Thursday, July 26, 2007

No wonder volunteerism is dead

This officer wrote back - he said that they have to work for residents who pay conservancy charges and hence need to take care of their complaints. He said that caregivers are residents who make the decision to care for the cats hence it should be their responsibility. He said he had his limits.

I wrote back to point out that when residents help to check for larvae in homes, why doesn't the town council make these volunteers 'in charge' of dengue? After all, they decided to help out too didn't they?

He also said TC is not trying to push responsibility to anyone because it is just a phone call away to trap the cats. I said that if this was their idea of solving the problem I was very disappointed - because the complainant I spoke to did NOT want the cat removed. She wanted the urination to stop.

In fact in another case where the cat was in fact just removed, I just checked with the complainant and the problem has not stopped at all! Which means the TC removed again, the wrong cat. So how is this helping ANY of the residents?

It's a shame that some town council officers seem to forget that residents who are caregivers pay conservancy charges too - and in fact penalise them for wanting to help. Is it any wonder volunteerism in Singapore is in such a bad state? It's better to sit around and not do anything - you get rewarded for it, whereas if you try and help, then more work gets pushed your way.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Hoon said...

I'm wondering if the officer acted that way is because he simply doesn't know HOW to solve the problem except to call pest control.

Maybe the caregiver could give him some guidance on how to get to the root of the problem?

26/7/07 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There should be a public list to shame these TC officers who threatened with removal of cats is just a phone call away.
Perhaps he would sit up and be more professional if his work is at jeopardy "just a phone call away"!

26/7/07 11:58 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Hoon - the officer there knows the caregiver and they have helped in the past. The problem is among other things, there are other irresponsible feeders AND people dumping. Clearly this IS a problem - but getting angry at the caregiver isn't helpful or trying to pass the work to them. I suggested working together - and he said perhaps CWS can send notices to the residents. Again, CWS, caregivers etc want to HELP - but the TC cannot basically refuse to do anything.

26/7/07 12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HDB's cat rule got to change! Volunteers work hard at TRNM but still cats get dumped every now and then by irresponsible people! It's real tired and frustrating, i really don't know when I am giving up too, it's so tired and frustrating!

26/7/07 12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sterilising + dumping go hand in hand. Dumping needs to be addressed and ppl are skirting around this issue for obvious reasons. The irresponsiblity of a few residents becomes work of responsible people to get new-borns into homes....time & time again when they see "dumped" kittens in void deck. It is very frustrating.
Changing HBD rules is a help but getting the the "dumpers" to stop dumping & sterilising shd looked into. How to start? Who would start-you need a special group of people to do it without being called insensitive.
Sponsorship for full sterilisation (with no ear tipping) AND transport is offered, the owner refused to allow 2 cats for sterilisation.
Only one thing to do...bang head on floor ; )

26/7/07 1:49 PM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

If the caregiver is email-savvy and firm, write a polite letter to that tc officer, cc to the CEO and MP and said that she or she is ASSISTING in resolving communal problems and how calling the pest controllers to round up cats have not and will not work.

26/7/07 3:36 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Sorry to hear that Anonymous - and I AM sorry to hear that you're so frustrated (and I can understand why).

It is very difficult - and I know you guys are trying your best, but it can be very discouraging I am sure.

vegancatsg - she's not, but she's quite fiery. She said she might go to the TC and ask to see the GM with some friends.

26/7/07 3:41 PM  
Blogger VeganCatsg said...

Hahaha..i can imagine. Some of the Chinese-speaking aunties are indeed "fierce" and i must say, it does reign the "pick up the phone to call pest controllers" attitude of the tc officers!

26/7/07 3:44 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

She is quite feisty I have to say!

26/7/07 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it could be more of the old school type of thinking in which the government feels that civil groups and volunteer groups could be subversive as they do not fall under the direct control of the govt. Hence if they echo the govt's mantras each time fine and good but woe on them when they disagree....

26/7/07 3:53 PM  
Anonymous huh said...

All scenarios mentioned here not easy to solve. Mental issues more difficult than welfare needs of cats.

TC officer is not performing satisfactory and he needs to know 'one phone call away' is only easy dial up but not a solution provider if he shut himself off and only listen to the complainants and keep catching wrong cats. If he can't do the humane part, he should be replaced.

26/7/07 3:54 PM  
Anonymous no patience said...

Dawn, please document all the correspondence, someday we can do a play on why we are not progressing.

26/7/07 3:58 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - I'm actually giving a talk about NGOs and political futures in Singapore on Saturday and one of the points I'm making is that I actually think one of the roles that NGOs play is to actually help bring residents and authorities closer together. I know at least for CWS (and I actually think many other NGOs) want to work WITH the authorities. It's not a case of going to head to head, but working side by side.

no patience - you volunteering to write the play? :)

26/7/07 4:04 PM  
Blogger animalfamily said...

i am seriously starting to think if it is possible to make resolving cat complaints into a legitimate business that TC can engage like they engage the pest control companies. since their reaction is that they prefer to pay then to deal, then those people doing their job should get paid for it.

26/7/07 5:28 PM  
Blogger animalfamily said...

does anyone have the figures on how much TC spends on pest control services each month and how much do pest control companies charge?

26/7/07 5:33 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

animalfamily - you know someone else suggested that to me as well. The thing is that I can imagine that the mindset would be to fall back on calling and having the cat removed - NOT necessarily solving the problem.

I believe pest control is lumped with other things like controlling ants, cockroaches, etc. I have heard it's about $10-$15 to trap a cat.

26/7/07 5:38 PM  
Blogger animalfamily said...

if currently the TC officers are starting to be receptive to having cat volunteers deal with the issues without expecting removal of the cats, perhaps they can be persuaded to accept that it is a legitimate service performed on their behalf which can be put in place as a long term partnership that requires some monetary subsidies? even if a problem is such that it cannot be resolved without removal, we can still ensure the safety of the cats through shelter,rehoming or colony monitoring then to see them taken away to the pounds?

26/7/07 6:17 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

animalfamily - quite a few officers have asked why the cats can't be taken away. When I've asked who will pay for this, I've been told the caregivers should. And it's not just the officers. There seems to be a sense that if you step up and offer help because you are community minded that you should get stuck with all the responsibility.

26/7/07 6:34 PM  

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