Saturday, December 31, 2011

Singapore's community activism blossoming

Singapore's community activism blossoming
By Qiuyi Tan | Posted: 29 December 2011 1853 hr

SINGAPORE: More Singaporeans this year have spoken up and acted on a slew of social causes from heritage conservation and environmental protection to animal welfare.

In June, Singapore saw its first-ever public forum on animal welfare policies.

Observers said this is not unusual for a developed country with an educated population.

Assistant Professor Reuben Wong, from the National University of Singapore's Political Science Department, said: "Singaporeans find it remarkable because we've been used to a certain kind of politics which I'd describe as abnormal, where the citizenry has been depoliticised, where there is one overwhelming party or sometimes just one party in Parliament."

At the National Day Rally in August, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had urged Singaporeans to come forward to play a larger and positive role on issues affecting the country.

Leading the way in this effort are civil society groups such as the Cat Welfare Society.

The society has seen public support increase steadily over the years.

But what made 2011 a milestone for the group was its engagement with the government.

It has successfully lobbied authorities to start sterilising stray cats this year -- a shift from the old policy of culling them.

Its vice-president Veron Lau said the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme, which was terminated in 2005, is now back and piloting in a number of housing estates like Ang Mo Kio and Tampines.

Under the programme, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) works with town councils to microchip and sterilise stray cats, and pays for half the cost.

"I see the change from the government officers in the way they want to work together with us," Ms Lau said.

"It's because they have seen the results that are brought about when volunteers and residents in the community step forward to resolve issues, rather than just leaving it to the government officials to resolve them."

Separately, architect Tham Wai Hon got his friends and colleagues together to lobby the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to preserve the full tract of KTM railway land recently returned to Singapore. They did that by proposing creative development ideas.

Mr Tham said: "What's so amazing was that, usually in Singapore, things are planned 10, 20 years in advance, but this time, things happened so suddenly, no one was ready except our group. And so in that way it lent us a bigger voice, and the URA was really keen to get any ideas for what they could do about the space."

Mr Tham's group -- Friends of the Rail Corridor -- is now part of an official dialogue process with the Rail Corridor Consultation Group on the Rail Corridor.

There are concerns lengthy consultations will slow down Singapore's efficiency and strong government.

But activists and observers said the dialogue process as well as active citizens and a strong civil society are vital to a mature and resilient society.

NUS' Assistant Professor Wong said: "Some of the younger ministers and younger Members of Parliament (MPs) understand more intuitively, but the rest of the cabinet and government might have to be convinced of the merits of a more consultative approach."

While some observers said activist groups are getting more organised and connected, others believe there will always be new issues that will get Singaporeans talking and moving.

But one thing all can agree with, though, is that Singapore's budding community activism looks set to grow in the years ahead.

- CNA/wk

Stir-fried snake show when society is more compassionate?

SINGAPORE is changing. Our society is becoming more compassionate towards animals.

Laws protect domesticated animals from abuse and wild animals from being trafficked. People rescue abandoned animals, such as cats, from shelters and provide them with loving homes.

People question the serving of shark's fin soup on special occasions, such as wedding dinners. Zoo animals are no longer forced to give unnatural performances. Restaurants offer more vegetarian options on their menus.

Indeed, in increasing numbers, people recognise that animals are thinking, feeling beings deserving of respect. This shift towards greater compassion by Singapore's Government, people and businesses makes it all the more disturbing to see the Healthy Dining series, on Wednesdays on MediaCorp's Channel 8. The series is shot in China, with the goal of teaching the audience about healthy ingredients and how to prepare them.

However, some of these ingredients are animals, such as snakes and guinea pigs. For example, in the show about snakes, the hosts visit a snake farm and play with a snake. Not long after, we see stir-fried snake served on a plate, snake in a soup and a skinned snake. In this way, the show promotes the consumption of exotic animal parts for their alleged 'healing properties' and may whet appetites for exotic game meat among viewers.

In Healthy Dining, the animals are viewed only as objects of entertainment and nutrition for humans. Where, please, is the shift towards greater compassion for animals that we are seeing elsewhere in Singapore society?

Louis Ng

Executive Director

Animal Concerns, Research and Education Society (Acres)

Dr George Jacobs


Vegetarian Society (Singapore)

Jennifer Lee (Ms)


Project: FIN

Better to 'cull' antisocial habits

I TOTALLY agree with Mr Henry Ong's call for clearing of leftover food and used utensils ('Bird nuisance at hawker centres'; Thursday).

