I SAW a picture quote on WhatsApp of a milkman in a rickety bicycle pouring milk for some kittens by the roadside recently. It was accompanied by the words “Some people are poor financially but so rich by heart”.
The picture was probably taken in the Indian subcontinent based on the landscape.
I have come across many caring people in Penang and elsewhere. Whenever The Star carries news of poor families struggling to cope with life, some Good Samaritans will come forward to give them a helping hand.
Some prefer to do so anonymously.
I have also come across another type of ‘rich by heart’ people. They go around feeding abandoned stray animals. In Facebook, I have seen pictures of them posing with stray dogs and cats which they have rescued from the streets.
In Jalan Kebun Bunga on Penang island, I have seen people leaving food for stray dogs near a famous temple and outside a Tamil school. I have seen hikers bringing food for stray dogs which live in the hills near the Level Five rest station.
I have also seen them bringing bananas and other fruits for wild monkeys. When the food is scattered, there will be a feeding frenzy by the primates.
Many times, I have seen neatly arranged soya beans on rocks for monkeys and probably squirrels. Such kind-hearted people. I salute them for their compassion.
But is it right to feed birds and animals in the compound of high-rise units, along roads and in the jungle?
I have noticed more pigeons and crows in Bandar Baru Air Itam where I live. It is probably because of the kind acts of people who discard leftover rice at the Lebuhraya Thean Teik-Jalan Thean Teik junction regularly. I am sure they can be considered ‘rich by heart’ too since they are mostly flat dwellers.
They go around in motorcycles but I must add though that not all who use motorcycles are poor.
I stay in a condominium and have seen pigeons perching on my bird cage and balcony railing which is used for drying clothes. The clothes are frequently soiled by bird droppings.
A woman neighbour of mine had been placing fish for stray cats at the garbage bin near my parking bay. Another person, a former bank officer, staying in the next block was also doing the same.
The food attracts strays. I have seen cats lying on top of my car after a hearty meal. I asked the man to stop doing so several times and even though he agreed each time, he could still be seen placing food for cats at another place.
He probably felt what he is doing is right no matter what others think about it.
There are more stray dogs in my condominium as I believed some kind people are placing food for them especially after sunset. The dogs move in packs and I have seen women and children cowering in fear when the ferocious animals pass by them.
The Penang Island City Council rounded up about eight strays about two years ago. But it was obvious that the dog catchers were worried of residents snapping pictures and posting them in the social media. This would surely spark an outcry among dog lovers.
But some residents who had complained about the dogs in our residents’ WhatsApp group were glad that the council came to their aid.
Monkeys are supposed to forage for food but ‘caring’ hikers have been spoiling them. It is common to see a troop of monkeys readying to pounce on hikers who carry a backpack with ruffling sounds of plastic. It’s scary.
I saw a monkey snatching a juice bottle which was carried by a woman hiker about a month ago. She was startled but decided not to retrieve it after seeing so many monkeys around her. I guess the monkeys living in the jungle near the Penang City Park and Penang Botanic Gardens have lost their instinct to forage for food.
I saw a couple on a motorcycle recently and one of them was scattering some grains to pigeons. I felt compelled to give him a piece of my mind. I did so courteously. I commended him for the noble act but told him that the bird droppings are causing a stench in the balconies of high-rise buildings nearby. I pointed out the buildings to him.
He appeared stunned and did not say anything. Maybe, he would stop doing so in future.
People think they are doing a noble deed without realising the ramifications of their actions to others. By pointing out these ‘noble acts’, I risk projecting myself as a cruel-hearted person.
I feel that if one loves dogs so much, please adopt and provide shelter for them. Let’s not do things that cause problems to our neighbours. This also applies to those staying in high-rises.
You may be praised openly for your noble deeds but will people say the same behind your back?
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