Dove or Crow?

Aug 31, 2021   |   Low Huey Sze

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Graphic by Cheong Shu Yin.

In Singapore, snow does not fall for the winter, and instead rain is prevalent and frequent. The trees do not wilt and dry as autumn approaches, but the constant heat dries trees throughout the year. When summer comes, the temperature is higher, but not too much of a difference compared to the rest of the year. Spring, too, could at best adorn some trees with pink flowers that would fall gracefully on the sides of pavements and paths.

Being located close to the equator meant that seasons had little impact on the tiny red dot. However, the constant presence of warmth was appreciated by the Dove. In this park where the Dove frequently visited, the rejuvenating morning breeze was a blessing alongside the brilliant sun. The neatly-lined trees along the paths sway, as if in a joyful dance in celebration of the beginning of a new day.

Aside from the morning, the Dove particularly liked the evenings too. In this picturesque park, boisterous chortles and chatters of people in the park filled the air. People of all ages would be seen going on walks, having a picnic, or running about in their game of tag. Often, the Dove would also get the chance of interacting with patrons of the park. Those who chanced upon it would gently approach it to touch it, and cheeky children would feed it bread crumbs while those looking after them would take photos of this interaction. Children loved petting the Dove, as if it was their pet animal, and their innocent giggles brightened the mood.

It is no surprise to the Dove that it was well-liked. Having seen a portrait of itself on the tinted glass of the nearby church, it knew that its species likely held some positive connotations. It heard from the Swans by the lake as well, that the Dove was a symbol of being holy, of beauty and grace. The Swan was another of the park’s favourites, and its words were most likely true and trustworthy.

Soon, the evening announced its departure as the sun started to set beyond the horizon. People began packing up, and the bustle of the evening started fading away. A family of four walked towards a nearby bin, and the young boy tottered over to dispose a plastic bag of trash. At this juncture, the Crow flapped its wings from a nearby tree and descended near the bin. The child was surprised, and dashed back to his parents upon hastily dropping the bag. His parents cleaned his hands thoroughly while casting a wary glance at the large, black bird.

The Crow was a frequent patron of the trash can, visiting to rummage for leftovers from the people’s earlier gathering. Being frequently avoided in the park, the Crow envied its counterpart, the Dove. Though the Crow did not show it, it was disappointed to witness people shifting away with their food when the Crow came by. Was the Crow shunned away by all, because it frequently appeared near filthy trash? Their behaviour towards the Crow made it feel like it was dirty and revolting. Sure, other crows may have stolen food from people, but the Crow did not deserve to be shunned based on what others did.

Night came, and the Dove met with the Crow, who was nearby. “Oh, how I wish I could be like you. Then, I would be well-liked,” the Crow sighed. The Crow’s dejection was undeniable.

“No,” the Dove replied, “You’re likeable too! It’s just that some overlooked things and shunned you because they associate you with things they assume about crows.”

Placing a wing on the Crow’s wide back, the Dove recalls, “Remember that time when I accidentally got stuck in a cup? I was suffocating and I couldn’t pull my body out of the plastic. The experience was horrible, until you came to save the day. It’s truly a pity that nobody saw your heroic act the other day, but since then, you’ve become my hero.”

The Crow vividly remembered that day. It was a rainy evening when the Crow saw it in front of its eyes. The Dove was clearly in utter discomfort and pain, with its neck tightly stuck in a plastic cup. The beautiful Dove of the park seemed out of place along the backdrop of the trash disposal area. However, seeing the white bird flail around, it made the Crow feel the need to reach out to help. The Crow rushed over, and with all his might, gnawed on the plastic to pry the trapped bird out of its predicament. When the Dove was finally free, it thanked the Crow profusely.

The Crow looked incredulously at the Dove. A hero? It would have never thought Crows had something likeable about them. Crows are rather protective birds, and they would think of crafty ways to help those who mattered to them. That fateful encounter with the Dove occurred out of the survival instincts of the Crow, but it surprised the Crow to hear that the small act meant a lot to the Dove.

Seeing the Crow’s disbelief, the Dove added, “I know you find it hard to believe what I said because of how the humans view you. But you’re forgetting one very important thing, you also have great traits too. People might view you based on the times they see Crows at dustbins, but you need to remember that you’ve also got a kind heart and are willing to help others out!”

Upon listening to the Dove’s words, the Crow pondered. Had it really been thinking too negatively, and forgotten the brighter side of things? The Dove was right, it was too quick to judge itself, perhaps forgetting that he had other traits too. The Crow knew that its species was protective in nature, and not just purely the savagery that the humans view them as.

After some thought, the Crow brightened, a little more assured after it understood the Dove’s words. Whether they were Crows or Doves, they each had good traits to be acknowledged, and it should never forget them.