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These are my dogs

Shanti and Coco

Coco the purebred Malaysian mutt and Shanti the Akita + some other breed mutt.

Coco is from SPCA and Shanti was rescued from the side of the road by a home-rescuer who shall remain nameless.  All I will say about that is I am supremely thankful to said rescuer for actually rescuing her and giving her to me (or at least giving her to me initially before she lost her MIND).

We are switching Shanti from her rather rojak feeding to a purely raw diet – which she really takes to like a fish to water.  She just crunched up half a whole 2kg chicken.  Coco, on the other hand, took the chicken in her mouth daintily, spat it out on the ground then looked at it like it was an alien hand from Mars.  She makes her eyes really big, clamps her mouth shut and looks away like “it’s not there if I can’t see it” if i tear off a little chunk of chicken meat for her to try.  See. Even dogs can be in denial.

Shanti is really unfit.  She can prance and run for a short while before she just conks out and sort of drags herself along.  We’ve been taking her for 30 minute runs / walks every day, but that’s about her upper limit.  Coco, on the other hand, could go for 2 hours I suspect.

Here’s Shanti when I first came out tonight.  She’s really perking up on the raw diet and her coat is much slicker and softer than when she first came home.  She even jumped up on me and licked my face today! Which is a first… I used to pick up her front legs and her back legs would just collapse.

Shanti smiling

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Eating Raw Food

My sister is very heavily into eating raw. That means eating only un-cooked vegetables, beans, nuts and nectars.

I only wish I had that kind of discipline. I mean can you imagine going out to a restaurant and reading all the lovely hearty meal options, turning to your friend and asking, “so what are you having” and they say “lasagna looks good, or the pepper encrusted roast baby lamp chop with mint sauce and truffle infused mashed potatoes. I really like the molten lava chocolate soufflé too. What are you having?” and you have to say back, “Salad. Hold the dressing. Hold the croûtons. For dessert I guess I’ll have the tiramisu with fresh mint. Hold the tiramisu.”

I understand all the benefits of eating raw for at least 80% of the time (honestly, I don’t think many people are suited to eat raw 100% of the time), but I just can’t seem to get there.  There’s more nutrition in raw food, it’s usually easier for our stomachs to digest, not to mention that it’s better for the environment the more raw we humans eat.

As with most things, I think it’s the societal pressure to eat cooked food that’s the hardest to deal with – not to mention that having grown up with cooked food, it would take a lot of investment to learn a whole new way of food preparation and eating without a good support group.  It would be almost easy to go raw if you lived with 4 other people who were also raw and everyone was really enthusiastic about taking turns to preparing raw meals.  Of course, the likelihood of that ever happening is infinitesimal!

Yes, some of the food my sister made looked absolutely delish, but this recipe for a ‘chip replacement’ which is basically just sliced zucchini, makes me want to grab a bag of potatoes and start double frying them before stuffing them down my gullet boiling hot.

The funny thing is, eating less fattening / processed food does actually make me feel better. But somehow, I can’t seem to reprogram myself that a mutton briyani is not just the thing for lunch after a stressful morning.

*sigh* I suppose it all comes down to discipline, will-power and the willingness to exercise it in the first 6 months at least.  Wonder if I will find it in myself to take the plunge next year…

Stuff!

The story of stuff got me freaking out. And when I say that I mean FREAKING OUT.

It’s a very fun and easy to understand clip (it’s 20 minutes long and a bit of a bitch to download. I’d think about buying a DVD but then it’s more acquisition of STUFF which the clip is trying to say we shouldn’t do… bit of a quandry there), but it’s definitely freak out material.

I think it puts a finger on why I’m no longer enamored of being part of today’s consumer society. I have a MOUNTAIN of stuff already and most of it is never really used – especially electronic equipment.

On the other hand, I think what the economy would be like without the consumer society – would we all still be living in kampongs and our children playing with empty half coconut shells, sticks and stones? Would that really be such a bad thing? My dad grew up in something that was almost a kampong. He seemed to enjoy it. Meanwhile my friends’ kids now freak out about putting their *gasp* bare feet on sand.

