Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Untold Lipe story + all the fuss about dogs

Find Waldo. I mean, that brown dog that curled up beside the chair.

In my last post about Koh Lipe adventure, I've mentioned about not being able to explore the island by foot during my visit to Koh Lipe because I'm afraid of dogs.

Since currently there's this hoo haa about the 'Touch A Dog Campaign' or whatever, I think its a good time for me to write my story here.

Just to clarify, I was never afraid of anything. Not dogs, not heights, not clown, not rats, not snake or dark or anything. I do hate cockroaches at some point but that's not fear, that's icky yucky feeling.
So I'm basically fearless. Heh.

So when I step my foot on the island, I'm full of hope, I went straight to the Walking Street with my Singaporean buddy, Eugene to walk around since 4 other Malaysian I met there already went their way to Pattaya Beach. We plan to go to Walking Street first before heading to the beach and discover the beautiful Lipe Island that I've been reading and dreaming about for the past 3 months.

At the Walking Street, I noticed there's a lot of dog wondering about. They're not stray dogs, they're all someone's dog by the look of them, they're clean, the each have collar on their neck, and also almost each of the shops there, have a dog sleeping on the doormat or sit beside the entrance acting like a guardian. (Well some might be stray dogs, they can't all have owners right?)
The rest of the dog are just walking around trying to blend in with humans. And they are all big. Very big.

Being a Malay Malaysian, I have never been in that situation before, The Malay community or the area that Malays live rarely have more than 2 or 3 dogs around. There, the amount of the dogs, and how close they are with me. I mean, public places in Malaysia doesn't have that many dogs, if there's such a place, like the road heading to my previous office in Jalan Bukit Kemuning, do have a lot of dogs, but I was driving in my car the whole time. I was never walking in that area.
So dogs were never an issue for me.

But in Lipe Island, in the Walking street particularly, there's a lot of them. A LOT.
They walk among all the people, its like they are 1/10 of the population in Lipe. At the time, being in the scenario for the first time, I became cautious. What if they bump into me? Or what if they brush my legs like cats do? What if they suddenly lick my leg? Or bite me?
The amount of them plus the many thoughts slowly overwhelmed me. And as soon as I spotted the next dog, I stopped walking unconsciously.

And once I stopped, the dog sensed.
I try to walk away from it, and this action, attracts the dog even more.
Eugene automatically distract the dog and I walk straight ahead, and the caution, became fear.
And the slight hint of that fear, attract another dog and soon 2 were following me. 3 considering the one distracted by Eugene, at the time I literally stopped and was just about to burst into tears when they started barking at me. I know I cannot run because they will chase me and I wont be able to outrun them so I just stood still.

I tried to calm myself as much as I can, and then Eugene distract the dog to go the other way and ask me to slowly walk in the opposite direction.
I did.

After a while Eugene catch me up and suggested we go to the beach, and get out from the Walking Street for a while. We think there might be less dogs on the beach, plus we need to go to the island tour booking counter to book our trip for tomorrow.

So being around other people in the booking counter (was actually a resort cafe) calms me down a bit. Though they're also dogs there but most are sleeping or resting by their owner.
We talk for a while with the tour guide and after I feel calm, we decided to start walking by the beach to round the island. We could probably make it to the Sunset Beach in time for the sunsets and meet the Malaysians there.

Eugene chatted me up and I notice he ask random questions which I think he purposely did to distract my mind from thinking about dogs. I appreciate his effort, but it's not working. Within a few steps I noticed two dogs on the beach like 100 meters away from me. Far. So I slowed down my pace and walk into the water while continue answering all Eugene's random unrelated questions.

I know dog can swim but I thought the dog might think its too much of a hassle to get wet just to chase some freaked out girl.

And sure enough, it did. It's uncanny T__T
From 100meters away, one of the dog slowly walk into the water towards me,

I slowly go back towards the shore and Eugene towards the dog.
The dog start barking when it sees Eugene is trying to block him.
At the time, I saw one of the locals who sit under a bamboo hut gestured at me to go towards the island. And I don't know when the dog slip from Eugene's block, it literally run towards me and pounced at me, I was ready to be clawed. Just don't bite me, please.=(

But to my surprise, it didn't even touch me. It just pounce and barked. Then Eugene get to the dog and I walk slowly towards the island. Trembling.
This is so not me, I never scared of anything. Eugene asked if I used to be attacked by a dog during my childhood that might traumatized me. I think hard but no. I've always been a brave kid. I'm not afraid of anything.

So the beach walk, the sunset plan fell through. We just walk towards the Walking street and meet the Malaysians there, they planned to get something for dinner and all I wanted to do is go to my room. Eugene told the rest of the group my story and they suggested I walk inside of them. There are 4 or them, Loon and another guy in front, Ruby and Tong next, me and then Eugene at the back. walk around me like a bunch of guards.

They walked me until we reach in front my hotel gate.
Yes thankfully it has a gate.

