Wednesday, February 15, 2006

our town sparkles


drugs, contrabands, prostitution, violence, poverty. and we are just 5 minutes from sparkling orchard road, not exactly heartland. in the 2 years that the man and woman have stayed here, they have seen and heard some weird shit.

their cleaner friend finds drug needles on his cleaning rounds ever so often. we actually had a drug user come to our door once to borrow $400. all bleary eyed, he says it is for his sister's medical bills. he bargains down to $80, then $4, then leaves when he isn't getting anywhere with the man. he says his sister stays upstairs on the 12th floor. there's only 10 floors in this block.

the woman goes round to the neighbouring block again to look for Mummy. she takes the stairs up 3 floors, in case. every floor has ah long notices spray painted, repainted and spray painted again. more than one person is in some serious trouble.

(she does eventually find Mummy hanging out with what looks unmistakably like Bramblerose's Daddy. he has some balls on him so that marks him as next month's target.)

you wouldn't believe it but we have a police post right next door. but that doesn't stop this auntie from plying the streets with contraband cigarettes in a grocery push cart. and if you know where to look, the market rate for a romp here is $30 a pop. welcome to singapore.

so cats are the least of everyone's problems. for the ones who do care, namely the feeders that the woman has encountered, they are either the elderly living alone, unemployed or hanging on by the skin of their teeth. much respect to them that the cats here still get to enjoy meat and fish portions rain or shine. but talk about sterilisation, they say yeah great, can you help us ask _____ (substitute SPCA, Cat Welfare Society, AVA, Town Council, PAP) for money?

so the idea of rallying a resident cat sterilisation and management squad sounds almost like comedy. to the tune of Police Academy - ragtag underdog team of ah long, mee pok man, cleaner, grandmother, school dropout, saves day cat.

funny. and then we remember it's not that funny. the animal family is only one step removed from the sudden death russian roulette many around here play. chalk it to some poor human judgement.


Sharyn Ekbergh said...

what is ah long? It sounds like a scary place you live in. A world away from me in my nothern mountains, small town. Wish I could help you iin your save the cats project. It makes what you are doing even more admirable.

Anonymous said...

Zuleme - Ah Long: a common name for loanshark in a Chinese dialect.

Victor Tabbycat said...

I don't unnerstand a lot of what you said, but it sounds like a bad place to live, for beans or cats. What you do for cats is amazing - be careful! Mom says, in America, drugs go with guns and violence, and innocents get killed! Please be careful.

animalfamily said...

thanks for the concern but i have to qualify that while there are some bad ass things happening around here, a lot of the people are just going on their very normal lives, walking their dog, watching chinese soap operas or desperate housewives after dinner etc.

just that in a low income estate like ours, there are goings on that are shocking even to our own middle class locals. but whatever happens is always underground and behind closed doors, you have to know where to look.

so all the people, even tourists, who flock to our estate for the famous old world hawker food just see a beautiful, newly upgraded estate with quaint mom and pop provision shops, barber shops, community clubs and have very little clue about the desperate circumstances of some of the residents they are sitting next to or passing by on the street, until they read it in the papers if it ever comes to that.

not to worry victor, there may be drugs here but there are no guns (at least i hope!). our strict gun laws prohibit any form of civilian gun ownership. there is a mandatory death penalty for anyone in possession of a gun. of course, there is also death penalty for drug trafficking yet that nasty stuff still gets around.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to leave a note to say that I always enjoy reading about your cats and your rescue work, but I'm also intrigued by your descriptions of everyday life in Singapore. My mental picture of Singapore is so one-dimensional (clean. uptight. no drugs.), that it's fascinating to read about how real and familiar it is. I try to be fairly well-read and informed, but the world is such a big place that it's usually tough to get past a few superficial adjectives.


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