July 8, 2011

Birds' Nest..recycled house and purposely built houses for Bird Nesting....

Sarawak is one of the world's most famous birds' nests producers.

Asians in particular favour the supposedly nourishing birds' nest soup as part of their supplementary diet if they can afford it. Many people believe that birds' nest is valued for giving a person longevity.

Besides what is good for the Chinese emperors a long time ago must be good for any one who can afford it today. Birds' nests remain one of the mysterious and yet popular food today.

However simply expalined it is just the saliva of the sea swiftlet.

You can buy birds' nests (not what you think of as a nest but a nest that you steam with chicken or a pigeon as a food supplement or nourishing soup) in Chinese drug stores and they cost around RM180 per 300 gm to RM2000 of the best for the same weight.

Today people have gone a little crazy about home farmed domesticated birds' nest. Are they as good as the organic cave birds' nests?

Swiftlets like these make their nests under eaves in many seaside towns in Sarawak like Miri and Bekenu. Can their birds' nests be eaten?

Today as consumers look at birds' nests in a different way  because they are getting more expensive more and more entrepreneurs are looking at different ways of farming the nests.

In one report the going price of one kilogramme of unprocessed bird's nest is between RM4,000 and RM5,000.

Legal and illegal swifltet farms have been set up by converting empty shoplots in urban and residential areas into birdhouses. (Actually the illegal bird houses contraven the Wildlife Protection (Edible Bird's Nest) Rules 2006. Yes it is good to encourage good enterprise and improve birds' nests businesses in Sarawak. The export business would be good for the economy of the state. But we have lots of questions to ask...And then the birds are not there to defend themselves or speak for themselves.

One of the converted houses - below - is found near Sibu. Are the birds happy to be housed like this? Are they suffering from stress because their habitat is so artificial?

How happy they are to build their own nest and enjoy parenting one day at a time. What's their future like?
It is good to leave the birds to roam freely and happily in the Sarawak skies.
some people have said that business is business and if you can earn something out of these birds in Sarawak...why not? And in what ever way they can find? But again...I would say what can't we leave nature alone? May be it is too unnatural to keep swiftlets in such concrete houses with man made environment. If I were a swiftlet...I would rather fly in the sky and if man wants to take my nest he is welcome but I need to have a natural home to go home to also......after my kids can fly off and build their own nests.......I don't think I would like to be fooled into building nests all the time. Life would be a little too restrictive.....Shackled? or Under house arrest?
This is a photo by Sarikei Time Capsule. And this may be a legal bird house

Swiflets have the right to fly freely too.


Anonymous said...

Every 100 g of dry swallow nest contains 49.9 g of water-soluble protein (including amido nitrogen, monoamine nitrogen, non-amino nitrogen, arginine nitrogen, humin, histidine nitrogen, lysine nitrogen and cysteine nitrogen), 30.6 g carbohydrate (glycoprotein and mucin), 4.9 g iron, 2.5 g inorganic salt (including potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, silica and other trace elements), 1.4 g fiber and 10.7 g others (see "The History of Chinese Medicine and the Nutrition Table," Chinese-English Dictionary of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China: Guangdong Science & Technology Publishing House, 1988).
The energy value per 100 g swallow nest is 345 kilocalories. In the article "Yan Wo Kao" (The Investigation on Swallow Nest) in Mingpao Monthly Vol. 231 (May 1985), Prof. Y. C. Kong and Prof. P. S. Kwan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong reported their research on the tonic food. Based on repeatable results of in vitro exposure experiments the researchers discovered that swallow nest contains a "cell division inducing hormone" and an "epidermal growth factor" that can stimulate the growth and division of cells, thereby enhancing tissue growth, cellular regeneration, and cell-mediated immunity in humans.

Their investigations have provided scientific evidence that supports the traditional beliefs that swallow nest can facilitate metabolism, nourish the skin tone, replenish strength and vital energy, accelerate the recovery from diseases and reinforce immunity. The specific animal proteins in an edible swallow nest have the following three functions;
1. To stimulate the regeneration of cells.
2. To enhance cell-mediated immunity.
3. To enhance the resistance of an individual to X-irradiated damage.

This active protein is easily absorbable by humans, making it unique among foods. The report also states that the "cell division inducing hormone" in swallow nest is activated at around 80 ¢J, while overheating it would destroy the nutritients. This is why double-steaming is recommended in the Cooking Procedure. But Dr. Gu Hsiao Pei takes a somewhat different view from Prof. Y. C. Kong on the potential benefits of epidermal growth factor ( EGF) of swallow nest.
In his column entitled "Are you suitable to have swallow nest?" (Hong Kong Economic Journal March 7, 2006), Dr Gu allows that as swallow nest comes from the saliva of swiftlets (Aerodramus fuciphagus), so it is possible that saliva of other animals also contain EGF.
Since EGF serves to stimulate cell proliferation, this may explain why animals tend to lick their wounds with saliva, probably an instinctive use of saliva in healing wounds. However, argues Dr Gu, it is one thing for EGF to help heal wounds, it is quite another for EGF to help proliferate cancer cells in cancer patients.

As breast cancer patients are advised to abstain from having clam pastes because the estrogen in the food could cause cancer cell proliferation, cancer patients should also be so advised about having swallow nests. In addition to stimulating the proliferation of cancer cells, EGF could also promote three factors that allow the proliferation of blood vessels. These three factors are vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), beta fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and transforming growth factor alpha (TGF£\). Cancer cells depend on blood vessels to transmit nutrients to them for growth.
For this reason, cancer patients must suppress blood vessel proliferation. One way doing so is to abstain from having swallow nests. Also, the cause of macular degeneration, another common illness for elders, is the proliferation of new blood vessels on retina. For these patients, writes Dr Gu, they should also abstain from having swallow nests, or else their body would manufacture some unnecessary new blood vessels.

Ann said...

You craving for that bowl of birds nest soup to make your skin youthful?

The Hong Kong TV always talk about this in their operas.

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Sarawakiana@2 said...

Ann..I grew up in a large family where only the Ah Kung had birds' nest soup.....And I never thought that I would have a share of that precious bowl of soup...
I was thinking too...why have to pay so much for "saliva"?

Sour grapes? I was also rebelling against the Chinese system of Valuing the Males over the Females...(Chung Nan Chin Nu) I was going to meet the challenges of life without the birds' nest... And those were the years of growing up in the 1950's. I saw a lot of bad and unfair treatment by many families. My outlook remains the same if not sharper.
Mum has been definitely a modern woman and mother. I am grateful. I still don't eat Birds' nest.

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