Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sad Story Of Smalley of Singapore

We are rewriting a sad story of Smalley, a kitty in Singapore. It seems that Singapore does not want cats kept in public homes, nor do they want cats kept out of homes.

Doesn’t that mean no cats anywhere?

The last time Beins were so stupid to try to eliminate cats from their lives, they suffered the terrible Bubonic Plague. Stupid Beins killed most of the cats, there were no cats to kill the rats that carried the fleas that carried the Plague, and up to a third of all Beins in Europe died as a result.

So Singapore wants to kill all the cats. Those who don’t know history suffer the repetition of it…

So we want to restate the story of Smalley as a warning of how cat-hate starts, knowing that you now know the consequences of that hate…

Our version:

“A borned kitty named Smalley opens her eyes after a few days. She senses love as her mother licks her with a warm wet tongue and cuddles her from the cold and rain. She was the only one of the litter that survived. They live in a natural shelter of a tall wide hedge. It protects them from the hardest rain, but they are never completely dry in those rains.

But they have each other, and that is important. Smalley feels love from the Momma; Momma feels love from Smalley. They are content to survive in the hedge; two against the world.

An old Bein walks past the hedge one day and discovers the Momma and Kitty. He taps his cane as a signal that they come to recognize. He is allowed to scratch them from familiarity and because he gives them foods. The foods are valuable to Momma and Smalley because they have been depending on insects and such.

Momma goes out to hunt for food for Smalley, but one day she does not return. She has been captured as a “pest”. Smalley is starving. She can find no insects to eat in the hedge and she dare not wander out from there.

Two days later, Smalley hears the familiar tap of the Beins cane. She peers out through the hedge. A warm hand reaches in to comfort her, and picks her up. Small foods are offered and gratefully accepted.

Smalley is carried to a wondrous warm and sheltered place with a nice Bein to care for him. It is the best days of her short life and she is so happy, though of course still missin her momma. There is always food, always nice water and always a warm lap. There are even toys… Smalley sleeps deeply for the first time ever and fears not the thunderstorms and cold nights.

The bed is small, but there is room enough for the Bein and Smalley to sleep. It smells a bit, but not so bad as the outside sometimes does. And there are no fears in Smalley’s young life. Life is good…

Then one day, a strange Being comes to the door. He says that all cats are pests and must be removed. He says cats are “not allowed in public housing”. What harm has little Smalley done but sleep quietly and play with the 2 toys the Bein has made of string and paper? She has not made loud sounds or made any messes…

The Nice Being cries, but takes Smalley back outside to the hedge. The Authorities require it. He may not shelter a “pest”.

His tears fall down on Smalley like a shower and he says he will visit every day with food and attention scritches. Smalley cries loudly at bein left alone again in the cold cruel outside. The Nice Bein cries as he walks back to his suddenly empty "public housing".

Smalley spends a terrible few days in the hedge, hiding. She does not know how to catch food, how to shelter from the cold, how to hide from the rain. She is miserable and cries out to her Momma and the Nice Being. The Nice Being does come by every day, but cannot stay long. He leaves food, but it is not enough. The Nice Being doesn’t have much food that a cat can eat that he can leave out that won't attract predators. He feeds food by hand, but dare not leave any behind.

Then one day, the strange Bein finds Smalley in the hedge. He sets up a trap cage. It’s his job, but he also enjoys it. He doesn’t like “pests”.

Smalley senses that the cage is dangerous, but the fishy smell inside draws her inside. She needs food. Then, suddenly, a door closes behind her and she is trapped. All night she stays in the trap crying for someone to let her out. But the Nice Bein doesn’t come until mid day and the strange Bein arrives at dawn. Smalley is taken away with many other little kitties. They all cry for their Mommas, their Beins or even just other friendly kitties.

They have no hope.

The Nice Bein finds Smalley gone, and weeps.

All the kitties like Smalley were taken away and killed. The ones that found Beins in "public housing" in Singapore were forced back outside and then considered “pests” because they didn’t have homes. The ones that didn’t find homes to begin with were just “pests” too.

Smalley is assuredly dead by now… There is also assuredly a Nice Bein that weeps over the forced eviction of Smalley through no fault of either of them.

The original (better-written) story is HERE. I just wanted to put the story into different terms. Maybe a twice-told story has more impact than a once-told story. But mostly because I was so sad that I needed to tell the story a different way to get the pain out of my heart.

There are so many Smalleys in the world… And so many that shouldn't be Smalleys.

The Big Thing

16 comments:

Samantha and Mr. Tigger said...

Oh my gosh!! We get tears every time we read Smalleys story!!! Thanks for the way you wrote it!! You would think by now people would know what has happened in the past can come back again!
Your FL furiends,
and Maverick

Camie's Kitties said...

We cried both times we read that story. Thank you for re-telling it.

Tavi, Cody, Camie, Miss Jade and Gracie

animalfamily said...

thanks for feeling so much for smalley and for re-telling the story because it needs to be retold, re-etched into people's consciousness. it's so painful to know what happens to our cats but we will keep fighting to save them!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

There is lots of hurt in the world...maybe one more person reading this in Singapore will be one more helper for cats there...

