Visit to SoSD and SPCA with Twelve Nights 十二夜 Director Raye

Twelve Nights 十二夜 Singapore version?

Dear readers, here’s a diary entry recording my one-day outing with Raye, the director of Taiwan documentary “Twelve Nights 十二夜” and Mr Teo from BEKO Smart Nation.

Someone asked me why did I agree to attend/cover this event when this (voluntary work/saving animals) is not something I do or write usually. I was rather offended by his remark. Do I really need a reason to do something I am interested or passionate about? I don’t have to declare what I did prior to acting and blogging, but I was active in environmental (NUSSU) and animal welfare (NUS PEACE) clubs back during university days. These involvement were on hiatus when studies, work and relationship problems took up all my time.

12Nights_Screening1So when news about the screening of “Twelve Nights 十二夜” was announced, I thought it will be good to return to something I’ve always been passionate about, this time writing and sharing something that isn’t often shared by Singaporean bloggers.

My happiness was doubled when Mr Teo from BEKO Smart Nation got to know about my reviewing of the documentary and invited me to visit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Save Our Street Dogs (SoSD) together with Raye, the director of Twelve Nights 十二夜. I decided to pull 2 of my photographer friends along who were equally excited with the opportunity. I was surprised to know that it was only Raye, Mr Teo from BEKO and I visiting the shelters (too used to mass blogger events!).

Here’s a news feature from Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA 中央社新闻 aka Focus Taiwan) about the appearance of Sonia Sui and the director Raye at Marina Barrage for the screening of Twelve Nights 十二夜.

Visit to Save Our Street Dogs (SoSD)

12Nights_Screening6Founded in July 2011, this non-profit organisation for the Singapore Street Dogs was set up by a group of volunteering stray lovers, feeders and rescuers from different walks of life. I did not know about the existence of this group prior to the visit, but it is good to learn about SoSD’s efforts! Located at a secluded part of Pasir Ris, the SOSD Rehabilitation Center is surrounded by animal-related business entities such as Pet Hotel, Pet Farms and Pet Movers. It is an irony when I saw these neighbouring businesses, it’s like seeing an orphanage along Orchard Road.

12Nights_SoSDVisit8We were shown around the Rehabilitation Center, taking a look at the different sections (or departments) while Dr. Siew, president of SoSD (Yes, the tall guy in white!) explained to us how these dogs were handled. Dogs were rescued from various places, such as factories, streets, AVA or even from the SPCA.

12Nights_SoSDVisit12They were then quarantined and cared for back to health before they were placed in the healthy zones with other dogs. We were actually shouting to one another as all the dogs were barking happily when they saw us. The volunteers were able to tell us the little story background of the different dogs, as well as their behaviour and little quirks.

12Nights_SoSDVisit9Instead of cages, the dogs were housed in little sections (similar to student hostels and dormitories) together with other dogs that they can get along with. Most of the dogs who had difficulty getting adopted are mainly large size dogs which are not HDB-approved.

12Nights_SoSDVisit7While I was feeling the ache for these dogs, I was surprised when Meiyi (the Education Outreach Officer) told me that SoSD allow sponsorship (similar to World Vision’s Sponsor A Child program), for people who wish to help these dogs but do not have the time or space for them.

Through this Sponsor-A-Dog (SAD) programme, people who long to keep a dog, but cannot do so will be able to do their part for these stray dogs. Not only will these sponsors receive monthly updates and photos of their dog, their name will be displayed outside the kennel and on the website, they will also get to visit their sponsored dog at SRC on a weekly basis! To know more, read the SoSD SAD FAQ.

12Nights_SoSDVisit1Raye is interested to see how different shelters operate in different countries and cities. In “Twelve Nights”, the shelter which was filmed ( Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township 彰化員林流浪犬收容所) is a public shelter where there is limited funding. Also, the shelter is unable to reject the dogs abandoned by owners and have to catch the stray dogs when requested by the public. Thus, the shelter is often over-crowded, causing disease and virus to spread.

12Nights_SoSDVisit6During the tour, something (amusing) happened which caught our attention and distracted us away from the tour.

