It is a slow day today so I thought I would just cobble up something that is profound. This is a short story about free elephants versus circus elephants. This story has been going around for over 15 years now.
A free elephant is a wonderful creature. On the Peninsula you can come close to real wild elephants (you can actually see them or see their freshest droppings around your campsite) at a place called Merapoh wherein are located Sg Relau and Kuala Juram.
In the Merapoh area the free elephants do whatever free elephants are designed to do. They move through the forest, they knock down trees and plants that stand in their way, they eat as they please and there is plenty of super clean water to drink. The elephants reproduce and go on with the joy of living in exactly the same way that they have been doing since they were created. That is the life of a free elephant.
Some distance away from Merapoh is another area called Kuala Gandah in Pahang (near Lanchang) there is an "elephant reservation" or 'elephant rehab centre'. At Kuala Gandah the Perhilitan folks care for 'orphaned' or 'rescued' baby elephants. Some of these orphaned elephants have grown up and I believe there is a release program where the elephants are succesfully released into the jungle. The purpose of the elephant sanctuary at Kuala Gandah is to make sure the elepnants become free elephants again.
In other words we spend money and effort setting up elephant sanctuaries just to make sure that the elephants are returned to the wild where they can be free. To be free and unfettered is the greatest animal and human right on the surface of the earth. To be free from all the shackles and the rules of a "not free" existence. Elephants must be free.
Then horror of horrors there are the circus elephants as well as the zoo elephants. I think we have seen both at some time. A circus elephant is the most unfortunate elephant. They keep them chained to a stake driven into the ground. Then they teach them how to perform unnatural tricks. They teach the elephants to stand, kneel, stretch out, move their heads right and left and such. At a certain voice command or some sound the elephants will perform all these tricks.
Why? To please the audience. To please the people who buy tickets and want to see an elephant perform tricks like standing, kneeling, prostrating, moving their heads from right and left and such. The 'audience' is quite almighty. So is the elephant trainer.
Why does the 'almighty' audience want to do such a thing? What do they really get by looking at an elephant kneeling, prostrating or moving his head from side to side? Does it add to their economic output (GDP growth)? Does the audience become a more cultured and civilised people? Do they become better neighbors if they see a 'circus elephant' performing in a circus? I dont think so.
But, lets not lose track, that is what a circus elephant does. And the circus elephant has to perform his shows a few times in a day. If the circus trainer shouts his voice commands three times a day, the elephant will kneel, stand, bow etc three times a day. If the circus trainer gives the commands five times a day, the elephant will perform five times a day.
We need to spend some money and effort to do what that elephant sanctuary at Kuala Gandah is already doing. We must set free the circus elephants so that they return back to the wild and be free again, and do all the things that a free elephant would do in the jungle.
No such thing as three performances a day or five performances a day to satisfy an "unexplainable" desire of a circus audience.
So dear friends, if you were an elephant would you prefer to be a 'free elephant" or would you like to remain as a 'circus elephant' ? Do ponder this.