However, I disagree with his call for culling of the birds as it is not only ineffective and hence a waste of public funds, but is also extremely cruel. I have personally witnessed birds convulsing after eating bait laced with poison. My other concern is the danger of the poisoned bait to others like curious children or pet dogs.

According to the Animal Aid website: 'In areas where culling is carried out, there will be an initial reduction in pigeon numbers. However, this effect is very short term as the population will almost certainly have returned to or even exceeded the previous level within a few weeks. This is because pigeons control their own numbers according to the food source available.'

We need to 'cull' our antisocial personal habits by not leaving leftover food on the tables, by not throwing leftover food on the floor and learning to place our used utensils at collection points to facilitate rapid clearing by the cleaners.

We are at risk of contracting diseases from our fellow human beings who leave used tissue paper in bowls and cups in public eating places, cough and sneeze in public, and indulge in other unhygienic acts.

Stop blaming the birds.

The fault is ours and if we continue to deny that fact, we will never change.

Dr Tan Chek Wee

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Join hands for a humane approach towards strays

LET us not polarise the issue: Animal lovers and the public have a common goal, which is to get the strays off the streets ('Dog lovers upset over stepped-up culling'; Dec 21).

Where we differ is in the ways - in the treatment of the strays during their capture, and their rehoming and adoption.

Animal lovers, too, are concerned about public safety. However, the brutal capture and culling of these animals isn't the solution.

Many animal lovers like me feed stray dogs and cats with the goal of winning their trust so we can rescue them and take them off the streets and into homes or shelters where they can be properly looked after.

We do it not with the purpose of having them breed and cause more problems. But time is not on our side, simply because the support and resources are lacking.

This is the crux of the issue for all animal welfare groups and animal lovers. And, I can imagine, the same goes for the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA).

This problem will not go away. The only solution is one where we all work together on a nationwide permanent effort that involves the AVA and animal welfare groups - a collaborative multi-agency task force to systematically and humanely rescue all strays and shepherd them into homes or shelters.

What is paramount is to stop the culling and brutal methods of capture.

Animal lovers like me will rally behind a joint effort to source for funding, pool resources and organise adoption campaigns.

Adrian Teo

Follow-up Report on Efforts to Rehome Punggol Strays on Channel News Asia, 28 Dec 2011

Save the Punggol Strays
Rescue Efforts on ChannelNewsAsia last night.
Bacon was featured!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Singapore: Animal Lovers Rally to Save Stray Dogs · Global Voices

Thirty-two-year-old Lin Chuan had tied a rope around the neck of a cat, dragging it along the second floor of a block in Toa Payoh on May 7 this year.

Save the Punggol Strays

‎'What are we teaching our children? Dispose of things we hate? That animal lives are not as precious as human beings?
The mark of a country is seen in its compassion towards animals.
Are we a compassionate country?
Are we?'

An Anonymous Contributor Shares her Response to the Culling of Punggol Dogs

by Save the Punggol Strays on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 at 19:32

The Save the Punggol Strays campaign has been challenged at every turn.

They have been called ‘ludicrous’ and ‘extreme’. They have been accused of ‘trivialis[ing] the lives of fellow Singaporeans’. They have been warned not to ‘stir emotions’, ‘demonize AVA’, and ‘go after the government’. They have been labeled as ‘activists’ and ‘animal lovers’.

Do you know what is ‘ludicrous’? They think we are simple enough to reject their ideas if they point at them and call them ‘extreme’. They think we are afraid of anything that might be perceived as challenging the government. They think we can be distracted from the fact that they actually have a point.

They want people to be scared of them. They want you to think they are radical ‘activists’ and ‘animal lovers’. But here’s the thing: You do *not* have to be an activist or love animals, to see the flawed logic behind catch and kill policy. Anyone can figure out catch and kill does not work. And that is why they want this campaign to fade away— they are afraid regular people might start to notice that they are using their taxpayer dollars to kill hundreds of animals every year for no discernable reason.

Culling achieves nothing but we do it anyway. Killing the animals in an area creates a vacuum. Animals from other places move in to fill that void. And these animals keep having more babies so we end up with even more animals than before. This is called the vacuum effect. It is a well-documented phenomenon that is backed up by hard scientific research. Killian et al (2007) said it best: ‘Depopulation by lethal means may result in a “vacuum” effect where territorial boundaries are no longer defended allowing for influx of new diseased and non diseased animals to the area. Moreover, populations greatly reduced by culling are likely to rebound quickly, providing young animals’.

There are so many ways we could meaningfully reduce the homeless animal population. Actively discouraging people from abandoning animals. Letting people give animals a home in their flats. Supporting and encouraging sterilization of animals. All of these solutions would be better than killing tens of thousands of homeless animals under the guise of ‘public safety’.

