Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cat Out of the Bag

I read the news in yesterday’s Malay Mail(15 March 2011) over the demands of 20 animal rights activists that the DAP takes action against its assemblyman and member of parliament, alleged to be siding and protecting ‘cat killer’ Chao Xiao Wei.

The news vividly brought to mind the video. Objectively speaking, it would be an understatement to describe the incident as simply ‘killing a cat’. The recording shows it to be a far more serious or disturbing than this. I must say that it was an act of utter cruelty.

It was a despicable sadistic act. When the perpetrator rained the blows on the poor helpless kitten, she would taunt the mother cat, looking her way after each blow, assessing and relishing the pain she must be causing to the desperate and anguished mother. The whole episode was not simply to ‘kill the cat’ but really a performance calculated to cause maximum pain not to the kitten but more to the mother cat, to torment and torture her against her maternal instinct.  The elements of cruelty is greatly enhanced or heightened considering she was then acting against helpless creatures, which must have given her a sense of absolute power over life and death, clearly evidenced by her mannerism and gestures. When the desperate mother cat courageously tried to save her young ones, she would be intimidated and menacingly drove away by Chao Xiao Wei. We see this happening twice in the video. Why was there a need to deny the mother retrieving and rescuing her kittens?

Then consider the actual act of slowly killing the kitten. She rained a series of blows over the poor helpless kitten, who tried pitifully to crawl  away. And once cornered in a sort of pit, Chao Xiao Wei bludgeoned the kitten half dead with her deadly umbrella.

 And the way she wielded that umbrella is noteworthy. It reminds one of Reihana’s ‘My Umbrella’, albeit the difference. The one uses the umbrella in a seductive artistic dance, while the other in a dance of death,  to torture and snuff life. Chao Xiao Wei actually prances to and fro with her weapon in the recording, to bludgeon the kitten and to menace the mother cat. Watch how she would support herself with her umbrella, one foot neatly tucked slightly behind the other, as if in a dance movement ala Reihana.

 She would take the half dead kitten, cast it down before the mother cat, and then most sadistically stamped on it twice, with all the force of her full weight. She kicked the kitten, a full keeper’s goal kick, in the direction of the mother.

I read in the newspaper, she explained her behavior as follows. She could not control her depression over her parent’s divorce. Frankly speaking, while I normally sympathize with those experiencing depression over personal problems, in this case I failed to see the explanation corresponding with the sadistic nature of the offence perpetrated.

Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching (DAP) said that she and her colleague were not siding or protecting Teo Xiao Wei but merely providing her with a channel to apologize. She added that Teo Xiao Wei has the right to apologize while it is up to the animal right’s activist to accept her apology or not. All this set me wondering. Is the issue of the cat killing merely an issue of animal rights and the concern of only animal rights activists? I don’t think so. In my opinion the nature of the act should outrage our sense of human decency, not necessarily confined to the smaller cycle of animal rights activists.

I am also wondering to whom should the apology be directed? In normal circumstances, if we feel remorseful over our action, it would be ideal if we apologize and make amends to the victims or aggrieved party directly. But then just how do you apologize to a dead kitten and to its grieving mother for sure? Rights and nine lives notwithstanding, animals still depend on the sense of human decency that militates against cruelty.



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