Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thanking helpful officers

I've just been on the phone with a caregiver who was telling me that she is very happy with her town council. She told me that she used to have a very bad impression of her TC and used to say they had no compassion at all. Along with her other friends, they would berate the town council and say talking to them was no use when their cats were caught. I remember it was very difficult to get them to want to see their TC at the beginning.

Finally, they decided they needed to engage the TC and when they did, they saw a huge change. She said that instead of finding bureaucrats devoid of compassion, they were actually pretty nice people. She explained to them that just because there were one or two complaints did not mean all the cats in the area should be caught. She said that some people complained repeatedly for example. The officer agreed.

She said that since then she and her friends have never had too many problems. She discussed it with the other caregivers and they all agreed they're very happy with the TC. She wanted to ask me if we could put a note on our website to thank the TC.

I told her that some of the town councils aren't too comfortable with the positive publicity too. They are worried that other areas might see them as a dumping ground for one thing. I suggested that she might consider sending them a thank you card instead. She said this was a good idea and they would do that.

While we must not be afraid to speak up, when praise is due, we should be quick to acknowledge that too. If you have a good TC officer who works well with you, why not drop them a note to thank them? It can be a simple card, an email or even a phone call. I'm sure that they would appreciate it.

If you live in a condo with a nice MC, or a housing estate with a helpful residents' committee, or have nice conservancy workers, etc, why not thank them too? I am sure they get a lot of complaints but very few thank yous.


Anonymous yas said...

Hi Dawn
Dunno if my TC here is good or not but they have been leaving the cats alone and thanks to responsible cat feeders, the community cats @ Circuit Rd are alll plump and friendly. O dat note, "touch wood". Wish more TCs will be more educated and more in sync with cats and humanity. And this will have to come from the Govt's support.

20/9/06 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn, I think you have raised a very good point.

Not only pertaining to TCs but to all aspects of life. Somehow we only think of opening our mouths when we don't like smthg or when something goes wrong. When things are good we seldom praise or say thank you. Part of it is human nature, I think, and part of it is an Asian thg. We tend to be modest of our achievements and shy of receiving (and i guess, by extension, of giving) praise.

20/9/06 11:10 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Yas - maybe it's time to find out :) I know there is a good caregiver in Circuit Road and having more people speaking up would be good.

Anonymous - I think everyone appreciates feeling appreciated. It can't be fun to be yelled at by complainants all day either, and a little note or call could brighten someone's day especially when they do deserve the kudos.

20/9/06 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Misty said...

Just an aside: But how does one get onto a Town Council?

20/9/06 12:21 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

i'm trying to get one of my fellow caregiver to have a discussion with TC.. but she refused.. stating it was 'NO USE ONE!'

dawn.. may i know how did those ladies manage to 'OPEN' their heart n ears to TC?

20/9/06 2:38 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Misty - do you mean how to get in touch with them?

Christine - I think they got desperate and finally decided to take that last step. How else do you save your cats really? You need to work WITH your TC.

20/9/06 4:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Christine - if she needs our help when she goes down to meet them let me know.

20/9/06 4:36 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

dawn: i wanna meet the TC (every tuesday night, meet-e-MP-session), but im on my own.
other caregivers does not show much interest in meeting e TC or i shld put it this way, they gave up hope on TC EVEN before meeting them.

IF im able to get e lady to go for the meeting, can i get u to come along? (im afraid e lady would walk out halfay)

20/9/06 11:46 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Christine - I can't attend unless I'm a resident in your estate. How about attending on your own then? You can speak up for the rest of the residents first. We can also organise a TNRM session for you and the other caregivers to talk about management, how to mediate and approach the TC, etc.

20/9/06 11:49 PM  
Anonymous christine said...

oooo... okie dokie!

will get back to u asap with regards to e TNRM session=)

thanks dawn=)

21/9/06 12:14 AM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Good on you for taking that first step.