Not a lot of people knew how prevalent catch and kill is before this campaign came along. People are only just starting to notice resources are being wasted on an endless cycle of trapping and killing. For the first time, people are becoming aware that animals are being killed all the time in their neighborhoods. We can no longer stay silent. By keeping quiet, we tacitly condone and accept the killing of lots innocent animals for no particular reason as a legitimate action to ‘ensure the public is kept safe’.

Read, share, and discuss. Spread the word. Start conversations. Together, we can help give the Punggol strays a chance, and make people sit up and take notice of wasteful, ineffective, and indiscriminate culling.

Links roundup:

Exchange on Mr Tan Chuan Jin’s Facebook Wall

Straits Times: Dog lovers upset over stepped-up culling in Punggol

Straits Times: Culling done to ensure public safety

Today Online: Roadblocks to re-homing dogs?

Killian et al (2007). USDA National Wildlife Research Center - Staff Publications. Paper 758.

Plea to Save the Punggol Stray Dogs on Channel News Asia

Plea to save Punggol Stray Dogs on Mediacorp Channel 8

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Cat Song

A Cat's Prayer

Although I am too proud to beg,

and may appear to be a very independent creature,

I ask for your loving care and attention.

I rely on you for my well being much more than you may realize.

This I promise you, my benefactor, that I will not be a burden on you

nor will I demand more of you than you care to give.

I will be a quiet peaceful island of serenity for you to gaze upon;

a soft soothing body to caress,

and I shall purr with pleasure to rest your weary ears.

Since I am a gourmet who appreciates different taste sensations,

I pray you will give me a variety of nutritious foods and fresh water daily.

You know dear friend, how I love to go.

Allow me, I pray, a warm sheltered place

where I can rest peacefully and feel secure.

If I am wounded in battle or suffering from disease,

please tend me gently, and see that I am treated

by loving and competent hands.

Please protect me from the inhuman humans

who would hurt and torture me for their own amusement.

I am accustomed to your gentle touch and am not always suspicious

nor swift enough to avoid such malicious acts.

In my later years when my senses fail me

and my infirmities become too great to bear,

allow me the comfort and dignity that I desire for my closing days

and help me gently in my pain or passing.

Hear this prayer, my dear friend, my fate depends on you.

*author unknown

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Bendeecat: "Meowrry Christmas my lovely humans!"

Meowrry Christmas my lovely humans!

Me, Bendeecat would like to thank you for loving me. Your constant support to my ahmas and encouragement on my fb page meant a lot to me.
Have a great Christmas while I celebrate mine with my neighbour (a ginger cat) in ARC.

I meow (love) you...
Hope to meet everyone soon!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Take your time...

Story of Little Tom (USA)

"Little Tom probably lived a miserable life, but he was loved and received affection for the last four hours of his life. However, this is not enough. There is no reason why Little Tom shouldn’t have received a bit more compassion during his life. He didn’t deserve it.
Please people, look around you and don’t ignore your ferals. Offer them a bit of food, a warm shelter and whatever love you have to spare."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Please Save the Punggol Dogs

Penny Low (MP of Punggol) announced that todate, 24 lives have been rounded up by AVA. And she will work with AVA to round up all the street dogs they can find in the Punggol park area next week : Is this MP endorsing senseless genocide of innocent animal life? Please let her know what you think.

Sterilisation Saves Lives

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

What can our society do for low-income, destitute families who find joy and purpose in life with animals?

Case 1: Dedicated caregivers have been assisting an old lady in rental flat with cats and mongrel dog for many years cleaning her flat and getting her animals sterilised. Her dogs, especially the mongrel dog, are loved by the community for their loyalty and are a constant companion of the old lady.

When the old lady died recently, the authorities sent the old lady's son still living in the flat a fine for the dogs to indirectly ask for their removal.

We have sought amnesty for this family. It is also a case that provides a human face to the issues to be discussed with the joint-agency taskforce.

What can our society do for low-income, destitute families who find joy and purpose in life with animals?

Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) with the NYC Feral Cat Initiative

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another Hoarder House Uncovered – Circuit Road

December 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Adoption, Animal Rescue | Leave a comment

As Omcat volunteers entered the filthy, smelly and dark house, the were greeted by a box of 5 ten-days’ old kittens in a cardboard box. 3 of them had died from malnutrition / dehydration. The other 2 were crawling weakly over the carcasses of the 3 dead kittens.

