Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Angry folks

Have we become a nation of angry folks?

The newspapers seem to frequently carry reports of somebody apologising publicly, or people demanding apologies. It is like any inadvertent comment by a political leader, any unthinking joke by public figures, or even photos of mischievous fun can trigger off a storm of fury and baying for blood. Within a few hours after the alleged offence, we will have news that somebody has apologised, or clarified a statement, or promised to be more sensitive in the future.

Dear friends, in this age of constant media attention and amplification, we all have to grow thicker skins. I don't think we have become more offensive or insensitive as individuals, but digital ways of recording and instant publication mean that it is effortless to pick up and broadcast anything vaguely unpleasant, which, in the past, would have faded immediately and become non-existent. STOMP leads the way in becoming an online book of wrongs. It has become so easy to scream to the world that you are offended and fan fires of resentment with kindred spirits.

Frankly, I am offended by all this offendedness and offendability. Please don't let political correctness become a form of oppressive extremism. Can we just live and let live? We live in such a diverse society, teeming with different attitudes and opinions, many faiths and lifestyle preferences, personal concerns and priorities. Somebody is bound to say or do something you don't like. Isn't it tiring to constantly make sure that no one infringes on the least of your rights?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rabbits' Breakfast at Tiffany's

It takes a seriously crazy rabbit lover to do this, really - checking bunny pellets aka...poop.

The rabbits are moulting, and I don't like spotting hair in their poop - it could be a sign of slowing gut, apparently. After doing some basic research, I decided to replace one of their pellet meals with fresh vegetables. But the rabbits are so dreadfully spoilt! Not for them, common market vegetables like pak choy or kale. They turned their heads away in disgust. No, no, no...rabbits want gourmet salad from Cold Storage. You are so naughty!

Nom nom nom...the rabbits are enjoying their salad of baby leaves here. I know, thoroughly spoiling them right? I console myself that vegetables has to be cheaper than meat, if I had a dog.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rabbits get a group hug

If you keep your rabbit in a cage all the time, you'll never get to understand how clever they can be, and what a pity it is!

The rabbits at home get to come out in the morning and evening. When playtime is over, we never had to grab and carry them back to their cage. Instead, all I have to do is tap the cage door repeatedly, and they would race each other back to the cage. The secret is, then they would get their favourite food - salad, or wheatgrass, dried fruit or some treats. Once you have established the routine and they know what you want of them, it isn't difficult at all to get them to cooperate.

Rabbits have naturally clean habits. They are pretty good about going to the toilet only in the cage. Even when they are playing outside, they would return to use their litterbox before coming out to continue their fun. Better than some children huh?

Blackie and Whitty in a group hug - their bodies are soft and relaxed, and Blackie would be grinding his teeth gently, which is a sign of happiness in rabbits. They get a group hug before being hustled back to cage after playtime.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The herbal way out of sore throat

I still prefer not to have to take anti-biotics unless strictly necessary. It seems such a drastic treatment for simple ailments, so when V got flu and sorethroat, I put him on herbal remedies - Yin Qiao Pian+Vitamin C+Luo Han Guo and the soup below: Pang Da Hai (Boat Sterculia Seed)

It comes dried and stiff, but a little soaking makes it puff up. Then you can remove the skin and seed easily. Prepare about 5 seeds per person.

Actually if we drink about 20 bowls of cheng teng, we would get enough of this herb to cure our sorethroat, but since we don't want all the calories and sugar, the easier thing to do is to prepare a concentrated soup like this.
Some dried red dates and rock sugar are used to flavour the soup.

Here you go, a tasty way to treat sore throat. It makes the inflamation go down, and removes phlegm.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ninja Sleeping

My favourite hamster is plump and well-fed again, though sad to say, she still isn't eating normally. Groan! I have to crush her pellets for her, and put some of the seeds and grains through the food processor, plus mince vegetables if I feel particularly hardworking that day.

I'm not sure why she is suddenly unable to bite anymore. Her teeth have been trimmed, but it doesn't seem to help much :( This means review at the vet's. Luckily she still seems pretty happy. See how peacefully she is sleeping here, with her cheek pouches stuffed full of food.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

So long and thanks for all the fish

Ok, just when you think it can't get worse, it did.

He's up and disappeared, now rumoured to have left the country, with wild and wilder unconfirmed stories circulating. Before you know it, a new urban legend is born.

My jaw dropped because one never thought a mature adult would behave this way. It is impossible to trust that WP has a better man waiting in the wings to take over. Havent they put the best in the Dream team? And logically they would have fielded the next strongest in Hougang. Who else have they?

And now Hougang residents are going to set historical record for the number of times they go to the polls in two years.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Whitty close up

Whitty is in a pensive mood. It has been a noisy day so she is still sleepy.

