Stress Busters

Posts filed under Stress Busters

They’re “home”

Filed in Janis Ian, Stress Busters

I see them whenever I’m driving. But they were displaced recently when I sent in the Corolla and forgot to bring them home with the Vios.

Here they are, in a new, but familiar, place – on the windscreen, driver’s side.

My Janis Ian “Truth is not the enemy” and FONZ stickies.

Thanks to Kong, Sales Advisor at Toyota Subang Jaya, for keeping them safe until I went by to collect them last Saturday.

2010: An exceptionally black and white year

Filed in Personal, Stress Busters

This year marks my 10th year as a giant panda lover. It was in February 2000 when I fell in love with a 6-month-old giant panda cub making her public debut in San Diego Zoo.

Hua Mei was that 6-month-old giant panda cub. She returned to China in 2004. I first saw her in San Diego Zoo in 2001, and it was another six years before I saw her again in 2007, this time in Wolong. I have seen her every year since then, and it was only fitting that I would once again see her on our 10th anniversary.

She turned 11 in August this year, and is the mother of 8 – three pairs of twins (2004, 2005 and 2007) and two single cubs (2009 and 2010).


Beautiful Hua Mei (March 2010)


Pausing at the door to decide whether to go out to her yard


She’s quite a poser

This year also saw my adopted giant panda, Feng Yi (who I’d named Yoong Ping) turn 4. I’d adopted her when she was a month old in September 2006. I first saw her during my 2007 Wolong trip. In 2008, she was one of 8 giant pandas chosen to live in Beijing Zoo as part of the Beijing 2008 Olympic 2008 attractions. I flew there to see her after my annual trip to Bifengxia in August that year. A year later, she was back in Bifengxia and I saw her there in May 2009. In December 2009, she was sent to Guilin Zoo with another panda, Mei Xin.

Since I adopted her, I’d never celebrated her birthday for her. This year, I was determined to do so, and my determination paid off.


Enjoying the pool in her yard the day before her birthday


Official 4th birthday portrait – Feng Yi / Yoong Ping, 23 August 2010

There was another black and white birthday celebration I attended this year. Fuzhou Panda World celebrated the 30th birthday of their star panda, Basi.


Basi enjoys a close relationship with Ms See, her keeper of 20 years


I got my picture taken with the two special ladies

But it was also a sad black and white year. We lost six giant pandas during the year – Chuang Chuang in Shanghai, #20 in Jinan, #21 in Xiamen, Shui Ling in Shanghai, Kou Kou in Kobe (Japan) and Lang Lang in Nanjing. Of the six, Lang Lang’s death affected me the most. He was my photo pal during my 2007 photo session in Wolong. He was only 4 years 4 months when he died on 16 December 2010.


Lang Lang (25 August 2006 – 16 December 2010)

In other news, I had a short story published in The British Council’s A City of Shared Stories Kuala Lumpur.

I also published a photobook of Tai Shan’s public debut in Bifengxia Panda Base.


Proceeds from the photobook go towards Pandas International’s Wolong Earthquake Fund. Please order your copy here!

Panda stories: A special cub

Filed in Stress Busters

Bifengxia Panda Base
8 August 2008

Well, all giant panda cubs are special, but this one is more than special (yes, the word is extra-special). He was not only the first cub to be born in 2008 but the first to be born AFTER the May 12 earthquake that extensively damaged Wolong Panda Center and killed one giant panda there. His mother, Guo Guo, was traumatised by the earthquake and had to be sedated in order to be moved to safety. At the time of the earthquake, she was thought to be pregnant and there were worries that she would miscarry. After being moved to Bifengxia on 24 June 2008, she settled down and gave birth just days later on 6 July 2008. It was nothing short of a miracle that she did not miscarry but went on to give birth to the first 2 cubs of 2008. They were later named Ping Ping and An An, from the Chinese term “ping an” for “peace”.

By the time of my visit in August 2008, her twins were already a month old and thriving under the joint care of their mother and human nannies. The joint care was necessary because in the wild, panda mothers were observed to be unable to take care of two cubs at the same time and would often sacrifice the weaker one; as a result, many cubs died in the wild. So Wolong came up with this joint care plan that enables twins to spend quality time with mummy. While one cub is with her, the other is in the nursery. It has helped ensure the survival of more cubs and increased the captive giant panda population.

Thinking of pandas

Filed in Stress Busters

For some reason, I woke up thinking of Duo Duo, that I didn’t see her during my trip to Bifengxia last month, and trying to remember who she was housed with earlier this year. Is she even in Bifengxia?

As soon as I was fully conscious, I got up and booted up my netbook to check the stud book. She’d been transferred to Nanjing in April 2009, along with twins Lang Lang and Cui Cui, soon after returning from their stint as part of the Olympic 8 at the Beijing Zoo. I’d never seen Duo Duo up close before; if I saw her at all, it was as part of the kindergarten group in Wolong in September 2007 and in a group in Beijing in August 2008.

I found myself thinking it’s going to be harder to remember and keep track of all the giant pandas as more and more of them are being born each year. More of them is a good thing but not when we want to just celebrate numbers.

Duo Duo was born in 2006. That was a special group of giant panda cubs. It was the first year they had 18 cubs in Wolong – a record black and white year!

2006 is a special year. That was the year my adopted panda, Feng Yi (who I named Yoong Ping) was born.

Su Lin and Zhen Zhen – new photos

Filed in Stress Busters

Su Lin & Zhen Zhen – Friday, 1 October 2010

Taken just this morning!

With thanks to the Wolong Panda Club for letting me post the photos.