12Nights_SoSDVisit3There was a group of new Team Kennel volunteers undergoing some basic training by Uncle Chew. They were learning how to put dogs on leash when taking them out for walks. The interactive way Uncle Chew used to teach the volunteers amused everyone.

Dogs need to run in order to burn off their energy. When dogs are under-stimulated, they tend to become destructive and hyper. Thus, the shelter needs volunteers to help walk these dogs to maintain their health. Not only so, as a volunteer, you are exercising when running the dogs.

If you are interested to be a volunteer, or want to know more about volunteering with SoSD, do check out this page.

12Nights_SoSDVisit2Address: 22 Pasir Ris Farmway 2, Swift Singapore, Unit 13/14.
Visitation Sessions: 11.30am every first & last Sunday of the month. (approx. 45mins)
Facebook Page:
Contact: 97358677.
All visits require prior appointments. Email with your contact number and preferred date. For more information, click here.

Volunteers needed at the SoSD Flag Day

12Nights_SoSDVisit5SoSD is organizing a Flag Day on 9 November 2014.
The theme – ‘A New Start’, resonates with SoSD’s daily work – to rescue Singapore’s homeless and abandoned dogs, giving them a 2nd chance, and a new start in life.
Sign up via the form or email
*Full Day Volunteers will receive a limited edition FlashPay card!

Visit to Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)

After visiting SoSD, we went to the SPCA at Mount Vernon. I’ve called SPCA twice few years back, once because of a bird with broken leg and the other time for an abandoned kitten. I did not have much of an impression for SPCA when they called me to inform me that the kitten would be put down if there was no one to adopt it. I was worried and had to search around for available adopters. Luckily, my NUS professor took up the role and adopted the kitten.
12Nights_SPCAVisit7Upon arrival to SPCA, it seemed like there were not much difference from the SRC from the outside. I was ready to brace myself against the imaginary odour from the overcrowding of animals (like what I watch on the trailer from Twelve Nights).

12Nights_SPCAVisit9Well, to my surprise, I was VERY wrong. The shelter is very clean, spacious and airy. For every section we were brought to, we had to step on the disinfecting carpet to ensure we don’t bring any germs in or out of the shelter. At the cat zone, the cats were allowed to roam about with toys and furnitures donated by people. The little room was also painted by student volunteers to give it a more cheerful atmosphere.

12Nights_SPCAVisit10Besides cats and dogs, there were also rabbits and hamsters. Corrine, the Executive Director of SPCA explained to us how the type of animals being abandoned were often connected with the zodiac as well as the “latest trend”. There will be a hike in the number of abandoned rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs during or after the year of rat and rabbit. Also, a certain species of dog will increase every time after a certain canine-related blockbuster/ Disney movie (like Hotel for Dogs, 101 Dalmatians, Santa Paws) is out. Many children will pester their parents to buy that particular animal and when the novelty wears off, the animals were be found on the doorsteps of SPCA.

12Nights_SPCAVisit11Besides that, animals are often abandoned the very moment they get sick. Many owners buy pets without knowing the high veterinary and maintenance cost. While SPCA is unable to turn away these animals, the officers will usually try their best to assist these owners by educating them how to take care of their pets, hoping that they will give the pets a second chance before giving up on them.

12Nights_SPCAVisit6I was impressed how SPCA operates in a systematic and orderly way. Like a factory assembly line, every morning, the dogs will be brought out for walks while their cages are being cleaned by workers. They will then have their meals before the shelter opens for visiting. There will also be volunteers who will go into the kennels to pet and stroke the dogs, letting them get used to human touch, so as to condition and prepare them for adoption. In the evening, when the shelter closes, most dogs will be let out to play (to let out their energy) before going back to their kennels to rest.

12Nights_SPCAVisit5Corrine clarified my misconception about SPCA. Animals in SPCA are being put down only when they are really sick, it was then I remembered that the kitten adopted by my professor died few months later, as it was already in a bad condition when I found it. However, I was still glad that the kitten had 2 months of warmth before it left the world.

Here in SPCA, there are dogs which have been with SPCA for more than 5 years!

