Singapore Birds

September 18, 2010

My father started making notes on the birds at Changi in November 1942 shortly after entering Roberts Hospital for pellagra and tinea cruris.  This became the focus of his note taking activity for the next eighteen months until about May, 1944 and indeed turned into a research project that would not be completed until 1950 when his article ‘Nesting Habits of Some Singapore Birds’ was published in the Bulletin of the Raffles Museum.

My mother was convinced, no doubt rightly, that  it was these “bird notes” above all else that kept my father going through the long years of captivity.   But they were more than a simple exercise of mental discipline, it seems to me.  And there was a collective aspect for he was aided by a small cadre of fellow birdwatchers.  The most notable of these was E.K Allin, a former planter in Perak, who would also publish some of his observations in the Raffles Bulletin.

These “bird notes” will be the focus of my next few posts.



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