Cambodian Horror Story

I like to read up on Cambodia on weekly basis. A simple “Cambodia” search in Google News and a vast of articles from various news outlets will pop up. Usually you get something about the politics, businesses, crime, or entertainment news. But what popped up first just an hour prior to writing this, its absoutley horrid and gut wrenching. Its midnight and I can’t stop thinking about it. The ultra cruel dog meat business.

You can semi relate to individuals who eat regular farm aniamls be it just going with flow and never seeing animals. But Man’s best friend takes it one more level. I just can’t seem to fathom the reality of it all. I wanted to Puke, I wanted to wish so hard it not be true. I’m Cambodian, I’m about to visit there in a couple weeks, and it seems im walking gleefully into the under belly of some hidden beast.

I can’t see my people doing this, I can’t see them liking it. Where is this coming from? This story by Express UK goes to unraveling the dark side of the story. Dogs rounded up from the streets. Harmed while being caught. They know what’s coming, they understand. The fear and horror knowing you are about to be beaten with a in, throat slit, or drowned. How can this be as my 3 dogs sit only a few feet away from me. Next morning, we will go out and play and enjoy the day.

I will praise Four Paws International for there amazing work to expose such cruelty. At the end of the day, it’s the people who eat the dogs, at the end of the day it’s up to us to stop it.

At the sad side of things, the business its field by the poor who try to make a living. They have choice. A prime example if more choices be given where a person can make money for a living. They might do these crazy sog killing practices to feed these people. And they would have no one to do the dirty work for them. I pray and pray. I wish all my furry friends safe travels and your suffering as ended. I weep for you. I hope my efforts can do something.

Please read and follow www.four-paws.org and donate if you can.

Chef Dad

Food. Love food. Need good food. Of course, you eat 3 times a day, you want it to taste good. Eating vegetarian myself, I can always be the healthy, eat simple, and eat bland. Or as my brother would call it, “how was eating cardboard today?” lol. Its true. It doesn’t taste as good as meat or fatty meals. But I didn’t care, I was happy to eat bland food that didn’t require killing.

I still want to cook for my wife since she has the baby now and want to cook vegetarian meals. But yeah, lets be real, not everybody can just eat beans and rice everyday like me. Take a bite out of plain carrot and be happy. I still want my wife and future child to be happy with whatever dad is cooking. I realize its not that hard. Lots of asian foods that I use to enjoy can be converted to vegetarian or vegan meals. Then we can all enjoy it. The same flavors and aroma can still be there without really sacrificing anything. I’ve made lots of conversions like drunken noodles, vegetarian pho and taiwanese popcorn tofu.

But this time I actually recorded my Taiwanese popcorn tofu experience to share! My wife said its just said as good as the chicken. We don’t even need to buy it at the restaurant in Eden Center anymore. Woohoo! Success! Or unless my wife is lying to me to make me feel better. But luckily she doesn’t.

Directions: I’ll make it real simple for you all
1) Mix all the marinade together with tofu and marinade for 30 minutes
2) Put in Coating
3) FRY!!!!
4) Toss some more pinch of salt, sprinkle more 5 spice and white pepper
5) EAT AND DRINK BEER

Ingredients
– Firm Tofu (Cut into half-inch square cubes)

Marinade
– 3-5 gloves of garlic
– Half a thumb of Ginger
– 3 green onions (all of the white root part and some of the green)
– 2 tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon mirin
– 1 teaspoon sweet potato starch
– 1/2 teaspoon 5-spice
– 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

Coating
– 1st Coat
1 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
– 2nd Coat
3 cups sweet potato starch

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Happy Anniversary!

Sorry wife, its not our wedding anniversary. Its not our first date anniversary. Its not any anniversary between us, not even our child. But its a two year anniversary of me becoming vegetarian! It seems so distant and so long ago. Its hard for me to grasp that I made such a big and happy change for my life. If anything I wish I started much much earlier.

It was nearly two years ago did my wife and I watch the Cowspiracy documentary. And even though I was in the environmental field for so many years. I knew of these atrocities and horrors that happen. Until I watched it and had many long hours of discussion with my wife. I just realized something was wrong with me on the core. I needed to make a change and I needed to do what was right. I felt it was more of calling than anything and this was the easiest and best way to help.

I always said, I wanted to become a veterinarian as a child to help animals. I wanted to become environmental science major to help animals from deforestation. So guess what, I CAN and AM helping the animals but never eating meat or getting animal products from irresponsibility raised or treated farm animals. I can fulfill my career goals, have a greater appreciation of life, and be much happier morally as a person by becoming vegetarian/vegan. I ask that others just to sit and think about it. To discuss it. And to reach this new understanding.

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.

My Dear Okja

Its 4:27am. Baby watch. Baby mama is sleeping, baby is sleeping. Want to write this fresh on my mind. Maybe I’m sleepy or I’m crazy being up this late. I feel like I’m in college. A 21 year old young, ambitious, want to do it all, conquer the word mind.When my mind is at its oddest times when I can think the most vivid and focused. Lets go for it.

