Birds and Singlish

Today we went to the Jurong Bird Park on the east side of the island. It's really well known and basically it features bookoo species of wing'ed creatures (600, actually) and some really well planned and even picturesque grounds for being in the heart of a dense urban area. And Dan's mom is the head-honcho executive director there, so we basically got to do whatever we wanted and all for free. We donned badges that boldly said GUEST and traipsed about like we owned the place. Thanks, Auntie Daisy!

We also got behind-the-scenes info about the park (number of tourism awards the park has won, upkeep costs, which birds are dating which other birds -- apparently a Blue Footed Booby over in Rare Aquatics has his eye on a Toucan in Colorful Tropicals). We also learned that the park spends about two grand each year vaccinating their 8,000 birds against the Avian Flu. No birds have been infected to date. I can only think this is a good thing.

One of the exhibits is a huge caged-in area with free flying birdies. You enter through an entryway covered with cool hippie-style beads (they keep the birds from flying out) and walk out onto a suspended platform in the middle, about 40 feet above the densely forested ground below.

And as I stood on the precipiece, I realized suddenly that it was like being in Jurassic Park. I looked for Compys darting below in the shaded tropical underbrush and actually wondered, if the enclosement were to contain Velociraptors, if I would be safe from my little perch and how exactly I would get away from them if they tried to attack! My, how the imagination it bad that I have a fear of extinct animals? Maybe it's the tropical heat that's getting to me...but a really neat bird park nonetheless. I like the advent of once again seeing creatures larger than a cockroach. It seems that tiny island-cities don't have much in terms of wildlife, and understandably so.

And I also encountered Singlish first hand this past week. We've been hanging out with some of Dan's friends and it's been interesting and amusing to hear English being spoken in such a different flavor.

Basically these Singaporeans are kind of low-talkers, and speak quickly and sorta mumble. I had to remind myself several times that yes, I too speak this language.

And to really blend in, you gotta add the word "la" after some phrases, and also the word "one."

For example:

"Okay, la, I heard you..."


"Don't do it like that, one..."

But I've also had to catch myself using American slangs and opt for more generic language instead for ease of communication. I dropped the word shenanigans into casual conversation and got some stares. And Dan used the phrase "hitting it up" and received a similar response.

But such is part of the fun of speaking the same, and yet different, language. As the Britons would say to their American friends, "We're two nations divided by a common language."

Indeed, indeed.

A swell day overall.


They have a Birds of Prey show at the park. It's pretty cool. They have all manner of falcons, hawks and other taloned flying things. I think I'd enjoy falconry as a hobby.

"Falcon, scratch his eyes out..."

Part of the show included birds swooping about and grabbing various things with their spikes. This cute little kid from India held out chopsticks with meat on the end and a hawk swooped in and picked it off.

Behold, the king of the American skies. This made me think about Marty Stouffer. Then I wondered what Marty would look like if he were asian...

Oh, and a few bonus interlude shots we got at the park...

This is Tuma, a Malaysian Fish Owl.

We got to pet a penguin too. Dan gave it a pet and it started trumpeting and waddling off. The handler invervened and set things straight. The little bird was cooing rather unhappily. The fur is surprisingly fluffy and yet firm. I was expecting wet and smooth.

A random shot that made me happy. How I do miss my Trek at home though...

4 Responses to 'Birds and Singlish'

  • Sally said...'> 12:57 PM

    good pictures. "Jurong" sounds like a word that once meant something in English but got totally devastated by an Asian accent.

  • Anonymous said...'> 10:20 PM

    I like the J. Carey shot.


    no one bikes like they do.


  • Daughter of Eve said...'> 9:36 PM

    Who would have thought that Asian falcons used chopsticks, too?

  • Jana said...'> 1:16 PM

    I love the night picture of the city skyline. Gorgeous!