Hmmm. Food for thought.

Story of Stuff Banner

Everyone knows that the most natural way to get around is to walk.  (My exploding waistline insists I also say it’s the most healthy way.  I try to shut it up by lulling it into a carb-induced stupor by force-feeding it potato wedges, but sometimes it manages to get its voice hear by way of muffin-top talk.. I’m sure you girls know what I mean)

Back to the point –  everyone KNOWS it’s best for everyone concerned to walk the 15 minutes to the store rather than drive the 5 minutes (then circle the parking lot for 15 minutes looking for the spot closest to the door), but amost no-one who can help themselves here in Kuala Lumpur ever does.

When I lived in Hong Kong as an auditor, I used to walk absolutely everywhere.  The cost of car-parking is prohibitively high there so almost everyone I knew also walked.  We walked, with our laptops slung around our shoulder, carrying a handbag and another trunk full of files, dodging pedestrians and wayward taxis while walking from Central to Admiralty.  Or even from Midlevels onto a myriad of forms of public transport to the fishing villages of Sai Kung (and then back again).

Before Hong Kong, in Perth as a student, I also used to walk everywhere.  I had a car there, but I’d still walk half an hour to go pick up fish and chips on the South Perth foreshore for dinner, or to the local supermarket to get that week’s groceries.

The quandry is, it’s so difficult to walk in Kuala Lumpur.  There’s a dodgy quiltwork of pavements that require one to step up and down a good foot or so onto or off the curb in some places, making one feel like they’re participating in some kind of warped step aerobic class.

There’s no denying it’s hard to walk in the hot and humid with the car fumes *gently* wafting in the air, especially when the vegetation in central KL seems to be getting sparser and sparser.  I can’t help but think it’s a chicken and an egg thing though – the more people walk, the less cars there’ll be moving around and the less car parks there’ll be and the cooler the temperature will be.  The less people walk, the more cars and car parks there’ll be and the hotter it will be – making it eventually unbearable to walk at all very soon.

I took my dog for a walk the other day at around 8pm.  I’m lucky that I live in a really fabulous area (for now), where there’s plenty of green still.  So as I walked down the sidelane that goes to my house, I started noticing it was getting warmer the closer I got to the main road.  Walking alongside the heavy traffic was warm and smelly.

However, I turned a corner and 100m later was back in  little lane where vegetation grew wild between two walls.  Walking in that side lane with the lalang swaying almost to my shoulder, the goosebumps appeared on my arms.  It was like walking into an air conditioned room.

Car rides can be fun, and they’re definitely mostly convenient (unless you’re at Ikea on Sunday looking to park), but a regular pleasant walk amongst greenery is one of the great pleasures I hope I can still enjoy 20 years from now.

I think that’s why I work as hard as I do now.  It’s because my greatest wish is to have the power to engender change in the direction we Malaysians seem to be heading towards – the one where we live in a cocooned jungle; where we only go outside to remind ourselves why it’s so much better to stay inside always.

Chickens

Slabs of dead animals are definitely one of my biggest weaknesses. I’ve seen and read all the information about why eating meat is not a good idea, but I just can’t seem to make the leap to saying No.

All the same, for my own sake (if not for the animals), I try to find a way to minimize the effect of modern meat farming on my health (the chemicals, the antibiotics, the toxins built up in meat from animals forced to live in deplorable conditions).

Honestly, I don’t know why it makes me feel better to eat an animal I know has had a cushy life with lots of good food and wide open spaces to run about, than the meat of an animal that’s lived in overcrowded conditions being miserable every day of its short life, but it just does.

I like eating happy dead meat for myself just as much as I like knowing that the chicken had a good life before it became my happy dead meat.

To that effect, I’m looking forward to this Friday when I get my first shipment of chickens from Furryhill Farm – quite possibly Malaysia’s first free range organic chicken farm.

chickens

Bwok bwok bwok