Friday, February 10, 2006

Great Speckled Bird
Bird flu fears are mounting in Hong Kong where it seems virtually every day brings a report of clueless school kids playing catch with dead wild birds which later test positive for the H5N1 avian virus or seizures at the China border of illicit, ailing live chickens stuffed into Auntie Leung's suitcase.
Chinese love their chicken blood fresh and many will risk their lives for it rather than lose face and serve a frozen fowl purchased from Wellcome or Park N' Shop, our two leading supermarket chains. Imagine the shame!
But Hong Kong is cracking down and on Monday Poultry SWAT teams will be fanning out to the rural areas to seize and destroy illegal chickens from backyard farmers.
As The Standard reported: ''Agriculture officers may break into private homes to seize contraband chickens after a prohibition on neighborhood poultry farming comes into effect next Monday, warned Stella Hung, director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. The threat Friday comes after villagers voluntarily surrendered just 240 chickens to AFCD officials, who visited 116 villages over the past week. ..." The story ended on this upbeat note: "Funeral parlor aassociation chairman Ng Yiu-tong said Sunday that religious ceremonies for the dead will no longer use live chickens and instead will use the clothes of dead persons in rituals."
So in addition to wondering just how a dead person's clothes can adequately substitute for a live chicken at a funeral, one imagines squads of ominous-looking men covered head to toe in orange or white haz-mat hoods and suits with universal "No chickens" logos on the backs, clutching automatic weapons, flame throwers and shotguns bursting into a rusty corrugated metal and weathered wood shack as Second Uncle and Fourth Auntie clutch squirming contraband fowls to their breasts and wail.
"Just. Put. Down. The. Chicken, ma'am. Slowly...slowly -- that's it -- and no one will get hurt..."
Or defiant screaming toothless crones awkwardly flinging infected chickens at the officers who shrink back momentarily in reflexive horror before pumping the birds and their withered owners full of shotgun rounds.
"I'll give up my chickens when they pry them from my cold, dead fingers," vowed 72-year-old Fok Lwok-hung, a weathered life-long backyard Tai O poultry breeder. "Remember, when chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens."
That chicken is right to be running away. The woman is obviously a counterrevolutionary Fa Lun Gong practitioner. The chicken is probably running to alert the relevant authorities.

Cheers to you, Chicken. We could all learn a lot from you. I applaud you for another bold post, Mr. Mitchell.
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