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Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Saturday December 7, 2013 MYT 7:04:38 AM
by bavanimphotos by sia hong kiau
Swiss born Roli Scherer generates a lot of excitement when he comes to the SPCA. He is seen here socialising with Laila (back) and Pearly
ROLAND Scherer’s love affair with Malaysia started 30 years ago when he first visited the country as a tourist.
The Swiss national found it a paradise when he first came here. But more than that, Roland, fondly known as Roli, said that it was like “coming back to my roots”.
“It is hard to describe my feelings for Malaysia, but if you believe in the concept of past lives, then you would know what I am talking about,’’ he said.
He explained that when he visited three decades ago, he felt déjà vu about certain experiences.
“I guess it was then that I started thinking about coming back here and making Malaysia my second home,’’ he said.
Well, he did just that seven years ago under the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme.
“This October marks my seventh year in this country. Four years in Kuala Lumpur, and three years in Penang,’’ the 55-year-old said.
“Malaysia feels like my first home,’’ Roli declared with a laugh.
Some people would probably wonder why anyone would want to leave a country with the most stunning landscapes and delectable chocolates and cheese, but Roli has got over this.
“Before I moved here, I was a little worried I might miss Swiss chocolates and cheese and drinking water straight from the tap, but I have survived,’’ he said.
While he appreciates the finer things in life that Switzerland has to offer, he loves the lifestyle in Malaysia.
“I love the weather, the delicious food, particularly Penang food. I love the people, especially the local community where I live in Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. I really like the local scene,’’ Roli said.
Another thing that he feels strongly about is animals. It is in Malaysia that he discovered his love for animals, especially dogs.
“There are many stray dogs here and when I first came here, I was afraid of them,’’ he said.
“But when I got over my fear, I realised that they were the most loveable creatures on earth. And I realised that it is not a stray problem, but a “man-made” issue by irresponsible people,’’ Roli said.
He explained that there were many “good samaritans” who think that they are doing a service by feeding stray dogs, but are actually creating a problem,’’ he said.
“People must realise that even though feeding stray dogs or cats makes them feel good, they are not helping the animals.
“The breeding will continue and all you end up with is hundreds of strays roaming all over the place looking malnourished and diseased,’’ he said.
Roli said the dogs and cats would get too dependent on humans for food and would breed and when the numbers got too big, the local authorities had no choice but to round them up and put to them to sleep.
“Putting down animals is the saddest and most depressing thing for anyone to see, but society must realise that we can stop and be responsible about it,’’ he said.
“People must realise the importance of spaying/neutering to reduce the stray population.
“We have a long way to go, but luckily the consciousness is increasing to solve the stray issue.
“Stray animals don’t live on the streets because they want to but because they are dumped and abandoned; they have no choice.
“To me, short-term solutions like trap, neuter, release, is the kind of commitment we need from society and the local councils,’’ Roli said.
“As for the long-term, we need shelters where strays can live without fear.”
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