Wednesday, November 22, 2006


This situation is getting worse by the moment. I just spoke with the TC officer who wants the caregiver involved to write and explain why they sent an email out to the whole group. The thing is that the caregiver involved had written to the TC and copied the group in an attempt to find out what was happening. What the TC did NOT see was that there was an earlier email from another resident about the situation. As such, they think the caregiver who wrote to them is trying to 'instigate' trouble, when in fact she is trying to do the opposite from what I know and calm everyone down by approaching the TC directly.

The problem here is one of a history of distrust between TC and the caregivers (and one I can say is not undeserved). The caregivers are understandably upset another sterilised cat has been caught. The TC is angry because an email was sent out to them and not via CWS.

As I explained to the TC, if they will send out an email to the group asking mistakenly why CWS had 'approved' trapping in their area, then what are the chances they are going to go through us first if they have a problem with the TC? The resident who sent out the original email had apologised - but it's a big group, not all of whom are known to us.

I said I would be happy if caregivers approached the party directly first - whether it be TC or CWS, but we cannot 'control' the residents. They have a right to do what they want to do obviously.

The TC says they will go to the AVA and check if the cats are really sterilised today and will release them if they are. On the other hand, the residents are asking what is taking so long (since the cats were caught last week). One of them said that she wanted an apology from the TC.

I hope it doesn't get even messier.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the residents close the chapter by welcoming the cat back from AVA and work with recognised mainstream groups like CWS for future T/N/R and Caregiver's programmes. Demanding apologies from TC officer may cause him/her to lose ' face'.
Stop the friction, Start reconciliation. Build each other up.

more than cat feeder

22/11/06 4:13 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous, the problem is that they are on a new programme, but there has been a history of mutual distrust with the TC. I think this reinforces the idea to them that TC isn't being straight with them.

I do agree though, it's important to look forward.

22/11/06 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tampines TC? Correct me if I am wrong. I think this stems from a long history of distrust. Tampines TC has the reputation of being the first and perhaps only TC that openly puts up large "SAY NO TO STRAYS" posters. Actively advocating mass culling to achieve a stray free Tampines. Hence to the TC, caregivers and cats should not even exist in the first place as they are violating Tampines TC's vision of a "clean" Tampines. To caregivers, Tampines TC is like a monster, uncaring, horrid etc etc and the recent case of how a massive culling program was started to rid Tampines of cats and was stopped when the caregivers when to meet their MP. I really dont think the TC took that very well either. Imagine getting a call from your MP and I am sure a lashing on how Grassroots relations are being affected. I am sure that the MP was more concerned about support for his party than anything else. So all these factors just add to the fire...


23/11/06 11:50 AM  
Blogger vegancat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

23/11/06 12:18 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

It's a strange phenomenon:
When caregivers become "difficult", this TC becomes angry and defensive.
When even an anonymous complainant becomes loud and difficult, this same TC cowers and comply.

Fairness is the not name of the game here.

23/11/06 12:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I think the problem is partly that caregivers do have something to lose - so they're more accomodating in general too. What do complainants have to lose really?

23/11/06 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Vegan Cat, that is because I believe to the TC, caregivers are trouble makers hence the disdain for them.

It is simple, what you don't like, you will tend look at it more disfavourably. So in this case the TC does not like strays hence their reaction to caregivers


23/11/06 12:45 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I actually think it's because caregivers generally start from a weaker bargaining position rather than complainants. If lots of people called up and demanded cats remain, TCs would comply. It doesn't matter what they like - it's about pleasing their residents so they keep their jobs.

23/11/06 12:50 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

What Dawn said is true. TC officers tend to think that "most" people will approve of their anti-cats response and that caregivers are just a minority.
I have had opportunities to speak to neighbours who approve of TnRm but like most Singaporeans, are laggard in making an official supporting statement. How do we get these supporters to speak out so that TC wil l not think that killing cats as a solution is in line with the general consensus?

23/11/06 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that there is some kind of taboo against being seen as 'overly concerned' about animals.

23/11/06 4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont think there is a taboo against being overly concerned for animals. Just look at the fish, turtles etc that are "freed" each year during buddhist festivals.

