Friday, September 22, 2006

Zoo-per Trooper

I've been meaning to post these pictures up for the longest time - since March, to be exact - but just never found the time to go through the multitude of pictures. Now that I've finally have, I would like to present to you what is probably the largest image-driven blog post yet in my Nation.

The Zoorific Sessions were held late 2005 and early this year by Raleigh International. Its main objective was to encourage its members as well as the public to offer a helping hand in the everyday maintenance of the national zoo. This would include administration, cleaning out the habitats, preparing food for the animals, and looking after school groups on tour.

I was quite looking forward to the opportunity, but with Cyber-red suddenly not being able to offer her comradeship, I decided to wake up at the crack of dawn regardless, and head down on to make my first-ever visit to the the zoo.

I was quite apprehensive about getting there on time - if at all - since I rarely venture out so far on my own. *Cue Samwise Gamgee voice clip from LOTR film: "If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been!"* But the thrill of getting lost in Ampang was all too much to bear.

Looking out from the train.

If I was a Bear who Cared, this would be my Stare.

I stepped off at the Wangsa Maju stop, then hailed a cab quite easily to my destination. My heart tugged at my throat in fear of me getting my dates wrong - the place looked deserted. Luckily some college students turned up, and it was all good.

Good morning and welcome to...

Several more students came from a few local universities. They either conversed in Malay or Cantonese, so being the lone banana-tard, I made myself look busy with excessive camera fiddling. The Raleigh people eventually arrived in their bright yellow tees, and soon thereafter we were led in through the side of the main entrance.

Once we passed through the gate, we had to stamp our feet onto a moist patch of seemingly germ-infested sponge. We were then told that the sponge was actually soaked in a sanitizing solution, so we don't introduce any new bacteria into the premises.

They sprayed the wheels of incoming vehicles with the same solution. Wicked.

Team leader Albert and his rally of Raleigh-ans

One of the zoo personnel announced that we were to be split into groups and delegated to work in various offices and exhibits. Those who had previously worked at the exhibits decided to let the newbies get a taste of wildlife, and with that, I was conveniently slotted into the group assigned to help clean out Savannah Walk.

We all received badges, which unfortunately had to be returned by the end of the session. I got a kick out of wearing it while the afternoon lasted.

I is comin' home, momma.

Don't you wish you could take one home to decorate your front lawn?

Breakfast time

My group was taken to the animal enclosures to spruce things up. The guys working there were a jovial bunch. They split us again: one half to sweep up the road, and the other to hose down the empty animal pens.

'Tard on the loose

I found this on the shed where the gardening tools were stored. Personally, it freaked the bejesus out of me.

Wicked 'Tard of the West

I peeped into the pens where a few four-legged friends were temporarily residing in, either due to sickness, injury or the protective nature of motherhood. A few of them seemed fidgety, their eyes gleaming with anxiety to bust out of the wooden doors and back out into the artificial wilderness.

They should really clean this dude up.

Family Portrait

The male ostrich was quite a looker.

One of the zookeepers opened the pen for me to check him out further. This was the one and only picture I managed to take. If you sense the general direction of movement of the subject matter, it's quite self-explanatory.

The zookeepers then decided to throw in a bonus for us: to rake up the giraffe exhibit, with the giraffes obviously still inside. (And who said volunteers don't have all the fun?)

All aboard the Savannah Express!

We chugged into the open field, where we were supposed to be driven right into the heart of the enclosure. Unfortunately, we were halted by the big kahuna giraffe, whom despite being given strict commands by the zookeeper to move aside, stood his territorial ground.

We ended up having to go into reverse mode and park ourselves at the edge of the enclosure, and we got to work. It was a surreal experience, working on the same ground that the (mostly) genial giants call their home.

The zookeeper having a chat with his mates while we labor on.

No, I'm not nervous. Stiff, but not nervous. Shut up.

The mosquito population out here was just buzzin'.

