Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is a stream of medicine based on treatments like acupuncture and herbal medicine. With its origins in Chinese philosophical beliefs of maintaining the balance of the body to prevent illness, it is popular amongst the Chinese community in Singapore as a means of treating various illnesses.
Rearing of Songbirds
Rearing songbirds is a hobby typically enjoyed by the older generation. There are various bird-singing corners in Singapore where practitioners gather with their birds for informal singing competitions. The birds are of various breeds, but the most popular one is the zebra dove, also known as merbok.
The Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore’s first orchid hybrid, was bred by Miss Agnes Joaquim in 1893. It soon became popular all over the world as a cut flower due to its beauty and hardiness. Orchids are bred by the Singapore Botanic Gardens and by orchid farms in Singapore, but hobbyists cultivate orchids in their own homes using equipment like LED lights, nutrients and air-conditioning to simulate the cooler temperatures needed for them to grow and flourish.
Traditional Beliefs and Practices about the Birthing Process
Traditional beliefs and birthing practices of the Chinese community include practices like the confinement period (zuo yue, 坐月) after birth where mothers stay indoors for 30 days, and the celebration of the 30th day (man yue满月) of the baby’s birth by giving friends and relatives eggs that have been dyed red, while receiving gifts of gold jewellery or cash in red packets on behalf of the baby.
For the Malay community, it includes a 44-day confinement period after delivery, during which a masseuse helps mothers wear the bengkung, a long cloth wrapped tightly from the torso to hips to help the mother’s body return to its pre-pregnancy shape. The baby also receives massages and a barut (stomach wrap) (to keep its stomach warm. At the end of the confinement period, parents have a cukur rambut (hair-shaving) ceremony which marks their baby’s first haircut.
For the Indian community, it includes a 40-day confinement period, a diet of herbs and hot foods like ghee in order to dispel “wind” and improve blood circulation, the wrapping of the stomach and hips for both baby and mother, the wearing warm clothes and avoiding certain activities like housework.
Parrot astrology is a trade practiced by Indian fortune tellers in Singapore. As part of the fortune telling process, the fortune teller will ask for the customer’s name, after which the fortune teller will use a parrot, usually a green parakeet, to pick one card out of 27 cards based on the Indian cosmic system and interpret the card for the customer.