Monday, September 16, 2013

Guide dog in Singapore

I fist blogged about Esme back in December 2011 when she first arrived.

2.5 years has passed and Esme and her handler Cassandra are still being discriminated today. See articles below.

As I have blogged back in 2012, I first know about guide dogs after watching a documentary 30 years ago. It is strange that Singapore being a “first” world county and is so ignorant on welfare and social issue.


TITLE: Public education on guide dogs 'needs to be ramped up'

10 Sep

It has been two years since Esme the guide dog arrived in Singapore to help her blind handler Cassandra Chiu navigate Singapore's streets and buildings, but the duo are still regularly turned away at restaurants and retail stores.

SINGAPORE: It has been two years since Esme the guide dog arrived in Singapore to help her blind handler Cassandra Chiu navigate Singapore's streets and buildings, but the duo are still regularly turned away at restaurants and retail stores.

Last Sunday, ice-cream chain Haagen-Dazs refused Ms Chiu and her dog indoor seating, even though she presented the manager with a photo identity card supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development to allow guide dogs into public places.

Describing the incident on Esme's Facebook page, Ms Chiu said the cafe staff repeatedly told her no pets were allowed, even though she had explained that Esme was not a pet but a working dog to assist the blind. The group eventually left.

Pets and animals are not allowed into food outlets unless the establishment is licensed to do so, but guide dogs are exempted from the rule.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore also states that halal-certified eateries can allow guide dogs on their premises.

Contacted on Monday, Ms Chiu said a staff member from Haagen-Dazs had called to apologise.

"I had explained many times that this is not a pet - this is a guide dog and I need it as I am blind. At the end of the day, it is not about Haagen-Dazs or any particular merchant. It's about my basic right to go about doing normal day-to-day activities."

Although rules are on her side, it is still "down to the people on the ground" to permit them entry. "On a daily basis, I suffer rejections at least once or twice, mostly at eating places, including coffee shops," said Ms Chiu, who added that this problem has pushed her to turn to shopping online instead of at stores. Public transport was once a major problem but the situation has since improved, although taxis still remain an issue, she added.

Responding to media queries, Haagen-Dazs' Managing Director for Asian Markets Wuthichai Ratanasumawongs said: "We sincerely apologise for this mistake in judgment made by our shop staff. It was wrong, and we are taking steps to ensure that this does not happen again. While we are taking steps, we need some more time to investigate and finalise the action steps. Once again, our sincere apologies to all."

Dr Francis Seow-Choen, Chairman of the Guide Dogs Association of the Blind, said businesses' concerns include the fear that giving guide dogs entry is against government regulations, that the dogs may offend Muslim customers, or that the animals may urinate or defecate on the premises.

He gave the assurance that guide dogs are well-disciplined. "They pee or poop only on command. They are trained not to bark, and not to be distracted by other humans, cats, rats or small animals. They also don't go around sniffing people." He added that public education on guide dogs needs to be ramped up, as there are plans to bring in more of them in future.

Singapore welcomed its first guide dog in 2005, followed by Esme in 2011, and a third last year.


Life with Esme, the guide dog

My Paper follows blind psychotherapist Cassandra Chiu and guide dog Esme around on a typical day out and about. -My Paper

Joy Fang

Mon, Dec 03, 2012

My Paper

SINGAPORE - Last Saturday, psychotherapist Cassandra Chiu made the news when her Facebook post about how she was treated at a Forever 21 clothing outlet went viral.

Ms Chiu, who is blind, had her guide dog with her at the store, and was repeatedly stopped by staff.

Such incidences, sadly, are common in her life.

"Many Singaporeans have not understood or accepted the use of a guide dog. They are not ready yet," said Ms Chiu, who is the second person in Singapore to be matched with a guide dog.

Under the law, such dogs are allowed everywhere, including on MRT trains, in hospitals and in halal restaurants, except hospital operating theatres and the zoo.

But the 33-year-old said she often faces negative reactions whenever she takes Esme, her Labrador guide dog, into shops, eateries and other indoor public places.

She has been scolded and refused entry into places when Esme is with her. Once, at International Plaza, she and her friends were rejected by three restaurants in a row.

When this happens, she tries to show the staff the legislation regarding guide dogs and her Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped member's identification card, in order to explain her need for a guide dog, usually to no avail.

Once, she was even pushed down an escalator by an angry shopper who couldn't understand why Ms Chiu had to take a dog into a mall. Ms Chiu had to be tended to by paramedics.

That is why there are few guide dogs here, as blind people are unable to get past the fear of rejection, she said.

Ultimately, it is "down to the retail manager of the shop and how understanding and sympathetic he is to the use of a guide dog", she said.

