Cats in flats again
If you did manage to tune in, I managed to get on air for a short while to talk about the HDB ruling. There wasn't time to talk about cats in estates (community cats) nor did I think there would be because this is a pretty complex situation.
First of all, I still have to say that I think people should have a right to do what they want in their own flats as long as they are responsible. For example, as the hosts pointed out, it is a public housing estate, and there should be some degree of tolerance. If the cat is kept indoors, doesn't make noise, and is sterilised what's the problem? One hopes that one's home is one's place of refuge - that as long as someone is not doing something illegal that one should be allowed to do what you want.
As I was trying to point out, say I don't like the smell of what my neighbour is cooking, can I go knock on their door and tell them to stop it? If my neighbour likes to play music which isn't to my taste (but which is not turned on at odd hours or too loud), can I tell them to make sure to only play things that *I* like?
What is you can't keep plants? What if smokers are told they cannot smoke in their homes - surely second hand smoke has been found to be far more harmful than the presence of a cat next door? The point is that it is your home - and if your neighbour doesn't like the smoke possibly wafting next door, basically it's too bad for them.
One of the people who called in (the only one who supported the ban) and said that he did not think there should be any pets in HDB. He pointed out allergies, but as one of the hosts pointed out, people are allergic to a whole variety of things. Should we ban them all? In addition, he pointed out a friend who stayed with another friend who had cats and had an allergy to them. I'm not sure what this has to do with your neighbour keeping cats indoors.
Secondly, I think what's interesting is that the hosts pointed out that people living in HDB are in public housing and there are many other people living in the area. I think whether you live in private or public housing, you'll have neighbours - the only difference is you may be closer to your neighbours in an HDB estate. The same principle remains - one should be allowed to do what one wants in one's own home but one should be considerate towards and tolerant of one's neighbours. Isn't that the most important thing?
I actually do think if it came down to it, most people would not mind their neighbours keeping cats in flats - provided the cats don't give them a problem. And if they're kept responsibly they won't. For the people who aren't responsible, they can still be fined anyway - there could be penalties for people who aren't responsible. This is something caregivers of community cats would be glad to see too I think!
As I mentioned, we had suggested a pilot project to the HDB to see what the response would be like, but we were turned down.