Friday, January 23, 2009

animal family retirement plan

it’s pretty clear we will not reach solid ground in a while. the only certainty, in fact, is that we will be hit and we will lose – something – in this global financial meltdown. if we are lucky, it will be nothing more than our meticulously charted projection of a retirement with x dollars for a elderly-friendly flat, a tv, a fridge and a cat. but increasingly, it does look like we will lose a lot more than that.

if you have just tuned in, you are watching Tooty's self-help guide to navigating your uncertain future. lucky you. things are looking up already.

paramount rule number one in saving your future – save your money. don’t listen to the fools who are asking us to spend our way out of this rut. they put us there in the first place.

rule two and it cannot be said enough – don’t spend more than you earn. if you have broken rule two, don’t fret. we will let you know about our next flea market.

rule three – recycle. huh, you say? what’s that got to do with anything? when we are doddering on a walking cane, abandoned by our children, can’t afford healthcare, we don’t want to worry about the weather too. trust me.

rule four – if you lose money, let it go.

rule five – let go of your parents’ and politicians’ limiting definition of what a good life is. prosperous, comfortable, secure, enviable. with smug words and false sympathy, they shamed their peers with less and they made them hungry. and we are still doing it. stop.

rule six – if you lose your job, try and try again. and aren’t you glad you supported rule number five?

rule seven – plug in. don’t be left behind by technology. all the more, we need to connect to, learn from and find support in more people than it is physically possible to meet. let's make a date to play online mousehunt in about thirty years.

there you have it, the animal family retirement plan. thank you for watching.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flea Mania, GN'R for the love of cats

See you tomorrow on 17th Jan Saturday at Sculpture Square for Flea Mania, a flea market bazaar for the benefit of stray cats in Singapore. It takes place from 10am to 5pm. Sculpture Square is on Middle Road, beside Fortune Centre. Besides having many things to buy, there will also be kittens for adoption. Come come!


with that out of the way, allow me to indulge…

you know what makes this cat purr like a freight train, fly like an aeroplane? a sprawling wilderness of blackboard scratching affliction that is a guns n’ roses song.

for sure, these tunes aren’t pretty. they don’t end quite soon enough. and not without some hard swallowing. instead, they travel on a riotous musical trajectory not unlike the wheels of a human mind wandering through its cerebral crevices towards a concluding thought. and it still wouldn’t be close to the last word on the subject.

most songs are a pronouncement of the artists’ state of mind - simplified, contained and ultimately resolved. presented as a final proclamation of happiness, sorrow, remorse or whatever. a gn’r song injects you right in there with the artist, swimming, drowning, grasping for clarity, suffering for, and relishing every revelation and indecision.

there is something to be said about the unmade-up mind which is often not more appreciated. they are minds still engaged. for those whose worldview is well and truly set, those conversations are essentially dead and dried up. and where does that leave us?

recently, the woman encountered a clash of cultures between a cat foster and potential adopter. the foster is dead set against the potential adopter because she has heard too many stories. it’s not right she admits, but would you gamble away the life of a kitten on ideals about tolerance and harmony?

the woman looks at the kitten in her hands and she wavers. ultimately, she gave the kitten to the adopter.

while those of us who are more informed and involved have reached certain conclusions about how best a cat should be cared for and protected, we still shouldn't take them as the last final words on the subject.

the work of a cat welfare volunteer is to engage and to help all kinds of people along to new understanding and new revelations. if we are set and hardened as bricks, what we might do is save that one kitten. how about the many that we cannot reach with just one hand on the left and one on the right?


white grey and black curly well and fully recovered!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

homeless by will

after visiting ah ma’s place on saturday, the woman was brought along to visit a homeless mother and son who lives on the streets with their dog and a lame bird. their plight is unfortunate but up to a point, the woman became strangely unmoved.

two years ago when they owned a flat, the thirty year old son and his mother adopted a stray dog with a history of abuse. the story of the recovery of the dog under their care is a remarkable one.

then for reasons unknown, they sold their flat. to keep their dog who has a deep mistrust of people, they rented an apartment to themselves for a hefty $1300 per month. that depleted their savings completely and they were not yet eligible for the government rental flats.

options were given by the MP and by friends and relatives for shelter but none allowed the dog to stay with them. they opted for the streets.

our hearts go out to them who rather face the streets than to abandon their dog in a crisis. but just as unsettling as the deplorable lack of options for animal caregivers, especially poor animal caregivers, is their own stubborn, imprudent and reliant attitudes.

besides looking out for a cheap pet-friendly place for them to stay, Jaime found a sponsor willing to put the dog up at a farm. she is also scouring for job opportunities for the son who is currently unemployed.

but the mother did not want to leave the dog. when a job opening came up, the son said his mother could not handle being on the street on her own. by the way, they had nothing to eat, could Jaime come bring them some food?

this is classic circular defeatist reasoning. because you aren’t working you are living on the street. and because you are living on the street, you can’t work. to his credit, the son did make it to his first day at work and we hope he will keep it.

as for the dog, living on the run from residents, from authorities and other roving homeless people with existing claims on park benches and pavilions is no way to overcome his deep-seated emotional problems. being on a farm with experienced animal caregivers with regular visits from his owners may in fact save his sanity, if only the mother and son can see past their overwhelming need to keep it by their side.

quite frankly for a thirty year old man and his fifty year old mother, it is far too early to let go of their self-sufficiency, their dignity and their good sense. they are not a doddering 70 year old who can't be called upon to do much for herself.

but if they were a little wiser, they would not be in the predicament they are in now. what do you do?

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