Category Archives: animals

Playing Chicken In The Bridal Chamber

Decades ago, it was a tradition among the Chinese to engage in fowl play as part of the wedding ceremony for a newly-married couple.

After the formalities were done at the groom’s place, the wedding party would go to the bride’s home for the rituals at the maternal side. Accompanying their return to their matrimonial home would be a rooster and a hen, which would then be released under the newly-weds’ nuptial bed.  If the rooster emerged first, that “augured” the first-born child would be a son, if the hen came out first, then a daughter.

In Chinese these are called 带路鸡  (or ‘chua lor kay’ in Penang Hokkien)

These days I believe most couples would chicken out at the prospect of having two live specimens foul up their love nest; don’t worry there are lots of mock ones available.

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I Snared A Rat …

This wire-mesh cage was one of the two fabled weapons used for snaring those sneaky pests in my old kampong house.

Fatal Attraction by the bait lured the victim into the cage, to tug at its last meal, thereby triggering the spring-loaded door.   The trapped rat would later be executed via drowning — with the whole cage submerged under water.

I have not seen this kind of trap for almost 4 decades now.   Not that rats have disappeared; in fact even in my ‘squeaky clean’ adopted country,  a resurgence in their numbers is seen in recent years.   Perhaps rodents have also become more promiscuous these days, in line with the New Morality.

But in Singapore, one has a new weapon, ie., Facebook.   One post is enough to send politicians scurrying for dear life.  Oops, smell a rat ?

Crouching Kucing Hidden Tikus

That seemed like ages ago, in the earlier years of my childhood in the kampong.  When was the last time you saw a cat stalking and catching a rat or a mouse ?

We had one lean & mean Tommy boy, living on fresh rodent sashimi three meals a day. Alas, one day he went out and never returned.

The later replacements did not seem to be interested in hunting rats, mice or birds or anything that was alive.   They were contented to purr and brush their tails against our legs, waiting for some nice fried fish or meat or papayas (yes, papayas). Otherwise, they would do day-long siesta on the sofa with four legs facing the ceiling.

Had they made peace ?  Or eating rats wasn’t feline chic anymore ?

Botak Necks – An Unfeathered Fowl Expression

When I was a kid, we used to buy fertilized eggs from a dealer, took them home and then incubated them in a home-made incubator and waited for the chicks to hatch.  Slowly, one, two…and then three,..and then soon we had a small brood.

Now and then, we got some chicks which had a bare zone around the necks.  Completely botak.   We called them “Japanese chicks”, but to this day I don’t know why they had this feature.   Could be due to some Exhibitionistic traits in their DNA ?

I think the chance of getting one was less than 1:20, so whenever one showed up in the new batch, the siblings would often fight for the right to “own” it.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Are Meshed

Anyone remembers that kind of wire netting, with repeating hexagonal patterns ?  Yes, it is Chicken Wire Mesh, or simply Chicken Wire.   How did you use it ?

Many years ago, this kind of galvanized steel wire netting was very popular in the kampong.   Due to its low cost, flexibility and ease of cutting and forming, it found widespread use –  besides keeping our fowls from accidentally wandering into our neighbors’ cooking pots, or laying their eggs elsewhere.  LOL !

We also used it to build a fence – with wooden frames – around my kampong house, mainly to keep out stray dogs and unwanted guests.  The mesh itself was not very strong – a dog could bite through if it was determined enough, especially if some corrosion had set in.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Bat, It’s Superman !

That is what one gets when Robin, Batman & Superman got together for a wefie – in triumphant celebration of the immense power of sporting underwear on the outside, augmented  by a matching cape.

Red, Dark Blue, Green…make your choice depending on what you wanted to do – takeoff like a jet fighter, glide down from tall buildings after nightfall, or simply chirp around happily.

Those were the traditional, enduring superheroes of our youth days.   We knew they were all fictional, but good for firing up the imagination of our impressionable young minds. But not to worry, we still wore our underwear inside.

Bushy Pit-Stops In Spiky Places

In my kiddo days, we would buy durians from a particular trusted vendor who always “reserved” the best fruits for us (or so, he said).  Notably, he would recommend to us those with a hole gnawed through the husk by squirrels in search of their favorite meal.

Apparently our little bushy-tailed friends are nature’s king connoisseurs of the king of fruits, and they know which ones are the cream of the crop.

Folklore or ancient wisdom ?   You be the judge.

But these days, with the prevalence of animal-borne viruses that could cross-jump to humans, I would give those rodent-leftovers a miss.  I would pick up a fruit and do the sniffing myself.