Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pictures of the Day: Rugby in the Rain and Monkey Crossing

I had to wait to go home from work yesterday. First off, we had a meeting. Mr. Wong had to gave a thirty minute presentation of a three day workshop that he had to give to local primary school teachers. It wasn't easy fitting three days of material into thirty minutes, but Mr. Wong did his best. At the end of his presentation, he was all hyped up and out of breath, but he made it through only a little worse for thewear.

After he finished, Puan Zuraidah had to give a presentation on how we are supposed to do and mark our oral evaluations of the students. In my case, that is the lowest set of form one students. I don't mind doing speaking evaluations, as I had to do them every month for my students in KL, and also to evaluate incoming students. They are more fun than sitting there watching them do written tests.

Just as soon as I was going to leave, it started raining, as hard as it usually does here in the tropics. Which meant that I had to hang out in the staff room until it finished, and slog home through the soggy ground by the Lake Gardens.

After it stopped, I passed by the athletic field near the front gate. These guys pictured above were playing rugby in the waterlogged field, and having a great time doing it. In New Jersey, we would call what they were playing , "smear the queer", which I know isn't politically correct to say anymore. We would get a football, and throw it up in the air. Whoever caught it had to run, and everyone else had to try to tackle him.

I was really good at it, so good that when I caught the ball, I had to turn around and close my eyes. Then everyone else would hide. When they said they were ready, I had to turn around and run, while they jumped out at me from behind trees, bushes, cars, or whatever, and tried to tackle me. Even then, they still couldn't get me down, because I was quick, fast, and when you put a football in my hands, I run without fear.

To me, the most fun you can have playing football is in the mud, sliding and slopping around, and getting all dirty.

These guys couldn't play in mud because, hey, this is the tropics. Everything grows like crazy here. There are no muddy athletic fields here, because you tear something up, it grows back right away. Okay, there are rice paddies, but there aren't any locally. You have to go to Kedah, the rice bowl of Malaysia, if you want to see that.

It didn't matter that they weren't the best athletes in school, they were just having fun for funs sake. No competition, no trying to see who was the strongest, the fastest, or the best, nothing.

That's the way it used to be when I was really young, but I lost that sense of playing just to have fun. Wow! You know, I'll have to try that some time!

Then, this morning I was walking to school. As I came around the bend, there was a troop of monkeys directly in my path, waiting for the traffic to pass so they could cross the road.

Now, these long tailed macaques aren't big, but you have to respect them. Yeah, they may be cute, but they are wild animals, and you have to respect that fact. If they feel cornered or threatened, they will react accordingly. If you get too close, they will snarl at you and make threatening gestures. They may be small, but they are strong. I wasn't about to go walking right into the middle of the troop. So while they waited, I waited, too. While waiting, I got out the trusty camera, and took a couple pictures.

The first picture shows that, "It's good to be the king". While the others are waiting to cross, the "headboy" is having a little ook-ook with a female. It seems that he can just have his way with any female any time he wants. In the meantime, a couple of the young monkey's are taking big chances and running right in front of the passing cars. A couple of them just missed becoming road pizzas by millimeters, and gave out the monkey distress call after making it safely. I know there is an object lesson there somewhere, but I will let you come up with your own conclusion.

After the "headboy" finished, he took his position at the head of the troop. That didn't stop a few of the younger ones making suicide runs across the road. The majority of them, though waited for him to make his way across, and followed him. They all made it across safely, with no problem. Again, I know there is another object lesson there, or allegory, make of it what you will.

It's good to slow my life down sometimes, and notice things around me. When I do that, I find there are plenty of life lessons all around me. Sometimes I can learn more in a few minutes of quiet observation, than I can by reading a book, or taking a class. Then there is always something that connects deep within me, and I know that God has spoken, if only just in this quiet, little way.