Friday, June 23, 2006
NOT AN 'ANIMAL FARM'
This satire is set amidst the thick foliage of trees, undergrowth and a meandering shallow brook next to my house. There are families of wild hogs of varying sizes that call the place, home and could frequently be seen roaming the exteriors of their abode especially when the moon appears. Several species of monkeys occupy the upper strata, making territories on the tree-tops. And the list of wild inhabitants goes on. Many will identify this as being ala 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell as I don't think many of us can stomach a satire along the line of Sh*t by Shahnon Ahmad.
Balaaq, a handsome young male hog, is the incumbent youth leader who is now well into the end of his 4th term. He is fairly reasonable and tries to give his best for the youth. Now, such youth organization, should have a clear definition of its obejctives and those holding positions should have a clear conscience and to never emulate any undesirable political 'stunts' in their work.
Today, Balaaq is dismal. He was back-stabbed by his very own close aides in the recent election. "I was played down by people whom I considered friends", Balaaq said, almost choking back his tears. His teary eyes looked tired, perhaps for lack of sleep. Manoq, the slim lotong, eyed Balaaq with utmost empathy, as he scratches his lice-infested 'jambul'. Pipin, the chirpy sparrow, who has made the mini jungle his home, since his last migratory flight from north, was less sympathetic. " I've told you many times to be wary of those blood-sucking leeches. But you kept on entrusting them with all those responsibilities! Look what they've done to you. They've not only displaced you in the most despicable manner but they have also vilified you and displayed degrading banners! "We are proud to announce our new leader! Down with the old hog! We are in dire need of young energetic leaders!" And they had the cheek to hang those banners just next to Balaaq's pad, a muddy clearing, adjacent to the big angsana tree.
Dilon and Futon, both are well known handsome Lotongs, notoriously famed for their sleek political maneuvers. How many times have they tried their 'dirty' tactics to outdo Balaaq but failed? In their previous 'grand-design', they only managed to dispel Balaaq's close henchman, Axion, an outspoken owl who speaks his mind. Axion, however, has no political ambition and only finds pleasure to work for the youths. But even after Axion's dismissal, Balaaq still maintained him as part of his work force, much to his enemies' chagrin.
Money politic is both Dilon's and Futon's forte. Though not highly educated, both managed to amass wealth through projects acquired from their political positions. Skulking in a nearby bush of lalang kerbau, Dilon and Futon sniggered at the poor Balaaq. "At last, you crumbled, old chap!" In truth, both Dilon and futon are rivals but found an unlikely liaison in their pursuit of higher political grounds. Flicking an annoying tick from his right hairy ear, Dilon gave out a smug smile. "Imagine! The whole organization backed us this time to oust that stupid hog. See what money can do! Money is definitely power!" They even managed to roll in Santana, the secretary and the ever-conniving Keltam, the treasurer. Both have cunningly executed their tasks and for that, both will be given the mandate to continue with their existing posts.
Weeks before the election, Dilon and Futon had vigorously, albeit insidiously began their smearing campaign against Balaaq. They had cleverly laid out 'snares', covering strategic areas to trap the 'straight-forward' Balaaq. These were sleek strategies, planned and acted out by their accomplices, executed very much like seasoned, savvy and veteran politicians. This is not a surprising phenomenon as the mini jungle was formerly ruled by a dictatorial king who had set a juggernaut of crass examples in his leadership.
Along the stream, they have instigated the white egrets to voice votes of non-confidence against Balaaq, just hours before the election. This had somewhat swayed many 'sitting-on-the-fence' members to vote against him. Slandering was rife. Members who were initially loyal to Balaaq began having doubts, especially when promised of better positions and monetary returns. Who says money politic is dead? Money exchanged hands/paws/claws amidst the grass-roots, literally!
Keltam, an influential python, as usual, managed to display his crafty abilities in creating a melee amongst the youths. He guiltlessly spread vilifying lies with his hissing split-tongue. Like a true snake, he pretentiously displayed undivided loyalty in front of Balaaq (even to the extend of stroking Balaaq's tuft of hair when he was sick) but only to 'squash' it to pieces with his constricting muscles, behind.
Santana, not a snake, but acts briliantly like one! He is most probably a cross between a phariah monkey and a chimpanzee (though no one knows how true this is, as no chimpanzee had ever lived there). Known as someone looking for quick-wealth, he was rumored to have assisted Dilon and Futon on many occasions. However he was quick and cunning to cover his 'dirty' tracks with the many broad leaves abundantly found, so much so, people like Balaaq and Axion, failed to see his 'snake' traits and trusted him in their endeavors.
After the election, the next day, the Daily Animal Tribune head-lined, 'Youths elected young blood!' 'Belia beri mandat kepada muka baru!' was front page story in the malay tabloid "Haiwan Retro". It was the hot topic of discussions in all the kopitiams around. Balaaq was ashamed to venture out for several days! Poor him!
But Balaaq was not faultless. Due to reasons unknown to even his close aides, Balaaq didn't show any fighting spirit nor did he lay out any solid plans to whip his opponents. Even hours before the election, he didn't make any attempts to campaign. Has Balaaq lost his fangs or even worst, his marbles? His loyal supporters were worried and many hush whispers of dissatisfaction were exchanged in between the vines. Rumors were that he wanted to concentrate more in his 'Hog-a-Bog' real-estate business which he had inherited from his father.
Axion, having maintained his position this time in the new line-up, met up with Balaaq to convey his sincere condolences. He was very much perturbed by the current scenario and even asked Balaaq's opinion on whether he should continue giving his service to the youth organization. As predicted, Balaaq had selflessly encouraged Azion to continue giving his undivided service and cooperate with the new leadership. Regarding being down-played by his opponents in the vilest of way, his response was , "I have my way of giving them back. You just wait!"
This is the story of how human beings, in the mad quest of power and money, have lost their dignity to behave as humans. They have stripped down all humane values and adopted all characteristics of an animal. They've disregard shame for the sole purpose of gaining fame. Friendship has no value where friends and foes interchange dynamically, day by day. We have transgressed into a jungle-world where rights and wrongs have no definite meanings. Indeed, we are truly worse than the animals!
~Ali (may allah swt honor his countenance), said, " This world is the abode of works, there are no rewards in it. The Hereafter is the abode of rewards, there are no works in it. So act in the abode of no rewards for the sake of the abode of no works!"~ Taken from "Two Treatises: Mutual Reminding and Good Manners- By Imam 'Abdallah ibn 'Alawi al-Haddad- a book given by our dear sister, KKL.