We just did in January, and I'm glad to have done it - even though it's only my sister and me - because it brought visibility to the MP and make him aware there are actually people like us, doing this thing called TNRM for the cats, in his ward.

If you've not gone to see your MP before, I'd like to suggest that you go early to location, at least half to 1 hour before the session's slated start time, so that you get an early time slot (yup, there'll be a queue). That way, you minimse the possiblity of the session helpers denying you a time slot (they may also try to make you settle for a letter or some other thing, but just insist it's a matter that you MUST speak personally to the MP about; remember it's within your rights as a resident) or telling you to wait til the MP has seen everyone else (which may well be past midnight). I know this has happened to some - so it is a possible scenario.

You have my moral support... 10000% =D Good luck!

21/9/06 9:21 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks for the tips Calsifer!

21/9/06 9:51 AM  
Anonymous christine said...

wahh.. until midnight?

okie den.. i'll report at 6.30 instead of 8pm(e usual time, all gear up!

wad do i have to prepare? armour? lol..

21/9/06 10:08 AM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Heh, you're welcome but we did have a good teacher ;-)

So can we expect Setting Up TNRM 101 (Singapore edition) anytime soon?

Psychological armour, baby! =P

The usual lah - Know your enemies blah blah. So pad up on the basic who, what, when, where, why, how of TNRM and your role in it.

Basically, your MP would want to know that it's not going to lead to an increase in cats etc. I think the points Dawn's been making about this and things like TCs and their perceptions, how it's changing, how we can play a part in that, and how antagonising, cursing people doesn't help are very good reading prep for it etc there's stuff i'm forgetting, but i think you know what i mean, esp if you've been reading this blog =)

Seems like a lot to do, but the main thing is stay calm, know your stuff, and show your MP you know what you're doing and that you can handle things. This is especially important, imo, because the general perception is that animal lovers are emotional, irrational creatures - the common perception of "crazy cat-ladies" doesn't help.

Emphasize to your MP the fact that like him, you want to do your part for the community too, to help make it a better place for everybody (trite but it works =P) and you see TNRM as a way to do that.

For me, it helped that I tried to go into the meeting like I would a job interview or a project meeting (you are asking to do a job, except that the MP is supposed to serve to serve you too - but it should be a bit easier as the MP should be receptive to hear from the beloved residents he serve), and be sure I have at least basic facts and info to back up what I say.

(This is not scientific, but I also wager that wearing something presentable helps, doesn't mean you have to don power suits or evening gowns with the full wayang, but like they say, the clothes maketh the (wo)man... anyway just try not to go in your favourite tiny shorts and grubby tee with the silly slogan, no matter how comfy they are! =) )

But well, you know what, Christine? The grand adviser is right here, so highly suggest that you make use of member privileges and talk to Dawn about preparations.

Good luck!

21/9/06 10:46 AM  
Blogger calsifer said...

btw, 6.30 sound like a good time to be there - I also did that and was number 1 =D.

IF it works like ours, then the helpers won't start registering til about 7.15, but remember your place in the queue... before 7.15, it may look like the location isn't going to opern for business - there may not be signs telling people to queue or even where the queue starts, so people just seemed confused there's a queue at all, but the earlier you register, the earlier you get to see the MP.

21/9/06 10:50 AM  
Anonymous christine said...

thanks calsifer! u have been a great help.

lots of homework to do tonight over the weekend.

i've contacted dawn on TNRM session already.. hope e other ladies do turn up..

thanks all=) will update all after MP session=D

21/9/06 10:59 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Calsifer makes me blush :)

21/9/06 11:07 AM  
Blogger calsifer said...

No prob.

Don't know if you remember, but it was during the workshop, whne you shared about meeting the MP that the gleam in our eyes was sparked. Before that, we, like many people, thought it would be just a waste of time and effort to try it.

21/9/06 1:32 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Calsifer - wow that really made my day! :)

21/9/06 2:47 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

The tooth, and nothing but the tooth, your honour!

21/9/06 3:46 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...


21/9/06 4:44 PM  

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