the devastating effects of trophy hunting for that magnificent mane

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A bit of my spew on trophy hunting and how the earth is much better off without the mercenary and vile Melissa Bachman ( above) and her kind.

For every male lion hunted for trophy, it is estimated that 20-30 other lions will die.

This is because when a pride male is killed, the pride system goes into chaos. The pride loses a protector which will fight off nomadic males searching for pride takeovers, protect the pride from hyenas, and protect the pride territory from other prides.

In the take-overs, the cubs are killed by the new pride male, lionesses get injured or killed defending their cubs, and younger members of the pride might be driven off into exile, their survival perilously uncertain due to their inexperience and loss of support from the adult lionesses. The remaining lionesses may lose their bond and rapport and turn on each other and even kill and eat cubs of their own pride members.

Trophy hunters typically target the most robust male lions — for their size, thick magnificent mane and they are easy targets due to their fearlessness. Trophy hunting is thus weeding out good genetics — larger males with thick manes fight better and are better at protecting the pride.

With the loss of a pride, there is loss of knowledge and experience that are passed down through the blood lines. In certain regions for example, there are lion prides which are specialist hunters of certain prey species ( buffaloes, giraffes, elephants) and have the knowledge to hunt and survive certain terrains ( marsh, valleys, thick brush, grass plains). Due to the more frequent loss of pride males from trophy hunting, pride take-overs are becoming more frequent. The devastating effects of trophy hunting for pride males on lion population is thus exponential.

Lions and other big cats are threatened by loss of habitat.  Human conflicts increase due to conversion of habitat into farmland; emerging diseases such as Canine Distemper are killing lions in certain places; the gene pool is shrinking, leading to poorer immunity and adaptability. An emerging threat is the demand for lion bones in China for Chinese medicine. Such demand is recent and is drummed up due to the difficulties in obtaining wild tiger bones.

The future for lions is bleak. There are an estimated 25 000 lions left in the wild, a shocking 96% decrease over 50 years. Lions are even extinct in numerous countries in Africa. It is predicted they will be extinct or effectively extinct,  as soon as 2020, by film makers and big cat conservationists, Derek and Beverly Joubert.

This is an unspeakable tragedy. Trophy hunting is unsustainable and the epitome of blood lust and greed. Please sign the next petition you see against canned and trophy hunting.

crime against the planet in a supermarket

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I shop for my grocery in a local supermarket, and it absolutely pisses me off when I see tourists (and expats) who hail from developed countries using plastic bags at check out. Where are your re-usable shopping bags which you use back home in your own countries? Too bulky to carry? Too inconvenient? You forgot to pack it?

Those are poor excuses when you can make a difference to the environment of the place you are visiting. You can promote the use of shopping bags and reduce waste. As far as I am concerned, the irresponsible use of plastic bags is an affront and an act of crime against our planet.

People from the ‘first world” should know better.

And it seems that tourists bring mess and destruction to the places they visit. The fact that the local people are messing up their environment is no excuse for the tourists to do it.

Sure, tourism contributes to the economy and create jobs, but at what price? Tourism, without proper planning and leadership, leads to environmental degradation. The local authorities of developing countries often do not regulate and legislate and it becomes a free for all. Even with legislations, they are often not enforced due to the usual corruption and incompetence.

Bali, Indonesia, like so many other enchanting, developing countries which are popular tourist destinations, is straining at its seams. I am trying not to look at the breaking point but it will come soon, if it hasn’t already, when the infrastructure (lack of) and the environment will not cope with the ever-increasing tourists influx.

The mentality of most locals and the tourism board is to grab and attract more tourists and businesses without due concern for the environment. Rampant unbridled development degrades coastlines, exhausts fresh water supplies, pollutes the environment, and sadly, turn the Island of the Gods, the ‘paradise’, to trash island. The tourists, ironically, by their presence, are transforming the landscape of this place from something they come here to appreciate and enjoy to one where the beaches, rivers, beaches, coral reefs, are choked with garbage.

