Just like how any parent wants their child to outperform Sharma Ji ka beta, people in Thailand wish the same for their birds at the weekly and annually held BIRD-SINGING COMPETITION! (Just how ridiculous and weird can people get?)
Why Are Such Competitions Held?
When there is money involved, any well-crafted ludicrous idea can become a major hit, and well, that’s what this bird singing competition has grown to be. More like a traditional past-time, these competitions are held twice a week, with the annual event attracting more than 1000 participants from in and around Southeast Asia. It is held at Thailand’s second largest island Ko Samui and has grown to gain popularity because it seems to serve as an easy method to make some quick money (almost 3000 baht during the weekly events)
How Is It Conducted?
The mood set here is intense, and even though it might seem as a spectacle to watch the red-whiskered bulbul sing, it clearly isn’t for the bird or even its owner who spend almost 200 baht to enter their birds into the competition.
The birds come in their extensively decorated bamboo cages and are hung onto hooks that are suspended at a height of 3 meters. The entire event has a very dramatic appeal. As soon as the whistle is blown, the competitors are given exactly 20 seconds to perform and prove their worth. The four judges mark the birds on how well they sing, the variations in pitch, their stamina and even count the number of times the bird chirps in the given time slot. The marks are written on the slips of paper that are hung under each cage, and the bird that scores the least is eliminated.
The Time Keeping Method
A very traditional method is applied in order to keep track of the time. A silver bowl with a hole at the bottom is kept on the surface of a large water jar. The jar takes exactly 20 seconds to sink, and the whistle is blown to mark the end of the countdown.
This songbird singing competition is not the first one that humans have adapted to mint some money by exploiting animals. However, it is sad to note that there seems to be no end to it, especially with it being legally supported in name of tradition.
Even though the owner of the competitors spends a lot on its ‘care‘, it is still seen as a commodity, and not as a pet. Such competitions just bring out the level to which man can stoop down in the greed for money.
Can pleasure to these men be never acquired without exploitation? Is this all what a ‘human’ (technically an animal) is capable of?
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.