Refugees in Singapore – more victims of HDB’s stupid rule

Native Singaporeans driven from their home, reduced to seeking refuge and shelter?

Take a good look at this picture. What’s wrong with smiling folks with their kitties? Well, this ain’t home, and the people’s smiles belie their pain. Because the furries are the refugees.

Budak alerted me to this post on the wildfilms blog. I quote:

One of their neighbours have complained about their cats and they are under pressure by the Town Council, who doesn’t want them to let their cats wander outside their HDB home; and HDB, who doesn’t allow them to keep their cats inside their home.


The alternatives are certain death for the cats. So, since wildfilms NEVER use the room I’ve nicely set up for them to overnight in, the spare room has been turned into a little refugee centre. Until William can sort things out, or their neighbours forget about the cats and the cats can go back home.

Is it real? Of course! Realer than the farcical show with the word.

Two points to consider here: the impact of the lack of consideration for aftermath and the town councils’ “alignment” with this rule.

First point. HDB bans ONLY cats in flats. What’s more, HDB does not care that this rule contributes abandonment: As long as there is a complaint, HDB will demand that cats be removed from the complaint-flat. It does not care if the cats are dumped downstairs or taken away to be dumped elsewhere. HDB certainly does not care if the cats are sent to die in SPCA or AVA. As long as the flat owner complies and gets rids of the cats, HDB does not care what happens to the cats. Where is the compassion and logic in such a move? Not to mention the spanner in the TNRM work of minions like us when cats get dumped.

The greatest ironic slap in the face with the HDB’s anti-cat stance is that even the AVA advocates keeping cats indoors:

Question: Should cats be kept indoors?

Answer:It is actually advisable to keep your pet cats indoors as it is a whole lot safer. Outdoors, your cat may get into all sorts of trouble such as fights, car accidents sickness and abuse. Cats may also not return. As long as you provide enough space and distractions like kitty toys and scratching posts (and of course yourself as kitty entertainment), your cat should be content with staying at home. After all, cats can sleep up to 18 hours a day! Would you rather your cat be at home in safety and comfort (in its own cosy bed) or outside in a dirty wet drain or perched precariously on some ledge? Did you also know that if your cat is outdoors and caught by pest control companies/neighbours, you may never see your cat again? It has also been estimated that an indoor cat might live up to 20 years but the life expectancy of a cat kept outdoors is less than 5 years.

Furthermore, unsterilised cats that are allowed to roam can breed, give rise to more unwanted cats and cause more animals to be homeless. Keeping your cat indoors would ensure this doesn’t happen. Consider sterilising your cats too, as this can help make them easier to manage and contented staying at home.

So, keep your cats indoors! Be a responsible cat owner.


Second point. Town councils have a prime directive, the snazzy slogan “Our Town Sparkles”, but do they really sparkle?

Cats do have it tough in Singapore. Treated as pests, and sometime bogey-man in lieu of a real target. The slightest complaint metes out death, nevermind if it has not the littlest iota of merit. Singapore itself is a minor treblinka of cats. The irony is that Singapore, Lion City, is named after a great cat, the king of beasts. 85% of people in Singapore stay in flats. Where can you be safe if not at home?

I find the spread in today’s Straits Times trumpeting good neighbourliness aka the kampong spirit, “Common corridors, Uncommon Spirits” (INSIGHT section) ringing extra hollow. But am I surprised? Hardly, not when it’s clear that even basic rights of lifestyle choice (for people of course) is denied. What more the basic right to exist for non-humans? But am I disturbed? For sure!

The spirits, they do haunt me so.


7 responses to “Refugees in Singapore – more victims of HDB’s stupid rule

  1. Honestly, I think its no use complaining. The only real change can come if some one has the courage to form a lobby group to make it happen. Either convince the PAP that this needs to change in the next election via votes, get the opposition on your side as partner or work together with all other animal group to form a strong pressure group. Only then can things really change.

    As long as we are afraid to be political about making changes, esp. in Singapore, not much will change if the PAP don’t think it needs to change. Of course, working on the grassroots is possible, but that will take a much more looooooonger time, if one is happy with those time lines than again can’t complain too much.

  2. Saltwetfish,
    100% concurrence – I wrote a letter rebutting, point by point, the justifications of the ban and asking for info to help me understand if my point was wrong. All I got was another template letter from HDB, ignoring all the salient points. That letter was sent to the relevant feedback unit, the HDB, Minister of National Development Mah Bow Tan and his Perm Sec + Minister of State. I replied with another one telling the HDB rep to not reply if she was just going to resend the template letter. This letter I cc to the Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong and also sent a copy to my MP. No replies from any denizens. So much for open communications and having an ear to the ground.

    I give up on the government.

    But meantime, we can definitely talk about it, spread the word and raise awareness. That’s what I’m doing. I just hope more people wake up.

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  4. Anyone gives any thought to those not qualified to apply for public housings and worse those evicted due to inability to service their instalments and other reasons ?

  5. ahfu,
    And the point of your comment?

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  7. Let dogs & cats be like children. Both dogs & cats are like children. Make them feel ppl’s love by making easy times for both dogs & cats.
    Children make big mess on their faces, hands, arms, legs, clothes, etc almost all the time. Dogs & cats are created by our Heavenly Father. Dogs & cats are loveable pets. Dont be cruel to both dogs & cats.