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Archive for October 8th, 2007

Great Malaysian Wildebeests

Read this in The Star newspaper this morning, couldn’t agree more. Credits goes to Zurinah Ismail, the writer of this article. (Extra photos are for illustration purpose only)

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Malaysia is home to a strange species of mammals that embarks on a highly-hazardous ritual each time the festive season draws near. 

THE Malaysian peninsula’s ecosystem is perhaps the last of the ecosystems in which “wild beasts” still thrive. These are often described as “those blundering and voracious little mammals that strategise little but brim with dense joy and determination”, such that their thrusts over the plains at specific times of the year are watched with endless amazement, worry and disbelief. 

Nowhere else in the world do migrations of such madness occur except in the valleys and plains that carpet the country. And no place on earth have been witness to movements of beasts in such deranged droves and such manic unison that onlookers are left gaping in awe.

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The great Malaysian wildebeests in action. They may seem orderly but once they hit a clear patch of road, all hell breaks loose.

These migrations begin in the weeks before the onset of the Great Feasts. They can involve about several million beasts of three or more species at any one time. These species speed and stampede along the same worn paths each year. By instinct they bolt in packs, each made up of two adults and three or four young ones, and it is in this formation that they start off in unison, and with one insane mind.  

Peculiar only to this region, a big number are victims of their own folly, for they are their own predators and victim, all in one. The spectacle of this suicidal phenomenon can only be understood when one sees it in person and only then can one comprehend why it’s the Seventh Blunder of the Modern World. 

This manic migration is dramatic. It takes place in the various states of Malaysia and is the greatest, brainless show on earth. Among the open plains of the West and the East coasts, the North and South, and all the crevices in between, these foolhardy Mammalaysians get into gear and stampede blindly at full speed in almost all directions as they head for the backwaters of Everywhere. 

With a show of camaraderie, some will band at certain stops to embark on the journey in groups of 20 or 30, and spend hours huddled in a tight pack. If they are lucky, they will arrive at their destination intact and then disperse into smaller flocks. Those unfortunate enough to have totally incompetent leaders, who lead them like blinded and lobotomised freaks, may never see the light of day again. 

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The precise timing of the migrations changes annually, according to the waxing and waning of the moon. While on the trip to the backwaters of Everywhere, they often let out wild hoots of “balik kampung!” And with each hoot, they grow increasingly manic and out of control. So driven are they that it is not uncommon to see many of them entangled and devoured by their own kind.  

Before the onset of each migration, wildlife patrols often attempt to regulate their movements with warnings about dangerous patches along the way. But these warnings always fall on deaf ears. Instead, the beasts prefer to expose themselves to danger and throw caution to the wind in romantic and problematic waves.  

The migrations come to a pause when they arrive at their “greener pastures” and are thrown into the bosoms of old smiling mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, and all things familiar. Once settled, these beasts reveal their penchant for explosive fire-play, which lights up the night sky with its incendiary explosions, while they grin and jump around. Often, many of these creatures end up paying for the short-lived joy with limb or life. Yet another moronic undertaking indeed! 

The movement back is just as dramatic, albeit charged with less enthusiasm as the climax of the great migrations is over. From then on, the journeys take on a downhill dip, but with no less number of devouring and carnage. This seemingly intensive attempt at annihilation of their own species culminates during the seasonal migrations, when they turn into feverish, sub-normal Mammalaysian wildebeests. 

The casualties each year are high, but that does nothing to discourage a repeat performance the following year, with a similar number of casualties, in almost the exact spots, for the same witless reasons. And thus we witness, in awful disbelief, the migrations of these two legged, hell-bent and driven Malaysian wildebeests. 

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