Thursday, February 15, 2007

House of Chaos has finally moved.

We're now located in

See you there!
I approached this acquaintance on the situation of her cat.

The cat still hasn't had any vet visits yet. And she told me she will be moving out of the current flat in April & her new flatmate is not a cat-friendly person. And the flat has too many expensive designerish furniture so it would not be suitable for her to take the cat.

For the other 2 flatmates - one is moving back to where she came from & the other is moving to LA. So where does that leave the cat? The consensus among the three is none is able to take the cat with them and none has managed to work out a solution on what to do with the cat.

She wants to talk to her circle of friends who have cats but she hasn't run that by her flatmates. One of her flatmates jokingly suggested leaving the cat in the hawker centre so that it won't starve. I told her my concern is more than just where the cat finds its next meal.

I offered to take over the cat. I will arrange the vet visits, a shelter & eventually find a suitable home for the cat. However, they will relinquish all rights to the cat (I think that is hardly an issue to them). She said she will discuss with her flatmates & let me know the outcome.
Whatever it is, she promised me that they will leave the cat out on the street.

Knowing her, I won't hear from her for at least another month or so.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Refreshed, inspired & a little burnt.

Angkor Wat in the afternoon

Siem Reap is a charming little French colonial town but absolutely dusty. Walking the streets, we see constructions everywhere. It feels like the town is going to boon overnight & we will miss its growth if we blink our eyes.

But despite the hustle & bustle, the dust, the honking, the general madness on the roads, our entire visit is stress free. The Cambodians are very laid back. It feels like we are looking through a rose tinted glass but it is reality. Everything is easy, no problem, can wait, its ok. Don't worry, be happy. Really!

Siem Reap's claim to fame is of course the Angkor temples situated on the town's outskirts. One of the world's most significant ancient structures, the Angkors were mostly built between the 9th and 13th centuries and they are certainly one of the most breathtaking and amazing monuments.

But never had I felt more cosmopolitan than in Siem Reap. We are surrounded by the English, Americans, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, Thais, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Koreans, Russians, Greeks & Australians. A tour to the temples, I can hear simultaneous interpretations in different languages.

The main mode of travel is motorbike. During my stay, I've taken the van (tourist), the tuk tuk (backpacker) & the motorbike. I wish I had a little more time as I would love to hang precariously for my life off the rail of a public pickup truck bus.

Anyway, this is just brief introduction of my little travel. More to come.

Meanwhile I missed Chaos terribly especially in the mornings. It has been a ritual that Alex wakes me up in the morning, come rain or shine. The first morning I woke up at the usual time, waiting for Alex to lick my face. But of course, he wasn't there. Ouch. So you can imagine, how I excited I was when I landed in Terminal 2 yesterday. I practically sprinted out of the terminus to the taxi.

Back home, I was hugging all my babies so hard, so long. I can't to let them go. I think I frightened them, but I don't care.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Chaos & I are taking a break ... away from each other.

Back in a week's time.

A good rebuttal on the call to ban cats & dogs in HDB.

2 February 2007
ST Online Forum
Writers' strong views on cat/dog ban in HDB flats worrying

I find the views of those like Mr Heng Cho Choon, 'It's not only the cats - dogs too must be banned' (Online forum, Jan 31), and Mr Peter Kuan, 'Why HDB should ban cat and dog ownership in flats', (Online forum, Jan 25), all too worrying.

Should they have their way, visually-handicapped Singaporeans who get by with the help of guide dogs and who live in HDB flats would have to find alternative accommodation.

From my research, a total of no fewer than seven articles on the usefulness of guide dogs to the visually-handicapped were published in Singapore's mainstream media, alongside the praise heaped on a multitude of government agencies for taking the proactive move towards making Singapore the best home for all.

While guide dogs are obviously suitably chosen and trained to very strict standards for their task, it seems rather inconceivable to Mr Heng and Mr Kuan that pet dogs can also be obedience-trained.

In addition, contrary to HDB's statement that 'cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are nomadic in nature and difficult to be confined in the flats', the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) asserts otherwise.

According to AVA's 'Cats as Pets' brochure (available on the AVA website): 'Cats do perfectly well in a confined environment so long as all their basic needs (that is, food and water, shelter, a comfortable living environment and veterinary care) are provided. This is quite contrary to the popular belief that cats can only be happy and contented if they are free to wander outdoors.

Given that AVA is the veterinary authority in Singapore, it would appear that HDB officials are ill-informed.

Of course, objections to the HDB ban on cats (and Mr Kuan's proposed ban on dogs) are multi-faceted and cut across a range of issues.

One objection is that pets cause too much noise. Another, that cats and dogs dirty the environment.

While neighbourly concerns do need to be taken into account, I find that those who advocate such a measure as drastic as a ban on pets in public housing silly.

In the multicultural public-housing environment that Singaporeans have lived in for years (and will have to continue to do so); in the land-scarce polity that the Government wishes to pack more people into; in the proactive measures that government agencies have taken towards Mr Kua Cheng Hock who has lobbied for more than 20 years for guide dogs to be allowed, surely learning to accommodate another's differing way of life ought to be seen as a valuable lesson in empathic understanding?

If no, then well, here's just one more snippet from AVA's website:

'It is a misconception that pets cause asthma. Asthma is a genetically inherited condition... Recent studies also show that children living with a dog or cat at home are less likely to develop asthma. This research supports the current thinking among allergists that exposing a child to dust, animal dander and other allergens at a young age will help him build up immunity that will reduce the chances of him developing asthma.'

In other words: Are Singaporeans - in always wanting to ban this or that; in always expecting the Government to take the high-handed route; in wanting the Government to nanny them to the grave - simply a tad too pampered?

Soo Kwok Heng
Victoria, Australia