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The Cuckoo Bird

This is a story which gives some insight in a different point of view about the background of the cuckoo:

In countries with four seasons, the cuckoo bird is hailed as a welcome sign of summer. After months of dark, gloomy weather, the cuckoo bird delivers the good news with its distinctive singing. Many composers have found it so inspirational that they have made the cuckoo's song part of their music. Most notably, Beethoven included the bird's songs in his Pastoral Symphony. The less refined among us will remember the Von Trapp children's farewell song in "The Sound of Music". But the cuckoo has a dark secret - it is the most cunning and dangerous parasite in the animal kingdom.

Unlike other birds, a mother cuckoo will not build a nest when pregnant. Instead, she will look for potential victims to be her chick's foster-parents. Due to its marked resemblance to hawks, it will first frighten away the parents by casting a hawk-like shadow over them. Next, she will select the vacant nest whose eggs are similar in colour to her own and lay her eggs there.

Upon hatching, the cuckoo chick will stick out his head to look for his first victim. The moment the chick is strong enough, he will extend his powerful leg and "back-kick" his siblings out of the nest - be it eggs or chicks! When the mother returns, she will find fewer and fewer chicks in the nest except the demanding cries of the cuckoo for MORE FOOD! Incredibly, the mother will devote all her time feeding the cuckoo, which often grows larger than herself. As a mark of gratitude, the cuckoo flies away suddenly and the mother should be thankful that she survives the invasion. his story should not be alien to any shrewd observer in Singapore. A person that mimics the behaviour of a far-sighted leader can fool his party and the public. He can sing the tune of the masses. He can inspire the intellectuals. After winning acceptance, he will proceed to throw out those that took him in. When he has achieved his personal goals, not unlike the cuckoo, he leaves without a care.

Fortunately, there is a happy ending to this story. Scientists have recently found many cuckoo carcasses in abandoned nests. Strangely, there were no physical wounds. Apparently, they had all died of starvation. It seemed that some foster-parents had become smarter. By some unknown mechanism (smell? size? egg count?), they were able to sieve out the enemy within and simply refuse to feed it. Without food, the cuckoo chick is too weak to harm all the occupants his shrivelled corpse is a non-living testimony that cunning and mimicry don't always pay.

Likewise, a prudent political party should have a filter mechanism to screen out the cuckoos among its members. Fortunately, although the PAP believes that promising young men and women should be tested in the political arena as part of the renewal process, the selection criteria have always been stringent and demanding. Some may even say perfectionist. More importantly, in general elections, voters must exercise extreme caution in letting someone into our nest. The demand can have a multiplier effect. After all, haven't you heard that birds of a feather flock together? We can learn a lesson from the clever foster parents - some birds should not be allowed to fly.

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