I’m Freeeee… *Ribbit* *Ribbit*

AMITUOFUO

My mother in law took my wife and I to a Taiwanese Buddhist Temple in Rockville, Maryland a few times over the past year. She likes to attend to remind us of the values we hold and to practice peace and serenity. Even though I am Cambodian and can’t understand a single word they are saying during the chants; their is a calming and tranquil feeling during the sessions. I feel it is good to attend to just be more at peace rather than any religious undertone.

This past Sunday, my mother in law invited us with a new addition, HENRY!, to come with them to release some animals. Last year, they released some turtles and now some frogs. Sounds dumb huh. Sounds ridiculous huh. Well its not. Its a very kind gesture to life and to remind you how precious it can be.

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PLAN AND RESCUE

We drove up to Rockville to visit the Great Wall supermarket. A typical asian grocery store but one stark difference, they sell turtles and frogs. There was a moderately size container with a billion frogs it seems in it. Frogs were stuffed to the brim all squished one right on top of each other, shoulder to shoulder would be an understatement!

So along with other members from the temple, it was time to save! What did we all do, we bought the whole container full of frogs! It had to literally be over 100 frogs. Wow what some lucky frogs. Not save some but save them all!

It was really funny when another Chinese couple came up to try to buy a couple frogs. My mother in law said sorry, they are all bought. They said, we just want a couple. MIL said sorry all bought. We stepped away for a second to deal with the employee to get the frogs. The Chinese couple then AGAIN tried to buy some frogs. Then all as a group we had to step in and butt them out to say they are all TAKEN. They just aid why can’t we have a couple haha. Sorry, we out to save animals not kill them.

All 100+ frogs were transferred to 6 large buckets. They were hopping in and out. Constantly had to grab and place in a bucket. All the other Great Wall customers thought we were having a feast…sike.

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RELEASE!

We drove to a Great Falls Park and trekked to a very secluded part of the river. We poured all the frogs into the water and let them go free. We watched them swim away, some looked confused, some wanted to explore, some stared at us. We prayed for them and wish them well from our hearts. We hope they go on to live a free life.

Whats to take away from this. It really showed how crazy life can be. In one sec, they are tonights dinner, but in another, they are saved and free. A simple thought and kind heart, can save so many lives. Its not so hard. It is sad to know they know very little what is going on, why they are in a bucket with 1000 others crammed. What is their purpose? What were they bred for? All for nothing? But now they are free to live and are given a fighting chance to survive. It shows us, they little do they know, live is so precious. That eating them and killing them is just sometimes so cruel. If all people could see an action like this and be more aware. They just might be touched in the heart and have a better understanding of live in general. Its not just some meal. There is a purpose. To enjoy and appreciate life as it is.

Always “Think Adoption First”

I made a post earlier this year about seeing “Think Adoption First” poster on a local Petco in Falls Church. It made me very happy and smile inside to know a big business like Petco would raise such awareness. But then I was on my way to Safeway the other day and passed by the Petco in Annandale. I didn’t notice the sign…. Odd. Why would such a noble and great campaign not be made aware at all of its stores? I thought to email Petco and let them know.

I was able to be in a chat with someone from Petco online and they were actually very helpful. They were more than willing to help with my request and note down the situation. I understand things can take time and things like this even though simple can not have action taken immediately. So we’ll see what goes on from here. They noticed the locations and have sent it to upper management.

Its been 3 days since then and I have done some follow up. They are looking to it and have requested for the picture to sent to them. I really hope this is getting somewhere. Just take small steps that can lead to bigger actions. Maybe in the futre they might want my pamphlet idea to do even more awareness. One step at a time, just need to keep remembering that. I just need to find ways and communicate better. I dont want to be that guy who keeps calling and calling and gets nowhere. There is an endless network of people and to get to the right person to explain urgent matters is tough. Why should a receptionist care? They just need to get paid and go on their day and have a nice family dinner. Is my cause worthy to them? It seems so far Petco is taking this seriously. Lets pray.

The Tearful Elephant

Its here! Its finally here! My first artwork. I really liked this artist I got from Fiverr coming from Romania. I really like her simplistic but child friendly art. There are so many choices, options, and styles to choose from. I had to bite the bullet and just start with one. I hope to gain enough money to do lots of art. But a start is a start.

I think this one is the easiest and yet most impacting scenario to understand. A tearful elephant ghost sees that his tusk was just used for a gift on Chinese New Year. It strikes me as something that should people find a little unbelievable. That an elephant must die for just a gift. And for what, as a chinese new year gift…. Is that worth a life? I didn’t want to start off with something so dramatic. Just something easy to understand. There are no villains here. There is no immense evil. It is just regular people. And we need to break that myth and mold. As normal as it seems, you killed something beautiful.

I hope I can spread this on social media for Cambodians in Cambodia. They are at the center of trade route. We need to share and hopefully people learn. Its the start of something. I want to be a little different in showing that its just not terrible. But what is going on? We care for them, they die, its bad? Its more than that, they are beautiful creatures, they want to live, our reason for killing them is terrible. We need to do something about it, in the end, it is us causing the destruction. I’m very happy with the art and my progress. Time to identify some places to post up.

Illustrate Reality

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Time to get back on track. Time is back on my side. No more home renovations, no more yard work, baby room is done. Now you’re free, now you got time to fight the good fight. I’ve been busy for quite a few months. Distracting me (rightly so) from my ambitions and goals. I’ve always felt reluctant to take on any real project. I think it gets scary when it becomes real. But I actually feel good about my upcoming projects, I think something can actually be accomplished and progress made.

