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Shoulder parrots give MPs street cred

Meena Curren

RETIRED acupuncturist Zeng Guoyuan, 57 announced his candidacy as an independent for any uncontested ward on Thursday - and then created a frenzy by being interviewed by Channel NewsAsia with a parrot on his shoulder.

In what could become a campaign pop trend, many PAP MPs, still stinging from the mounting scathing criticisms against them in cyberspace, are lining up to meet with self-styled Shoulder Parrot Consultant, Jakeson Rickson Soh to be matched with and fitted with a shoulder parrot each. The reason, if Zeng Gouyuan can look so cool with a bird on his shoulder, then PAP MPs want some street cred by doing the same. After all, any help they can get now is desperately needed.

Flamboyant Jakeson agreed to an exclusive interview with me where he described the type of parrot each MP would get. Apparently the parrot-to-MP matching process involves many steps and includes profiling the parrot (including security screenings and family history checks), beating and starving the parrots into submission – turning them into docile, obedient birds and in some cases, fowl mutilation.

For instance, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Wong Kan Seng’s parrot will have its left foot chopped off and its stump surgically attached to Mr Wong’s shoulder because “having the parrot fly off and escape to the Johor jungle would be a PR nightmare and rekindle memories of a certain political detainee doing the same recently.” Mr Wong’s parrot was chosen for its ability to sing. Jakeson proudly declared he personally conjured up a campaign slogan which was enthusiastically accepted by Mr Wong, “Mr Wong Kan Seng…but his parrot can!”

MP for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Dr Vivian Balakrshnan’s parrot was chosen from thousands as it most closely resembled the Youth Olympics Mascot, Merly. Due to the MP’s fussiness, the initial parrot acquisition budget of $800 escalated to $80,000 but Dr Balakrishnan defended the exorbitant cost. “If we spent $80k on a talking Chicken,” he said, “will we get value from that expenditure? In my mind, the answer… is yes.” At press time the parrot and Dr Balakrishnan were not getting along though and a poultry chef has been on standby to create a very expensive parrot curry dish should the parrot ‘not come to its senses and play ball.”

Mr Mah Bow Tan, MP for Tampines GRC, caused some dissension when he bought up a truck load of parrots at bargain wholesale prices. He has since chosen his favourite parrot and is leasing the rest of the unwanted birds to pet lovers at a price controlled by him, in a 99-day leasehold arrangement. He has set strict guidelines on parrot resale prices and insists the creatures are assets even if they are half-dead after 60-days. Alternatively, those wishing to upgrade their parrots can pay exorbitant market rates for a new one, trade in their dying birds, then enter into another 99-day lease arrangement.

‘Productivity’ Minister Teo Chee Hian laid down strict productivity guidelines for his feathered-acquisition. She must produce 2.3 eggs per annum and has the special skill of squawking loudly into Mr Teo’s ear should he fall asleep in Parliament.. again.

As more MPs rush to purchase their own parrots, rumour has it party chiefs are uneasy and have issued a terse directive insisting all parrots must have their rear ends surgically sewn shut to prevent messy accidents. Also in the directive is the Parrot Indoctrination Guidelines (PIG) stating MPs must ensure their parrots trust and believe their masters completely and unquestioningly. Lastly the birds must unreservedly believe their MP masters always know what is good for them.

Dr Ng Eng Hen is reportedly fighting to have a shoulder monkey instead of a parrot but it is unclear if he’ll get his way. Meanwhile, PAP’s freshie Tin Pei Ling had a parrot’s egg assigned to her shoulder as it was tough finding a bird which wasn’t older and more politically experienced than her.

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Meena Curren also blogs at: http://meenacurren.wordpress.com/