Monday, February 11, 2008

The Passing of a Grand Dame

Ah Meng is dead. It even made front page news in the local papers. How cool is that?

As long as I could remember, we always had Ah Meng. Ah Meng, the grand dame of orangutans, has for many years until her retirement, been the mascot and unofficial icon of the Singapore Zoo -- and by that extension, of Singapore. In some odd way, she was Family.

I vote we scrap that awful Merlion and adopt the Orangutan as our national symbol instead. An orangutan is way cooler than a hybrid creature vomiting water.

Ook.

[Full article here.]

Yes, I know my posts are getting weird. It's that kind of day.

Addendum:

Stu mentioned the UK Sunday Telegraph ran an obituary on Ah Meng. It's true!

They wrote this at the end:

Ah Meng died on Friday. The cause of death is thought to be old age. She was said to have been nearly 95 in human terms.

She had five children and is also survived by her partner Charlie and six grandchildren.

Her first companion Rodney died in 1987 from diabetes complications. Her second relationship, with Pusung, ended when he was sent to an Adelaide zoo for a breeding programme in 2000.

Ah Meng survived two husbands? Good for you, girl!

I like how the obituary reads like it could have been written for an actual human.

That's respect for primates, man!

11 comments:

Chris said...

That's sad :( She looks like a sweetie. It's always so sad when one of the zoo animals dies because everyone has grown up with them. Sounds like she was really special.

And that Merlion is kind of cool looking...I had never heard of it before, honestly....but sort of a strange combination for a hybrid animal...lion and fish....hmmm, I guess that works.

stu said...

More than the local papers, because it was in the Sunday Telegraph this morning.

Dark Orpheus said...

Chris Ah Meng was special. All the kids know Ah Meng. Back when she was in good health, you could have breakfast with Ah Meng at the zoo on weekends. It was fun, because the adult orangutan is strong enough to rip your arm out of the socket. And here we are, pushing small children at an uncaged orangutan. For the sake of tourism.

Small children who might accidentally provoke an orangutan and end up with missing limbs. ;p

That Merlion thing is an abomination. I don't even think it exists - but some people (some not very bright people) had to go sell it as our national symbol to tourists. It's RIDICULOUS!

Can you just tell how funny I find this? :)

Stu OMG! Really? I have to go check it out. Thanks!

Andi said...

Wow, that's my first experience seeing the merlion. I definitely vote for the might orangutan. I'm very sorry to hear about Ah Meng's passing.

Nymeth said...

Worry not, this is good weird :P I really do love the fact that you post about all sorts of things.

Poor Ah Meng :( at least it sounds like she lived a full life.

(And that strategically placed Ook made me laugh out loud)

Carl V. said...

Orangutans always look so sad, so melancholy. Even the ones you see on television programs that are filmed out in the wild. They have really expressive eyes.

And I'm with Chris, the Merlion is a new thing for me.

jpderosnay said...

i don't even know her... poor ah meng...

you say "we", are you singaporian?

i know that merlion, though, i'm embarrassed to say (as i gather its not your favourite animal mythical or no)). i went to singapore for a day and rode up and down the river and saw him spouting out his water...

jpderosnay said...

i meant to say "i didn't even know her"...

Dark Orpheus said...

Andi Ah, thanks. But Ah Meng lived a long life with some ease. And she was survived by many granchildren

I can't type this with a straight face.:)

The Merlion sucks. Really. A bad idea.

Nymeth Thanks for enjoying my oddities.

"Ook" was the first thought that came to my mind when I saw Ah Meng's photo on the front page that morning. Can't help it. *grin*

Carl Oh yes - orangutan - and a lot of primates have these intelligent, soulful eyes. It's like they are feeling alot inside and they understand? Maybe that's why we love Ah Meng. She looked at you with those eyes and you can't bear to hurt her.

JP Hee. I'm just really cynical about the marketing behind the Merlion. I haven't met any Singaporean that takes the Merlion seriously. We all know it's a fake animal used to "exoticise" the local history and culture.

A lot of us (yes, by "us", I mean, we, the citzen of Singapore) calls the Merlion several variations of "the vomiting fishy-lion".

In fact, my friends termed "to do the merlion" as a slang that means "to vomit".

I kid you not. :)

Stefanie said...

Ook ook.

The merlion is kinda cool though. wouldn't want to meet one of them in a dark pool.

jpderosnay said...

i like that - doing the merlion!! haha!

i didn't know you were singaporian (is that right?) at all!! how long have you been in america then? do you feel at all american?