So in my room, I lay down and just rest.
Then I start googling about the condition of my religion related to dogs.
Actually at the back of my head I know that if the dog is dry, an my hand is dry, it should be ok for me to pet them.
I whatsapped my brother for clarification, and he answers the same thing,
'If you and the dog both dry, its like petting a cat.' He says.

I know, only if your hand is wet or the dog is wet, or you are in contact with its saliva that you have to perform ablution. It's not that hard anyway. 7 times washing the affected part of your body. 1 time with soil water +other 6 with pure water.

But the way Malays in Malaysia been raised, is to avoid dogs at all cost so that they don't have to perform this 'tedious' ablution. You know, prevention is better than cure sort of thing.

But this avoidance, somehow turns to hatred. There are people who throw rocks at them or worse run them over with their car.

Dogs are also Gods' creation. He didn't create something to be hated. Or to be harmed.

So avoid them if you may, but don't run or be scared because they will sense it. Just act normal.
Dogs are always slobbering, so if they come too near to you, and you don't want them to slobber all over you feet, just push them gently using your hand. Don't kick them away.

Back to the story, I don't really sleep that night. Probably around 3am that I dozed off.
The next morning I met the rest at the booking booth and told them I'm already OK with dogs when they tried to push one away from me.
That one proceeded to come and crawl near my feet (where we all standing actually) cleaning itself and not bothering me at all.

Then I started to noticed that these dogs just love to be among people.
I see a group of Americans opposite our booth, standing in a circle, chatting, probably discussing which trip to choose. And this one huge dog just came slowly out of nowhere and join the circle like he's part of the conversation. Turning his head left and right to whomever that speaks, pretending he understand what those people are saying.
At the time I can smile. And all my fears are gone.

This dog that crawled beside my leg also just probably want to be a part of our group, crowding that booth.

During the night, I decided to walk around the Walking Street by myself. Huge improvement hah.
Not even one dog bothers me, I managed to buy few fridge magnets and some other stuffs, walking back and forth the Walking Street, step in every gift shop I found. Dogs are all there walking, sniffing around, minding their own business, but not one bothers me.

The next morning, I rush up to catch the sunrise. no dogs to be found along the beach. Probably still sleeping. I managed to enjoy the moment peacefully, then I headed back to my room.
On the way I saw one big dog come towards me, probably because nobody else is around and he's hungry so I just tell him that I've got no food. Heh. Like he understands.
He's getting too close so I patted him on the head. To avoid him from brushing me or lick my hand.
Then suddenly this one poodle puppy, probably excited to see me patting the older dog's head, jumping around for no reason around me.
I got cautious again, I know older dogs wont pounced for no reason, but puppies do.
And I assumed puppies are like kittens (and sometimes human toddlers) who bites people for no apparent reason.
They're damn cute, babies,kittens,puppies (did I mentioned its a poodle? with its fluffy white fur?)
but they are damn annoying and unpredictable.
So while I'm okay with the older dogs now, I'm wondering what to do with this overexcited puppy.

Like sensing whats in my mind, the older dog (which obviously not the poodle's mom or dad, because he's big and dark and brown) pushed away the puppy and bit it on the neck like mother cats do on their kittens.
This calms the puppy down, then he came to me again the older dog, and the puppy jumped towards me again and the dog pushed it away and bit it again, at the end they both just follow me walk through the street till the older dog went away and the puppy got excited on some other thing.

It's almost 7am and I went to my room to pack my stuffs to catch the 9am boat that will depart to mainland.

My point is, don't treat those dogs like an enemy or a dangerous aliens.
I'm also not asking you to pick and carry them like a baby whenever you see one.

Just act normal, treat them as another one of God's creation.
You can touch them to push them away gently if they come too near, or pat them as a gesture that you're not afraid of them.
They won't bother you if you do so.

Its the same with cats. I see a lot of people who scared of cats, and all the cats around will crowd this one particular person like there's no tomorrow. Its just some animal instinct we can't explain.

So that's the story of why I can't enjoy Koh Lipe as much as I would like to.
By the time I overcome my unnecessary fear, its already time to say goodbye.

Oh, about the campaign.
As much as I wish parents don't teach their kids to fear or hate dogs, I won't encourage kids to touch them for fun either. Or in this case, these so called awareness campaign.

Its sufficient to just spread the word that dogs are not to be hated or avoided or harmed, and you can pat or touch it IF necessary.
But its another thing to just purposely touch it for no reason and then samak just for fun and called it a campaign to raise awareness.

There's a lot of ways to create awareness, by knowledge, by reading, by telling. Change the mindset, yes. But its not necessary to  gather a huge crowd and do it physically.

I mean, we didn't create awareness for drug abuse by asking people to take drugs for 2 hours and then flush it down the toilet after that, right?

There's a fine line between everything actually. Whether or not we care to notice.

But I apologize if I offended anybody with this post, or anything I said here is wrong, do correct me. I'm not perfect.

P/S : The puppy that finally accompany Eugene watch the sunset while I was in my room googling  how to deal with overexcited dogs.:D

No comments:


dyazStuffs Copyright © 2010 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template Sponsored by Online Shop Vector by Artshare