Monday, February 20, 2006

possible blood on our hands

oh no. one of the community cat feeders that the woman has befriended tells her her cats are sick and having diarrhea. as she is unemployed she asks if the woman has any medication on hand as she cannot afford to bring them to the vet. the woman gives her some kaolin.

the feeder is in her 50s and lives on her own in a top floor extended corner unit. before she was unemployed, she was a secretary. she has family at Upper Bukit Timah. her english is above average. the woman presumes she is temporarily down on her luck. and lonely. whenever they encounter each other, the feeder will be so happy for company that she will talk at length about her life and her cats.

then yesterday, she shows up at our door to ask for more medication. her gushing chatter turns into a monologue and then the most bizarre tirade. she says her ground floor neighbour is in cohorts with her top floor neighbour to humiliate her. she says her neighbour has drilled a hole into her living room to spy on her. she asks the woman to help her write her story to the press about the time when her neighbour's maid, a vampire, bit her but the police covered up all the evidence and put her in jail instead.

oh my god. they believe the feeder is having a schizophrenic episode. so now, the man and woman are not sure her cats are sick in the first place or she even have cats at all or dead cats (by now).

stupid. they should have gone to take a look in the first instance before giving away medicine. but typical Singaporean mentality - they didn't want to be too involved in their neighbour's life. their goodwill stops at hellos and inane banter.

the woman calls the Institute of Mental Health to see if they can send someone to check on whether the feeder is a hazard to herself. now that they know she is not right in the head, they are periodically observing her apartment from downstairs and see flickering candlelight in an otherwise dark apartment. IMH refers them to the police.

yesterday, the officer says they work closely with the Resident's Committee. they will check on her and if something is amiss, they will get a doctor in to assess her. today, they change their story. only if her conduct is considered a public nuisance will they send someone up to check on her. otherwise, she is her family's responsibility.

so suspect flickering candle not police responsibility. building burns down then it is police responsibility.

the woman's next avenue is Family Centre. hopefully she will get a more decent response. of course, the woman can always go check on the feeder herself but she doesn't have that kind of guts.


Mary said...

Oh dear, does she really have any cats at home?

animalfamily said...

went as far as to speak to her neighbours. they say she picks cats from downstairs to play with them and then releases them back to the streets after a few days. but no one really knows how many cats she has in her apartment at any given time.

did manage to contact family service and they will send someone down soon to go with us to visit her.

lambj said...

You are very brave and caring to take these steps. She needs help, and you may be the only person who can help her. I know you're thinking of cats who may be in danger, but it sounds like this woman's illness needs treatment. And the nature of this illness is such that she may not seek treatment on her own. I think you are doing the right thing by trying to send experts and not getting too personally involved. On the bright side, once identified, it's treatable. Bless you for caring.

Mary said...

Good work - i really do admire what you are doing and have done as described in your blog. Do take care of yourself though.


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