12Nights_SPCAVisit8Besides the quarantined area where cameras are not allowed (Once again, they are clean and odour-free), SPCA also has a mini clinic which provides very basic consultation service on Saturdays (strictly by appointment only) for community animals (stray animals).
Corrine shared with us her experiences at SPCA, the different types of people she met, as well as the debatable topic of euthanasia. Should an animal be put down because it is ill, or should it be given the right to live (and maybe suffer) until it dies? This is a common debate topic even for us human.

*A clinic appointment can be made by calling 6287 5355 (between 8 am and 5 pm on Mondays to Fridays).
12Nights_SPCAVisit2Besides taking care of the animals’ welfare, SPCA also have to handle cruelty and abandonment cases (See here for list of appeals/unsolved cases). While there is a strict fine of up to SGD $10,000, a jail term of up to a year, or both imposed on animal negligence/torture cases and pet abandonment (See FAQ by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA)), there are not many people who are willing to stand up to identify these wrongdoers (often their neighbours!).

For abandonment cases, pet owners guilty of the crime will usually claim that the pet had ran off itself.

12Nights_SPCAVisit1Address: 31, Mount Vernon Road, Singapore 368054
Viewing Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday – 10.00am to 4.00pm.
Sunday and Public Holidays (PH) – 11.00am to 3.30pm.
Facebook Page:
Emergency Hotline: 62875355 ext. 9 (24h)

Twelve Nights Screening at Marina Barrage

After the half day “excursion”, I had a short break before moving on to the open space movie screening at Marina Barrage.
12Nights_Screening7This was Raye’s first time visiting Singapore, and she was very touched that there are many dog-lovers here too. When asked about the response from the audience in Taiwan after watching the film, she mentioned how some kennel workers find that the documentary had put them in a bad light, making them look cruel and heartless. On the other hand, some volunteers said that the film had “beautify” the shelters, the atmosphere during euthanasia was worse than that.

However, the aim of “Twelve Nights” was to let everyone understand that if we abandon our pets, this will be the “nights” they have to go through. So if you are able to adopt (instead of buying) a pet, this is the change you can make.

12Nights_Screening8The response was well-received, having more than 5000 people attending the event. Many people actually brought their pets along, despite the event organizer’s discouragement. As there are a lot of barks and whine in the film, sensitive dogs might feel uncomfortable (Imagine us human hearing people screaming for help throughout the film). When Raye was editing the film, even her dogs were whining sadly when they heard the yelp. (Sigh, Singaporeans simply don’t listen!) But luckily, there weren’t much disturbance from the pets (all well-trained!) throughout the screening!

12Nights_Screening4Here’s my friend, Kenny (Yes, the guy who sent me Twelve Nights’ interview video). We were there at around 5.30pm, settling down on a comfortable spot, getting ready to watch the film.

12Nights_Screening5Besides the MediaCorp artistes, I also spotted Utt! I guess he’s an animal-lover too!
*Sidenote: He will be appearing in Mark Lee’s upcoming movie “Peacocking” together with Mario Maurer (Promoting, cause I’m involved too)!

12Nights_Screening2In case you are wondering, (like me) BEKO is a European home appliances brand. It is a brand one would hardly link it to animal welfare. So why did BEKO sponsor and organised such an event?

Mr Teo explained that BEKO ideology is inspired by love and the theme of love transcend across their brand and products. BEKO believe that the love should be equal and shared across all, be it helping human or animals. Animal abuse & abandon of animal is a social issue often neglected and BEKO hope to play a part in making some difference in somebody/some animal’s life.

Often, many brands are unwilling to sponsor causes or initiatives which are unrelated to them (Trust me, I’ve been there, done that!) I’m very touched by their efforts and hopefully, BEKO’s move can inspire more unrelated brand to sponsor animal welfare initiatives!

12Nights_Screening9Sonia who is also the co-producer of the “Twelve Nights” documentary graced the event and watched the film together with everyone else. When approached by MediaCorp, she accepted the offer without second thought. She even help to pay for some of the expenses, and made special arrangement to attend this event. (My photographer friends were all starstrucked when they saw her and snapped millions hundreds of photos of her!)

