Source: Apple Daily
Date: 11 July 2017
Thank you Doris for the write up and for visiting the sanctuary in JB, we look forward to seeing you again at NANAS.
In Pekan Nanas, Johor, Malaysia, there is an animal sanctuary called Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Shelter, housing a myriad of animals ranging from horses, monkeys, gibbon, pig, dogs, cats, rabbits and thousand others. These animals were once abandoned. Among them, some were previously on the edge of death. Here in this ark, they finally regain happiness that they deserve.
On an extremely hot and sunny day, the cameraman and I joined Clement Yen and his wife, Lynda Goh (both volunteers) in their car, en route to Noah’s Ark Natural Animal Shelter. We journeyed through heated-up tar roads, pierced through trails surrounded by lush greeneries.
We finally turned onto a sandy land which eventually led us the sanctuary, its size of which is even larger than Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by dogs of varying sizes with opened arms. They appeared excited in our presence. “They are very used to our presence. They deem us as their close friends. They know we always bring along with us good food for them”, said Lynda passionately while having both her arms fully loaded with dog food, canned food for the cats and coconuts which we grabbed earlier during our journey for the monkeys.
69 year-old founder who brought abandoned animals from Singapore to Malaysia
Noah’s Ark Founder, Raymund Wee was born in Singapore. Although aged 69, he hardly looks his age. “When I was a kid, my grandma forced me to drown kittens but because I have weakness for the animals, I often released them. I had a dog, it was a mongrel. It had massive wounds on the neck and my father was bugging me all the time to release this dog because we couldn’t afford. So at a very young age, I had to make decisions. Over here, I’m helping the animals and we have a choice”, said Raymund. Prior to establishing the sanctuary, Raymund held a high position in an airlines company.
In 1995, he hired more 10 workers in Singapore to render him a helping hand in taking care of more than a hundred strays which he rescued off the streets. This continued until 2000 when he finally decided to expand the scale of his sanctuary. He made multiple trips to transport animals he rescued from Singapore to Pekan Nanas and established this paradise which is nestled amongst lush greeneries. All the chalets, huts, furniture such as tables and chairs, as well as railings are all made of old, unwanted wood. For the sake of these animals, Raymund left his home and currently resides with the animals in the sanctuary. Despite the fact that he is aging, he expressed that he had never worried about the future of the sanctuary. “Here, we often have veterinarians who come forward to assist as volunteers. We even have potential veterinarians as interns here at Noah’s Ark. Just like the rest of the workers and volunteers, these people are very familiar to the operations of the sanctuary. I believe they will be more than willing to look after the sanctuary on my behalf someday”, said Raymund.
Passionate couple travels weekly for a decade to volunteer at the sanctuary.
Clement and his wife, Lynda are among the persons whom Raymund considered as being well-versed with the affairs and operations of the sanctuary. They are experienced volunteers who had, for the past decade, travelled every weekend from Singapore to the sanctuary to visit the animals. Among all animals, Clement has a soft spot for the nine horses. Some of them were from the horse racing industry. They were given up by their owners as they have aged and could no longer race. Some were kept at amusement parks for the purpose of pony rides. They had spent most of their lives entertaining and amusing us human. “Without Noah’s Ark, they would possibly have been killed. I still remember the first time when I saw them. Their eyes were sad and they looked depressed”, said Clement while recalling. When we asked Lynda who is her favourite member in the sanctuary, in high spirits she ushered us to another side of the sanctuary where a gibbon resides. The gibbon was having a good time swinging on a pole placed in the middle of his enclosure. Upon realizing our presence, the gibbon reached out its hand for us to hold. “It actually came from a resort that closed down. He was used to entertain tourists and he was tied up all the time. When he first arrived, we built him this enclosure. During his first 2 days here, he didn’t know he could actually swing, he took a few days to adjust”, said Lynda. Also, Lynda reminded me not to smile to or laugh in front of the gibbon, clarifying that “perhaps he was often laughed at prior to him residing in the sanctuary. He may mistake our laughter as making fun of him, of which he will turn angry”.
In the sanctuary, the animals mostly were abandoned cats and dogs. They still retain their friendly and approachable nature. Among the animals, there was also a wild boar. I was given to understand that it was bought at a very young age out of its cuteness. However, as the days passed by and it grew, it was subsequently abandoned mercilessly. Not to forget also, there was a monkey which suffered massive injury and was subsequently rescued from the jungle. Clement said, “There was once when a friend of ours asked my wife and me as to whether travelling here weekly to visit the animals is a monotonous and boring routine. The truth is, we don’t derive the same happiness and satisfaction from, for example, shopping. It is true that you can buy and therefore own a lot of things with money. But the peacefulness, tranquility and serenity the nature brings to oneself is priceless. One thing is for sure, money can never buy you a chance to be in such close proximity with these adorable animals”.