A few ostriches were kept in the same enclosure. We were told that they were female, judging from their grey plumage. You know in cartoons, where female animals are depicted with more bodily curves and a pair of ridiculously long eyelashes? For some reason - might have been too much sun - I sorta saw that in these ostriches. One was quite the busybody, and kept snooping around us despite the zookeepers constantly shooing her away.

What every man wants: a fancy ride and a long-legged bird.

"... Ostrich legs are also lethal weapons: a kick can stave in a human being's skull." (Source)

After that was done, there was still time to kill, so the zookeepers took us back to the pens to let us feed some of the animals.

Have you no eye, deer. (Geddit?)

Making a buck to get some doe

Albert taking a break amongst the tubs storing the animal feed. I took a nibble. It was quite nice.

We were taken to the edge of the rhino enclosure, where another zookeeper was explaining to us how intelligent the creatures actually are. The reason why this fact isn't apparent is because they are also very stubborn. To prove this, he called the male rhino over by name. The rhino's ears flicked. "You see? He's listening..." the zookeeper chirped.

Eventually, the male rhino did in fact respond by coming closer to us, inch by inch, until he was finally almost right under out noses. We managed to pet him a little whilst feeding him leaves.

This is not a zoom-in. He really was this close.

The day finally wrapped up with a congregation of all the groups at the entrance and patting each other on the back for a job well done. It was a great day out. I learned a thing or two about wild animals and what goes into their welfare, and despite taking the risk of going solo, I ended up working together with great people who were just as dedicated to offering their services to keeping the zoo in tip-top shape.

Zoo Negara is always on the lookout for volunteers. For details, you can visit their website. You can also contact their Education Department directly, at 03-4108 2219.


Blogger cyber-red said...

hoi when was thiss grrrrrrr

lets go do this, again for you, first for me!!

10:29 PM  
Blogger saintvamp said...

If I was the volunteer, I might end up taking a muddy bath with the hippos and asking the monkeys "how was your day?"...hahaha

3:28 AM  
Anonymous ivan said...

are you gonna do it again? hehe... i'll be working in zoo negara next month till end of the year. Not sure where exactly i'll be sent to and what i need to do but yea.. i hope to have a great time lol. though i don't see how engineering's got to do with the zoo

5:42 PM  
Anonymous human book said...

List of racial discriminations in Malaysia, practiced by government as well as government agencies. This list is an open secret. Best verified by government itself because it got the statistics.

This list is not in the order of importance, that means the first one on the list is not the most important and the last one on the list does not mean least important.

This list is a common knowledge to a lot of Malaysians, especially those non-malays (Chinese, Ibans, Kadazans, Orang Asli, Tamils, etc) who were being racially discriminated.

Figures in this list are estimates only and please take it as a guide only. Government of Malaysia has the most correct figures. Is government of Malaysia too ashamed to publish their racist acts by publishing racial statistics?

This list cover a period of about 49 years since independence (1957).

List of racial discriminations (Malaysia):

(1) Out of all the 5 major banks, only one bank is multi-racial, the rest are controlled by malays

(2) 99% of Petronas directors are malays

(3) 3% of Petronas employees are Chinese

(4) 99% of 2000 Petronas gasoline stations are owned by malays

(5) 100% all contractors working under Petronas projects must be bumis status

(6) 0% of non-malay staffs is legally required in malay companies. But there must be 30% malay staffs in Chinese companies

(7) 5% of all new intake for government army, nurses, polices, is non-malays

(8) 2% is the present Chinese staff in Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), drop from 40% in 1960

(9) 2% is the percentage of non-malay government servants in Putrajaya. But malays make up 98%

(10) 7% is the percentage of Chinese government servants in the whole government (in 2004), drop from 30% in 1960

(11) 95% of government contracts are given to malays

(12) 100% all business licensees are controlled by malay government e.g. Approved permits, Taxi permits, etc

(13) 80% of the Chinese rice millers in Kedah had to be sold to malay controlled Bernas in 1980s. Otherwise, life is make difficult for Chinese rice millers

