Orang Utans, Politicians and Bloggers
A Kadir Jasin
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HAVING had enough of a week of maligning by the bloggers-hating pembesar, I took a brief hiatus from the city yesterday (May 24).
I joined a group of nature loving Sarwakians, Perakians and a collection of other Malaysians plus a solitary European for an afternoon of bonding with our (or rather my) distant cousins, the orang utans.
The occasion was the symbolic handing back of a handful of Perak-born orang utans to the Sawarak State Government for eventual release into the wild.
Mustapha Kamal, I now found out, is a closet conservationist and nature lover. He is now embarking, with the approval of the Perak State Government, on the development of the Banding Island in the Temenggor Dam in northern Perak as the gateway to the recently gazetted Royal Belum State Park.
Thanks to Mustapha’s corporate and personal financial backing (and now the support of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council) and the dedication of the staff of the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, in particular the good Dr “Dolittle” Sabapathy, the orang utans have not only been living a blissful life on the 35-acre Pulau Panjang in the middle of the Tasik Merah lake, but have also been joyously procreating.
So there are today 12 new orang utans, ranging in ages from two months to four years, according to Annuar Yang Ghazali, the general manager of MK Land Hotels and Resorts.
Receiving the orang utans on behalf of Sawarak Government was its Minister for Planning and Resource Management and Minister for Public Amenities Dato’ Sri Awang Tengah Ali Hassan and handing them over on behalf of the Perak Government was the State Secretary, Dato’ Abdul Rahman Hashim.
Personally, I have always had great affinity with orang utans and other higher primates. I think we are very much like them -- not the mischievous kera and the belligerent beruk but the orang utans, gorillas and chimpanzees.
I like to tell people that being journalist, I have greater feeling of affinity towards the orang utans and other higher primates.
A well-known businessman, who once worked with me in the New Straits Times, told me (in jest of course) a long time ago that, while the genetic similarity between humans and orang utans is 98 per cent, with journalists it’s 100 per cent.
Seeing how a lot of human beings behave, in particular the insecure and intolerant pembesar and politikus, I am happier being associated with and in the company of my orang utan cousins.
Now you know why some journalists gave up journalism in favour of politics and other higher callings. Unlike me, they do want to be associated with the orang utans, gorillas and chimpanzees!
Incidentally, a USM researcher who was at the function told me that orang utans are not alien to the Peninsular Malaysia. They used to range all the way north to southern China.
Unfortunately, thanks to the destruction of their habitats by European planters and white hunters, they became extinct. The sightings of the last orang utans in the Peninsula were recorded in 1850.
And I think orang utans make better ambassadors on Visit Malaysia Year billboards and posters than the pembesar.