The house was a sad sight. Layers of urine-soaked newspapers covered with defecation were strewn all over the unkempt house. The stench was unbearable and all the windows were tightly shut to keep the smell in.

Omcat volunteers were greeted by 30+ starving, emaciated cats. 7 of the 30+ cats were kittens ranging from 2 – 6 months old. They were weak, hungry and had been starved for at least 3 weeks. They were more than relieved when food was quickly placed on the ground for them.

Suddenly, from no where came a dirty and skinny Shitzu dog with matted fur, lunging for the food. A couple of starving cats started slapping her and she quickly went to cower in a corner. As Omcat volunteers only had cat food on them, they quickly gave some to the hungry dog.

Then came more gruesome discovery!!

A 2 feet cage, covered completely with cloth. As the volunteers lifted up the cloth, they were shocked to see a dirty, smelly dog covered in its own filth and eating poo!! It appeared to be a Silky Terrier with severe skin problem.

There were 2 other dogs in the house, in rather bad condition as well. One is a Jack Russell and the other is a Silky Terrier.

The story behind this out-of-control situation is a rather sad one. An elderly couple, out of compassion, rescued animals from the community. The wife is ill and not working, while the husband earns a very low income. The step-son is still quite young and entering N.S. soon. The wife had suddenly passed away and the husband is in a daze. They couldn’t afford food for the cats and in his depressed state, the animals were unfortunate victims of neglect. The rental flat will be taken away as the husband and wife are not legally married (on paper). The man and the step-son will be homeless.

Omcat volunteers would like to appeal to kind volunteers to please help out with:

1. food (cat and dog)

2. sterilisation and medical funding

3. Dettol spray to disinfect the area (Dettol kills flu virus, among other viruses)

4. adoption of dogs, kittens, cats

Omcat volunteers brought the badly matted Shitzu back for a good groom so that she could potentially be adopted. She’s the healthier of the lot and she is extremely mild. No barking at all the whole time, not even being left in the cage, and gets along well with other cats and dogs. She’s our first Adoption candidate. Please help spread the word.

If you can answer to our appeal for help, please email

Here’s the complete album of the house and the animals.

Another Hoarder House Uncovered – Circuit Road

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mio Mao (New Series) - The Clew

Project 500 - A CWS Sterilisation Project

Project 500 - A CWS Sterilisation Project

After the success of Spay Day, we are launching PROJECT 500 to provide free sterilisation to 500 community cats by end January 2012.

Unlike Spay Day that aims to benefit all caregivers, this project is our dedication to a select team of dedicated and effective MEDIATORS around Singapore.

Why only for Mediators?

Because mediation is a critical pillar in the entire humane cat management programme in Singapore. It is not enough just to feed and sterilise the cats, assisting Town Councils in handling cat-related issues is one of the most important functions of caregiving.

These mediators are an example to others in their
---- Dedication to the cause
---- Ability to establish good working relationship with Town Councils
---- Ability to achieve win-win in mediation cases
---- They work hard to build connections and networks to caregivers and feeders in the areas they are covering

These are the cat welfare heroes that deserve our support to do more and do better. We also like to encourage more people to come forward in filling this critical role in more areas!

A touching tribute

We sincerely thank Katherine Houghtby for supporting the Cat Welfare Society and Project 500 in a truly touching way. She lost her kind, faithful, animal-loving husband and father to her children, Michael Houghtby, recently. In lieu of condolences, she appealed to his colleagues at APL/NOL to donate to the Cat Welfare Society instead.

They raised over $3,700 in memory of Mike and this donation will kickstart PROJECT 500. We are extremely grateful to Katherine to have turned her deep loss into this beautiful thing.

We need your help too in support of community cats and those that give so much of themselves towards this worthwhile cause.

We are accepting donations as Festive Charity Gifts and will send a special acknowledgement to friends or family about your meaningful gift!

Donate to CWS for Project 500 at AXS Stations or through internet transfer:

Bank: DBS Current Account
Account number: 065 - 013507 - 8
Bank Code: 7171
Branch Code: 065

If you are donating via internet transfer, please send us an email to with the title "Donation to Project 500" and the following infomation:

Name of donor:
Amount donated:
Transacting bank:
Transaction number:
Date and time of internet/ATM transfer:
Name of recipient of charity gift (where applicable):
Email address of recipient of charity gift (where applicable):

Make 2011/2012 a critical turning point in cat welfare in Singapore.

Photo courtesy of Chua Ju Wei Jeremy

Charity Gift Photo courtesy of Charlie Tan

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Animal abuse case prosecuted

by Cat Welfare Society on Wednesday, 30 November 2011 at 16:55

This was carried in the Chinese News recently, but not the English News. An unemployed man will be brought to court on charges of stealing and abusing a cat in Toa Payoh.

