In Hong Kong just past Flower Market Road, there is a large group of retired men who spend their days in a park together. They bring their singing birds in unique, beautiful cages and hang them in the trees, from poles or on hooks. Then while their birds sing, they socialize.
I’ve never seen so many birds. Perhaps I’ve never seen this many old men. I’ve most certainly never seen this many birds with old men.
Some men loved to show off their birds. I watched this man give his bird a bath.
These two birds on this perch were my favorite, perhaps because they were not in a cage and definitely because they constantly chatted and teased each other in between “Hello?” calls and whistles to me. I wonder if they are always like that or if maybe this bird just gets especially feisty after a bath?
There were also birds and all manner of bird keeping items for sale.
In the next photo, notice the lovely porcelain food and water bowls that were in most of the cages.
And for those who are reading this and know me well, yes, walking through the park I debated between buying as many birds as I could afford and freeing them or just running through the park opening as many cages as I could. Some of these cages are just too small and it seemed cruel… Then I wondered how long it would take for the freed birds to be captured again and if they would immediately fly away if I opened the door? But my rebellious thoughts stayed only as thoughts and I strictly observed and photographed the bird/man society.
However, even though I don’t like seeing animals in cages (except jellyfish), I still enjoyed seeing this culture that is so different than what I think of when I look forward to retirement.
Are some of the young men in Hong Kong really thinking, “I can’t wait until I retire so I can get a bird and go to the bird garden every day…”
What do I hope retirement means for me? I have grand plans of travel, so I can see more new and interesting things like these men in the park.
What do you want to do when you retire?