"Many basically don't care, even though there is legislation in place."

This is unlike in countries such as the United States, Australia or Japan, where rejecting a blind person with a guide dog can be seen as discrimination. A company or person who treats a person with a guide dog differently can be subject to prosecution.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The dumb PM never failed to sound stupid......again...

Govt has always been working with S'poreans to improve lives: PM
CNA 24 JAN 2013


SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says the government has always been working with Singaporeans to improve their lives and that the ruling party, through successive generations, has always kept the people's interests at heart.

He was speaking at the People's Action Party's (PAP) rally for Punggol East by-election on Thursday night.

Joining candidate Dr Koh Poh Koon in his final rally for the campaign, Mr Lee urged voters to consider carefully what the by-election is about.

He stressed that the by-election is about choosing the right person with the heart and abilities to serve.

The by-election is also about supporting a good government that will serve Singaporeans and their family. It is also a vote for a better life.

Mr Lee stressed that by working together, the PAP government has transformed Singaporeans' lives.

One example is Punggol, which has been totally transformed from pig farms, kampongs and dirt roads to the Punggol 21 Plus and the award winning Punggol Waterway, he said.

And this is the same all over Singapore, said the Prime Minister.

He stressed that what Singapore has achieved no other country has done and this was done together with Singaporeans working together with successive PAP governments.

Mr Lee also refuted the opposition's accusations that the PAP has changed. He said successive PAP governments, from Mr Lee Kuan Yew to Mr Goh Chok Tong to his leadership team, have had to change policies with the times.

But the party's fundamental ideals have not changed, neither has its goal to help the low-income, elderly and the middle-class.

For the elderly, Prime Minister Lee emphasised that they had helped build Singapore together and that the government will not forsake this generation.

He stressed that the government will always stay on the side of Singaporeans and continues to maintain high standards of integrity.

He went on to explain that another thing that has not changed in Singapore is that the PAP still maintains high standards of integrity.

One aspect of this is honesty, and the PAP has always been honest with Singapore, said Mr Lee.

Another example of integrity is how the party handled embarrassments and mistakes, and one example was the resignation of the former Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer.

The Prime Minister recounted that when Mr Palmer offered to resign, he accepted and handled the matter transparently and openly and hence the Punggol East by-election.

Mr Lee once again apologised for putting residents through another election but added that the way the PAP had handled the matter was completely different from the way the Workers' Party had handled the Yaw Shin Leong affair in Hougang when the former MP went missing in action.

The Prime Minister conceded that nobody is perfect and certainly not the PAP.

He said the party makes mistakes and lapses from time to time but it admits to its mistakes and shortcomings and did its best to set things right and work with Singaporeans to do better.

Mr Lee said that is how the party has maintained its reputation for so long and that is how it must uphold the integrity of the system in future.

So the Prime Minister stressed that the question to ask is: what will Singapore be in 10 to 20 years and the kind of leaders the country wants - honest leaders who will explain the challenges and work with the people to overcome them or those who make empty promises and leave it to others to get the job done.

Mr Lee said the country needs to develop a capable and committed leadership for Singapore with good MPs to represent the people and constructive politics to tackle the country's challenges together.

Mr Lee urged Singaporeans to continue to support the PAP.

"The People's Action Party has not changed its purpose and what's its purpose? Action for the People; to act on your behalf, to be your representative, to be your servants, to be your agent to make happen in Singapore what we all would like to see happen. That's the reason why the people join the PAP," he said.

Mr Lee called on Singaporeans to vote for PAP candidate Dr Koh, saying he will be able to contribute significantly.

He said Dr Koh will not only be able to help Punggol East residents, but that he has the potential to do more for Singapore.

As I have said before, I love Election!

It is quite fun to see how diluted the PAP still is and at every election times, they are always caught with their pants down and start to babble nonsense.

Some sound so stupid that you can’t believe these people are actually “leader” of our country.

I tried to watch the PAP rally but I always got so sick at the beginning that I have to stop before I start to hyper ventilate.

So I just watch the news summaries and read from the newspapers what was said at the PAP rally, being a PAP dogs, the main media can’t be reporting wrongly, so I guess they pretty up summarised the rally accurately.

Not surprising Amy Koh was present yesterday trying to really the people. She was the most popular PAP MP from GE 2011 and therefore the PAP hope she can use her celebrity status to bring in more vote.

But what she said last night was of no substance and even made he look stupid.

“Minister of State Amy Khor said that she had seen how Dr Koh interacted with people of all ages. "I believe he's the best person to serve you," she said.

"PAP cares about the elderly - if you look back, special attention has been made to address concerns," she said. She outlined elderly-friendly moves made by the PAP, and added that the example of BMW's employment policies that was cited by the WP was first raised by DPM Tharman.

