Thanks Vegancat for sending this letter in.
Keeping animals : How to handle a pet peeve
As Vegancat pointed out, it's interesting that a response to an online forum letter was printed in the print edition this time around.
The actual letter (which I had missed) was a very interesting article on how some graduate students from Darwin Australia came to Singapore to do a survey and found that most Singaporeans were responsible pet owners and that they took their responsibilities seriously. In addition, they found animals to be an intergral part of their lives.
While we don't know how large the sample size was, I think Mr Heng misses the point when he says that he can only seek to know a fraction of the Chinese soul though he visits China for a few months a year. The sample size here isn't of one (ie Mr Heng) but presumably the students actually interviewed a number of people, including people who DO live in three-roomed HDB flats.
I also think it'll be a very sad day when we decide to round up animals and put them in a zoo. It's like saying that we should pull down all our historic landmarks and buildings and telling people to go to a museum and see them. A child can learn so much more from daily experience - and not from a once or twice yearly visit to the zoo. If you walk around Rome for example, the culture of Rome is exemplified by not just by the beautiful ancient buildings, but the many cats cared for by the Romans. In a young country striving to learn just whom we are, I think it would be a huge shame if we decided to become an arid, soul-less place without animals.