My baby is due in a couple of weeks. I’ve been slightly anxious but very excited about him coming. My wife and the preparation of baby Henry coming has taken my full and mostly undivided attention. But I don’t want to my work stop, if its at snail speed but at least its going. But now with everything done and the waiting game begins. My mind is rev up to the highest throttle. Its going at a hundred miles an hour and driving in every and all directions.

So I finally have some real projects underway. I’m working on finding some good artists to draw me illustrations that show the truth and reality of what happens to animals in Cambodia. You think its harmless to get a elephants tusk for a gift, a pangolin scale for soup, or snake blood to heal? Its all preposterous, its not right and there is no proof any of it is actually beneficial. So we need to stop it and that is through education. Simple and straightforward messages. I want to post it on social media and have it spread through the masses. Hopefully we can keep changing people’s minds one by one. I also have another project which will hopefully bring additional funds. I’m happy to get back to it, I’m happy to get back to making a difference.

I can’t wait for Henry to get here. I want to leave a better world for him.

If you’re reading this and can help any way you can. I would truly appreciate it. 100% of the funds go towards the cause.

https://www.gofundme.com/cambodiaanimals

Welcome To The Annandale Jungle

Last week, I was relaxing waiting to pick up my brother and his family from the airport. Nice lazy Sunday. Until one phone call made it not so lazy and a little too exciting. I got a call from my mother to come over. THERE IS A SNAKE! Panic stricken and out of control. I just rushed over to see what was going on.

Rushing to the top floor to look at the pond. I see this gigantic snake in the pond. Oh Dear…… Is it trying to get a drink of water, eat my fish, cool down… Please just leave. I’m not going to lie. I’m not the best with snakes. I’ve been told a number of snake stories from my father from his time in Cambodia when I was a child. It did not help me with to cope with this situation.

I still feel bad about a snake I killed a couple of years ago. It was at my cousins house. His wife saw the snake and was afraid of it. I was also afraid of it harming there dogs. Looking back. It really didn’t pose a threat. If I just nudged it away,  it would be gone and bother no one. Its hard for me to kill these days as you can see. They really don’t want to bother anyone.

I had to take those lessons and apply it to this one. I had to make it go away. Not kill it. I went close to inspect and saw that it got severely tangled in the fish net we cover the pond. I tried spraying it with water to make it try to unravel free. No work. A wonderful family friend and neighbor of mine, Ann, come over to help. I thought, I need to step up! Only man here. Though I wasn’t the real man, Ann was walking around the snake with no fear. Do mind you, the snake was about 5 foot long as I could tell. We worked together to analyze the situation and cut the net free. I even came within a few feet of the snake. I sort of become more calm as I realized this was just an animal in need. This snake wasn’t going to harm me, it was more frightened then I was.

As I cut the last strings away, it broke free and slithered away. I bolted away and ran into the house! Free snake, alive and well. To roam and go as it pleases. It made me happy to save the animal. The predicament it was in was because of us and putting that net there. It was trapped because of us. I should not have killed it because I felt danger when we humans was the one to cause him to get stuck there. And I need to cut the damn jungle around the pond, so animals don’t like to hang out there!!!!

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FYI: I saved another mouse the other day from my mothers home and my home as well. He was happy to go free!

The Climb In Life

For the past month, I’ve really had time to start sitting and reflect on things. Bathroom remodel is done, organizing the whole house is done, cleaning the whole house done, getting the yard to look nice is done. But a more pressing matter is coming my way. One that will flip my world upside down and cause it crash into a brick wall. But that crash will happen with a smile.

My sweet boy will be arriving in a couple months. This future I have been trying to shape for myself and animals out there will now be shared with the arrival of my son, Henry. I’m happy, nervous, agitated, stressed, elated all at the same time. I can’t wait for him to come. But like how I devote my time now to make my wife happy. My full attention and time will be for my son. Its just life. Time is always managed and too short. And now my time for the cause is even shorter. I will probably be incoherent, pale, and exhausted for the six months after his birth.

I think about my progress and what I have done. I try things here and there. I learned that I can’t go full steam all the time and I burn out. Progress is made little by little. Which I have done but maybe I’m disappointed in myself since I don’t have much to show for it. My life and my wife’s have changed significantly for the better with the drastic low amount of meat we eat and any animal products we buy from respected companies. But my point in all this was to make a difference outside of my own world. And even though its really hard, I know it will be nearly impossible to keep pushing after a child. I have to love my family and make sure everything is provided in the best way possible for them. They are my #1 concern and nothing else. But it begs me to think where does that leave the animals. They will continue to suffer everyday by the millions. One soldier is temporarily leaving the battle.

It makes me think about Congressmen Connolly making a speech to environmental advocates saying they need to be more proactive and ruthless. That to get the message out there, it needs to be out like the old days and having to walk door to door and talk to people. And I think who has time for that? And the average person who cares about animals or environment doesn’t come from a background of bravado to make impact. Wheres the money or backing to do so? My letters have gone unnoticed and I start to think whether to keep writing. Is anybody hearing my message? Is anybody making a change? Is anybody thinking about it all. This is just a mental break and I hope to keep this going. The fight still needs to continue.

I started My Dear Layla with a vision and promise. I’m still keeping that promise.  the vision and passion is still strong and alive.