I think it is more a case of the people might support TRNM but due to the political climate here. Asking people to speak up, to petition is like asking them to kill themselves. Incidents of how the guy who started "4 million frowns' during the IMF was taken into custody for suspected subsersive behaviour only enforces the thinking that the govt do not tolerate opposition. Hence most people won't put their lives in the line for cats or for anything for that matter. That is why you hear complains each time there is elections but when you come to the crunch, you know who they vote for...


23/11/06 5:41 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

Hmmm..i won't equal the practice of "free-ing fishes and turtles" as an indication of a wide concern for animal welfare. I think if we ask people who carry out such "animal liberation" rituals what are their motivation, we may be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised at their answers.

I do agree that we have to shake off this fear of looking over our shoulders whenever we speak out "against" policies. I think as long as we remain rational and if possible, make "economic" sense such as highlighting wastage of fund in killng cats with no end to problems, then perhaps someone may just listen and respond positively.

23/11/06 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's different. It's sanctioned by religion, and you can't argue with religion. On the other hand, if you do something for the sake of upholding a principle everyone looks at you funny.

23/11/06 8:18 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Actually Anonymous I don't think it's sanctioned by religion. Many temples now do ask people not to release animals specifically.

As for being political, this is not about being political. I think we're scared of saying anything for fear of it being political. As Vegancat said it's about being reasonable and polite.

I find it worrying if people are afraid of speaking up for what is right, or what they want - especially when it's something about cats in flats, or cats not being killed. If we never speak up, then how will the authorities know that we don't agree and have better suggestions to offer instead?

Sometimes if you never ask you never get the chance to hear your request be accepted.

24/11/06 12:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If TC is allowed to haul all the cats for destruction and nobody questions them, they'll think killing is acceptable.

They depend on their superiors for policy making and their job security could also means pacifying serial anti-cats complainants.

ai-yo cat
Caregivers must be polite, firm and not be easily intimidated or believe in bullshit. Think Tampines TC put up a huge banner saying feeding strays is displaced kindness some time back. I find that a big insult.

24/11/06 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Posters at "Social Responsibilities" Carnival - Tampines

24/11/06 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Straits Times
The Forum
Nov 18, 2005
Council should rethink its anti-cat stance

DURING a visit to the Social Responsibility Carnival organised by the Tampines Town Council on Saturday, we were taken aback by two posters. One, featuring the tagline, 'An Estate Where There Is No Strays', had a gigantic blue tick on it while the other, 'Feeding Stray Cat', which featured a tip-ear sterilised cat eating neatly off a layer of newspapers, had an equally huge red cross.

Maintaining an estate devoid of neighbourhood cats does not equate with social responsibility. Neither is feeding strays, per se, social irresponsibility.

As a country with First World infrastructure, the town council's aim of a stray-less Tampines shows Singapore's backward mentality, lacking in the compassion Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wishes to inculcate in our countrymen.

The anti-cat stance of the town council harks back to mediaeval Europe's persecution of cats. Branded heretical due to their role in 'pagan' worship, cats suffered mindless persecution. In the same period that the church sponsored the Grand Inquisition, cats were tortured en mass: hanged, burned at the stake, roasted alive, or killed on sight. So relentless was this persecution, the European cat population shrivelled to less than 10 per cent of its pre-inquisition number.

Ironically, the Black Death brought a brief respite in the 14th Century. Then, the Europeans had neither time nor inclination to amuse themselves with cat killing. During this lull in their persecution, cats multiplied rapidly and attacked the plentiful food supply: plague-carrying rats. There is evidence one of the reasons the plague that claimed two thirds of Europe's population ended was the sudden increase in the number of cats.

Similarly, after the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority cancelled the Stray Cat Rehabilitation Scheme in 2003 and culled more cats, a rat-extermination drive had to be launched later that year.

Studies have demonstrated the benefits of interaction with animals and how children exposed to pets and animals appreciate and remember lessons of tolerance, compassion and social responsibility.

Unfortunately, the carnival instilled negative values in young children: intolerance of other living beings in our community, and the acceptability of a sterile humans-only Singapore.

Lest we forget, then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong stated during a walkabout in Kim Keat that it is not illegal to feed stray cats, but it must be done responsibly.

Unless Singaporeans are proud of being a truly sterile nation, attitudes such as the Tampines Town Council's must change.

Geraldine Soh Geok Lian (Ms)
This letter carries 10 other names

24/11/06 2:41 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Fortunately the poster was taken down and they have said it was a mistake.

24/11/06 3:14 PM  

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