Daisy said...

I wish every Smalley would have a Forever home.

The Cat Realm said...

Sorry - we didn't even read the story as our maid can not deal with one more bad or sad thing about cats. Or any other animals that is. And as there are so many she feels pretty shitty a lot. Our staff tries to help where they can - signing petitions, donating, educating - to help animals but they don't want to hear more sad stories....

calsifer said...

Thank you for this moving rendition of Smalley's story. You got it right on the kibble. It is amazing that someone halfway around the world from Singapore gets it so thoroughly with just a simple 6 page story, when we're facing the gigantic wonder that the Singaporean authorities who have enforced the "no cats outside, no cats allowed inside laws" for decades fail consistently to connect the dots.

Thank you again for telling more people about our Smalleys. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

During the SARS crisis in Singapore when the cats were targeted as "scapegoats" to appease increasing public panic, I remember a middle-aged lady with a pair of legs bowed from degeneration, walking the backlanes of Geylang and providing good to the "alley" cats. The pain from her osteoarthritic knees forgetten by the loving purrs and rubs of the cats as she laid the food on newspaper.
One day these cats were all gone as the pest controllers efficiently nabbed them in the name of "public health".
This lady continued to look for the cats night after night. She sad on the concrete steps on the backdoors of the shops and wept.
I wonder if her heart was ever mended.

Anonymous said...

During the SARS crisis in Singapore when the cats were targeted as "scapegoats" to appease increasing public panic, I remember a middle-aged lady with a pair of legs bowed from degeneration, walking the backlanes of Geylang and providing food to the "alley" cats. The pain from her osteoarthritic knees forgetten by the loving purrs and rubs of the cats as she laid the food on newspaper.
One day these cats were all gone as the pest controllers efficiently nabbed them in the name of "public health".
This lady continued to look for the cats night after night. She sat on the concrete steps on the backdoors of the shops and wept.
I wonder if her heart was ever mended.


"A Singaporean"

Anonymous said...

In Singapore, "intellignence" and "smartness" are based on how good you are in making $$.
Anyone who talks about animal welfarism is "weirdo" and a sign of weaknessn.
Hence NO Minister here will DARE to speak against the very bad way we have treated animals because it will cast a shadow on his or her credibility as a leader!
Activists here are NOT asking for MORE animals on the streets but asking to implement HUMANE ways of reducing the unwanted animals on the streets instead of KILLING them!
Yet the HDB shamelessly clings onto these reasons to be keep cats out!
Cat
Cats are not allowed to be kept in HDB flats as they are difficult to be confined within the flats. The nuisances caused by cats such as shedding of fur, defecating/urinating in public areas, noise disturbance etc would affect the environment and neighbourliness in our housing estates. In view of this, HDB has the policy of not allowing cats to be kept in HDB flats.


90% of people on this tiny island live in HDB flats!

EJ. said...

The tragical plight of Smalley is so true and universal.And man-made tragedy.
Why sent Smalley and family and friends to death when there are Beins loving,feeding and caring for them?
Can one officer (big or small gun politician) open up this issue of allowing cats in HDB? And implement a long term no-kill policy for cats,dogs, monkeys?

eve+line said...

The HDB (the public housing agency) is known to be stubbornly impervious to reasoned arguments. Many cat lovers (including me) have written in asking for a review of the no-cats policy in HDB flats/apartments. A Member of Parliament even brought this up in Parliament but got the same, wooden reply from the housing agency that it has used for years.

Smalley's story is sad and heart-breaking because everyday, we see cats in the same situation as Smalley. If you are a cat lover, it is impossible to hold back your tears when you see a confused (probably newly abandoned) cat, meowing frantically and seeking human company. This is a scene commonly repeated throughout Singapore.

Bureaucrats, they can't care less. Cats are pests, nothing more, and a call to the pest controller solves everything. Such is the cold, calculating efficiency Singapore's civil service is known for.

eve+line said...

http://siewkumhong.blogspot.com/2007/03/budget-2007-debates-ministry-of.html

See the last bit of Siew Kum Hong (the MP I was talking about) where he sought clarification on cat ownership.

EJ. said...

Thanks eve+line for Mr Siew'blog.
Grateful to Mr Siew's bravery in bringing up the issue in the parliament session even though a iron-clad concrete template reply is alway given.

Alasandra said...

Oh, this is so sad. I cann't imagine anyone considering a cat a pest (but I know some do).

It would be so nice if the elderly and poor would be allowed to care for their pets in public housing and nursing homes.

Kitties @ Our family cat-a-blog... said...

I read the story of Smalley and sat here in my kitchen weeping and sobbing. I've done rescue for so many years and have seen more than anyone needs to see in order to have nightmares until the end of time.

Thankfully, after many years of hard work on the part of people who love animals, our county was convinced to make our shelter no-kill. A very difficult decision for a small county in northern Michigan because we have so many unwanted animals and a small budget.

I wish with all my heart and soul there would never, ever be another Smalley. We are judged by how we treat our animals. Sadly, I have little respect for most of the government in Asia/the Orient.