Noah's Residents

Noah's Residents

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Place where Art, Colours and Animals Move as One

Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Sanctuary (NANAS) is situated in Johor Bahru, Malaysia which is a 30 minutes drive from the Singapore customs. For me it was a great start of a fun day despite some delays and we had a good yet simple vegetarian meal to kick-start the day. After lunch, we started to proceed to the sanctuary. I went with an open mind, not knowing what to expect as it would mark my first visit to the sanctuary.

I have lived in Hong Kong for most of my life and I am so use to the hustle and bustle of the city. My only experience with animals was when I was 8 years old which was a trip to the Hong Kong Zoo with my parents. 

One day before the sanctuary’s visit, I had attended Rosina’s Animal Communication Workshop which made me rediscover my love for art and the beauty of colours. I had stopped doing art since I was young, but through the workshop I am able to rekindle my passion to draw, write and even learn to communicate with animals with the guidance of Rosina.

Prior to visiting Noah's Ark, I was apprehensive due to knowing that there would be many animals running around within the sanctuary’s grounds and that I was bitten by a dog when I was young which intensified my fears and phobia. Rosina gave me some advice to calm my fears which was not to make eye contact with the dogs when I entered and to go in with a positive mindset. 

However, when I entered the sanctuary, I was greeted by the barking of the dogs but I was overcome with a sense of peace and serenity, instead of fear. The animals were all well maintained, clean and love by the other animals and workers at the sanctuary. The main lodge where Raymund Wee, the founder of NANAS lived ignited the artist in me. It had paintings and figurines of animals and religious artefacts that was similar to that of a European-Chinese art museum. 

I was filled with joy and happiness to see nature and animals co-existing together as I begun a tour of the sanctuary with Rosina and the group. I took many photographs for keepsake and I was tasked by Rosina to try and communicate with the animals. Animal communication is similar to that of talking and meeting a new friend and I had only mutual respect and confidence in communicating with the sanctuary’s many animals. Also, I had the opportunity to interact with the sanctuary animals from horses, snakes, dogs and cats.

Moreover, I was overcome with a wave of emotions when I found out the identity of my guided animal. He is Gerry the wild boar and he is in need of a bigger enclosure to roam around. I did a drawing of him and that it dawn on me that he is upset due to the limited space. It is my duty to support him to contribute funds to build for him a bigger enclosure where he can roam freely.

After two hours of excitement and taking in the sights of the sanctuary, I retired to the lodge for a short nap as I was exhausted emotionally. The lodge gave me feelings of peace and that it was a moment in time where nobody would judge, question and remind me of my duties as a person. I felt truly blessed to be in the company of such tranquillity with the surroundings and the animals.

Soon, it was 5 p.m. which marked the end of the tour. In my heart, I did not want to leave and wanted to stay on. But knowing the amount of effort and energy needed to maintain the place, I was not ready for that yet. From this trip, I took away a great experience in my life which helped me overcome my fears and to know that life is indeed beautiful. I hope that many people would get a chance visit the sanctuary to observe the unique blend of art, colours and animals in one place. Also, do continue to support the various fundraising projects for the animals and the sanctuary to continue their daily operations and to know that you have made a difference in their lives by helping in one way or another.

A group photo with my new friends from Singapore.

By: Yeshma Sawlani (Hong Kong)  

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