Friday, January 26, 2007


One of the new NMPs wrote to us to say that he'd like to find out some information about animal welfare issues. As Michelle, Rebecca and I will be at the Library tomorrow for the talk, we told him to swing by if he'd like to find out more.


Blogger calsifer said...

Dare we hope for a voice in da HOUSE?

I thought it was lost cause since none of the animal welfare org noms got in.

26/1/07 2:25 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Calsifer - we'll see when we meet him.

I do think though that the people speaking up for animal welfare (ie all of you) are already making a huge difference.

26/1/07 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

let's just wait and see.... never trust politicians....

26/1/07 2:31 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...


26/1/07 2:37 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Ok Dawn, we'll cross our fingers, and will ask cats to help by keeping their paws crossed. =)

Agreed! But I keep holding out for a Singapore Mayor Martin Chavez, we need one.

26/1/07 2:44 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

NMP, Mr. Siew Kum Hong in one of his interview with The New Paper did mentioned about animal welfare. i hope he is the one who called.

26/1/07 2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 3, end of the day. A few questions to ask.

1) What is the definition of the NMP's version of animal welfare

2) What is the chances the NMP has the clout to question the real govt? Or will it be a propose and get shot down session. Or a say your piece and we just nod our heads and then throw the case in the store

3) Worse case scenario, stir up a basket full of hornets....

26/1/07 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Big Ears said...

Anonymous, for a start I think Singaporean REALLY need to learn not to be so passive.

Shelved or not at least we have a go. What is worse when you have not even try and flag surrender already!! Who is the bigger looser here?

Dawn, go kick some “butts”! Even bee stunk got published in the news and I’m sure one day persistence will conquer resistance! You go girl!

26/1/07 3:20 PM  
Blogger Mary said...


Humble past will give him a better feel of ground
HE may be able to afford a comfortable life now.
By Shree Ann Mathavan

14 January 2007
HE may be able to afford a comfortable life now.

But things weren't always rosy for newly-appointed Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP), Mr Siew Kum Hong, 31.

The senior counsel for the Asia South region in a multinational corporation had an humble upbringing.

He lived in a 3-room HDB flat in Ang Mo Kio - till he was 21. He had to share a bedroom with both his brother, 36, an Singapore Armed Forces officer and sister, 34, who works for a petroleum MNC.

Financially, his family struggled.

His father's business failed during the 1985 recession. Mum had to work at several jobs, including being a factory worker and a hawker.

But Mr Siew told The New Paper in an e-mail exchange from New York that his background didn't affect his self-esteem.

However, the intellectual property and technology lawyer, wrote: 'I was conscious not to ask my parents for things that I knew would have been a strain on them.'

That meant no overseas school trips and no overseas university education, as it would 'put a huge burden' on his parents.

The first time he flew was when he was 22.

Then, he was a freelance music writer for a local magazine on a sponsored trip to Kuala Lumpur to review a band performance.

Because of his humble past, Mr Siew feels those early days has given him a better understanding of the ground - which will serve him well as an NMP.

Mr Siew, who currently lives with his brother's family and his mum, said: 'I think this ability to empathise with those who are not so well off will provide an additional dimension to what I think and say.

'That is not to say that I will be unique or that there are no MPs with humble backgrounds, there are.

'But I think they tend to belong to the older generations and not so much my generation.'

He was first tipped off about the nomination through a phone call at 3.20am yesterday.

His foray into politics happened quite by chance.

He said: 'You could say I felt like I had been asked to serve, and I could not in good faith say no.'

Some issues he hopes to raise in Parliament include the growing income gap, consumer protection, animal welfare, intellectual property rights, privacy, freedom of speech and government regulation of the media and the Internet.

Given his new appointment, Mr Siew, who used to volunteer for several charities right up till early last year, will be committing greater time and effort at the grassroots level.

He said: 'The primary sacrifice is time, and that is something I'm preparing myself for.

'I want to reach out to interest groups active in the areas that I want to touch on and work with them in terms of gathering information, to support positions that I intend to advocate in Parliament.

'I also intend to volunteer for grassroots work, to better understand the concerns of Singaporeans.'

26/1/07 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Ears, I am not being passive. I am being cautious, especially of a new NMP that wants to impress the public. Nothing wrong with waiting and seeing what happens right? Frankly looking at the New Paper report, it is the typical politican promises....

What i mean by shoot down is that will he just be a empty vessel that proposes and then get shot down. Meaning his view are never going to be taken up in the first place. Or can he influence parliament.

