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Friday, 19 October 2012

Featured: Papa Hero of Kakimotong Fan Club!

Back in school, I always thought that writing essays and karangan was easy. Be it about smoking, reckless driving, drugs, reading habits, or even global warming. I knew full well that I had the first point at the tip of my pen.  Almost always it is, “the role of parents….” or “Peranan ibu bapa.....”  Somehow the rest will add up, which in turn is bonus marks for me.

Adages like ‘bapak borek anak rintik’….. ‘like father like son’, and others were also quite common. 

Consequently, the parental role had become a cliche that I often use without guilt because, it’s all about dumping the responsibility on someone else. And of course without having any emotional attachment to it whatsoever.

However, in the context of animal lovers, responsibility is key to everything. At least that’s what I’ve learned from this man. His name is Papa Hero (real name Mohd Hairey) better known as PH by his legion of followers.  For those who don’t know him especially English blog readers, PH is a renowned animal rescuer in the country.

The man himself!
During my interview with PH about his animal rescuer-blogger life, the thing that caught my attention was not WHAT he’s doing. But it was  the “WHY”… Why is he the person he is today?

I got the answer and again, it was cliché…, But I know this time around, it’s more than a pointer for an essay. It was his parents.. PH was raised in a cat-community. His parents were dedicated rescuers and PH grew up in an environment where animal welfare matters most.  In fact, his parents now approaching their 60s, are still rescuing cats. Yes, STILL… I know, it’s amazing *hats off and respect!*

Second from the left is PH's father :Yahya Mahmood. ( Looking very Tunku Abdul Rahman-like)
First from the right: mother Kamariah Hj Abdul Rahman
From there on, I delved deeper to know more about PH’s upbringing. 
“When I was 5 years old, I frequently see my parents coming home with stray cats. It happens consistently. Sometimes almost every week there’s a new rescued cat at home” said PH.

He continued …“When my father picks me from kindergarten, there’s always a cat in the basket of the motorcycle. When I ask, my father will say:  this cat is sick, so we take care of it”. 

“When this happens for long enough, the examples your parents set, becomes an ideology. It becomes the way of life in you that no one can change. It starts at home”.

6 year old Papa Hero.  The crucial age when he was shaped up

Evidently, the consistent exposure to love animals had a deep imprint in PH’s soul. He found the purpose of his life at a very young age. 

“When our cats die, my parents will never simply throw the carcasses.  They’re always buried properly. Sometimes my father even asks me to dig the grave for them. This made me more involved” he explained.

For me, this particular line was very meaningful. I don’t know if PH realised it, but it struck me.  Because it is the highest form of reverence. It teaches one to respect animals not only when they’re alive but also after they’ve left us. When you treat the dead body of animals with respect, you can never go wrong caring for the living.  One day when I have children, I’ll make sure they know this first.

Hero and PH
Today, PH continues the legacy of his parents. And he didn’t stop there. His two beautiful twin daughters ( 5 years old) are now exposed to a similar upbringing.

The twins at Pekan Nenas shelter.
*Checking out the furkids with syle. The handbag and bandana. Class*
“We went to Pekan Nenas, Johor recently to bathe the animals in a shelter. I brought my children along, so that they’d see and feel the love. It’s my responsibility as a father. They’re the future animal lovers. They have to grow in an environment that teaches them the right thing” said PH.

You may not be an animal rescuer like PH. You may not be an activist. You probably can’t afford another dollar to donate to the shelter. But it is you who have all the wealth to influence your children. A simple gesture of sharing some food with the starving kitten under your table at a mamak, can go a long way. 

The little one showing some love!

Again, I thank Papa Hero’s parents. Because of them, there’s one less starving stray every day. So in your next family outing with the children, if there’s a  puppy with skin disease approaching you,…You can either say:  “Eeuuuwww that’s one ugly dog let's go away”  or “ Poor puppy. Must’ve lost its mother. Let’s give him some food”.  But before that, REMEMBER! Your actions at a scenario like this, may gift or deprive the world of one more animal lover.
As the clichéd saying goes………., An apple doesn’t fall far from its tree! 

Some photos:
Hero still going strong, 7 years after being rescued by PH
The notorious and ever funny Jojo. Also rescued!
Cat sanctuary. All of them were rescued and raised at home

The future is in good hands!
  • The word that Papa Hero hates the most is PTS (Put To Sleep). It's doesn't run in his family's blood.

  • PH's father once told him.  "If hungry animals come to you, that means you're in some sort of trouble. The animal is a medium, where by giving them food, it cleanses your mind and soul. You'll be less disturbed and unperturbed by your troubles".

  • PH's parents were earning very less when they rescued cats week in week out. They had just enough to eat for themselves and still shared with the hungry strays.  * Now I ask...Do you have any excuse?*
More scoop on Papa Hero coming your way in PETSTER's November edition. Grab one!


  1. animals are just lovely. I'm glad there's someone like PH.

  2. I hope I can be like him one day....

  3. He's a source of inspiration for many people. It's true about the influence of parents. I am lucky that both my grandmothers always feed strays, and thus my parents, aunts and uncles become animal lovers. Happy to say that my niece and nephews love animals too. Of course there are some people who do not like animals, but the least you can do is NOT BE CRUEL to them. Just leave them alone and your child may not grow up to be an animal abuser.

    1. You're right Elly..parental role is a magic wand that doesn't require any spell. When you do it right, the world we live in becomes a better place.

      Thanks for comments :)

  4. Thanks for the article. I have always known who is he, but it never occurred to me to ask why he is what he is now. But I'm glad I understand it now. A true inspiration. :)

    1. You're welcome Nurul Hidayah. Inspiration indeed :)


  6. myself also in the same position with PH..my parent keep lots of stray..some of them are neglected by their owner and simply thrown them in front of our house..my parent will keep them n take care of them..and now it continues to me.and now i have 18 cats that i collect from market and street.some of them had gone bad times n suffer a lot.n it's time for me to educate 2 of my sons n i know they love animal so much in the way they treat them

    1. Way to go FarrahNize. Proud of you!

  7. Shawn..seek for ur permission to share this on my Fb wall..Tq so much..i'm sorry if i'm post this before getting ur permission..i hope u approved it..tq so much shawn

    1. Sure, no problem. We never know who'll get inspired next :)