Singapore: STEPPING out from the void deck
and into glorious sunshine one morning, a pigeon flew past and crapped on my
best shirt. It was several years ago, when I was a semi-smart teacher who wore a
shirt and tie to the office. On this occasion, I wore a shirt and tie decorated
in pigeon crap to the bus stop. There, a couple of ever-so observant teenagers
informed me of my latest fashion accessory by saying: "Hey, got bird shit ah?"
My mother always said it was lucky. In the London borough where we once lived,
there was a bandstand in the town centre that was home to a flock of pigeons,
suffering from incurable diarrhoea. The town council, in a rare moment of
assertiveness, declared its plans to make the bandstand a pigeon-free zone by
"What's the problem?" my mother asked. "It's good luck if
a pigeon drops one on you."
"You always said stepping in dog's poop was
"Ah, that's lucky, too."
"Surely people just say that because a
pigeon has crapped down the side of your face and they want to cheer you up a
The town council never culled the pigeons.
In England, municipal bureaucracy works slower than two giant tortoises
mating. It needs the cold, ruthless efficiency demonstrated by a Singaporean
town council last week. Apparently, residents were concerned when they
discovered 40 dead birds along Hougang Avenue 1. However, they were pleased to
learn that the pigeons had been killed not by bird flu, but by the Aljunied Town
Council! You've got to be damn quick in this town if you want to kill something.
From now on, in the interests of fair play, animal killers are gong to have to
form an orderly queue. It seems a culling gang raced to Hougang only to find
their services were not required. Confused, one of the cullers asked his
colleague: "If pigeon die already, we sure die die one, then how?"
"Aiyoh, shoot again lor."
"Wha'? Dead pigeon must die again ah?"
Well, it's better to be safe than sorry. To ward off bird flu (even
though, thankfully, there has not been a single case reported here yet), the
cullers have progressed from pigeons to chickens. After rereading George
Orwell's Animal Farm, they marched over to Pulau Ubin clucking: "Two legs good,
two scrawny, pink legs bad." And
removed just about everything with a wing.
Next Wednesday, 5,000 chickens will be wrapped in plastic bags and
gassed with carbon dioxide, just to give the authorities a bit of culling
practice. Apparently, the chickens are "retired", which means they no longer lay
eggs and sit around void decks playing Chinese checkers. I'm all for saving the
planet, but we could end up being
the only species left in it.
even going after our fellow primates now. There have been several complaints
that monkey gangs, wearing bandanas and gang colours, are mugging us poor,
defenceless humans of our tit-bits in MacRitchie Reservoir. The Agri-Food
Veterinary Authority of Singapore has been asked to step in, but those guys have
enough to do culling birds, and then culling them again. I know the area in
MacRitchie where the monkeys hang out. I've seen them discuss mugging tactics.
"Listen up Ah Meng," the leader says. "Family coming. Got Pringles. Damn
"Okay, got plan already. I go behind and screech. You go in front,
show teeth and wiggle pink backside. Can?"
If you want to avoid the
monkey mafia, read the signs and don't bloody feed them. But those instructions
may be a tad complex for some, so the alternative will be to call in the Animal
Vanquished Association. They intend to issue a press release soon that says: "We
will kill every monkey, pigeon, crow, cat, pig and chicken (all 2.1 million of
them, we say with real civic pride), if they pose any threat whatsoever.
"Some of these health concerns are man-made, but who cares? These
animals will just have to bite the bullet.
"Incidentally, we may not have
enough bullets. So, we'll improvise.
"We will feed the birds to the cats,
the cats to the pigs and we will just shoot the pigs.
"The monkeys will be
redeployed as civil servants.
"By the way, we're getting really tired of the
pink dolphins and the whole 'are they wild or captive' nonsense. So, they could
Who are these people? I don't know and, to be honest, I don't
care. But I hear the pigeons have them in their sights.