Bird Singing Competition

It was a sunny Sunday morning and the road in front of the Betong Police Station was alive with the sound of cheerful birds singing. The birds were in their “luxurious” bird cages which were hung about three meters from the ground. Some of their owners whistled and gestured to encourage their pets to respond with a series of chirps. The entire sight was interesting, each bird was chirping in their own signature singing style. They first spread their wings and dropped their heads low while shaking their body right and left.

That was the scenery of the Bird Singing Competition organized by Betong Police Station and coordinated by Betong Avian Club. The objectives of the event were to improve police-community relationship, to promote tourism and to encourage healthy recreational activities among the people.

The event was unexpectedly overwhelming with more than 550 birds turning up with their owners and there were not enough spaces to hang the cages. It showed that bird breeding is one of the favourite pastimes for the locals, particularly among the Malay populace. In this competition, about 80% of the participants are Malays from all over Yala province.

Birds in their decorated cages

The birds were judged according to how well they ‘sing’ or chirp, stamina in maintaining their vocals and how varied their tunes are. The judge practically counted how many times they chirp in a minute. The judges were very serious in their work. Watching the judges was as interesting as watching the beautiful birds singing their hearts out.

The prizes for the first three positions were refrigerator, washing machine, DVD Player respectively and the other consolation prizes were mainly electrical goods. Normally, winners of prominent bird tournaments will enjoy great prestige. Of course, they also earn thousands of dollars for their owners.

According to the participants, they breed and take care of the birds as their own kids. With the patience of saints, they train their caged darlings to sing and take part in singing competition, hoping the birds will bring them honour and reward. When competition time comes around, every effort is made to ensure that the birds are in their best possible condition. These birds are well looked after by their owners, because they are supposed to be temperamental, just like humans.

I’m not really into song birds. I do enjoy bird singing in the nature. At home, I prefer to be quiet and I am sure I will get pretty annoyed after a few hours of non-stop singing. I will just turn on CD if I need some nice music and if I need to spend so much time and effort to take care of it and please it, I ‘d rather do it to a man…

The crowd/Gentle and caring…

Chief Police of Betong and the people/Live up the event

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