Friday, 7 December 2007

Birdmen of Singapore

Bird fancying. What's that all about then? It's hugely popular here and within an HDB area, there will be a place with bird cage racks on the ceiling of the void deck, labelled with the type of bird to be appreciated there. My local one is for the Merbah Jambul.

Sunday mornings is the main event with, say 20 - 50 men, and it's always men, sitting looking at a ceiling full of hanging bird cages, smoking and chatting. The bird cages are all of an exactly uniform design and size for a particular bird species so it's a pretty sight and they are song birds, so there's some twittering audible over the traffic noise.

At other times, you see the cages hanging on the window bars of the flats. Animals are not allowed on trains or buses so moving them around means car, pickup truck, walk or cycle. For multiple cages, they use a carry stick to hang them off and the cages have neatly sewn cloth covers for transportation. This hobby has equipment.

My take is that it's Singaporean fishing; an ostensibly acceptable activity which men use to get out of the flat and away from the family for a while.