The Bully at the Playground

One of the pillar concepts of Budo is that to defend what is the rights of an individuals from being unjustly taken by anyone. A student of Budo would not attack for the sake of attacking. To that, we learnt in aikido that we do not attack at any given time. We are not allowed to provoke or fight. We should only use the art to defend. To defend the rights of ourselves, to defend the rights of others in the face of injustices.

In the traditional concept of war, there is no honor if one party is taken ambushed unaware. Both parties must be ready to fight on the same level ground in a neutral place and only the warriors would be involved in the war, and no one else. That’s also the concept of honor as propagated not only through Budo, but  also simple common sense.

Hitler once said, ” I killed all the Jews in this world but left some so that you can understand why I killed them“. I used to think that quote another  as one of his macabre sense of humor.

But yesterday, the Israelites who did what they did to the Flotilla, somehow proved that there in a point in the quote after all. They have no honor nor integrity. They have no shame. They terrorized and get away with it.

*Time to boycott Zionist goods conscientiously yet again. I had not been too disciplined with it, but after yesterday, I don’t think I need any more reminders.

6 weeks old, today

They turn 6 weeks old today. A far cry from the gooey things we rushed to the Pet Hospital on a Sunday morning 6 weeks ago, with their placentas still attached and their mom’s uterus hanging out her back, fresh blood dripping.

Today they are a triplet of cute healthy kittens, thanks to the nurses and the vets of the Hospital Haiwan. Till now, we couldn’t thank the nurses and vets enough for their round the clock work to save these 3 critters and their mother.

Skippy, the first born of the triplet. We named him after the cat character in the children’s book Skippy Jones Jones. And Skippy is a carbon copy of that cartoon Skippy Jones Jones, other than he has this perpetual ‘Lebai Malang’ expression on his face

Schpecky, the middle kitten. She was pushed out after Skippy and immediately, Tito, her mom placed her at the husband’s armpit while he fell asleep on the floor waiting for her to push Schpecky out. So Schpecky’s first smell is that of a human and she has been having an identity crisis since then. She thinks she is human. Other than for milk, she doesn’t go with the brood but walk around following humans all over.

She is a foodie, a vivacious character. When she is not screaming, eating or strutting around the house like some big primadona, she would be climbing anything or bullying Eka, which is half her size

Eka. The last to come out, the tiniest of the lot. The one who melt people’s hearts with his innocent look. He likes to watch TV, specifically news. He can stop playing if the tv is showing news or advertisement and just sit in front of the tv staring at the screen. He also likes to watch the husband prays. On that accord, he was pushed out of his mom on the praying mat because I ran out of rags to clean the blood mess in the room during the birth process….

What for?

Two days ago, for work purpose, I read a psychological journal on the issue of concepts, definitions and manifestations. The writer of the article pointed out that in any situation, people can readily argue about a certain concept, without even understanding its definitions.

For example, a group of teachers or academicians or even laymen at the coffee shop can talk about and argue for hours over the issue of (for example) if intelligence is an inherited trait or it is something that is acquired or it is something that can be worked on. But ask a person to define what is intelligence in the first place and very few can demonstrate the same coherence as they could with the concept of how intelligence came about.

Just a minute ago, my friend shared an article on her FB page. About the boring ol’ topic of human rights, freedom of speech and reacting to the freedom of speech of others. I like this article because I find it  to be discerning and in the same way as the writer of the psychological journal I read two nights ago, calls upon his readers to stop and think about the ‘what’ instead of the ‘why’.

The article is of course, about the controversial ‘Draw Muhammad Day’.

The article can be found here.

A passing (kitty) soul

With regards to the orphaned kitten which we sent to the hospital as I have written here, she was just buried in our garden at around 9 pm just now. She died in the hospital earlier on. The vets couldn’t save her as her infections had spread to the whole body and especially the brains. So rest in peace Schwatzy.

On another note, we are dealing with these 3 rascals of a triplet on a daily basis. The children of Tito. They made me laugh and yell and sometimes sigh. But it is always a pleasure to watch their cute antics.

Of thread and flour

I bowed out halfway through training just now because although my mind told me to persevere, my body had other ideas. I have not been sleeping well for many nights, being chased by deadlines yet again, accompanied via mixpod by Nuno notwithstanding– all night long, Lionel Richie would be proud of me.

While the rest were being thrown and pushed on the dojo mats, I was slumbering at the corner, slumped against the water-cooler in a sleep so deep, I could have missed Katrina hurricane had it happened. But I woke up just in time for the end of the class, where the senpais or senior students shared with us their experiences as they proceeded higher into the grades. And one of which I found intriguing.

One of the lessons sensei would make them do is to pull a long piece of string or hair from a tray of flour, to test for their ‘centre’. To pass the test, the hair would have to be pulled out straight without messing up the flour for even a teeny weeny bit.

The imaginary light bulb above my head suddenly blinked. It reminded me of the peribahasa we learnt when we were in school which goes something like, ‘Ibarat menarik rambut dari tepung, rambut jangan putus, tepung jangan berserak’

The proverb refers to the act of handling a delicate situation with so much care as such, no parties involved are negatively affected. Sticky situation.

So I have to be prepared for this test and I can only pass it with a fully developed centre. By the look of it, I will end up with a strand of broken hair and flour all over my face like the Malay kueh, tepung gomak.