Of course, there are eco-friendly tour businesses. They are so rare. I am talking about the real ones. Many with the eco-friendly label are just trying to assuage their own guilt, and the guilt of their customers, or worse, to deceive, by performing lip-service and green-washing. People are often short-sighted creatures unable to see beyond the benefits of making your business green since it is often more costly to start with and logistically less convenient.

At the moment, the southern districts ( where hotels and resorts are concentrated) are having water supply problems. Water pipelines are built to channel water from the north central Bali to the south. Water used to irrigate farmlands are dwindling because of this. To add to the depletion, water is also being bought by private companies for the bottled water industry. The demand of bottled water for domestic consumption is already high, not to mention the ever-increasing visitors. Many rivers in northern-central Bali have ceased to flow!

Tourism has its repercussion on the local folks. Balinese who previously have owned land or have lived in tourist areas are being driven off their ancestral lands by land-grabbers and the inflation of living costs targeted at tourists and expats.

And the paradox is almost everyone owns an iphone, and yet, struggles to have homes with proper sewage and garbage disposal facilities. Local people clamor for western goods, as they move away from their traditional way of living. They become perpetually caught in the vicious cycle of being impoverished consumers of first world goods they can’t quite afford.

Tourists should be discerning and patronize environmentally responsible business practices. They can make a difference. And they have the responsibility to not worsen the environmental status of the countries they are visiting.

So, I digress from my shopping experience and plastic bags, but they are all symptoms of the same illness.

So when I see (overweight) tourists, towing their (very overweight) kids, slobbering on their ice-cream, faces smudged and dripping with chocolate fudge and vanilla, at the check-out counter in the supermarket, purchasing bottled waters, sodas, chips and other processed foods in plastic wrappings, using single-used plastic bags  – my rage meter goes way to the top , for various reasons, one of which was the consumption of one-use plastic bags and packaging. This apathy, or lack of awareness,  in these ‘educated’ first world people,  would rank as one of the worst criminal acts against the environment.

things you shouldn’t do to pigs….

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Firstly, don’t cast your pearls before swine…… and then, don’t teach pigs to sing – you waste your time and it annoys the pigs!

It saps your energy arguing with people who refuse, won’t, couldn’t, or lack the capacity to understand and see your point or agree to disagree. Not everyone is open-minded. (I hope I am not one of those)

Your truth is not their truth, so it may be best to let it be. Even though I think my truth is the real truth, I sometimes realize it isn’t worth engaging with fools.

I learn and re-learn this repeatedly… almost everyday, and again, yesterday!

People argue over ideology, religion, over food, over health, about how to keep in shape; over politics; over the environment; over fashion;  over things. Sometimes trivial things. I shall save my energy for worthwhile issues to argue about, make my point and…. let it rest. It is still important to have a voice and opinion and stand for what you believe. But some people are just NOT worth your while.

The refusal to give in and agree to disagree leads to big fights and broken relationships. There is a time to stop arguments, if it isn’t life and death, then let that time be sooner than later. Because the truth will present itself at the right time.

So, don’t throw pearls to pigs ( yeah. that is Biblical). Some have ears but don’t hear, and eyes but don’t see. Offering words of wisdom to people who are unreceptive and undeserving is a waste.

And importantly, don’t argue with idiots. Because the bystanders might not always be able to tell the difference.

if the customer ask you to jump off the cliff, would you?

We pretend. Our whole life. Especially at work.

We smile at people we actually dislike just because they are our customers . We give in to unreasonable demands and people who throw tantrums, who take advantage of situations.

Because we were told the customer is always right. And whoever comes up with that has never worked a day in their life with the public.

There are some people who have a wrong sense of entitlement and will browbeat and threaten (to go to another company) to get their way. There are people who will make demands for services which cannot be reasonably given. You know what I mean here.

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There is even a hotel chain called the “W” hotel and resorts, and the “W” stands for “Whatever, Whenever”, meaning the guest could request for whatever they want and whenever they want it. It means the service personal runs helter-skelter according to the whims and fancies of the guests at any time of the day/night.

Even if you are rich and you can, it doesn’t mean you should. There should still be common decency in how you treat people.

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And bosses and employers, who run their customer service by the policy of “the customer is always right”, let’s be clear you are not kidding us and yourself.

