Monday, May 14, 2007

Unhappy feeder

There was as expected, a flurry of very differing responses from the group at this estate . Some were prepared to let it drop, others wanted an apology, still others demanded that a police report be done and also going to the media.

I was just exchanging SMSes with a feeder from there (who rarely picks up the phone). Apparently, she was unhappy with the meeting on Friday and was pushing for further action to be taken.

I had emailed the group on Friday and told them what had happened to apprise them of what was happening. Some people did not have email (or rarely bother to check it) and many people there who know Rebecca called her to find out what happened.

Then I was told a feeder had been sending an SMS accusing CWS of telling people not to file a police report. It's not in our position to tell people what to do, or not to do. After all it's not our estate. It's up to the residents.

It turned out what happened was that Rebecca had sent an SMS out, which this irate feeder just forwarded to me, in which Rebecca appealed for them to be calm, and made her suggestion. Rebecca then ended off the SMS by saying that I had suggested that they decide as a group what they want to do and vote on the matter democratically. This was the SMS the feeder took umbrage with.

I SMSed her to ask her if it was true that she was sending out SMSes and to check her facts if that was the case. She sent me back the SMS as an example of how CWS was telling people not to file the report, as she knows Rebecca works part time for CWS.

Now she's replying that I told the witness not to file the report (untrue - the witness told me quite clearly when I spoke with her she didn't want to file and I haven't spoken with her since). She also said that she heard that I had asked the residents to wait a day or two till after meeting with the TC (true - and the several residents who I did speak with were agreeable).

I told her that if she's not happy with the way CWS is dealing with this, that we'll be happy to bow out if the group feels the same way. After all, it's their estate and we'll only trying to facilliate. If they would rather deal directly with their own TC, we're more than happy for them to do so. It's always been our stand that we prefer residents and town councils to work together directly and that we're there just to facilitate.

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Anonymous cat eyes said...

people must appreciate the hard work CWS is doing and in every case, if the dialogue session turns ugly with TC, it may hamper future TNR and other projects. Be firm, calm and respectful.

It is important the cruel act be be known to all so that it cannot be buried quietly just to cover up bureaucratic mistakes.

It was a serious error, the cat almost died.

14/5/07 11:43 AM  
Anonymous ramarama said...

As we all work more and more with SMS and email to communicate rapidly with large numbers of people, for lack of time/ability to do things face-face, these sorts of misunderstandings are going to become more and more common. The most innocuous of comments can appear twisted and perverse. Looks like for whatever reason, this lady didn't trust the CWS to begin with, so read intentions into an SMS which were just not there.

out of topic, except to bring some cheer - amazing how cats have these survival instincts

14/5/07 11:55 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Well it's hard ramarama when this feeder doesn't tend to come for meetings, and is very hard to get on the phone. When I try to call, she doesn't pick up most of the time. She is the one who initiates calls when she needs help.

14/5/07 12:57 PM  
Anonymous ramarama said...

Yes, then there is no choice - but it is also inevitable that there will be the occasional misunderstanding. And your work seems to be so full of potential for conflict with feeders, residents, TC people, etc.
However hard one tries to be accurate in SMSing or Emailing, it is hard to avoid the occasional misunderstanding, and sometimes, even serious ones.

And it seems that some people also just prefer to avoid (or have no time for) face-face contact and all you are left with is email and SMS. But it is difficult to build trust without at least an occasional face-face meeting. Too bad that she would just assume that about the CWS and consequently get so upset.

Like my American buddy once taught me "No good deed ever goes unpunished" :D Remarkable that your passion for this job stays undiminished. I guess keeping the objectives of the organization up front and central is what helps you keep focused on the job at hand. Jia u!

14/5/07 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes, law is law. it is there to punish inhumane acts done by SOME people. now, it is insult when we know that civil servants know the consequences of committing a sin and still they break the rule. it is believed that they will have double punishment. Moreover, i believe justice exists in Singapore. And i understand Singapore is a free country and law is fair. No matter how high your position in the society, you will definitely be punished by the law. Remember, "loepard never change its spots!"

15/5/07 10:53 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Of course no one is above the law - and no one is saying that. There are however different ways that the officer can be called to task without necessarily going through a trial (which may not even succeed even IF the witness decides to testify). This is what the caregivers have chosen to do and I think we should respect their decision.