12Nights_Screening10(See! Mountain People Mountain Sea… 人山人海! Haha >.<) Halfway through the film, there was a slight drizzle, but no one left. Most took out their umbrella and continued to watch the show. Both Raye and Sonia were very touched by everyone’s support!

Twelve Nights 十二夜 Movie

12Nights_Screening3To learn more about the documentary Twelve Nights 十二夜, do visit their official website or their Facebook Page.
To know more about the director Raye, or if you wish to ask her any questions, feel free to visit her Facebook Page.
To read my review about the documentary, click here.
I will be posting a short transcript of my interview with Raye in the comments section below, so do look out for it! 🙂

Official Sponsors

To learn more about the official sponsors for the movie screening in Singapore Marina Barrage, click on the following links below!
12Nights_Smart NationBEKO’s official website and Facebook Page
MediaCorp Toggle/TAP official website and Facebook Page.

Special thanks to Zen Tan and Yasu Goh for the wonderful photographs!
12Nights_SoSDVisit_PhotgraphersDo visit Zen Tan’s Facebook Page and Yasu Goh’s Facebook Page to check out their photos!

tiffanyyong signature
Transcript of the interview with Raye in the comment section, out soon!

16 thoughts on “Visit to SoSD and SPCA with Twelve Nights 十二夜 Director Raye”

  1. What a fantastic way to spend a day – doing good work that help our 4 legged friends survive. I’m glad you set the person, the one who questioned your interest, right. As lifestyle bloggers, the world is our niche.

  2. Great post you got there~ The (SAD) program seems to be great but too bad that the owners couldn’t see them everyday =( I bet that the dog will miss them when their owners are not there

  3. I guess your’re having a wonderful time there 🙂 Here in Penang we don’t have these events but I really agree people to adopt a pet NOT buying one in the pet shop 🙂

  4. Very meaningful activities for the dog lovers. I really hope the dog owner will be taking good care of the dog, if they decided to look after the dog..

  5. Its really amazing post. Enjoyed reading. Dog awareness activity is superb. I wanna also keep a dog but my mummy doesnt agree 🙁

  6. This is such a great cause for a day out. My town doesn’t do very much for dogs in need – I wish they did. Everyone looks like they are in great spirits!

  7. Sponsor-A-Dog (SAD) programme sounds very interesting. I wonder if we have something similar here where I live. Great post!

  8. That’s a very noble cause that the SoSD is working for..glad you covered it and enlightened others about it.. I would love to be a part of such an organization.

  9. I applaud how you proceeded to support the cause even with those comments from people. Nobody should dictate or stop us from doing what we are passionate about. Also you get to share to your readers something they don’t read about everyday, and this is an important issue too. We should care for animals as much as we care for our friends or family, pets have feelings too. 🙂

  10. 1。接到新加坡的邀请时,有什么感觉?
    How did you feel when you first received the invitation from Singapore?

    Raye: 很高興十二夜可以在海外和觀眾見面,要謝謝星傳媒和BEKO公司,共同為流浪動物盡心力才促成這場公益放映。當天的盛況讓我很感動,新加坡愛護狗的人很多。
    Very happy to be able to bring “Twelve Nights” to overseas audience, thanks to MediaCorp and BEKO, we were able to make this screening happen. I was very touched by the warm response and great attendance, it good to know that there’s so many dog-lovers in Singapore.

    Why do you want to visit the dog shelters in Singapore? How is it different from Taiwan? Which local shelters/organisation have practice which you hope Taiwan shelters can also implement?

    Raye: 我對各地的收容所都蠻好奇,不過上次去香港和這次新加坡參觀的都是私人收容所。十二夜拍的是公立收容所,資源有限又分配不均,比方台北公立收容所每年預算可以和全臺另外38間不相上下。而且公立收容所無法拒絕民眾棄養或民眾要求捕捉的狗,因此經常狗滿為患。
    I’ve been curious about the different shelters in different area, but the shelters I’ve been to in Singapore and Hong Kong are private shelters. The shelter in “Twelve Nights” is a public shelter, they have limited resources and uneven distribution. For example, the annual budget for Taipei Public Shelter can be similar to that of the other 38 shelters in Taiwan. Also, the public shelters are unable to reject the pets abandoned by the owners, nor reject capturing these stray dogs, thus the shelters are often over-crowded.
    The two shelters we visited this time (in Singapore), be it the worker-animal ratio, cleanliness, quarantine area, medical assistance, or training for dogs to integrate back to the society, they are all taken care of, which is a very good learning example. I hope the shelters in Taiwan can one day become like this, thus, I took the opportunity to come and understand the possible problems (in different shelters). Actually, in every country, the root of the problems are similar: Irresponsible owners who had little knowledge about the punishments on animal cruelty and abandonment, vague law regulations etc. The society’s tolerance with these stray animals is also a deciding factor for their fate.

