Alden Boon

Dr Siew Tuck Wah on Breaking the Poverty Cycle, Saving Singapore’s Street Dogs and Finding Buddhism



Becoming a proponent of animal rights

A flower is often admired for its outward beauty, but in the absence of strong roots it cannot blossom. Like gnarled but strong roots to a flower, Dr Siew’s hardships have built his character and steeled his resolve. Besides a busy work schedule, his calendar is pencilled with activities related to Saving Our Street Dogs (SOSD), a charitable organisation where he is President.

That SOSD is running like a well-oiled machine today is a far cry from its early beginnings. “Back then, it existed only as a Facebook group,” Dr Siew recalls, laughing at the memory. Currently, it boasts a 500-strong force of volunteers across different departments. Its shelter at Pasir Ris is a sanctuary for up to a hundred strays. Volunteers would walk and feed the dogs up to four times a week. The rehoming team is tasked with organising adoption drives and finding new families for the dogs. And then there are the rescuers, who take on the noble cause of saving dogs in distress.

To onlookers, a charitable organisation seemingly operates in a utopian world where all Samaritans driven by a noble cause play nice. In truth, passions run high, personalities clash, and friction arises. Different members have different opinions. Dr Siew for one yearns to rescue all the street dogs in Singapore — but his wants are vetoed by other committee members concerned about overworking the volunteers. Whereas a boss can foist his convictions on his employees, managing volunteers as President is a whole new ball game altogether. “Over the years, the SOSD family have matured. What is heartening to me is that all of us have learnt to put aside our differences for the greater good.”

Dr Siew Tuck Wah President of Saving our Street Dogs
By day, Dr Siew works on his clients' faces; by night, he puts his finesse to use by cleaning open wounds on dogs.
Dr Siew Tuck Wah President of Saving our Street Dogs
Dr Siew also devotes a huge part of his spare time to spearheading outreach efforts, engaging the public and children on the need for animal welfare.
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There is a stereotype that Singaporeans are cold-hearted and do not volunteer. I’ve found this to not be true.  

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Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.