 Perking up suddenly when she discovers me adding new hay to their feeding ball.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Gentleman Rabbit

Blackie is really quite a perfect gentleman. He is always scruplously hygienic, cleaning himself carefully every now and then. See how cute he looks when he washes his face.

Then he grooms his bunbride with love and gentleness. Lucky gal, Whitty.
Hm...some things human men could learn from him!

Monday, February 13, 2012

TwinSqueaks in a cave

We are always advised by petshops to get dwarf hamsters in a pair because 'they are social animals. They will get lonely'. But that is only half of the story.

Though dwarf hamsters do live in a community, they are pretty quarrelsome, and it could be better to let the hamster live alone than with a companion it can't get along with. It all depends on the hamsters' personalities. Two dominant hamsters would certainly fight with gory consequences. So we are lucky that the TwinSqueaks get along so well. Mind you, there is always plenty of squabbling and squeaking at night, mainly over food. Since they are happy with each other in every other way, we let them live together still.

Here, they were comfortably huddled in their favourite cool ceramic cave. Ninja was sleeping with her stomach facing up, and Friendly was enjoying a snack. Peace...but only for a while. Soon, Ninja woke up and tried to steal Friendly's food, then there was more squeaking again.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The truth will set you free

I’ve never seen a time when silence is so deafening.

Unlike noise, which always dies away, silence grows over time. In the vacuum that it exists (or does not exist), a cacophony of accusations and questions echoes. Will he continue to answer with a non-answer of “No comment”?

Difficult as it may be, revealing the truth is the best and only way to put an end to the saga. Things could get sensational for a while, but when the truth is clear, there is nothing more to speculate about, and there has to be a natural end to imaginary details. People will eventually lose interest, and find new stories in the media. Life could move on for everyone.

Besides, to attempt to deny without being able to deny is such flimsy defence.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rabbits want a group hug

养不教 父之过

Looks like all naughty creatures could do with a firm paternal hand. V decided to do some disciplining to curb the rabbits' marauding behaviour. First he used his hands to step on Whitty's paws to show her who's boss. Then he held the rabbits to the ground and brushed them vigorously. Lastly, before they get any treats, they have to submit to being squeezed together and petted.

The funniest thing is, both rabbits like it! Nope, no grudges towards the stern father. Here, they are asking him for another group hug - being squeezed together with some tough love. there a moral somewhere?

No more bitty behaviour from Whitty when I clean their cage too.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Domesticated Animals

This is how you know that Blackie is not a wild animal, though sometimes looking at the way he behaves, that is hard to tell.

In Perth, while we were interacting with the animals, we were always abjured strongly not to touch their heads, because they were wild animals who happen to be more tolerant of us. We could stroke their backs, but their heads and faces were off limits.

Blackie, on the other hand, really loves getting a nice head rub. See how his eyes are closing with pleasure.

An unusually coy moment:

Monday, February 06, 2012

Year of the Rabbit: An Epilogue

Saw this cartoon in the newspapers which made me laugh out loud. To think I thought that no one could have a dragon as a pet. 

On a more serious note, if you are considering getting a pet, how about adopting a rabbit from House Rabbit Society? It is sad that there are many rabbits looking for a new home :( now that Rabbit Year is over. Only serious pet lovers need apply. 

Friday, February 03, 2012

All in the family

There is no doubt there is some kind of pet-owning gene in our family, though there is no accounting for taste. Whenever my parents have new visitors, he/she would be warned: Look out for the turtle. Though they can't give the turtle a big tank (she has a rather smallish one), she is essentially a free-range turtle, who is allowed to wander around everywhere. This means that even when we are having dinner, she would be walking about investigating our feet :P Does she bite? Yes, she bit Little Bro's nose, leaving a bloody ring on it. So watch out for the turtle, folks. 

Even cold blooded animals respond to love. This turtle likes nothing better than to clamber unto Little Bro's lap for a cuddle. And she accepts food from Mom's hand.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Things fall apart

In the heat of the General Elections, it was not difficult for opposition candidates to ride on, if not provoke, public dissatisfaction and look reasonably competent. Everyone remarked that these were candidates of higher calibre, at least than the previous generations we had been used to.

Yet in the months after GE, under further scrutiny, it is easy to see just how deep the veneer of statesmanship is. One party has fallen apart. Its members not only resigned, but went on to explain at length why they were not happy with the party leadership. What a classic case of washing dirty linen in public! Would it not have been more gentlemanly to leave amicably, preserving both your own dignity and that of the party? After all, but you chose to be part of them, didn't you? What does it say about yourself?

Another opposition MP proposed in Parliament that ministers' pay be pegged to MP's pay. His reasons sounded high-minded enough,  but one cannot fail to observe that coincidentally, he is an MP, and one who is not likely to become a minister.

Seems like, over time, we could tell who would remain standing what the hurly burly is over.