Sunday, 19 October 2014

Monkey man

I haven't gone up the BM Hill in Cherok To'kun, Bukit Mertajam, for quite a while but this afternoon, my wife and I decided to go there for some exercise. She wanted to go by the hill track beside the stream but seeing how it had been raining cats and dogs in Penang for the past two or three days, I decided that we should use the tarmac road instead.

As expected, at 5.30p.m., the whole of the foothills was swarming with people. Luckily, we managed to find a parking space just in front of the fruit stalls and set off on our walk until the 2020 station. Along the way, I was rather taken aback by the amount of erosion on the hill slopes. I don't really think that the problem can be solved by just covering the affected areas with the blue canvas. The erosion can't be due to land clearing because the whole hill is a gazetted area and there are no developments all the way till the summit.

Possibly, it's caused by changes in the weather pattern, notably the rain. With the rainfall being so unpredictable and forceful nowadays, the authorities must be more serious about how they are going to tackle this problem. But surely, covering up the soil is not going to solve the problem. What do they hope to achieve other than to create an immediate eye-sore?

Anyway, on our way down to the foothills, we noticed a small blue car parked at one of the grass verges. This guy is there most of the time but he doesn't climb the hill. Always, he would play music from his karaoke car's sound system and create a huge ruckus. But Malaysians being Malaysians, he has been tolerated all this while.

This afternoon, he wasn't playing any of his Chinese songs. Instead, English songs were blaring out. My wife and I laughed at his change in choice. From afar, we noticed that he was sitting in his car, front door open, and all around him were the macaque monkeys.

He was feeding them but the strangest thing was that the monkeys were all behaving very orderly. It was as if these were semi-tame monkeys but actually, these were all wild animals from the forest park. But strangely enough, they were sitting or walking about in front of the man, waiting patiently to be fed. Stranger still, every few seconds the man would bark out at the group of monkeys, "lai", or "come" and the monkeys, patiently waiting their turns, would come one-by-way to pick up the foodstuff from his hands. Incredible....

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