Sunday, April 24, 2022


 Early in the morning, around about 7:30, the sound of children singing rises above the sound of the traffic on Jalan Hangtuah. Their sweet voices, so clear, and somehow so unanimously on key, easily overpower the tuneless clamor of the traffic. The children are gathered in the courtyard of some nearby school and singing is part of their morning ritual before classes begin. I just sit at the outdoor table and listen, sipping from a hot cup of tea, smoking a cigarette. The street outside my gate is yet quiet and unoccupied. The workers next door have not yet begun their pounding and drilling and sawing and grinding. The dogs have already arrived at the house for their morning nap and are lying here and there about the floor like so many throw rugs. The children sing, the dogs sleep, a light breeze dances through the Bogainvillea flowers, and I think of how very blessed I am. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Dogs Again, Oh Dear

 The neighborhood dog hater war has reignited over the past couple days, the main issue being, once again, poop. These troubles had seemed resolved after the last flareup with an agreement being negotiated to the effect that every neighborhood resident would be responsible for the area in front of his or her own house. Additionally, all of the dogs were at that time vaccinated and neutered, at significant expense to the dog lovers of the neighborhood. 

However, complaints have arisen once again, and one dog hater, a woman named Komang, was caught on CCTV actually carrying poop to our end of the street (that is, the dog lover's end) and dumping it in the middle of the road.

The claim was then made that one of the dogs (unnamed) had bitten the driver of a motorbike and torn his or her pant leg. I consider this very unlikely, as none of the dogs has been known in the past to bite, except in play. They bark a lot, yes, but they do not bite. Unless maybe someone on a motorbike is trying to kick them? 

Barking, by the way, has also been added to the list of complaints against the unfortunate mutts.

Yes, they bark during the night, but I have always considered that a free neighborhood watch service. We have never had a single criminal incident on our street (other than pooping), and that is not surprising, because these dogs do set off a godawful fuss if a stranger dares enter the street at night. 

So I don't know what the end of this trouble will be this time around. There seems nothing additional that the dog lovers can do. The demand appears to be that the dogs either be kept inside a house or adopted out and expelled from the neighborhood altogether. 

I cannot imagine keeping any of these dogs locked up in a house at this point in time. They have run free since birth. It would seem cruel and unusual punishment. And splitting them up also seems heartbreaking to me, because they are always together, always have been. It's their family. 

I reckon a better solution would be for these complainers to get a damn life. Live and let live. 

Monday, April 4, 2022

I Hate Rats

 The dreaded rats are back! 

For a long time, I had had no trouble with rats in the house. Yes, I had seen them occasionally, running along the gutter at the street side or creeping inside my gate now and then, but none had the temerity to actually enter my house--until a few weeks ago, that is, when the maid reported that one of the critters had been inside the cupboard under the sink, busy at shredding plastic garbage bags. She did not actually see the rat, but advised me to place a sticky trap in the area and buy new garbage bags.

Well, that sticky trap went untread upon for the weeks to come, such that I began to wonder whether some other culprit might have been behind the garbage shredding incident. Or perhaps the maid herself had shredded the bags for some inscrutable reason. 

Nonetheless, with no rats caught nor seen nor heard, I pretty much forgot the incident. 

Until yesterday. 

It was morning time still, and I was just finishing my breakfast and having a cup of tea when there arose a sudden clatter from somewhere in the area of the kitchen. At first I thought it was something outside, given that men are working every day on building the house next door and do very often cause various clatters to arise. 

Peering out the doorway, however, I discerned that in fact the noise was coming from the inside, and directly, on keener inspection, from beneath the sink. 


Yes, there he was, a big one too, snaking around on the surface of the superglue with which the trap is coated. The more they move, the more stuck they get. In their struggle, of course they eventually fall down, never again to arise. It remains only to shut the lid of the trap and thus smother the poor critter. This has actually always seemed a more cruel method than the old style metal bar traps that break the rat's neck, but oh well--they don't sell those here, and basically the only good rat is a dead rat anyway. 

Closer investigation of this area reveals that the rat must have come up through a pipe beneath the sink that leads to the drainage area beneath the street. This must be fixed. Especially considering that the construction next door is driving a lot of various creatures out into the open and in search of new dwellings. I'm determined that my house not become one of these, because, to put it very succinctly, I Hate Rats.