Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cat as scapegoat

I was recently sent an email from a caregiver who had gotten into an email altercation about a cat in the condo she lives in. First of all, it appears there is only ONE cat. Secondly, as with many of these cases, it seems that the cat wasn't even the issue - the issue seems to have been about the fact that she had seen the complainant's son chasing the cat the day before. According to her email, she had gone up and told the boy not to do it, because it might scare the cat.

I wasn't there obviously but the boy's father took it badly and immediately sent a complaint to the whole condominium about this ONE cat. He included some very choice insults to the caregiver, questioning her sexual orientation and her ability to have children.

The caregiver was upset, and clearly she has a right to be. It still puzzles me why the boy's father, if he was really upset didn't just speak to the complainant directly. He knew exactly whom she was. Plus if he didn't like the way she spoke to his son, then why didn't he raise it with her?

Someone in the US asked me the other day about whether people in Singapore generally tell children off if they are out of line. She said when she grew up, there was a sense of community, and people looked out for each other - and that included telling children off if they needed to be.

I don't think my grandmother would have hesitated to tell off any of the neighbour's children if they were doing something wrong. I also don't think their parents would take offence. Certainly, I remember being chastised by a neighbour once - and my mother didn't fly off the handle. Often it was for our own good. Is it just me or does there seem to be a shift now where if you told someone else's child off, you'd better be ready to be ripped to pieces? I can understand a parent being up in arms if the person is being abusive/rude/nasty to a child, but what about an honest admonishment? Or do some parents think they are the only ones entitled to discipline their children?

Of course, the sad thing now is that the cat is being made the scapegoat. The caregiver has moved him temporarily for his safety.

One other issue the caregiver brought up was suing the man in defamation. I can totally understand why she would feel that way - but honestly, the man's emails were so ludicrous, that I don't think anyone would have believed him. Sometimes, you have to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek - and that's what the caregiver is doing. All I think it's doing to the complainant is giving him an ulcer with his anger.


Anonymous said...

Tell a kid off? No way. G & parents regard children as national treasures. The care-giver has the misfortune of a "no family teach" father&son as neighbours. This is not just about a cat. Poor relationship cld be triggered off by any trivia with a "small air" person. Hope care-giver & cat are coping.

Dawn said...

Yes - poor caregiver. She is worried about the cat being harmed.

Anonymous said...

Yes kids here are precious "commodities" - overindulged and overpampered. An extension of the parents' inflated EGO. So telling off "MY" child is like tell "ME" dare you!
Hence one of the dangers that we caregivers are worried about are children unintentionally hurting cats and getting hurt in return. The results will be irate parents blasting away at the town council officers to KILL all the cats!!

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, the poor lady. I would sue him straight away.

What a pitiful ignorant little idiot for a parent. This is the kind who will blame everybody else but hmself when the kid turns out to be a bum and a juvenile delinquent.

Dawn said...

Anonymous - exactly and that's a real worry!

I always remember doing an exhibition at the American School many years ago, and a little kid came up and touched a kitten. She was a little too rough, and the cat scratched her. She started to cry, and images of lawsuits started flying in front of me. Her father calmly picked her up as I apologised and said, that's what happens when you're too rough with cats. Then he explained it to his daughter. I was so surprised I've never forgotten it!

The sad thing is also that as Anonymous pointed out - if everyone takes a handsoff approach to other peoples' children, the kids ARE the ones who suffer. No parent can be there 24/7 but people are now scared to get involved.

yskat said...

If an opportunity presents itself, the caregiver should take her "revenge". I agree with the philosophers who argue that the modern legal system often leaves our desire for retribution unfulfilled.

Dawn said...

I actually suggested she write an email to the whole condo (as the complainant did) and explain the situation. the good thing is that apparently the last email was so uncalled for, that many people in the condo are already asking about it.

yskat said...

Dawn, good suggestion: she'll be able to tell all the residents about that guy's idiotic behaviour.

Brad F. said...

This reminds me of stuff I've read on

It also reminds me of an incident that happened on a bus a few weeks ago. I was standing and there were two kids playing in front of me. Their mother was seated and watching them. The bus made an unexpected movement and the kids stumbled. One of them stomped on my slippered foot.

So what happened? No apology. I waited a few moments but the kid just went back to playing. Also the mother didn't do anything.

So, I said, "Hey boy. The polite thing to do when you step on someone's foot is to apologize."

I said it nice and loud so everyone on the bus could hear it too. I hope the mother was shamed.

I'm glad the boy apologized because if not I would have made an issue out of it. I don't care where they're from, or that I'm in another country. I deserved an apology.

I've heard a lot about kids in Singapore being spoiled. I don't deal with them enough to make any observation of my own.

As for this guy, I think he's a bit crazy. His son deserved to be corrected and if he weren't so arrogant, he'd see that. He should be thankful that someone was kind enough to give his son some proper guidance.

Dawn said...

yskat - she mentioned there were some issues as to why she couldn't reply.

Brad F - good to hear you spoke up. I wonder whether kids all over are getting more spoilt/running wild? Here in Maryland, two kids just threw rocks and burnt a kitten. Someone called the police and the kitten was saved, but the person who called didn't step forward and tell them off herself. Some people surmised that she might have been frightened for her own safety if it was a bunch of kids.

