Disposing a Carcass

Louise is an (ex?) Singaporean daughter living in Temora, one of the outskirt suburbs of Sydney. She writes to me occasionally and her emails intrigue me to no end, often include details of her life and work with a great sense of humour. Some of her emails are too good not to share. Though most Singaporeans will not be interested in things like that, a minority like me will. This blog is catered for the minority in the first place. Apt.

Asking the lady to tell me her experiences:

Dear Nix and Jen,

Hello again. I read your latest blog with interest. I certainly didn't know about the 50 points for pure existence. If only our local Woolies or Coles give us those points on flybuys, for simply 'being something' every time we shop with them.  

It has been an interesting fortnight for Singapore and Australia. In Singapore, it was a lot of hype and no change. In Australia, it was no hype and a sudden change. On the latter, I much prefer Turnbull over Abbott, for a wide variety of reasons.   How has your fortnight been? Mine was twisted. I won't say it was interesting. But extremely twisted and out of ordinary.

It all started out pretty well. I acquired another horse and named it Lao Fu Zi. Its previous owner didn't have time for him so I bought it over.  The intention was to train it enough so that it can serve as a therapy horse with the 'Riding for the Disabled'.  I strongly suspect that it had other plans. The following night, I was tagged on FB by several people on a status.  The status was,"Did anyone lose a horse? I happened to look on my CCTV and saw a horse trotting past our front yard.  I drove out to the property and looked. Shit, a fencing had come loose. Lao Fu Zi was missing. So I drove out to search.  I panicked in cold sweat because Lao Fu Zi was not tagged yet. And if the pound authority finds him, they would most likely shoot it.  The power of FB came swiftly into action. I was informed that there is a horse loitering outside Maccas.  Effing hell. So drove over, led it slowly into the trailer (not much difficulty, it must be afraid as well) and brought it back. 

Two days later, Geoff the donkey died. No, I didn't kill it, I don't think it was global warming as well. Whatever, it was dead and with my limited knowledge on animals, I know it is going to stink in a few days time.  According to the long list of laws on NSW, I am responsible to dispose the dead animal but also to adhere to 1001 regulations. Well so the first step is to move it out of the way from stock and vegetation.  All these guidelines are very good at telling you what to do, but they forgot in reality it is not that easy. Firstly, the animal was effing heavy.  Then while trying to drag it, its eyes fell out. And the effing crows came and fought to eat the fallen eyeballs.  Gruesome side of nature.  I am not ashamed to admit that I became revolting sick and the crows ate that too. By that time, a friend of mine came along with a forklift to lift it. One of its legs came apart. 

So step two was to ring the vet to determine cause of death. This is to make sure that it was not some infectious and reportable disease. So the vet came, opened up the donkey, it was a heart attack. I asked about disposal.  He said he could cremate Geoff at $1200. A candle will be lit in their chapel of remembrance. I am welcome to hold a memorial service for it, and then after the cremation, I would be handled back a box of its ashes with potpourri. There is already a problem with this. I don't have $1200. I don't think anyone would be interested to come for its memorial service. What am I supposed to do with a box of scented 'vacuum-cleaner' dust?  The vet suggested that I rang the tip.  The tip said they only do stock animals such as cattle, sheep, cows, not donkey.  By that time, I felt so screwed up and I still have two halves of a dead donkey sitting behind the shed.  I went home and looked up the whole bunch of rules on animal disposal.  Thanks to my other half who pointed out that we cannot bury it because our land leads onto a water supply and its carcass poisons it.  So the final decision was to burn it. At this point, I applauded at my genius mind. I watched Bear Gyrills so many times. It only takes patience and dry wood to start the fire.  Of course, being NSW, you cannot just burn things even if it is on your property. You got to apply for fire permits and put a notice in the papers and inform your neighbours and your local fire department (run by volunteers).  So the day after, I surrounded the donkey a nesting of wood chips, pour gasoline and lit it.  All day, it spat and crackled and I was pretty pleased with myself.  When the fire finally died, I inspected it.  The effing animal was still intact, less its fur and an intestine spilling out!  Mind you this was already day 4.  After I finished with all the profanities, I rang my friend who then brought in the bull dozer the next morning to dig a trench, while I applied for another fire permit and newspaper notice. My logic was if the small fire didn't work, then a bigger fire was needed. Just before I started, I rang the local fire volunteer, who told me that they were all at the pub and too drunk to operate the fire truck. But he was to ring around to see if any mates would help.  The undrunken mate turned up and was on stand by.  Prior to his arrival, I had seasoned the corpse with my combustion concoction of diesel, engine oil and meths, and even sprinkled a bit of gunpowder. When I lit it, I thought I've gone too far. It didn't just catch fire, it exploded. But after a while, it burnt on nicely, and the undrunken mate kept it under control and steady.  It smelt terrible.

And the final amount spent on all these? $120.


Dear Louise,

This post is incomplete without a picture of Geoff. Since I have watched my fair share of Happy Tree Friends, I am not exactly turned off by the description of your corpse disposal adventure. I am surprised though, that it took so much to burn a body. No wonder many murderers who tried disposing corpses ended up being caught. The difficulty of a proper disposal of a carcass is underestimated. Now that you mentioned it, I figured out half of the Neurotic Couple, S, is a volunteer at his local fire department. Perhaps he is working on getting to a position where he could sign his own approval to set fires. With the ability to burn corpse on his own terms, he is certainly not a man to be trifle with.

The tale of the runaway horse is something you will have to reflect on. You must have been treating the old master badly, it got pissed off and ran away. Riding for the disabled might have sound too boring as a job scope for this ambitious horse. Maybe you should make a gigantic wheel and get it to generate electricity for you by running on it. I just watched "The Matrix" over the weekend and it gave me bad ideas.

I like your $120 solution. Granted that $1200 could get you fancy value added services, I think it is important for migrants to understand that is a very cheap and a very expensive solution to every (well, most) problem(s) here. We cannot expect solutions to be served on a platter the way we are used to in Singapore. Often, we have to find out the options or even propose an idea. For example, trading in an unwanted used car with a car dealer may be a more efficient solution to dispose a car than to sell it privately when you need another car anyway. Just something a colleague recently did and got a great deal out of it (his car was actually faulty haha).

I still have some of your home made figs chutney. I am going to use a chunk of it on some grilled lamb tonight. Still feel bad about you having to send them over all the way from Temora.

Take care and hope to hear from you again,