Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why Cats, Dogs and the Environment Matter...

Why Cats, Dogs and the Environment Matter...

by Tan Chuan-Jin on Sunday, 05 June 2011 at 13:12

Some have asked me why are we taking this up when there are so many other things to sort out.

Its not about the animals. Nor is it just about the environment (which is something I am also looking at). It is about the society we want to build. Some of you have shared -

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." --Ghandi.

Does this mean we stop worrying about other issues? Addressing these doesn't mean the rest of the work isn't done. Far from it.

My colleagues and I are fully aware of the many needs we need to cater to and indeed, the many things to be addressed. We discuss this weekly at Cabinet and within our Ministries. Things that we are able to move quickly we do. In other areas, we need to spend more time because there are different ramifications. The issues are seldom purely black and white. I realise that the expectations are there but as I have said before, things take time and we want to do it right.

FTs and FWs is one such topic. In fact, as I read your various posts and listen to my residents, I see a few key themes:

- Living space: too many too quickly, over-representation in particular areas

- Fairness and opportunity for our own Singaporeans at the workplace (including discrimination against our own), housing, schools

- Are we bringing in the right types of FTs and FWs

- Better information to be made available

- Local and small SMEs are finding it difficult as we have tightened up foreign supply



- Prices, availability of both normal flats and rentals

- Eligibility...young couples, singles, divorcees, low income groups, elderly

- Design considerations


'Singaporeans First' is another key theme that surfaces.

As I have explained. We are looking at these issues. There are also many many ongoing matters that continue to be done because we need to keep our country going. They may not be on the radar screen but doesn't mean they are not important. Many many things work here. Not always perfectly but it helps provide us a good and stable environment for us and our families. We cannot slacken in these areas.

Which brings me to our cats, dogs and environment.

When we begin to care for different aspects in society, we will begin to grow as a people. What distinguishes us as humans is our capacity to love, care and respect. Which is why such avenues, be it with animals, our environment, and indeed with fellow humans...caring for the less privileged in society, respecting elders and being there for them in their twilight years...the spirit of volunteerism and to be involved... are critical in the building of our nation, and the forging of our heart and soul.

Not everything is an economic digit. Some of the most important things in life cannot be quantified.

At the end of it all, it is about us and the society we want to build for our children.