She also said that under PAP policies, no one will be deprived of medical treatment just because they cannot afford to pay for healthcare.” – TODAY ONLINE 25 Jan 2013-01-25

Here’s my rebut to Amy.

Please tell us how long you know Dr Koh and how many occasion you seen him interacted with people and how you conclude he is the best person to serve punggol east. In fact do you know punggol east? May I remind you Dr Koh is only a 3 weeks PAP member.

If PAP cares about the elder then why our elder still have to work as low salary worker, why they still need to pay for high medical cost and wait half a day to see a doctor at poly clinic?

You say no one will deprived of medical treatment, yes they just have to wait very long to see a doctor and they died before that.

Get some reality check Amy. The best for PAP MP now is to keep quite and don’t look stupid.

Now our dear Hsien Loong…..

You can read from this super long article about his rally speech last night. Gosh he actually spoke for an hour.

Hsing Loong said PAP has always been working with Singaporean to improve their lives.

Rubbish, when you actually listen to us?

When people in the oppositiong ward are put last in lift upgrading and their town council sabotaged?

Do you really care about all Singaporean or only those that voted for you?

If you really care about Singaporean, what is happening to our reserve? Why are you using our money for your own investment and is allow not to report it? Even the late President Ong can’t even get the number. Bloody blood sucker. Still dare to say you are honest to the people.

The fact that the PAP is in power for so long is all these unfair election system. The GRC system, the constant change of the borders of constituency let the PAP had a firm grip of the parliament.

In GE 2011 PAP only won 66.6% of the vote but they control 91% of the parliament!

This certainly is not a correct representation of Singaporean wish in Parliament.

Wake up PAP, do more correct and good things for Singapore and only then you will only lose more votes and stop sounding stupid.

Till then people will vote for those who really care about them.

Praying hard on 26th JAN!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Election time is good time.

I love Election!

This is when the PAP suddenly came down from the realms of Gods and becoming human again.

Suddenly the men in white are seen eating at hawker centres, walking the ground and shakes hand with ordinary Singaporean.

It is also fun to read what sort of stupid things they said during this period.

The By-Election at PE came gave the opposition parties a chance to seize another seats in parliament and I think it also gave the PAP some headache as they are not really prepare for the resignation (SACK) of Palmer just 2 years after the last GE.

So PAP has not choice and just field a new face, Koh who is only a 3 weeks old PAP member.

In fact the PAP may think there is nothing much to lose if Koh is not elected since he is a nobody, but of cause they cannot tell that to the resident. So different Ministers start to say how good this Koh is and even the PM is saying he had plan for Koh to be a Minister.

Heng Swee Keat which was one of the Minister that I quite like also start to sprout nonsense to support Koh during this GE. He said PAP is already working hard for you with or without the opposition. For God’s sake please do not take us a fools and make yourself one at the same time.

If the PAP really care about people of PE, then why Palmer did not solve the Rivervalle plaza problem for 2 years? If the PAP really care about people of PE, then whey PM appointed Palmer as the speaker of parliament.

As speaker of parliament he won’t be able to raise your problem for you during parliament sittings and so good luck to your Rivervalle.

Then again why suddenly this Koh can do everything when By Election come?

This tell you PAP can do but choose not to do as they see you not important.

Voter of Singapore, choose wisely in 2013 and 2016. PAP is screwing us and will only show us the sincerity during Election time.

Gosh how I wish we have elections every year!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Give me your feedback so I can sue you.

It’s the New Year and the PAPian are suing people again.

Defamation suit is good if you have unlimited resources.

What is everyone can use defamation suit in our daily lives…..

Scenario 1:

Hawker: Sir your cha kway tiao ok liao.

Man: Wah so small size, you cut corner is it?

Hawker: Wah I sue you. So fat better don’t eat so much.

Man: Wah I sue you back.

Scenario 2:
Office worker 1: Oi boss what you think of Alice’s appraser?

Office worker 2: Aiay she everyday carry balls sure good lah.

Boss: I sue you!

Alice: I sue you too.

You see life will be so complex when people start to sue each other and the only winners are the lawyers.

I think the PAP is making a bad more by starting the year suing people.

You see, PM Lee just ask for National conversation to improve his party image by trying to get people involve in National building. By suing people once you don’t like what you heard makes you look kinda petty.

So for the rest of the Singapore, we better shut up and vote them our in 2016 rather then talk so much and get sue by the PAP.

In Singapore when the PAP sue someone, then we all very kapo and will try to find out what that person said.

So suing people make have a negative effect as people who usually can’t be bother actually will bother to find out what the other party is saying about you that you have to sue them.

Bad move Hsien Loong.

Happy 2013.