I feel this energy and wave in the air I haven’t really felt in a long time time. I feel hope. I feel this momentum slowly churning in the midst. Tides are turning and its just a moment of time.

With “What The Health” featuring on Netflix and now “Okja” a Netflix-produced movie on its featured movies. Its ever so exciting for animal cruelty and environmentalism to be on the forefronts of the entertainment industry. Okja was the movie and face of My Dear Layla. What I seek to achieve and convey was in that movie. Animals like Okja are something to love, adore and care for. That have a higher meaning in a very simplistic way. Maybe it was some fake CGI character but nonetheless it represents all the factory farm animals. That there is much more to the game that what we can see face value.

There is environmental degradation, profits, corporate greed, marketing, friendship, all at hand. Okja was not shy to portray the horrors in a more graphic but not brutal way. I was surprised to see so many stars willing to join in on this movie. Jake Gyllenhaal? Who would have knew he would want to be a focal character. Steven Yeun from Walking Dead? Wow! The movie want to come out and say it. Here’s the reality of what is happening. WATCH IT and THINK ABOUT IT! Its everything thats going on that you don’ want to admit. When you cut up that piece of steak, thats whats going on the background. Ignorance is not bliss. Think about it next time you grab that knife and fork.

The main word to use and keeps come back to is “Compassion”. Thats the trigger. We want you to think about what is going on, I don’t want you to blindly follow. But if you just sat and think about it, you can see that there is much cruelty going on. It simply is not worth the pain and suffering of so many millions of animals all for what? To eat some good food? At a higher level of understanding. People can come to realize animals have feelings and just want to be loved. I like how it plays the industry as well and not some sappy feel good movie. People need to know whats going on. Once adults can learn, their kids can learn. That is the way. It shows that there is a bigger industry going on than they think, that there is a control and greed by these companies to produce meat. Profit is the main driver.

I’m glad and do not believe that the movie glorified the Animal Liberators as Robin Hoods of the animal world. That people think they need to go to such drastic measures to get the point across. Unfortunately, big dramatic gestures typically do not end in the results seemed to achieve. It is much more slow and methodical. I have dreamed in the past myself doing some crazy heroic deed in which a grand display or act showcased my passion and heart for animals or Cambodia. That this glorious act to throw in the face of millions of people watching would change their minds. But in the end, I look from an outside view and see this martyr as some maniac. Or it would be today’s hot news flash that would be gone in the next tweet or viral image.

It helps me keep going. Now even at 4:51am, that I don’t need to do something crazy. That a movie can change minds. That people on Instagram are posting healthy vegan lifestyles. They are sharing vegan meals, promoting it, trying to help others. That slowly but surely whatever I can do is contributing as well. That My Dear Layla can share her voice with others such as Okja did on Netflix. All it takes is for one person to change or think about it. They cut out meat for one meal or want to shop at compassionate animal farm. And that it itself is a difference. Then I keep going and hope to maybe change another mind. One by one, it keeps going. Until hopefully we can change how the way things work. That one day everything can change. That we will not just be an individual, a community, a society, a country, but a world were suffering is no longer condoned for any animal life.

Thank you Okja for helping my sweet Layla.

The Fight Within

My journey as a vegetarian is ever evolving over the past couple years. There are dozens of scenarios that have come my way which make me think and debate on what I’m doing and what I’m trying to accomplish. I have admitted in the past I do eat meat with family occasionally. To refuse food from a family member or in law is very disrespectful in asian culture. And that remains powerful in my decisions today. Though it is very limited and accounts for very little of my diet, I’m often at conflict if my stance should change.

I use to think that some leftover meat being thrown away is terrible and that I would rather eat it and give some sort of purpose to this animal. Rather than it be thrown away and died for nothing. To have died to only be put in a trash can is just depressing to me. No, none of this is an excuse or lying to myself to eat meat. If i felt the need, I would do it

Other times, I do not want to get into a debate or make others feel bad to eat meat. So i just eat it anyway. TO just let people enjoy and not make this some vegetarian agenda. I’m starting to rethink it now. What am I doing and do I hold my morals through. Do I accomplish what I seek by giving in from time to time. I use to say the animal is dead no, lets not waste it. But for me to get my point across and care for animals, the animal would still have died. So my actions will not matter either way. But if do not eat meat at all and let it go, i still hold morals and can shocase others that it is strong .

I know some might baffle that I eat meat sometimes. But I still sa hey better than nothing. Better than me being a 90% or 50% meat eater. But I’m starting to think how I portray myself to others and if I do find resolve to never eating meat, how can others change? Do people look down at me for making exceptions.

I’m starting to think that exceptions are not good. Whatever the scenario. You can take it else for another other goal or mission. Exceptions don’t help my cause to help animals. By me not succumbing to exceptions, that shows my beliefs are strong and that will showcase to others. There is no debate what I want and what my mission is. That there is no discussion on what truly matters but that animals need to be saved and are our friends. Maybe I just need to put my foot down with whomever ad wherever that NO I don’t care for meat at all.

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!