Besides one should know that in Singapore, proactive measures that make the govt look silly are not regarded kindly. It only results in no action on their part or clamp down. Reasoning very simple, you make them look silly, means they lose voter confidence. The way to approach the local govt is to propose and present in such a way that if it succeeds, govt looks good and better still they take the credit.

26/1/07 3:27 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

All of you have made good points, and things we are considering. We certainly plan to be careful - but also to keep an open mind.

I think what's more important though is that all of YOU continue speaking up. Our government has already said that they want to hear from the people - and MPs and NMPs alike really are there to represent all of you (MPs more directly of course, and NMPs not so directly). However I am sure that they'd rather hear from you - right from the horses' mouth.

26/1/07 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Big Ears said...

I still beg to differ from your opinion Anonymous…

Caution is good, it meant calculated risk however overly caution is mere being kia-xi.

We all know that there are many things in life that requires risk, does that mean that we stop trying? [I’m being extreme here] e.g. having children, God forbid they may not take care of us or even treat us like dirt one day. Does that mean we stop having children? Another relevant one, HDB don’t allow flat dweller to keep cats in HDB flat and who is not pushing for it?

Empty vessel or not, until it’s brought to the table, it’s too pre-mature to judge. At lease one willing MP volunteer to be that sore thumb. What if he follows thru and really managed to lift the ban? One opportunity is better than none.

Face it my friend, though HDB ban us from keeping cats at home, dare we say 100% of us not voting for our government? Voting is looking in the many facet of what the government can do for the nation and not by raising what you refer as silly to lost voters.

Back to the “being proactive measure”, don’t you think that all the more we should break the rigidity of Singaporean’s behaviour towards proactive measure by cheering this proactive MP?

In the end of the day, at least someone is willing to try.

26/1/07 4:20 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I think one thing Anonymous is also to make sure the NMP has all the facts - that's very important. People often have good intentions but may have inadequate knowledge and that's completely understandable because the cat issue alone is such a diverse one. It would not be good if anyone spoke up in Parliament for example on any topic that they weren't quite conversant about. A half-wrong fact can be worse than an outright untruth.

Back to what I said earlier as well - all of you are pretty conversant in cat issues. You make great points and bring up interesting issues. And you should. Instead of pinning everyone's hope on one person, no matter how wonderful that person, it's always good to have a variety of people bringing up different views.

26/1/07 4:27 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

True. But with issues like the HDB cat ban, us speaking up is not enough. :(

26/1/07 4:35 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Calsifer - it actually was brought up in Parliament a few years ago. You'd be surprised too - I am very impressed and heartened to see more and more people speaking up and I think they are being noticed. It used to be that I knew everyone's name in the newspaper - if not personally, by reputation. Now I see so many names I don't know!

26/1/07 4:39 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Well, that's true. Letters to the press are no longer just the usual suspects. :)

Well, since it was brought up a few years ago, it's high time it got a mention again. Let's see if the latest chain ST online letters leads somewhere. Have you heard anything?

26/1/07 4:42 PM  
Blogger iWooiBlog said...

This is a good opportunity, channel and avenue to get through to the Government?

And again and of course, the HDB Cat Ban Issue will be on our mind...

Hope this NMP can be "of some help" to "kick start the ball rolling"...

I am here fill with hope... Cheers

26/1/07 4:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Nope Calsifer - nothing.

26/1/07 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes Dawn you are correct in interpreting my words. As I said many times (this is to big ears) there is no harm in being cautious to what this NMP means exactly. I would say for sure I wouldnt go trust him 100 percent. Because simply I dont know if he means what he says or he is just blabbering a speech written by his spin doctor. Like a movie by sandra bullock in which she was an undercover agent. All the beauty contestants went on stage and when asked what they wanted. The answer was a standard "World Peace" followed by cheers and applause from the auidence. That is called being politically correct. Until he shows some action and things get done. I would say I will just watch and not put too high hopes on him. As Dawn said, not knowing the full facts can be dangerous.

I rather he know what he talks about issues he knows well than to say something for the sake of "selling" himself. To me the new paper interview was more about him being "the humble" on the ground guy.

So I say again, let's just wait and see....

26/1/07 5:20 PM  
Blogger vegancat said...

I think this blog has brought about a great awareness of what's been going on between cws, volunteers and TC and of course shocking truths of the ignorance of TC and now of HDB.
I was told that there has been many letters to TODAY and because of this response, a big write-up has been planned for next week, maybe monday, so watch out.

