy had a sudden fluid built up, requiring emergency treatment, and Ginger needs a check-up as she has FIP. I have 90 cats shelter to run, a colony to care for, mortgage and bills to pay, and three jobs to keep.

He told me the cat is a baby. He cannot bring her to the factory, he cannot drive back home because it’s in the next town, and he will definitely not be leaving the baby in the car while he is working.

When I finally meet him a few hours later, somewhere in the other end of town, he told me he saw a guy with a motorcycle throw her to the roadside, and the kitten had run to the middle of the street in panic. Another motorcycle rider swept her off, but threw her back to the roadside, so she will not be killed, but obviously, the kitten ran back crying to the middle of that busy road. First for her mother, second for her life, as stupid as it might seem.

In all  the mess we’re stirred into, we brought her home. She is only four weeks of age and she came with a hope for salvation, so we had to give her a chance.

Even when we don’t know how much of a chance we can give, with our grave financial challenges at this moment.

Even when we don’t know how to keep her, when we can barely keep ourselves alive through the week.

Even when all I have left is faith and hope, neither of the two will feed the empty tummy of a four weeks old baby, and ninety more at the other side of the window.

Even when all that is left to do is trying my best.

~ Josie

paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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Please help with our mounting vet bills

This is Christine posting. Josie and Sheilla are, I hope, getting a desperately needed rest.

There will be a more comprehensive update in the next few days, but for now I will share what I know, along with some of Josie’s own words:

This baby girl was picked up by a local dog rescuer; he took her away from the middle of the street on his way to work in a factory. He didn’t have time to take her to his home, couldn’t bring her to work, and wouldn’t leave her in the car, so Josie and Sheilla picked her up. I hope to receive more photos of her shortly.

There are several cats under veterinary care right now, and of course this means there will be bills to pay. Both our rescuers are working hard to make ends meet, look after all the shelter cats and the street cats, and pay the normal monthly shelter bills on top of that. It’s a bit overwhelming, to say the least, and Josie and I were having a conversation about it earlier. In her words:

“I am still here. I will always be. It is harder to do so at times and even more so now than ever, but I have walked too far to turn back now, and I have so much, not just many, at a stake.

“The most important is, I am no longer alone. I might be the rest of my life so far, but that has changed and for the better. I try not to think how long, as I used to. I try not to think so much. I will just keep thinking that I am here and now, and this is what I’ve got so I will do my best with all that.

“I need funds desperately, my vet bill is crazy and there are still regular bills to pay, but it’s darkest before dawn. I will keep remembering that.”

You all help us so much, all the time, and we are so grateful.

If it’s possible to reach out a little more at this time, by sharing this post, by donating, or by continuing to keep us in your hearts and thoughts, it would be a huge help and gift to us.

We’re going to do everything we can to keep going and helping the cats of Bandung. We would be honoured if you would share this journey with us.

https://www.paypal.me/whiskerssyndicate

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