Friday, March 09, 2007

Misunderstandings

One of the feeders called me up very upset this morning. I had missed her first call and she had called another caregiver in the area.

It turned out some conservancy workers had come down to investigate a complaint. Unfortunately she does not speak English and they do not speak any Mandarin, though apparently they could speak Hokkien. What happened then is that she thought they were going to trap her cats and started telling them that they were sterilised. When she called the other caregiver and put her on the phone with the conservancy worker, the worker complained that the feeder had yelled at him. He claimed that he was just checking the area out and that she was very angry with him for some reason. He told the caregiver on the phone he would complain to the TC about the feeder.

When I spoke with the feeder, she was barely comprehensible because she was so upset. I told her to calm down and tell me what happened. They told her to call the police if she was unhapy.Then she said that the conservancy worker had called the police.

It turns out according to the caregiver when she spoke with the workers that they were asking the feeder if she could feed a little to the side. The feeder misunderstood and thought they wanted to trap her cats and got upset. This feeder tends to get quite loud when she gets upset (which she admits) and so the misunderstanding got worse I think. The workers thought she was cursing them and she in turn, got upset when they got angry.

They asked the feeder not to leave but she got so upset she ran off. She said the police might come. I told her she was not doing anything wrong, and that if the police came she could get someone to translate for her and in fact clear up what sounds like a misunderstanding. I said the most important thing was not to panic. She said they might check her identity card. I told her that was fine - but asked if she had done anything wrong? She said she had not - so I told her there was nothing to worry about.

She then walked back to the same area. No one stopped her.

She just called again. I told her the most important thing is to try and stay calm. I told her running off will not help- nor should she have anything to fear. I told her that she could perhaps learn a simple English phrase or two to explain that she could not speak English and she just practised it on the phone. Hopefully this may help in the future.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous ej said...

Dawn, it is good that you calm her down and told her not to panic.
True, she should not fear the police when she did not do anything bad or wrong.
Nice to know that she has CWS and Dawn and fellow caregivers to turn to for her situation.

9/3/07 1:38 PM  
Anonymous belle said...

everybody in s'pore is so tensed these days ... its only when u remain calm that u can properly discuss & negotiate terms with other ppl/authorities ...

10/3/07 1:34 PM  

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