SPCA gets new home and champion

A fund-raising event for the shelter’s new premises (above) was attended by (from left) Mr Kenny Eng, president of the Kranji Countryside Association; Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim; Ms Carla Barker, SPCA chairman; Mr K. Shanmugam, Ms Jasline Tan, director of Cheng Tai Nursery; and Mr Yee Chia Hsing.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has a new champion: Mrs Ivy Singh-Lim, the outspoken owner of educational farm Bollywood Veggies and founder of farmer coalition the Kranji Countryside Association.

At a fund-raising event for the SPCA's new premises in Sungei Tengah yesterday, Mrs Singh-Lim, 66, said the SPCA's addition to the Kranji Countryside community was a "gift from heaven".

Farmers have a problem with stray dogs walking around their farms and the SPCA has offered to help sterilise and rehome them after it moves into its new 7,700 sq m premises in December.

The SPCA is currently raising the remaining $1.7 million needed to complete the $7 million project, which includes a shelter, adoption centre, education centre and clinic.

In return, Mrs Singh-Lim invited friends and fellow farmers to the fund-raiser at the Cheng Tai Nursery, opposite the SPCA's new site. She also offered to host SPCA talks at her farm, as she sees hundreds of children each day on school trips.

Mrs Singh-Lim and her husband - retired chief executive officer of FairPrice Lim Ho Seng - own 19 dogs. She hopes to create a community where all animals are loved.

Mrs Singh-Lim, who calls herself a "gentle warrior farmer", was the president of Netball Singapore from 1992 to 2005.

She grew up in a wealthy family, but now works the fields with a towel around her neck and a utility belt on her waist.

Foreign and Law Minister - and animal lover - K. Shanmugam attended the event and toured the new grounds, of which he said: "The first thought that struck me was that I wouldn't mind working here. It's a nice place; you work with living things that don't talk back to you.

"I really hope people will come forward to help the SPCA. They do tremendous work - last year, more than 3,000 animals were rescued, more than 1,000 were rehomed, and 757 cases of cruelty were investigated."

Mr Yee Chia Hsing, a new MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC, also made an appearance, much to the pleasure of Mrs Singh-Lim, who pledged the support of the farmers.

Mr Yee, a banking executive, said that he hopes to support the community by encouraging residents to visit the farms and young people to volunteer at the SPCA.

While the SPCA's new premises are three times larger than its current one in Mount Vernon Road, it is also more far flung.

SPCA executive director Corrine Fong said she is expecting a 40 per cent drop in volunteers after they make the move. On the difficult-to- access location, Mrs Singh-Lim had a cheeky message for the new, yet-to-be-named Transport Minister: "You'd better give us a bus, or you will be gone too."

tiffanyt@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Sept 20, 2015.
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