Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

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My friend Phillip Little
I have an old friend, Phillip Little. A 70++ Englishman and with the mind 50 years younger.

We got to know each other during the heyday of windsurfing when we all were almost beach bums. That was 30++ years ago or so.
Then I started to work and live around the world and lost touch of Phillip.

He decided he did not like city life and found a nook of the world where he felt was paradise. That was in a tiny Chinese village off Batu Pahat in Johore, Malaysia. He had a little house with balcony on a rock and 15 meters from the shoreline.

He got about on a little 125cc bike. Over the years, I had wanted to see him from all I heard of him from another friend Cyrus who visited him often.

Last week we all heard he was in a bad bike accident and resulted with him in a coma. Then we heard he was out of the coma on friday. I and Cyrus decided Sunday we drove up to see him.



You knew I had a bad fall from my mountain bike and cracked a few ribs. It was so painful for the first couple of weeks I hardly wanted to talk and laughing hurt incredibly.

We found out by then Phillip broke a few ribs, puncturing his lungs and liver.

We found instead a man bubbly and lively in bed , so much so that the staff of the hospital had to tie him down. There he was cracking jokes, making demands he should have his beer and whiskey with tubes sticking in and out of his body and legs. I was really amazed at his chirpiness and unrepressed joy of living.

We were there for about 2-3 hours before heading off to Batu Pahat and lunch. We then drove to his house off Kampong Minyak Beku as I never been to his house before. Phillip's neighbours were very concerned with their eccentric Englishman. I told them of his good spirit and assured them he would be back soon based on what I saw.



Above balcony overlooking the mangrove swamps, sea and mudflats dependent on the tide



There was this famed Taoist Temple in that village. As it was the ChungChiewJiak (festival of the Mid Autumn) the little village was packed with people. That temple was known to bring good fortune and lottery win to people who prayed there. In ther ground was a pond with 3 gigantic arapaimas. Your fortune would be assured if you pet those fish on the head. Fishes that could take off your finger at least if not your hand.





the arapaimas in pond at her feet



We then drove the 3 hours back to Singapore.

Then on Monday morning I heard my mobile signalled a message to me. I was filled with dread. I slowly went to my phone and saw a message from Cyrus. I opened the message already knowing what I would see. That our friend Phillip died early that Monday morning.

It was clear why he was so lively on Sunday. I have read of it, the last hurrah by many people before they go. When I saw it, my happiness for Phillip made me want to believe in his recovery and saw only the good.

You all probably never heard of Phillip Little. But I think you all heard and seen of the Singapore Girl, that iconic SIA advertisement.

Phillip was the mind behind the Singapore Girl and the eye behind the lens of all you have seen.

I know he lived a good life. At the end, his number was called.

I still cannot but grief for him

jay 258 (2)
Photo above of Phillip Little, on his little 125cc motorbike, that he rode all over Malaysia, and Thailand, and Laos, and which brought him to the start of his final journey


added on 1 Nov 2012

Phillip Little final journey


LiBai mash making.
About 300 grams of beef mince, with 200 grams of chicken mince and 150 grams of dried anchovies(for the calcium). That was all done up to the kitty mash formula I wrote about in
Pakistan//Tinkerbell Kitty Mash//Dommie at the beach Ramadhan 2010 //Villa walkabout 2
Instead of the almond and brazil nuts, about 100 grams of human grade groundnuts(peanuts) were used.

Making of Tinkerbell Mash
Morning with Harry & the decision// Sultan of Oman Palace// Tinkerbell Mash Batch 7

suri - Read "Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris"

milli - read "Found the perfect treat and Yingshiong first "step up""

if you forgotten about clicker training

Tinkerbell Legacy - VH parrot and Clicker Training Rant 06

Some thoughts on clicker - The initial experience with Tinkerbell

Clicker training and bonding with Tinkerbell

To Shanlung-Charlie and clicker training

Charlie and clicker training - beyond touch target //LiBai on finger and in slow motion videos —



(edited on 4th November 2011 to include below)

To Shanlung - How to do Free Flight Outside

If what I wrote help you and you like to help, give a thought
for the wildlife sharing our planet.
Do write that cheque to Gerald Durrell wildlife trust

I am a life member of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Do join us to do
whatever we can for the wildlife that shared our planet.

or to any wildlife conservation body of your choice

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A comment was made in another of my Livejournal page, but I am sure it was meant to be in here and I reproduced that


A group of us (friends) plan to arrange a farewell party for Phillip most likely in BP on Tuesday 9th. This needs to be confirmed. Can reach me ronni <ronni222@gmail.com>
He was a very special and original one of a kind spirit.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. It sounds like Phillip had a wonderful and adventurous life!
[[[[[HUGS]]]]] to you, my friend.

I'm also very glad that you were able to capture Sieben, the ungrateful wretch! At least now he is safe :)

Thanks for the post. No one would have known what had happened. I am Rosemarie Lee, and also go back over 30 years to the windsurfing days at East Coast Parkway and Philip's house in Pasir Panjang opposite the World Trade Centre. It is good to know, he was true to the end and seems like he never changed his lifestyle.


Were we really that young thirty ++ years ago with the insane things that only young and crazy people would do?
It was a different world then, and with different mindsets of those days.

I used to go wind-surfing with Phillip amongst other things when I lived in Changi. He was an exceptional person.
Peter Venning.

I met Philip many years ago and recently found a book he gave me called "Singapore by the Back Door". It is a book of his photographs showing ordinary life in Singapore from a different perspective. I was wondering how he was doing but could not find any info on him on the internet.

I decided to paint some from some of his photos (http://monicawantstodraw.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/light-through-wooden-shutters/). A day ago, someone commented on my blog and told me that the day I painted the first picture, that Philip met with an accident and subsequently passed away. I was saddened. Although I did not know him well, I remember Philip as a man full of passion and energy, and lived life the out of the ordinary.

I am glad to learn a little more about him from your blog.

Dear Shalung

I am writing on behalf of my friend Mrs Jill Sharpe who lived in the same block as Phillip in Singapore, when we both lived and worked there. She has kept in touch with Phillip over the years and she was very upset to discover that he had tragically died when she did not hear from him at Christmas. Philip had told her he was having a photo Exhibition of Batu Pahat, which she was hoping to see on line or when she next visits the Far East. I offered to do some research and came across your report/ article and hoped that you may be able to help in our search.

Should you be able to help us we would much appreciate it


Elaine Smith

Hi Elaine,

I am not certain if I could be that much of a help to you and your friend.
As you can see, I had not seen Phillip for 30++ years. It was a chance meeting I had of him again just before he died.
Which cut me to the heart. What I wrote was to try to mitigate my pain.

You will see in this report the first comment by one of his closest friend , Ronni <ronni222@gmail.com> .
I think he can help you a lot more with Phillip than I can.

I'd known Philip since the early 1980's when I started my photographic career in Singapore. We had some great times together. In 1998, I moved to Cape Town but would always look him up in Rhiau or Pahat when I was in Singapore. His mischievous sense of fun was always a delight. RIP Philip and thankyou to Shandung for letting us all know.

Geof Kirby

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