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What you mean is, money is always right. You are slave to money. That is just essentially that.

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If I ever were to be boss, I will choose my customers.

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I believe one could provide excellent customer services without bending backwards. I don’t believe in giving in to people with unrealistic expectations. Demanding, difficult customers are unbalanced people. And surely, the last thing I would do is to encourage such behavior. We do no justice to ourselves, to these people and to society by positively reinforcing bad behavior. By refusing to give in to unreasonable people, you might instill some balance and sense into them. It is a bit like Aikido — restoration of peace, balance and harmony.

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You know, it is my belief that whoever trades their dignity, liberty and ethics for money deserves none of those. Even beggars should have their dignity intact. I would rather be poor, if being rich means sucking up and licking arses.

(footnote: pictures and quotes are taken and modified from Someecards and ROTTENeCards)

just don’t tell me you wanna be healthy

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It’s a bit of a mind-bog for me but this is how it goes.

There is this place in Sanur, Bali, which has a restaurant which sells organic food (at a price) and conducts pilates and yoga classes. It is hell-bent on promoting healthy, wholesome living.

The irony is there are ash trays on the dining tables of this health food place. I have been there once, the food was good, but people are just….  people. Disappointing and infuriating.

Three western women all geared up for yoga drank their herbal tea at the next table and started smoking. Accompanying them was a dude (a boyfriend/husband minding a baby in a pram).  One of the women eventually tossed her still smoldering cigarette end/butt down a bit of grass by the side walk. Together, the cigarette-reeking threesome sashayed their way into their yoga class.

So what’s up with that, when you can’t forego smoking, in a health-food restaurant, with other patrons around having dinner, with a baby (presumably your offspring??) right next to you, right before your yoga class?

I have known people who claim they want to be healthy and go to yoga and eat organic food and yet, partake in nicotine addiction and polluting their bodies and air around their friends. Are they not shooting themselves in their feet. And some would go for expensive detox retreats, only to booze themselves away a weekend later.

Surely, there must be a bit of hypocrisy and self-deception, but really, who cares? And don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you can’t indulge in your cigarettes and then go to yoga for that bit of mind-muscle relaxation and stretching and all that “oooommmm shant shanti” and namaste. Probably heaps of people do, I can imagine. I know of yoga teachers who smoke half a pack right before they teach yoga and then some more after that.

Yeah. Go on smoking, do your yoga and eat organic food and do your ‘healthy’ living.

But really, I just don’t want to hear you tell me you wanna be healthy.

conflict

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Check out more BBC photos here….this happened two years ago. But this occurs frequently in India, even more so now due to human population increase and habitat destruction.

Well, poor leopard. It didn’t make it. And poor forest ranger, who got scalped and badly injured.

It was the whole village and department of police and forest rangers against one beast.

This was high drama. It wasn’t the leopard’s fault… it wandered into human space…but that space was originally his.

A leopard could disembowel a human faster than a tiger could. Due to its tremendous strength to size ratio; its aggression; agility; and guile and stealth. They could be literally inches behind you without you noticing. A man-eating leopard would strike more fear than a man-eating tiger would. A leopard was known to have sneaked into a tent at night with hundreds of railway workers, repeatedly, night after night, to silently kill and drag off its victim, the carnage only to be discovered the morning after. Not to mention the infamous man-eating leopards of Panar and Rudraprayag. For eight years, the Rudraprayag leopard terrorized the villagers into keeping curfews while the Panar leopard killed up to 400 people ( which according to resources, this figure is under-reported!).

With guile and cunning, some male leopards are documented to even overpower adult male gorillas, a great ape of tremendous strength and size. They are also known to be the only natural predator of the other adult great ape, the chimpanzee. They could also tackle 900 kg male elands ( a very large antelope). A male eland would weigh more than 10 times the heaviest leopard. It’s hard to imagine but that is the leopard for you.

They are highly adaptable, and are found in many different types of habitat and have the biggest range of any big cats.

Anyway, they are no match for our firepower, our guns, no match for us, no match for our logging and destruction of their habitats. No match for our mere existence.