(14) 100 big companies set up, owned and managed by Chinese Malaysians were taken over by government, and later managed by malays since 1970s e.g. MISC, UMBC, UTC, etc

(15) At least 10 Chinese owned bus companies (throughout Malaysia, throughout 40 years) had to be sold to MARA or other malay transport companies due to rejection by malay authority to Chinese application for bus routes and rejection for their application for new buses

(16) 2 Chinese taxi drivers were barred from driving in Johor Larkin bus station. There are about 30 taxi drivers and 3 are Chinese in October 2004. Spoiling taxi club properties was the reason given

(17) 0 non-malays are allowed to get shop lots in the new Muar bus station (November 2004)

(18) 8000 billion ringgit is the total amount the government channeled to malay pockets through ASB, ASN, MARA, privatisation of government agencies, Tabung Haji etc, through NEP over 34 years period

(19) 48 Chinese primary schools closed down since 1968 - 2000

(20) 144 Indian primary schools closed down since 1968 - 2000

(21) 2637 malay primary schools built since 1968 - 2000

(22) 2.5% is government budget for Chinese primary schools. Indian schools got only 1%, malay schools got 96.5%

(23) While a Chinese parent with RM1000 salary (monthly) cannot get school-text-book-loan, a malay parent with RM2000 salary is eligible

(24) 10 all public universities vice chancellors are malays

(25) 5% - the government universities lecturers of non-malay origins had been reduced from about 70% in 1965 to only 5% in 2004

(26) Only 5% is given to non-malays for government scholarships over 40 years

(27) 0 Chinese or Indians were sent to Japan and Korea under "Look East Policy"

(28) 128 STPM Chinese top students could not get into the course that they aspired e.g. Medicine (in 2004)

(29) 10% place for non-bumi students for MARA science schools beginning from year 2003, but only 7% are filled. Before that it was 100% malays

(30) 50 cases whereby Chinese and Indian Malaysians, are beaten up in the National Service program in 2003

(31) 25% is Malaysian Chinese population in 2004, drop from 45% in 1957

(32) 7% is the present Malaysian Indians population (2004), a drop from 12% in 1957

(33) 2 million Chinese Malaysians had emigrated to overseas since 40 years ago

(34) 0.5 million Indian Malaysians had emigrated to overseas

(35) 3 million Indonesians had migrated into Malaysia and became Malaysian citizens with bumis status

(36) 600000 are the Chinese and Indian Malaysians with red IC and were rejected repeatedly when applying for citizenship for 40 years. Perhaps 60% of them had already passed away due to old age. This shows racism of how easily Indonesians got their citizenships compare with the Chinese and Indians

(37) 5% - 15% discount for a malay to buy a house, regardless whether the malay is poor or rich

(38) 2% is what Chinese new villages get compare with 98% of what malay villages got for rural development budget

(39) 50 road names (at least) had been changed from Chinese names to other names

(40) 1 Dewan Gan Boon Leong (in Malacca) was altered to other name (e.g. Dewan Serbaguna or sort) when it was being officially used for a few days. Government try to shun Chinese names. This racism happened in around year 2000 or sort

(41) 0 churches/temples were built for each housing estate. But every housing estate got at least one mosque/surau built

(42) 3000 mosques/surau were built in all housing estates throughout Malaysia since 1970. No churches, no temples are required to be built in housing estates

(43) 1 Catholic church in Shah Alam took 20 years to apply to be constructed. But told by malay authority that it must look like a factory and not look like a church. Still not yet approved in 2004

(44) 1 publishing of Bible in Iban language banned (in 2002)

(45) 0 of the government TV stations (RTM1, RTM2, TV3) are directors of non-malay origins

(46) 30 government produced TV dramas and films always showed that the bad guys had Chinese face, and the good guys had malay face. You can check it out since 1970s. Recent years, this tendency becomes less

(47) 10 times, at least, malays (especially Umno) had threatened to massacre the Chinese Malaysians using May 13 since 1969

