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Bird teahouse


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Bird Teahouse by Ng Pei Kang
17 Nov 2010

The bird teahouse is a rest stop for free flying birds in our HDB estates. Hung outside your HDB window, birds can peck some seeds, have a drink before they continue on their flight.

The bird teahouse offers HDB residents a chance to observe wild birds up-close, through their windows without leaving the comfort of their home. Residents can customize their bird watching experience by catering for the type of birds they like to attract. They can choose between different types of feed, fruits, drinks, shades, or even a smaller entrance to grant exclusive rights to smaller birds! Considerate neighbors can also clip on a collection tray for bird droppings, or a sound reflector to direct noise away from the HDB block.

In all, the bird teahouse presents a modern take on loving birds– not as caged pets, but as guests. This way, even birds gets to exercise their rights to choices – more attractive teahouses will naturally get more patronage!

The bird teahouse is meant to add new life to the dwindling bird business in Singapore – by taking the skills of bird cage makers and reinventing it for today. It also preserves the semantics of the bird cage, a cultural icon for many centuries which we have grown attached to.

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Bird teahouse

  1. 2. “ ..the bird business is going to the dogs” - Bird sellers see their wings clipped The Straits Times, 4 Jan 2010
  2. 3. In January this year, I came across a Straits Times article which talked about the decline of the pet-birds industry in Singapore. “The bird business is going to the dogs” it says. Indeed, the downturn of the bird business is attributed to the growing preference for warm furry dogs over birds. Also in part, the prevailing paranoia after the bird flu outbreak, and the increasing disapproval of caging a free flying bird. There are just around 50 bird shops left in Singapore, compared to 81 shops five years back – a one-third reduction which is quite dramatic for any industry. One bird shop owner who was interviewed considers himself lucky to sell one bird every month compared to 10-20 birds in the 90s. The prospects looks depressing for these bird shop owners and many have intentions to pull out.  Lost craft Bird Teahouse | Ng Pei Kang Oct 2010
  3. 4. I do not keep birds, but I have a bird cage at home because it evokes a sense of nostalgia and fits well with my Zen interior. I also like it because it is an iconic example of craftsmanship – a piece of work that fully embodies the heartware of the maker, more than just quality hardware. The heart behind a piece of work, I feel is a disappearing virtue today, evident in the disappointing quality of mass produced products.   With the bird business on decline, it could be matter of time that bird cages will disappear too, having lost its functional purpose. It is a sad thought picturing the loss of cage making skills - what of the bamboo weaving and intricate wood carving? And the heartware driving it all? While the bird cage itself is losing relevance, maybe the craft and heart of the maker can be preserved? Bird Teahouse | Ng Pei Kang Oct 2010 Lost craft
  4. 7. From Bird-cage to Bird-teahouse… The 24hrs fly-thru for city birds Bird Teahouse | Ng Pei Kang Oct 2010 The next time you walk by a bird shop, check out the Bird Teahouse! Skillfully crafted by our cage making uncles, except they are not making a cage this time! Meant to be hung outside your HDB window, the Bird Teahouse allows free flying birds to peck some food, take a sip, and have some rest before continuing their flight. It is the modern way of loving birds – not as pets, but as guests.
  5. 8. Great for… Bird lovers: You do not need a cage to love birds. It saves you the upkeep hassle too - don't have to wash cage, don't have to worry about feeding if you go away on holiday, feed as you like, no strings attached! Bird Teahouse | Ng Pei Kang Oct 2010 Bird Teahouse Pit-stop for birds surviving the HDB jungle The 24hrs fly-thru for city birds Amateur bird watcher: watch in the comfort of your home without getting dirty or sweaty! Photography enthusiast: comfortably camp by your window and take great shots! Nature lovers: empowering them to do their bit - returning a bit of urban space which made way for human usage. Parents: Teaches your kid to… 1) Get in touch with nature - accept, not fear because of unfamiliarity 2) Tolerance by normalising the co-existence with nature - respect, not dominate 3) The joy of giving
  6. 9. Ng Pei Kang [email_address]