That's something else that might be an issue - kids today can be intimidating. Some of them are pretty large. Better nutrition maybe? They CAN actually be scary to adults.

Brad F. said...

I think there's something in the milk in the US. Kids in Singapore look like kids are supposed to.

Funny. My word verification for this comment is "darcat". Cats cats cats.

Dawn said...

Maybe the milk solids are standing us in good stead after all :)

Brad F. said...

Milk solids? Hmmm. I still think that would be particularly nasty.

In the US they inject livestock with hormones that make them grow bigger, or produce more. It's a common saying that girls in the US look more... mature in certain areas... at a younger age because of the hormones in the milk, as well as other products.

What people need is natural, good milk. Not in solids and not with Boob InstaGrow.

yskat said...

It's good that Brad F spoke up. It's sad that people in Singapore tend not to speak up when their space is violated. Instead, they complain to the "authorities", thus giving the latter even more power than they already have.

I think kids in Singapore are no worse than those in other cities. I work with older teenagers, and I must say 95% of them are great. The remaining 5% probably have bad parents.

Brad F. said...

@yskat: Ya, there are always going to be kids with problems, and if there are only 5% in Singapore, then it's doing a fare share better than most places.

Honestly, I don't see the point in using the "authorities" for such a trivial matter, just like I didn't see the point in what the guy did in the original post.

Sometimes, issues can be solved person to person, without blowing it out of proportion, without posturing, and without all of this blatant stupidity.

Besides, who would look like the fool if I had called the police over a boy stepping on my foot and not apologizing? Though, I'm sure it's happened before.

Dawn said...

Good point yskat - as with anything, the vocal minority sometimes defines the whole group. Sometimes I blame school holidays - bored kids get into more mischief :)

Good point too BradF - sometimes people don't see that they look foolish by involving the authorities. I wonder how many less complaints there would be if there were!

K. said...

I always feel a little "uneasy" when a notorious foreigner, who caused an uproar in the local online community, goes around Singapore lecturing kids. Man, do you even have papers to stay here?

Brad Farless said...

K.: My opinion of Wendy Cheng, and her retarded blog, and her retarded readers (like you apparently), have nothing to do with my opinions of cats or my right to say something to someone who causes me injury, whether that be an adult or a child. My race or nationality have nothing whatsoever to do with this issue.

Your comment, and the fact that you brought that up, only show how stupid you are, and that you have nothing worthwhile to contribute to contribute to this conversation, other than to try to defame me. I honestly don't give a shit what you, or that blonde idiot, have to say about me, because it doesn't really matter. You don't matter. Not to me.

Do I have papers to stay in Singapore? You really are stupid! Do you have no faith whatsoever in your own government to make sure that people are staying legally in the country? Just because your plastic god says something, or hints at something, doesn't make it true. Do you really think I could have come and gone from Singapore at my leisure, including my trip to Phuket that I just returned from last week, if I was in Singapore illegally?

Instead of regurgitating information that you're only guessing at, perhaps you should remove your head from your ass and get a grip on reality.

In closing, oh anonymous dropper of stupidity, you can take your opinion and shove it up your ass.

Brad Farless said...

And another thing. I'm an American. No disrespect to Singapore, but why would I stay illegally in a country that has a lower financial and economic standing than my own? It doesn't make any damn sense. It works the other way around.

My reasons for being here are my own. Not yours, and your opinion of whether or not you want me to be in this country doesn't amount to a squat.

Thanks. Have a nice day.

Dawn said...

Wow I didn't realise I had a 'notorious foreigner' on my blog. K - to be honest, the whole blog entry you sent me was so long I didn't finish it except to note hat it seems to be a personal disagreement of some kind (Also that Asians don't have naturally brown hair which is news to me, since mine is brownish and I have never dyed it :)).

The point I was trying to make is that maybe someone SHOULD be telling children who misbehave off - not just about cats but about other matters too. Certainly I'm not encouraging people to be rude to kids - but parents can't be around their children 24/7 so as the saying goes, it 'takes a village' to raise a child. I am pretty sure that in the kampungs, the older adults would have no problem telling a misbehaving child off. Everyone kept an eye out for each other's kids.

The problem now seems to be that parents are so protective of their children that ANY admonishment is taken so badly that most adults now mind their own business. I would argue it hurts the kids because they now have less people watching out for them.

I also don't have a problem with 'foreigners' lecturing local kids either unless we're saying that standards of behaviour are so vastly different all over the world. I would hope that ANY adult who sees a child misbehaving would speak up. The only caveat as I mentioned would be that the adult (ANY adult) does so in a calm manner and not because they are angry or trying to humilate the child.

And K and Brad F - let's make nice and no more personal insults okay? We're all here because we care about cats and it's time to get back to the topic.

Brad Farless said...

People are quick to judge and slow to look for the truth.

But ya, apparently I'm notorious. I apologize for that showing up on your comment section.

Notorious. Like cookie monster. Better hope you don't have any Oreo's around here...

Anonymous said...

My opinion of Wendy Cheng, and her retarded blog, and her retarded readers (like you apparently), have nothing...

Mike proposed to Wendy! What do you say now? You lost!

Dawn said...

Who's Mike? What does this have to do with cats?