Wednesday, 9 June 2010


It's strange, I can't remember there being many different sorts of birds around when we lived in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s. There were certainly many chickens and also ducks and some kids would bring their eggs home to watch them hatch. The ducklings would happily swim around the tin baths that we all had. However, there didn't seem to be many other sorts of birds and all I can remember are the few sparrows that used to come to the back door for bread crumbs and probably to eat the many insects that crawled around. There's another reason why I remember there were sparrows near our home and that's because, one day, I was walking along the side of our house and one flew straight into my eye! It didn't do any damage although the sight in my right eye has never been so good as it is in the left. There must have been many other birds in Singapore and Malaya but I just can't remember any. There must have been pigeons because they seem to be everywhere else! When I went back to Singapore in 1990, I thought that it was funny that the crossings tweeted to let you know when you could cross which was more interesting than the bleeps we get here. When we returned to Britain in 1968, as a boy, I thought it was strange that sparrows were also in England as well as in Singapore. It seemed then that there were only so many different types of birds in England; robins, blackbirds, sparrows, seagulls, thrushes and pigeons. There certainly weren't all the magpies, birds of prey, jays, goldfinches, greenfinches, blue tits etc that are around today. Or is my memory playing tricks with me?


  1. Yes your memory must be playing tricks becos even today in modern Spore, many birds come to our garden. Maybe you were too kind-hearted and never thought of trying to trap them or shoot them with a catapult as we did in our kampong days; and hence do not remember.

  2. In our kampong days, we used to trap the spotted dove with brown unhusked rice grain. We sprinkled the grain next to a trap made of loops of nylon string (for fishing). But sadly, sometimes the birds get entangled and strangled to death by the strings. Yes, we kampong kis were quite cruel to animals.

    We could even mimic the cooing sound of the spotted dove which we mistakenly labelled cuckoo.