I have been mulling over this, not least because of our most recent encounter. We are also hardly the only ones frustrated by the nonchalant attittude of irresponsible cat-owners, who are made up mostly of Malays.
When even risk of death is not enough persuasion to make them take responsibility for their own pet cats, what else can we do? Who can we call upon to get the message across? Even Malays who understand the importance of being responsible and sterilisation aren’t getting through, so it’s hardly a simple case of communication malfunction.
Yes, this is a sensitive topic, and we have had our share of indignant Malay readers. But is being carefully non-specific about the race of problem cat owners in our midst the way to go? I feel not. If the PM has seen fit to tell the Malay community of a problem within that he woud like ot see resolved more than once, why should we tip-toe around the issue of irresponsible cat-ownership within the community? It affects not only the pet cat’s safety, but also community cats and good neighbourliness too.
Can you imagine the day an article like this appears, but with the headline: PM Lee urges Malay cat owners to sterilise their pets, keep them indoors and be responsible? In an alternate reality maybe.
This story was printed from TODAYonline
Live within your means
Weekend • March 15, 2008
Loh Chee Kong
IT is good to aspire for the better things in life but one should always cut the coat according to the cloth.
On Friday, at a charity dinner to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Malay Youth Literacy Association (4PM), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong broached what he deemed a “sensitive” topic: That “quite a few” Malay families are living beyond their means.
Calling on Malay/Muslim organisations to promote financial planning and discipline among youths, Mr Lee underlined the importance of frugality, even though it is “natural, and good, that families aspire to upgrade their lives”.
Mr Lee said: “MPs often see families who have over-committed themselves financially, run into serious trouble, and then come to the MP’s meet-the-people session for help. Some have been extravagant in doing up their homes using renovation loans. Others have bought expensive furniture or large-screen television sets on hire purchase.”
The families “with the most serious problems” are the ones who had bought homes “larger than they can afford, and taken mortgages which they are then unable to pay”.
Mr Lee added: “These families belong to all races, but quite a few are Malay families. It is a sensitive matter to raise, but all MPs and social workers know that it is a real issue that needs to be tackled.”
A community-based and grassroots organisation, 4PM runs outreach programmes including a mentoring scheme for youths-at-risk and educational and welfare assistance for children from low-income families.
Encouraging bodies such as 4PM to imbue in youths “the sense of commitment and conviction” for Singapore, Mr Lee also urged other Malay/Muslim organisations to consistently replenish their ranks with new blood.
He added: “As they reach for the stars, they must also learn that this is their country, and that Singapore’s future is in their hands.For its part, 4PM can encourage more young people to get involved in community work, and make a difference in the lives of others.”
He also urged 4PM to extend its programmes to non-Malays, and encourage youths from other ethnic groups to volunteer in its activities.
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