Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sometimes I wonder if I'm being fair to the people who write in to the ST forum pages, in the way I select easy targets to pour my bile over. But some people's peeves are so badly argued, they really get my goat. Case in point:

Heng Cho Choon, who took the trouble to write in today in response to Roni Roberts, another forum writer from last week. This is truly a case of a knee-jerk reaction to a misreading of a phrase in Roberts' letter without any comprehension as to what Roberts was talking about in the first place:

I REFER to the letter, 'Important to take the time to understand a culture before making judgments' by Mr Roni Roberts (ST, Feb 16) in which he commented on whether HDB flat dwellers should or should not keep pets as 'an integral part of the family unit'.
If you read Roberts' letter, Roberts was simply relating survey data collected from HDB dwellers themselves about how they view their pets. He was not advocating anything of that nature either way.

Some people keep pets because they truly love them and care for them with utter devotion. They do not mind spending a fortune to take their pet to see the vet whenever it is sick. Some keep pets because they are childless and want to drive out the silence and monotony of the home.
Sounds supportive of pet owners at first, but attempts to be clever with sly digs at how pets are a waste of money and are no real substitute for children.

I once visited a friend who lives on the second level of a block of HDB flats. On the ground floor is a pet shop which sells birds and hamsters. Residents nearby have to put up with the noise, smell and mess 365 days of the year. With the spread of bird flu, I wonder if it is safe to live in such an environment.
Wow. He has a friend who actually lives in HDB housing, whom he took the trouble to visit once. I guess with the noise and smell and mess of the pet shop, he's never visited his poor friend again. This kind of prejudice has caused more animal deaths than bird flu has caused human deaths, if you think about it.

He goes on to talk about how people can be cruel to animals, and how we should have an animal cruelty police force to show that he is actually quite the humanitarian.

He then suggests that if we want our kids to have contact with animals, we should take them (the kids, not the animals) to the zoo or to the farms in Choa Chu Kang, anywhere as long as it's not in his own back yard....

How far off on a tangent can this guy get? If this was an Application Question response to Roberts' letter, it shows very poor comprehension skills, a high level of bias and prejudice, hijacking the question and running his own agenda, and little coherence in how his ideas flow from para to para. Fail, lor. And embarrass himself in public some more.

I'm worried for our GP kids because they constantly exhibit the same errors in their AQs. If we don't fix the problem quickly, the long-term effects could be devastating. The local papers might soon be filled with half-baked arguments like this one.

Just to be fair, Heng's letter is here.

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