Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pets are NOT things to be dumped when you have had enough of them

Having followed the blog posts by Au and Target entitled Katz and Other Tales at http://blog.lepak.com/, for quite awhile now, I think time is ripe for me to contribute my two cents worth on this topic. Taking in pets can do wonders to a person's life. However, there are many factors to consider if/when one plans to take in pets as a companion in life.

Some of these factors include time and money to be invested into taking in a pet, also space to be provided for the pet, especially when the pet is a dog or cat. Not to mention, the duration of commitment you can give to the pet and your health condition too. People who are allergic to animal fur should consider pets that either do not have fur or shed considerably less fur throughout its lifetime.

The most common type of pets that can be found in Malaysian homes are usually a cat or a dog. Some Malaysians also loved to keep fishes, common species of turtles or tortoises, hamsters, rabbits, birds or chicken. As for me, I am keeping a female and a male Siamese fighting fish, i.e. betta splendens as pets. This is actually a compromise with my parents as I am living with them, and they absolutely cannot stand the sight of cats and dogs in the garden.

Ideally, I would love to keep a dog as a pet but after seeing how irresponsible some of the neighbours are in keeping dogs as pets, I have resigned to the fact I don't want be a nuisance to other people. Also, I don't like the idea of dumping the poor animal once I'm unable to keep it as a pet. Thus, this reality check found me keeping two fighting fishes instead.

 The female betta splendens 

The male betta splendens

The neighbourhood I have lived in for almost 30 years is a nice and peaceful place to live. However, some inconsiderate neighbours dumping their cats and dogs once they were unable to keep them destroyed the niceness and peacefulness of the neighbourhood. Stray cats and dogs roamed the streets and deposit unwanted  pressies at the residents' gates and compounds.

Yup, now I even have two different stray cats that have taken a liking to my car. One cat is black and has white socks who likes to lounge on the roof of the car and another a charcoal grey striped one loves to lounge under the car. These two cats often leave clumps of fur on my car, at the very least not some sort of unwanted pressies. I used to shoo them away initially, only to find them stubborn as a mule and they keep reappearing. I have resigned to the fact that I should make peace with them and let them do as they please as long as they don't dirty and scratch my car; as well as they don't make any attempts to enter my house scaring the living daylights out of Mom.

However, the presence of stray cats, coupled with stray and owned dogs meant that I have to put with the constant orchestra of meowing and barking almost every minute of the day, and it gets worse during the night and early hours in the morning, before the break of dawn. It's no fun trying to catch the ever elusive sleep in this ridiculously continuous din.

No thanks to some incosiderate neighbours these poor animals cause unnecessary incovenience to people like my family who doesn't keep a cat or dog as a pet. And I noticed that my fishes are sometimes stressed out by the noise made by these kitties and doggies. They should NOT have kept these animals as pets if they were NOT able to commit themselves to do so. Keeping a pet requires discipline and commitment if one is to derive the benefits of doing so.

Unless one is willing to be disciplined and able to invest the required commitment in keeping a pet, let's not create unnecessary suffering to these innocent animals.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Golden Mountain Chronicles by Laurence Yep

Golden Mountain Chronicles is a series of nine books written by Laurence Yep about the intergenerational story of the Young family from Three Willows Village in the Guangdong Province in China. This series tells the story of how the Young family and their friends were forced to flee from civilian war, war against the British and natural disasters to America to seek an alternative means of survival for their families.  Following are the list of titles in reading order:
  • The Serpent's Children (1849)
  • Mountain Light (1855)
  • Dragon's Gate (1867) (Newbery Honor) 
  • The Traitor (1885)
  • Dragonwings (1903) (Newbery Honor)
  • Dragon Road (1939) (originally titled The Red Warrior)
  • Child of the Owl (1960)
  • Sea Glass (1970)
  • Thief of Hearts (1995)
The story takes place in the late 19th century right through most of the 20th century chronicling the first and second generations of the Young family seeking for means of survival for their family in China by travelling to the Land of Golden Mountain or America for work. They faced tremendous hardship after arriving to work in America and circumstances forced them to stay on there. These early generations of the Young family and their friends settling in America as migrant workers were faced with cultural dilemma and problems adapting to the American environment, as they tried to fit into a stark and very different culture and environment from the one they have known most of their lives. They experienced tremendous challenge trying to fit into the American culture and environment, as how the story was being told in the first three books.

The subsequent generations were born in America. They eventually laid down their roots there, however, this proved to be a challenge for each generation of the respective families as they adapt to a different culture and environment, not only to be able to survive in a racist America but also be able to send their hard-earned money back to China. The latter six books described how the generations that were born in America were being immersed completely in the American culture and environment. They are then faced with identity and cultural issues, as they are considered half-American and half-Chinese. The Young family and their friends eventually begin to accept the fact that they are still very much Chinese even though they have adopted America as their homeland.

The Golden Mountain Chronicles series is categorised as children's books but I actually enjoyed reading them very much. The story portrays cultural and identity issues in which are easily identifiable by readers. It is written based on actual incidents happening during the said era and these incidents were recorded in the American literature of that time, however, the characters were purely fictional. Readers of all ages will find this set of books an interesting read as the story has been written in a simple and straight forward manner.