Donation Point For Japan in Union Square (Manhattan) Today

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

Earlier today, on my way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I saw members of the New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square, asking for donations for relief efforts in Japan.  I made a donation myself, directly to the Japanese Red Cross through Google’s Crisis Response page.  Even so, I found myself wanting to donate more, but I had just gone to the bank and only had big bills on me.  I know that sounds cheap, but I have a budget I have to follow too, so I don’t wind up looking for handouts.  I wish I had more to give, but it’s encouraging that companies and prominent individuals are also giving donations to Japan.

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

I saw a Tweet a few days ago that was reminding people to not forget that the tsunami in 2005 (?) killed about 230,000 people.  I wonder why it is that this earthquake and tsunami in Japan is eliciting such a greater response?  Or am I misremembering what happened in 2005?  I might have missed the outreach efforts.  I spent part of that year in Kuwait and the rest of it in Singapore and I just don’t remember it being reported on much.  I had actually forgotten about it until I went to Phuket in Thailand with my wife and saw a memorial there for the people who had died on that beach in that tsunami.  Is it because Japan is important economically?  Is it because it’s a world power?  Or is it because of the character and history of the people?  Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese history, the ancient history more than the recent history, and I do enjoy Japanese anime and I’ve been toying with learning Japanese for some time.

New York Japanese-American Lions Club in Union Square requesting donations for Japan.

Anyway, if you haven’t taken the time to donate money to the relief efforts in Japan, there are still plenty of ways to get it done.  They’re a wholly deserving people in a time of great need.

Help Save A Kitten’s Life (Help Needed Now)

Someone I know who reads my blog from the Philippines posted an entry on her blog yesterday that I found really disturbing and upsetting.  I felt the need to share the story here, to see if I can help her out.

You see, this is a problem involving a very young cat that’s in need of some serious help.  I’m sure most people that have read this blog more than once know that I have a soft spot for cats.  I have two myself, and one more that I passed along to my mom, to complete her household with warm furry happiness.

Boomer, still active and playful.

The kitten’s name is Boomer.  She was named after the character Grace Park plays in the popular sci-fi show, Battlestar Galactica.  According to the owner, this cat was abandoned and, even though it seemed sickly, she took it in to try to improve and hopefully save its life.  Shortly after she took it in, she noticed that the kitten had an eye infection.  After pulling together the money required for a visit to the vet, she took the kitten to town.

This is where things get aggravating.  The vet she took the kitten to did an examination and then gave an eye drop prescription.  The owner applied the eye drops as prescribed, but instead of improving, the kitten got worse, so she again raised funds and took the kitten to another vet.  The second vet looked at the prescription and told her that it was completely improper for those eye drops to be used.  They contained a steroid that, instead of making the kittens eyes better, made them horribly worse.

Boomer, in a bag on her way back to the vet.  Heartbreaking.

The infection had perforated the kittens eyes, leaving her blind and in constant pain as her eyes, quite literally, are rotting in her head.  The owner was told that in order to save the kitten, a very delicate surgery was required to remove her eyes, before the infection spread any further.  Yes, because of the first vet’s improper prescription, this kitten, Boomer, is now blinded for life.

If this had happened in the US, the first vet would be bending over backwards to do everything he could to avoid lawsuits and attention from animal welfare organizations.  Unfortunately, this happened in the Philippines, where pleas to CARA and other animal welfare groups or more often ignored than not.  I have first hand experience with that.  I reported cases of animal cruelty to them when I lived there and never even received a response.

So, the only thing to do is to raise the funding for the required surgery, which will, hopefully, save the kitten’s life.  She’ll never see again, due to the negligence of a so-called veterinarian, but even blind, she could potentially live a long and happy life.  I’ve seen books about blind cats that are very happy and content with their lives, like Homer, from Homer’s Odyssey (@HomerBlindCat on Twitter).

Every cat deserves a chance, especially when that cat was maimed by a human.

The total funds required for this kitten to receive the surgery she needs is 5500 PHP (approximately 125 US Dollars).  Between myself and the owner, 2,200 PHP (about 50 US Dollars) has been covered, so I’m hoping that I can bring this to people’s attention, people who are willing to pitch in and get this cat the surgery it needs to live.

That’s 75 US Dollars folks.  I’d contribute the rest myself, but I have to pay for textbooks at the end of the month.  If you have a few bucks to spare, even if it’s just 5 dollars, I’ve added a PayPal donation widget to simplify the matter for you.

Any donations made through this widget will go directly to the owner’s PayPal account, not mine.  She can be contacted through her Twitter account, @RunningTinderaI’ll be adding this widget to my sidebar, and instructing the owner on how to add it to her sidebar as well.  The widget doesn’t seem to work in the sidebar on Blogger, so she added it to her original post instead.

If you want to read the original post (by the owner) about Boomer, please click Here.  It’s a bit of a sad read, though, and the pictures or completely heartbreaking, just so you know.  The images in this post are borrowed from her post.

If you can’t contribute, but know others who might, please share this story.

Singapore Starbucks Supports A Salvation Army Initiative

Earlier today, from 5 to 7 PM Singapore was giving away free ‘tall’ sized drinks, but with a good-hearted catch.  They weren’t just handing out free drinks because they felt generous, or to drum up business or publicity, it was to raise funds and awareness for the Salvation Army.

I went to the Tampines Starbucks at 5:30 PM and there was already a sizable line reaching back out the door.  Starbucks was well prepared for the crowds with partitions set up and employees outside to keep the line under control.  I decided to go eat dinner first, but when I came back at 6:30 PM the line was still wrapped around the back of the cafe.

Regardless, I wanted my chance to get a drink and offer a donation so I got in line.  As I fell in at the back of the line a Starbucks employee asked me what I wanted and then handed me a paper with my order on it.  I suppose that was their way of ensuring that they could effectively cut off the line when the promotion time was over.  Shortly after that the line moved and I walked up to two Salvation Army workers with the traditional bell and pot.  I made my donation and moved on.

Surprisingly, it didn’t take me long to get my drink, which wound up being a vanilla latte because they ran out of toffee nut, and I found a seat inside and watched the end of the event.  The employees were surprisingly upbeat and excited, despite the overwhelming crowd.  There looked to be about 20 of them there though so they weren’t overworked.

After the event was over they all posed for a group photo.  Another person was there taking photos with a big DSLR.  He seemed to know the employees so he probably worked for Starbucks as well.

I think this was a great way for Starbucks to help give back to the community in Singapore and I was more than happy to part with a few dollars, which would’ve been spent on coffee anyway.