15/5/07 10:59 AM  
Blogger Tension Split Euu Aapart said...

hi dawn, i overheard about the cats abuse. i was so disheartened to hear that. well i receive a message from Rebecca's about the options to deal with town council. there are four options one of which is report to police. well i replied to Rebbecca telling her not to hesitate to report to police.But i did not know why rebecca said about the consequences that we are going to bear if we were to report to police. But i do not really understand her words. That goes it is never easy to fight with government in Singapore, (government=god) as to what extend she doesn't know. But i was so worried to hear that as i wont know whether my cat would be the next victim or not.When abuse is being reported, what is the procedure of CWS to handle this kind of situation? Not reporting to the police? why you all wouldn't want to report to police? But when we were to report this to SPCA, they will definitely come down to handle the situation. i believe CWS is a big organization who could bring this matter to the justice. Or is it CWS afraid of offending the town council? This actually shocked me like the annoymous person mentioned in your comment:"law is law. it is there to punish inhumane acts done by SOME people. now, it is insult when we know that civil servants know the consequences of committing a sin and still they break the rule. it is believed that they will have double punishment. Moreover, i believe justice exists in Singapore. And i understand Singapore is a free country and law is fair. No matter how high your position in the society, you will definitely be punished by the law. Remember, "leopard never change its spots!"
If this is the first time, there will definitely be another time. i seeked the opinion of my friends who are of the same age as i am.they are not animal lovers. they were saying the cats are fine . i really didn't believe town council cull cats and never know that they use such underhand methods.And when they witness this situation "what would they do" which i put in my discussion forum for my group of friends. All of them said that they would firstly rescue the cats first followed by reporting this to authorities like calling down the SPCA and followed by informing the police and media to justify the fact that abuse not done by commoners but done by people holding government post. How could such things happen in our area when we are living in a secured environment.laws are still broken by people in 'government sector' is it such that there is no law or no rights for us to report authorities to higher or the government will side the government.

15/5/07 12:51 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

15/5/07 1:06 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

tension split euu apart - there are several things which I think there is confusion about here.

Why did CWS not report it to the police? Well for one thing neither SPCA, nor CWS or ANYONE else can report a case of abuse unless you have witnessed it. For example, imagine if this was a case of murder, and you heard from a friend that someone else had murdered someone. Can you make a report? No. Because for example, if there's no evidence (no dead body) and there's only what someone told someone else, that's not good enough.

So the point is a lot of people are discussing whether a police report should be made - and the fact of the matter is, NO ONE can make the report except the witness. And the witness doesn't want to make a report.

Having said that, the town council IS taking action and I think you're assuming they condoned this abuse. They didn't and weren't aware of it. And the caregivers in the area met last night and decided that there are certain things that they would like the TC to do, including an apology from the person in question. The TC is also taking action themselves.

None of the caregivers I have spoken to thinks the TC is involved. I think they would have felt differently if they did. This was they felt, the work of an individual officer, acting on his own, without the approval in any way of the TC.

Let me put it this way - say you have a group of caregivers and they're all doing a good job, but one person decides to go up and hit an officer. Should the whole group be punished?

15/5/07 1:10 PM  
Blogger Tension Split Euu Aapart said...

adawn, i think you still dont understand what i meant. my intentions are neutral like anyone who has their views posted. sometimes, people just want a reply. i am not accusing the town council. it is just that the town council's authorities have not done the right thing. it is right that he/she should be punished. regardless of whom in town council, we have to make this clear that the person who instigated this cats abuse. hereby i hope whoever has done this should be punished.animal abuse isn't against the law??? Are you trying to say? even if the sweeper has done this, he should be punished. unless it goes to say that there is no action done to resolve this abuse act. As i feared that whether my cat would be the next victim for this cats abuse. Even if this weren't reported to police, they should at least be sacking the person who had done this, to refrain abuse from occuring again. thats why! they may not know of our agreement but they should at least know this is against the law of singapore. law is made by legislative council of singapore to govern the nation and not escapes from the punishment from law. Soi hereby hope that town council could terminate the position of whomever it is who had done this

15/5/07 3:45 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

tension split euu apart - I think you may have misread the post.Aat no point did I say that animal abuse was not a crime. Please do read the post again. What I did say was that you cannot have someone charged for ANY crime, if the witness won't make a police report. Simply put, if the witness won't testify, the police cannot act. And the witness won't testify. It doesn't matter WHAT the crime is if you have no evidence and no witness. There is neither in this case.

Also what you said, for example about sacking the officer is one possible action that the TC could take. This is NOT related to the 'law' in that sense. This is also what I meant when I said that the town council is looking into taking action themselves.

At the end of the day, it's not as if there are two options - doing nothing and filing a police report. There are many other things that can be done and the caregivers have decided last night on what they wanted to do as a group. It's a shame you did not come for the meeting last night as they had a good discussion and came to a decision as a group.

15/5/07 3:59 PM  

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