Yeoh Siew Hoon dreams of a better place for our feathered friends.
I had a dream the other night, I dreamt that chickens had taken over the world and formed their own empire. It was called “Canary Islands”.
Actually, I lie. It’s a bad joke I got on SMS from a friend.
But it got me thinking that perhaps there should be this place called Chicktopia for our feathered friends who have fed us so well over centuries and now we are forsaking them because of some deadly virus that’s not only killing them off but threatening to mutate to us so that it too can kill us off.
Everyday I read in the papers of more chickens having to be killed, slayed, murdered. Welcome to Mass Chickslaughter.
I can no longer look a chicken in the eye. Me, who used to have pet chickens and even today, my family in Penang has two hens who sleep with our dog in our garden.
In Singapore, where I live, there used to be crows which would hang around for food that Singaporeans always leave behind in abundance after their picnics to which they bring everything but the kitchen sink.
Today, I see no crows. I suspect they have all been culled.
When I told my doctor I was going to Hong Kong and Shanghai, she asked me, “Are you going to a chicken farm?”
If I were, she said, better get the flu jab but unfortunately the clinic’s out of them, anyway.
On the flight to Shanghai, I had to fill a form declaring that I had not been to a poultry farm, nor come into contact with sick birds or sick persons and I do not have symptoms of bird flu which, by the way, includes “an irresistible urge to crap on windshields” – another joke going round on the Internet.
At Shanghai airport, they’ve installed temperature monitors for fever checks – those disco-like machines that turn you blue, red and yellow.
It reminds me of those days of SARS when we had to travel, armed with our SARS kit – thermometer, mask and hand sanitiser. Remember?
On the SIA flight, I observe my fellow travellers.
The man next to me – he’s French, I think, by the name of Francois Poirier – is rehearsing a speech he’s prepared for a conference. I think he works for Sime Darby – he is studying the annual report very closely. He is a numbers man, I suspect. He’s spent the entire flight, fiddling with his PDA.
He is definitely not interested in birds, feathered or otherwise.
I meanwhile read the newspapers till I got so depressed. Here’s a sampling of a week in the life of Planet Earth.
Video clip of naked Chinese lady doing squats in front of Malaysian police officer continues to scandalize; toxic spill from China enters Russian waters and threatens more than one million residents; another explosion rips through a Chinese coal mine, killing 134; new terrorist website found, threatening war on all of us; Paul McCartney and wife saying they will never perform in China due to BBC reports that show brutal killing of dogs and cats for their fur.
“This is barbaric. Horrific. I would not even dream of going there to play …” said Sir Paul.
I got so depressed that I decided to watch the movie “The 40-year-old virgin”, thinking it would at least make me laugh.
I was wrong. I got even more depressed by its stupidity.
Tonight, I want to go to bed and dream of Chicktopia. It’s got to be better than here.
The SHY Report
A regular column on news, trends and issues in the hospitality industry by one of Asia’s most respected travel editors and commentators, Yeoh Siew Hoon.
Siew Hoon, who has covered the tourism industry in Asia/Pacific for the past 20 years, runs SHY Ventures Pte Ltd. Her company’s mission is “Content, Communication, Connection”.
She is a writer, speaker, facilitator, trainer and events producer. She is also an author, having published “Around Asia In 1 Hr: Tales of Condoms, Chillies & Curries”. Her motto is ‘free to do, and be’.