It’s ok. The Chinese say ‘ Man man lai’. Slowly, slowly come. In aikido, 11 years is still considered a baby in this art. My 3 plus years in it is nothing, but womb period.

The price of compassion

Yesterday, Malaysia celebrates Teacher’s Day. Where I came from, we celebrate it on 1st September. But nevertheless, I feel I should write about two unsung ‘teachers’ in my life right now whom recently have taught me the very important lesson of compassion. In my faith, it is called ‘ihsan‘. In budo, it is ‘makoto‘. In whatever philosophy or belief system there is, the meaning of those terms, is not only difficult to truly understand, it is even harder to manifest.

The first is Tito, our tabby cat and my teacher who taught me the value and meaning of this hadith, which I have come across far too many times but seeing it manifested right before my eyes is something else altogether,

Narrated by ‘Father of The Cats’,  Abu Hurairah, (May Allah be pleased with him)

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said, “Allah has divided mercy into one hundred parts; and He retained with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent down to earth one part. Through this one part creatures deal with one another with compassion, so much so that an animal lifts its hoof over its young lest it should hurt it“.

As written here a few weeks ago, Tito had quite a major surgery to remove her entire womb, after her uterus got pushed out together with her last kitten. She landed herself in the hospital for a week and came home with a 3 inch surgical scar on her tummy. For days, I watched her nurse her kittens, although she was obviously still in pain.

How do I know? Because each time her kittens suck whatever little supply of milk she had left after the surgery, she would cry out or whimper in pain. Because those 3 hungry kittens of hers refused to give up, groping all over her already red tummy, post surgical scar notwithstanding– and sucking extra hard because the milk didn’t flow out normally.

The first few days I watched that, I cried. I couldn’t imagine how painful it must have been for her, each time she nursed her kittens, whimpering in pain and sometimes she couldn’t take it, she gave out  loud howling like sounds, the exact sound she gave out on the 2 occasions I went through her labour with her. BUT, not once, I repeat, NOT ONCE did she push her kittens away. Instead, even though  in pain, she would use her front paws to pat on their heads while they nurse or just pull them close to her to make them more comfortable, when she was the one feeling the pain!

So Tito manifested the hadith above, showing me the power of HIS mercy that even just one part sent to us, HIS creations, is enough to spread through the whole animal kingdom as well. I always take for granted, it being a habit of starting things with “Bismillahirahmanirahim”, (In the Name of Allah Most Compassionate, Most Merciful) more out of social conditioning and habit, but Tito taught me the true meaning of what it actually means.

My next unsung hero is my other half. He has taught me many things but the most important is, the compassion towards nature and that everything is a creature of God and we should treat them with respect. When I first married him, I got exasperated with his habit of picking up dead birds/cats/bats/dog and whatever other dead animals he crossed path with and gave them proper ‘burial’, more often than not, within our house compound! He would not kill the snails making colonies in our garden, he allowed the yellow birds to make a mess in our backyard when they built their nests, he allowed the squirrels to eat up our bananas and in the previous house we were living in where the garden was much bigger, he allowed it to become a mini zoo of sorts of uninvited animals, including the civet cats (musang pandan!) which scares the hell out of me.

All those took a while for me to get used to, and accept. At times, I still roll my eyes to it, UNTIL what happened last night. My friend Senah called, she was at the cupping clinic near my place and there, someone left an orphaned kitten about a month old. She couldn’t take it back as she already has a whole gang of 8 cats in her care, and the staff of the clinic won’t be responsible for it. So she called me. Somehow, the words ‘Yes, bring it over’ just left my mouth, before I knew what I was in for.

The kitten was very sickly. She couldn’t stand, she was wobbly. She was a heap of dirty bones and fur. There was a big bulge on her neck filled with pus. In short, she spelt trouble all over. I tried to feed her with solid, but she couldn’t chew properly. So I gave her the cat formula milk I used to supplement Tito’s kittens. She guzzled like a thirsty German in a bierhaus. But she screamed and yelled throughout the night, and that was when I realised she was really ill. So I asked the husband, if we could take her to the vet, although I was apprehensive that I was going to make him pay to help a stray. He agreed without a second of hesitation.

Just now at the pet hospital, we were told that the kitten was badly infected and the infection was going up to the brains, causing her motor skills all to be disorientated. She had tummy problems as well, because she had not eaten for days and suddenly drank an overwhelming amount of milk and also skin infection due to being left in neglect for weeks perhaps without knowing how to clean herself. All that, according to the vet, is a lot of work to be done on her and since she is a stray, would we want to proceed with the whole hospital shebangs yet again. I dared not answer, it was my idea to take her in BUT I knew how much pet hospital would cost, from our experience with Tito. BUT, without even a moment of hesitation, the husband told the vet, ‘do what you need to do’. And we both watched the stray orphaned kitten, taken into the wards.

A moment later, when I saw the amount of money the husband parted with just for deposit, for a stray which is not even ours, I knew there and then, I had to wish him a happy teacher’s day and thank you for teaching me how to show unconditional compassion to all, even a scraggly, sickly stray which we didn’t have to take, in the first place.

Thank you and a Happy Teacher’s day to all the teachers in Malaysia.