(48) 20 constituencies won by DAP would not get funds from the government to develop. Or these Chinese majority constituencies would be the last to be developed

(49) 100 constituencies (parliaments and states) had been racistly re-delineated so Chinese voters were diluted that Chinese candidates, particularly DAP candidates lost in election since 1970s

(50) Only 3 out of 12 human rights items are ratified by Malaysia government since 1960

(51) 0 - elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (UN Human Rights) is not ratified by Malaysia government since 1960s

(52) 20 reported cases whereby malay ambulance attendances treated Chinese patients inhumanely, and malay government hospital staffs purposely delay attending to Chinese patients in 2003. Unreported cases may be 200

(53) 50 cases each year whereby Chinese, especially Chinese youths being beaten up by malay youths in public places. We may check at police reports provided the police took the report, otherwise there will be no record

(54) 20 cases every year whereby Chinese drivers who accidentally knocked down malays were seriously assaulted or killed by malays

(55) 12% is what ASB/ASN got per annum while banks fixed deposit is only about 3.5% per annum

There are hundreds more racial discriminations in Malaysia to add to this list of "colossal" racism. It is hope that the victims of racism will write in to expose racism.

Malaysia government should publish statistics showing how much malays had benefited from the "special rights" of malays and at the same time tell the statistics of how much other minority races are being discriminated.

Hence, the responsibility lies in the Malaysia government itself to publish unadulterated statistics of racial discrimination.

If the Malaysia government hides the statistics above, then there must be some evil doings, immoral doings, shameful doings and sinful doings, like the Nazi, going on onto the non-malays of Malaysia.

Civilized nation, unlike evil Nazi, must publish statistics to show its treatment on its minority races. This is what Malaysia must publish……….

We are asking for the publication of the statistics showing how "implementation of special rights of malays" had inflicted colossal racial discrimination onto non-malays.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous bodicea said...

haha, you are one hell of a funky person. YAYS.

Nice shots. :D

Got here through Albert the peacock btw.

human book: Thanks for the unfounded information.

Food for thought: Statistics alone aren't enough for evidence of discrimination. Especially when other implicit, personal factors are overlook.

2:11 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

this was back in march if i'm not mistaken. we shall do it (again) soon, will keep you posted!

just fabulous. :)

good for you! you'll have a great time if you want it to be. :) Hopefully cyber-red and I would be able to meet up with you when we get down there. i'll drop you a line when our plans materialize.

human book,
i'm not too sure what relation your comment has to this particular blog entry. i also agree with bodicea that statistics don't prove too much. but thanks for your thoughts. racism exists everywhere we go; the first thing we have to do is to improve ourselves.

thanks for dropping by, and for thinking that I am funky. it rhymes with munky.

5:58 PM  
Blogger thompsonboy said...

OMG, Dav darling!!! Tis you??!!!! Remember moi? We so need to talk.

2:31 PM  
Blogger :: Lucy had a dog with a lot of fur... :: said...

Animal lovers live a decade longer than the average human being. It's true, it's true!

4:19 PM  
Blogger disco-very said...

thompson boy,
'Tis I. drop me an email :)

my sole reason for wanting to love animals in the first place. it's true, it's true!

6:06 PM  
Anonymous ivan said...

great! let me knw if you do drop by. keep me posted.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Emilie said...

eh! you were at the zoo!! i live behind the zoo!!!! literally!!

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Sally Stares said...


Stumbled on your blog by chance and noticed this particular post. I take it you love animals. Perhaps you can lend these sites a helping hand by promoting them or linking them to your site since you must get alot of hits.

You don't have to... but these are some people that need all the publicity they can get to help with their adoption service and messages on responsible dog ownership.

Thank you.

11:02 AM  
Blogger disco-very said...

coolness. thanks.

hey, i forgot! heh.

sally stares,
done. i wouldn't say my blog's all that popular but i do feel strongly for animal welfare & rights. thanks for the info.

1:00 PM  

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