26/1/07 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the issue for voters and the govt. It is called being smart. Our government has not and does not in the near future tolerate any form of dissent. It is simple, if you force someone to do something and in the process make him or her look stupid versus you tell him or her, we work together and you get to bask in glory. Which will be more effective? What more our government?

To be proactive is good but in the right way. By openly defying the government will only invite a backlash and worse consequences. They do not need to even do much, they simply stop entertaining any queries like how HDB simply replies with standard template written donkey years ago. I am not surprised HDB has already stopped bothering about the cat issue. To them it is "dont even bother thinking about it". Each time there is a letter or complain, just send the template letter.

To engage the authorities, it is as the old chinese saying goes "eat soft not hard" Meaning they need the soft and right approach. Using methods like protests or aggressive responses only mark you as a possible subversive.

26/1/07 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

May the above elaborate on what constitutes "To engage the authorities, it is as the old chinese saying goes "eat soft not hard"?
Besides the letters of "protests", many caregivers have taken upon themselves to sterilise the cats and work with TC to resolve complaints.
Do we need to continue to cower in fear that the Government is vindictive in its management of "disagreement"? That we must be always kowtowingly subservient?
If this were so, then we need to tremble in fear?

26/1/07 7:41 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Definitely not Anonymous - plus I think perhaps what the other Anonymous was trying to say is how you put something across. For example, people in general tend to react better to people who are polite (with the possible exception of some TC officers! :)). If you put across your message in a calm, polite and rational way, I am absolutely convinced the authorities will listen.

As you rightly pointed out, caregivers are helping ot sterilise the cats and mediate complaints - and for this they work with the TCs. They came up with a viable solution (TNRM) and proposed it, instead of say banging the table and not having a good alternative. Complaints are not new - but the caregivers come up with a better way of dealing with it and I would say by and large, the TCs are receptive.

26/1/07 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Dawn that is what I am trying to say all the time. U want to engage the govt esp our govt (Do not forget we are not a "free" nation like USA) Here the govt is more powerful than the people not the other way round. The govt here do not tolerate dissent and is very reactive to another or organisation that they feel are subversive. It is not about kowtowing, it is about knowing how to approach them. As Dawn said, by slamming tables and stating your rights as a citizen is just going to get the case thrown in the store. But by offering to work to make everyone look good will be more likey to see the Government willing to listen.

27/1/07 2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn always makes sense. Remember, no matter how high a seagull flies, a hammer will still break a window. CWS has more to lose than Mr NMP if things go awry. Choose carefully.

27/1/07 4:07 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I think even in the US, the same basic rules apply. No matter what people will respond better if you have thought out your arguments and are polite.

I'm learning a lot of interesting phrases from this blog post!

27/1/07 10:25 AM  
Anonymous Big Ears said...

I think Anonymous you misconstrued me altogether…

My point is, be it’s a genuine concern of this NMP or a mere “branding” speech to gain voters (which I felt that is a really a small pull factor basing the size of our nation who house cat/s in HDB flats) the key is at least this subject is brought to the table. Gathering the right facts in this matter is certainly of paramount hence we should at least give this poor fella some cheering on and support him (with all the RIGHT facts which what Dawn will be doing) instead of sitting on the fence and watch with a look-see attitude [and act like a typical Singaporean].

Be it his gain or our gain, we will not get the credit anyway. Just like we trapping cat for sterilizing as a good example, it’s always the TC/RC got the pat on the back maybe only a handful of us gets the credit. However, most of us wasn’t too concern, we just want our cats to be left alone, period. So if he is for real or not, it doesn’t matter. It just have to make sense to the parliament to revisit this subject as comparing to water issues, GST and what have you which to me really of the lease priority.

Having said much, the “war” is really out there. And am I glad that the Civil War is not ra-ra by some Singaporeans, if not we might be able to order a Black slave or two on e-bay!

28/1/07 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Big Ears.... you also do know understand what I am saying. What I mean is know exactly what is his motive first. That is what I mean by wait and see. Wait and see if he is genuine or if he is just interested in promoting things that will boost his position.

So what is the harm in giving him the info he needs but wait and see what his action is? If all is good, then good for everyone. But until then... throwing your support behind someone who gives a line as vague as I want to find for animal welfare without knowing if he even knows what is animal welfare is not something I will do.

Anyway as I say, I shall wait and see..

28/1/07 2:24 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hi everyone, I think you're actually not disagreeing with each other BigEars and Anonymous.No one I think is throwing support behind anyone - we're just giving information to someone who asked for more background on the community cat situation. We do the same for students, members of the public, people who come for TNRM workshops etc.

Will post more later about what happened.

28/1/07 3:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home