Bird-singing corners are the only places legal for old men to display their birds for all to see, and while this unique activity is slowly dwindling, there still remains a healthy number of mainly male hobbyist looking to keep their birds in tip-top condition.
Located mainly at void-decks or communal areas in neighbourhoods, bird-singing corners are easily distinguished by the tunes of prized birds such as the oriental white-eye or mata puteh. So prized are these birds that most cages that hang from their iron hooks are made of finely-carved ornate wooden furnishings, with some even having blue-jade bowls to contain water.
The history of these bird-singing corners however remains very much a mystery, and the many prideful uncles I spoke to often rattled on about irrelevant stuff before concluding that this hobby must have been either born from the days of catching birds in the kampong or something almost in the line of a sub-culture involving shorts, singlets, cigarettes and good old kopi.
Interestingly, most of these birds are mainly domestically reared and are almost never seen in the wild. They value in the tens of thousands for prized ones and are judged in categories such as singing ability, liveliness, stamina and beauty.
It is probably safe to say that these mainly elderly man really like their birds a lot, and though the presence of bird-singing corners are dwindling, there are still a few strongholds in areas such as Ang Mo Kio Ave 10 Block 440 and Serangoon North Avenue 1 Block 154 where even the odd parrot is displayed albeit rather cruelly.
Ultimately however I feel that the presence of these bird-singing corners survive because of the communal spirit and friendly competition it provides amongst like minded individuals, there is also a general beauty in the way that some of the birds sing a tune, and honestly nothing beats the many puns you can have with old man looking at birds.