Monday, May 21, 2012

Anti Strays People - complain without substance

I was approached by a Malay man this morning asking me "Why don't you bring the cat home ?". I was feeding one of the strays around my place.Trying to reason with such people is normally futile as they will continue to heap accusations without any evidence.

Sigh, this is not the first time I have been tackled for feeding strays. They come in all ages, race and gender. I have be approached by elderly Indian man, middle age Chinese woman, ...but this is the first time a Malay has confronted me, as they generally have an affinity to cat due to its association with their Prophet Mohammad.

These folks normally are quite aggressive in their manner. Typically they will utter some of these statements :

-You should not feed the cat (but there is no law against feeding strays)
- Go and feed it at other blocks (shows their selfish mentality)
- The cat dirty the place (just an excuse as they don't have any other reason to give)
- I am complaining to the Town Council about this cat (resorting to threat as they realised their complaint is hollow)

Normally I will be patient and reason with them. I can't bring all these strays back as there are so many of them.  I am not the one that abandon them. It is easy for me to challenge them on cleanliness as I am a responsible feeder. They have never been able to prove that the stray they are complaining about dirty the place. In fact, I think they are lying.

Just like this man, he claimed that the stray 'walk' up to his place to dirty the corridor. I have been feeding this cat for 2 years. He is shy and hang around the car park area, sleeping under parked cars. I have seen him doing his business and burying his discharge in the greens around the car park. I have never seen him walked up the stairs of the HDB block.

I asked the man if he has actually seen the stray dirtying his place. He said no, but he has seen it walking along the corridor. Could it be his neighbour's cat ? He said no when I offer my help to talk to his neighbour. There are a few cats that look like this stray which is black / white.

Frankly, I think he is lying because if this stray did dirty his place, his opening statement to me would be "This cat dirty my place" instead of asking me to bring the cat home. As I was able to answer all his 'accusations', his final words were that  he is calling the Town Council.  The way to deal with such threat is to tell them that the conscience will be on them if the cat is terminated. They know in their heart that the problem lies with them and not with the stray. Such intolerant and lack of compassion only reflect negatively on them.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Public Transport Woes Continue

It was Sat morning, 12 May, the air con was not working well on the East-West direction SMRT train. Everyone was fanning themselves but at least the train was running. After countless of major hitches recently, air con down is the lesser evil compare to train breakdown.

The public bus situation was worst on Sat evening between 6 to 7pm. I waited almost an hour before boarding bus no. 67 along Dunearn Road, the bus stop after Hillcrest Rd. It was the 3rd bus, as the 2 others zoomed by without stopping. The 1st was relatively crowded but definitely had standing space if the bus driver asked the commuters to move in. The 2nd bus was relatively EMPTY. It was one of those long buses. Half the bus after the exit door was 'empty' - no one was standing, only seated passengers. The bus driver did not bother to make an effort to ask commuters to move in.

The attitude of the bus driver could aggravate our transport woes. I was able to board the 3rd bus because the driver asked the commuters to move it. At the subsequent stops, he took the initiative to let commuters to tap their bus card at the entrance and board at the rear of the bus as the front was very pack.

If every driver is like him, we need not feel the frustration of seeing one bus after aonther zooming by without stopping. The bus company will make more profit as the bus would be jammed pack from front to rear, instead of half empty.

Commuters nowadays are so inconsiderate. They board the bus and then 'froze' and remain rooted to the spot till they alight. So the bus is normally  pack like sardines in front but 'spacious' at the back end.

Tedious - SPCA Sterilisation Program

The current SPCA sterilization regulation is not user friendly.
It only allows for 1 cat per appointment or per voucher.
For appointment, we have to call on the 1st day of the month.
The appointment is normally scheduled the following month.
For voucher, we have to go down to SPCA personally to register
for balloting held once a month. There is also no guarantee
of one getting a voucher.
It is a tedious process full of inefficiencies and loop holes: 
1) A litter of kittens normally consist of 3 to 4 kitties.
If there are more than 1 male, the other male could get the
female(s) in the litter pregnant while we are trying to get 
the 1st male sterilised.

2) Since there is no guarantee we could get a voucher through
balloting and the nearest appointment date via phone booking
is at least one month away, the chances of more unwanted
pregnancy happening is very high.

3) It is very demoralising for us that we have not even get
the 1st litter sterilise and more litters are on the way.
It looks like a never ending struggle to get the strays
population under control.
4) Be it by appointment booking or voucher, we have to make
a trip down to SPCA. In future when SPCA moves to those far
flung site, it is very difficult for those of us who depend
on public transport to support this cause. Bringing in a
cat involves taxi fare. Taxi is expensive nowadays.
For example, a litter of 4 kittens - it will take 8 taxi
trips to get them all sterilised.

Beside it is very time consuming for us caregiver to bring
one cat at a time. It is also environmentally not friendly
to involve so many vehicle trips.
5) We have to make so many trips down to SPCA just to try
to get non-guarantee vouchers to sterilse a litter of kittens. 