Thanks Mu Lao Hu for the translation of 3rd article, below.



19 November 2011

联合早报 (简体)

(c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited



被告面对的虐控状,指他在今年5月7日凌晨4时10分,在大巴窑1巷第149座组屋虐待一只4岁雌性家,用绳子绑住的颈项,吊在 11楼公共走廊的围墙外,然后拉扯绳子,对施酷刑。





Singapore Press Holdings Limited




17 November 2011

联合晚报 (新加坡) (简体)

(c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited


被告林川(译音、32岁)共面对3项罪状,其中2项是偷窃罪,1 项是抵触动物与鸟类法令。法庭在他面控准他以1万5000元保释,不过,他表示家人拿不出那笔钱担保他。

根据控状,被告在今年5月7日凌晨4时10分左右,在大巴窑1巷第 149座组屋,用1条黑色的绳子,绑住1只4岁的灰色短毛家的颈项,吊在11楼公关走廊的围墙外,连连拉扯,对施于酷刑,因此触犯了动物与鸟类法令。

另2项偷窃罪,则分别指被告:在去年12月3日晚上9时许,在大巴窑6巷的职总平价超市偷窃总值53元的鱼肉和鸡肉等货物;而在今年 3月19日晚上7时,则在大巴窑6巷的大众书局偷窃总值433元的28个指南针和1本《通书》。


Singapore Press Holdings Limited


绳捆脖子 悬吊高楼刺青汉虐猫被控


17 November 2011

新明日报 (简体)

c) 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Limited


这起气闻发生在今年5月11日清晨4时10分,地点在大巴窑1巷第 149座组屋的11楼。涉案男子林川(32岁),案发时无业。据了解,惨遭虐待的儿已4岁大,雌性,事发后死掉。



两项偷窃控状分别指他在去年12月3日晚上9时,在大巴窑的超市偷了53元的鱼和鸡肉,以及在今年3月19日晚上7时,在书局偷了总值 433元的通书和28个指南针。





Sin Ming article (3rd article):

Man with tattoos accused of torturing cat in flat, using rope to tie around cat's neck, and hanging the cat from a wall along a corridor on a high floor.

This incident happened on 11 May around 4:40am, at Blk ...149 Toa Payoh Lor 1, 11th floor. Lim Chuan (32 yo) was unemployed. It was understood that the cat was a 4 yo female. The cat died from the incident.

The accused used a black rope to tie around the cat's neck and let it hang from the wall. The accused also pull on the rope repeatedly. This act is against certain provisions in the Animal and Birds Act.

[Another article stated that he had been warned previously by the police for his abusive acts towards animals.]

The accused is not very tall. He has shoulder length hair and a tattoo on the left side of his neck. While being charged in court this morning, he had a blank expression. In addition to this charge, he has two other charges of stealing.

The stealing charges were on him stealing about $53 worth of fish and chicken from a Toa Payoh supermarket on 3 Dec 2010 at about 9pm; and of him stealing about $433 worth of geomancy books and 28 compasses from a stationery shop on 19 March 2011 at 7pm.

The prosecution intends to charge him for 2 offences for stealing; the remaining will be determined by the judge. The accused however indicates that he intends to engage legal assistance to defend himself against the stealing charges.

The judge allowed him bail at $15,000. The case will be heard again on 1 Dec 2011.

On the bail, the accused explained that as he was already granted bail by the police, this additional bail imposed by the court means that he will not be able to apply for bail as he is not able to raise the money.

How to Bond With a Cat

Tips to help you make friends with a feline.

Tail wagging and sometimes protective, dogs have long held the title of man's best friend. Meanwhile, cats -- often silent and solitary -- can seem more like man's aloof neighbor. But if you introduce yourself properly, cool cats can become warm companions.

“People misunderstand cats simply because they are more independent than dogs,” says Pamela Reid, PhD, a certified applied animal behaviorist and vice president of The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Animal Behavior Center. “But cats can become very bonded to people and they can be extremely affectionate, depending on their personality.”

Like dogs, cats have very distinct temperaments and personalities.

“Some cats will want to be lap cats and will purr and want to be stroked,” says Barbara J. King, chancellor professor of anthropology at the College of William & Mary and author of Being With Animals. “Some cats want to play but not to be lap cats. Some want to sit near you but not with you. And some are interested in communicating across the room.”

Want to be the cat’s meow when it comes to bonding? These steps will bring you purrs and head-butts for years to come.