This is in continuation to my previous blog post.
I stumbled upon – or almost ran into – the reason why no crows showed up on that fateful Kanu Pongal day.
Last week, on my way back from my morning walk with Maxx, I spotted a black Crow Culling van, swiftly maneuvering a turn. I did a double take because it did not register at first. When I got back home, I read expat columns discussing it, saw a video of the act on YouTube and read articles from year 2001 onwards discussing the issue in great detail.
Power outrages, raiding of orchards and creating an enormous ruckus near high rise apartments have been blamed on them. They have been called an absolute nightmare, vicious scavengers and noisy pests. Some believe that they pull hair, peck on bald heads and leave scars. Others say they carry salmonella and virus infections.
An article from year 2006 in NYTimes even says, “Crows are everything that Singapore is not — raucous, undisciplined, dirty and disorderly”.
It finally dawned on me that I had never spotted a crow in Singapore! That black bird that was a common sighting where I come from, is not part of the environment here. No wonder my kanu pidi (Crow feed) stayed untouched! I also realized that had I just asked around about them, I would have been told of the culling practice. Instead, I have wondered why the Crow Gods did not bless my kanu pongal .
More Googling told me that the National Environment Agency of Singapore employs a for-profit security company to kill the crows. In the beginning, a local gun club had been given this responsibility to keep the crow population under control. The NEA website lists crow culling as one of its duties under sanitation and vector operations.
This, when the crows were first brought into Singapore to control Rhino beetle infestations in oil palm plantations! Talk about thanklessness.
Well. So much for the ritualistic feeding of crows that I was brought up to believe was the most sanctifying practice for a Brahman! But all my reading and looking for information on line did throw up some interesting links to articles and poems glorifying the crow. Here is one such interesting article that celebrates the crow in the South of India