Thursday, February 23, 2006

If you've done nothing wrong, why be afraid?

We often get people calling and saying that they have a problem with their neighbour but that they want to remain anonymous - for example, the mediation that Marcus, Michelle and I tried to do last night. I tried to no avail to convince the complainant that it was better if the complainant spoke to the neighbour himself because it really is better for neighbourly relations rather than getting someone else involved. However, he refused and said it might make relations between them sour. I find the opposite to usually be true. Imagine you're the person being complained about - now you wonder why the person could not just talk to you. Did they dislike you that much for example?

Someone also wrote in and said that she was concerned they were trapping cats at a religious place she attended. She was upset and wanted me to speak with the management However she also wanted to remain anonymous. I have been trying to tell her that it gives far more credibility to say that so-and-so wants to bring up something they are concerned with, rather than an 'anonymous worshipper'.

We will get involved in both situations, but I wonder why people don't just come right out and say they have a problem to whomever they are having a problem with. It does not need to be rude or confrontational. In both these cases for example, the parties could always say they are concerned and would like to help control the community cat population through sterilisation.

I sometimes think that some Singaporeans are a seething mass of frustration because they would rather let their frustration fester than talk to the other party. Eventually, the frustration will come to a boil.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes i feel tt cat lovers r forced to live in glass houses. My neighbour has plants placed so close to my yard and I have to clean up the leaves. She sticks her broom in such a way that is unsightly and also sometimes falls over my side. But becuse I am caring for some community cats that sometimes do walk past her yard. Recently she even got a trap.
Yes, I am not doing anything wrong feeding the cats in a responsible way but I am afraid for the well-being of the cats. She can easily get someone to take the cats away, lying about them being a nuisance etc. So even if i want to 'throw stones' at her face I have to tolerate in order to protect the cats.

23/2/06 2:15 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous, I'm certainly not advocating being rude or offensive. Yes sometimes we have to bend over backwards not to offend people. However, if your cats are already being caught or may be caught, why not talk to the person?

For example, she may have a specific problem. If so, then if you can solve the problem, the cats won't need to be caught. By staying quiet right now, she may have no idea what sterilisation is,or why it is good, or she may have specific problems which you can help her solve. If so, I'm sure the trap can be removed. If not, your cats stand a good chance of being trapped.

Again, CWS can help with mediation, but we always find it is better if you try and speak with your neighbour first in our experience.

23/2/06 2:35 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

I think a lot of us are aware of the reality that people do blackmark those who try to negotiate with them. This is very normal because nowadays we don't know who to trust. Some people do not like others to tell them not to do things the way they like them to be done. If someone does that, they harbor a grudge against this person for being a busybody and if anything else happens after that they attribute it to this person's scheming ideas. My parents once told a neighbour to do a simple thing such as tell them not to let their toddlers kick up a ruckus as late as 10pm. The door was shut in their faces.

I have a neighbor who feeds monkeys illegally at my void deck. Once I met her and we talked. She refused to let me know how to address her. And she refused to understand that monkeys are actually aggressive. She thinks that monkeys will mind their own business. But most of the monkeys that come out are mothers with babies, and should young children attempt to go near them, it could be hazardous. Monkeys are much mre aggressive than cats. But she would not listen and brushed things off with a plastic smile.

Sometimes it is very hard to talk to someone because if an authority intervenes, they listen. But if you are a neighbour, they do not think much of your views, brushing it off as fanciful ideas. Or they take it as a swipe at them and pointing fingers at them. Therefore a lot of people wish to avoid misunderstandings by remaining anonymous.

23/2/06 4:18 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Kayley - we're not authorities either, and I can tell you that when we go down, in most cases, people ask why their neighbours didn't just talk to them first. A lot of people don't even realise there is a problem.

If you have tried, and it didn't work, then you may want to resort to a third party, but going directly to a third party makes matters bad. Worse, often people start to suspect all their neighbours.

23/2/06 4:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Also Kayley, it is a good idea to back up what you say with facts. For example, you might want to download some of the information from the many nature websites about not feeding monkeys. That way it's not just your opinion, but a fact. Facts are always more persuasive because different people may have different opinions.

23/2/06 4:26 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

By the way, regarding the Bukit Timah House I'd complained about... Has there been anything done about it? I haven't been there but I doubt the woman who owns the cats is actually planning to do anything. Also I remember I saw kittens in a cage. At the rate she is going, I fear things will worsen between her neighbours and her.

Remember I mentioned the abandoned kitten my brother brought home, but it died? It was picked up outside my relative's house, near this woman's residence. My relative suspected that a cat that had the same color as that kitten had given birth, found that kitten difficult to raise and so abandoned it.

Although I feel for the cats -I always feel they must be traumatised to undergo sterilisation and have a part of them removed- I think the only way this woman can remain there peacefully is to sterilise. But unfortunately I do not think she is taking your advice at all... Sorry to put you through so much trouble to approach her!

23/2/06 4:27 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Kayley, she has already sterilised a number of cats and is continuing to do so.

Also, sterilisation is actually better for the cats - it improves their health and they live longer. If you have also seen female cats being chased around by males, it is not at all pleasant for them either. Many of these cats are just kittens. Imagine being pregnant all the time and for the male cats, basically being a slave to their hormones. They also get into less fights and are less likely to get FIV and other diseases. You may want to read the article on Sterilisation on the CWS website.

23/2/06 4:28 PM  
Blogger Kayley said...

Sure thanks!! I hope she gets most of them sterilised... Because as I mentioned before, one of the neighbours made the press do a report on this woman and it was really unpleasant to do such things toa neighbour, although the woman was inconsiderate too.

Thanks for the efforts you guys made!!!

The kitties in my area have run off somewhere these few days. Hopefully some of them will be picked up and sterilised. Its weird, suddenly all 3-5 cats are not here, although I still hear them at night!

23/2/06 4:33 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Quite a number have been done already.

I hope the feeders in your area get them sterilised and that the cats have not run off to mate. If they are making noise, it could be cauterwauling because mating is painful for the female.

23/2/06 4:35 PM  

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