Bangkok: The Land of Smiles
This is Bangkok. Pretty, ain’t it?
My family and I finally took a well-deserved holiday last week, post-exams, to celebrate an early mother’s day as well as the stellar recommendation that I received from a certain University professor. I do hate tooting my own horn, but there you go. We visited night market after night market, outdoor fleas and a dizzying array of roadside stalls that seemed to sell almost every type of Balinese-wooden statues that my mom fell for hook, line and sinker.
Bangkok: The bad
A particular road stall nearing the Jatujak weekend market made me feel incredibly upset, putting my mood off for the rest of the day. There, they sold an assortment of animals, reptiles, fish and amphibians. From frogs to fanciful cats, hedgehogs curled up into adorable balls to dozens of rabbits squashed into a small cage, each atop the next. It was heartbreaking to see them treated in such dismal conditions, and to know that animal cruelty was a plight that has been occurring long before anyone even thought to do anything about it.
In Bangkok, there was one particular French bulldog (which I refrained from naming due to the fear of attachment) that was kept in a tiny cage that was a barely a few centimetres bigger than it’s body. The weather in Bangkok was hitting a high of 39 degree celsius (9 degrees hotter than Singapore’s sweltering afternoons), and these poor animals were left in their obstructive cages with no food or water, let alone bedding or something soft to lay their head on. In their cages was a mouldy old squeak toy, that had long lost its colour and sound. It lay pathetically at a corner gathering dirt, dust and disease.
To these Thai owners, these caged puppies were no more than merchandise. Mere products to be caged and sold accordingly, and the difference in our cultures created a gaping maw in my heart that I couldn’t stitch up.
My heart still breaks each and every time I scroll through the pictures in my gallery, knowing that animal cruelty still remains a huge problem in both the developed and undeveloped countries around the world today.
I hate it, and I hate how these animals are being treated, and most of all, I hate that I am incapable of doing anything about it, other than write about it. Sure, people are always doing something about the strays that they find in Singapore, attempting to make our little country a safer and cleaner place for dogs to live in.
But what about the dogs in countries like Bangkok? Or Vietnam? What about the panting cats that I saw, who had their tongues hanging out and craving for a drop of water? (Personally, I’ve never seen cats pant, and that says something about the condition that they were in.) Or skinny gerbils that are being thrown in a ditch and left for dead? Or those kittens (baby rabbits) that were piled atop one another in gruelling stacks in tiny little cages and displayed in the scorching sun for hours on end?
I’m going to stop right here, because anymore and my tears will be free flowing like my dad’s beer tap on Christmas day. But here’s some food for thought: What are you doing to settle this injustice in the world? And worse off yet, what can we do about it?