    I know not every shelter in Taiwan has conditions as bad as that of “Twelve Nights”‘s, so what is the response you receive from the different organisations after watching the documentary?

    Raye: 電影上映期間有收容所人員跟我們反應這電影不是事實,好像抹殺了他們的種種努力。
    During the screening, the shelter workers told us that the movie did not reflect the truth, and it seem to obliterate their efforts. While some shelter volunteers told me that we have “beautified” the shelters, the situation during euthanasia was even worse than (in the documentary). Whereas for the public, they said it was too cruel, it seemed like hell, and they don’t dare to watch it. Just like what I mentioned earlier, there are 39 shelters in Taiwan, and there are many different scenarios, the condition of the shelter (in Twelve Nights) is considered middle-level, which is one of the reasons why we chose the place to film. The way “Twelve Nights” was presented was to let everyone understand, if you abandon your pet, this will be the outcome, and if you adopt a pet, this is the difference you can make. It is not for everyone to scold the shelter, as they are not the reason why the dogs are sent there to be put down.

    4。影片播出后,你有看到任何改变吗?(如影片里的收容所来领养的人增加 等?)
    After the movie was screened, did you see any changes? (ie. number of adoption increase etc?)

    Raye: 臺灣這幾天有新聞說電影效應讓認養率提升到五成,這當然是值得開心的消息。不過這樣的新聞是有陷阱的,公立收容所的認養率不一定都回歸家庭,有些是私人收容所領回,臺灣的狗場良莠不齊,命運如何就看運氣了。也有愛心媽媽(義工)領走放回街上,只是給牠一條生路,有可能又被抓回來。

    Recently, it was reported in Taiwan that the movie had influenced and increased the rate of adoption by 5 percent. This is, of course, a great news. However, there’s pitholes to such news, the increment in adoption from public shelters might not be from private homes, they might be coming from private shelters. The conditions of these private shelters might be better or worse, and the fate of the dogs depend on their luck. There might also be kind volunteers who adopt the dogs and put them back to the streets (so as to give them a chance to live), and these dogs might once again be captured again.

    I still believe that only education can truly influence and change the societal mindset. Thus, the team is planning to bring “Twelve Nights” into the school. We hope that in 10 or 20 years’ time, the shelters can revert to their original operation: to keep animals in trouble temporarily, and then redirect them back to another family, rather than to continue their current (terrible) job to put down animals. This is what we hope to look forward to.

    What’s the best or most touching feedback you’ve received? What was it about? What about the worst comment? How did you handle such comments?

    Raye: 有一個義工留言告訴我們,她的先生原先對她去幫助街邊動物的行為很不以為然,不支持也不反對。一起看了十二夜後想法變了,跟她說:錯的事情就是要把它做對。後來竟然主動幫忙接送被領養的狗,狗狗在車上吐了他也不在意,還安慰說就快到了再忍耐一下,因為他終於了解牠們的心情,發自內心的關懷牠們。這個留言讓大家都超感動。

    There was a volunteer whom told us, her husband used to disagree with her wanting to help those strays, although he did not stop her, he did not support either. But his mindset changed after watching “Twelve Nights”, he told her that they should “right” the wrong things. He even went to fetch the adopted dogs, and did not mind when the dog vomited in his car, and even comfort the dog, because he finally understand their feelings and cared for them from the bottom of his heart. This message touched all of us.

    The worst comment was perhaps hypocrisy. But I did not really bother too much. Such comments will make me think about what I could have done to make it better, but I will not put to heart those nonconstructive criticism.

    *Translated by Tiffany Yong

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