The current process is so tedious and it does not motivate
one to continue helping to sterilise strays.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PRC in 2012 vs 1990s

In the early days when China opened up, their citizens were very keen to learn English. They took every opportunity to practice the language with tourists visiting China.

In 1990s, there was an influx of workers from China to Singapore. In those days, semiconductor sector had a large number of China citizens in their workforce (we don't refer to them as PRC then). Many of them were graduates. Those from university recognized by Singapore held senior positions, while those whose education certificates were not recognized, worked as production specialists (something like production operators). Thus, even the lower rank work force was highly qualified.

They spoke Mandarin which though accented, but could be easily understood as they were mainly from Beijing and Shanghai. Communication in English was not an issue. Though they spoke amongst themselves in their native tongue or Mandarin, but to us locals they were willing to communicate in English. There was never a problem of them telling us off that being Chinese, we should speak to them in Mandarin.

Fast forward to present time, PRC now demand that we locals communicate to them in Mandarin. Sigh! Their Mandarin is so heavily accented it sounds foreign instead of familiar. There is a  larger influx of workers from PRC and they are not as qualify as those in the 1990s. They compete with lower income workers for jobs. They worked in cleaning, food, sales and transport industries.

Besides their poor mastery of English, they are an arrogant lot too. There is a possibility that even though some could communicate in English, they refuse to do so. China is a big brother now, so their citizens are acting 'tough' to show their national pride. Perhaps they feel ashamed that their standard of English is lower than local Chinese. To hide their shame, they become demanding and aggressive to locals.

My mum who is educated in Chinese till only primary level, understands English well. She can speak in English (more to Singlish) to get through any daily activities and hold a conversation even with a native English speaker.

The point is, PRC could handle English if they choose too.  But likely they don't see the need to do so. They are here to invade and conquer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rain - Cat & Dog

Whenever it rains, my cat is restless. Especially if it is a thunder storm. He would be hiding in a corner till the storm blew over. I attributed it to him being sterilized and perhaps it was raining during his stayed in the veterinarian clinic ?

Then I came across my friend's dog which fear of impending rain is even more drastic. I found her breathing very heavily that day. She refused the doggie treats I got for her which she usually gobbled up eagerly. I thought she was sick but was told she is stressed whenever the weather turn cloudy.

Then it rained, and she was hyperventilating. She was in the porch and and I was sitting in the far corner of the living room.  I could hear her heavy breathing even with the background pattering of rain and rumbling of thunder. I knew of the term hyperventilation. But I have never come across any one who suffers from it. Now I observe first hand what hyperventilation is from a dog. If not for the assurance from her owner, I thought she is in danger of dying.

According to her owner, she is a stray which used to hang around. They adopted her and sterilized her. Though a young stray, likely she has given birth before as her tummy showed signs of it.  Perhaps she has been badly traumatized before which has association with bad weather. Talk about auto response trigger by external stimuli. This is a classical example.

Poor thing. She should be let indoor during such time. Cover her with a blanket and keep her warm and cozy to reduce the stress and fear.

Invasion of PRC

The uncle in front of me order his food by giving the number. He ordered in English,  '14 and 19' from the menu display. The stall assistant, a PRC said something incomprehensible and the uncle repeated his order. The stall man answered in heavily accented Mandarin, (I realized it is Mandarin this time round) though still incomprehensible. The uncle lost his patient and started to jab at the menu on the items he wanted and said the he should learn to speak English in Singapore. The stall assistant told the uncle off that he should speak in Mandarin as he is Chinese. He then compliant to his other 2 PRC mates manning the stall about  the uncle. Yes, the whole stall is manned by PRC. They are now selling local dishes like chicken rice, laska, kua chap..etc in HDB heartland.

Sigh, typical scene repeated many times daily in recent years all over Singapore. PRC has invaded into every nooks and corners. We see them every where in all walks of life.  The main problem is they don't speak English or refuse to. I think it is a combination of both factors. We are a multi-racial society.  As a Chinese myself, I find it hard to understand their heavily accented Mandarin and fast talk. Yeah, they talk very fast. I thought we locals speak very fast, but they beat us to it.

I wonder how our Malay, Indian and other nationality friends feel, as simple daily activities now become a struggle in communication. Try asking for the bus fare or direction from a PRC bus driver - dead end. Try ordering food in hawker center, restaurant, food court - it is a chore if one does not speak Mandarin. One must be also patient enough to try to comprehend their heavy accent Mandarin.

They do not speak local Chinese dialects either. I feel closer to local Malays and Indians than Chinese from China.  Actually our govt has been successful in fostering Singapore identity during my generation. But all these are fast evaporating due the massive import of foreigners.

I feel like I am in China when in Chinatown, People's Park Complex.  The stalls are all are selling mainland Chinese food. The crowd of Chinese there speak in a language that I don't understand. The invasion is complete.