Yes, they can fly

14 Feb 2019 / 13:37 H.

“WHEN pigs fly” is an idiom used to describe something or an event that is most unlikely to happen. Short of a miracle that is. A “pigless” Lunar New Year that celebrates the year of pig according to the Chinese calendar seems to fit the bill quite well and looks like a good example of the idiom. Except there is no pig to be seen anywhere, let alone one that flies.

This is not an exaggeration based on my casual observations in most media or at shopping malls that put up brilliant decor as always. But minus the animal somehow. The apparent consistency of my findings point to a possible decision taken at some level collectively although I have not come across any “prohibition” from anyone – official or otherwise.

I did read, however, of some unhappiness expressed by citizens of a neighbouring country where the majority of its population celebrate the new year. Indeed they were not happy to see the public displays of the animal motifs which purportedly fell short of expectation. Some were said to be “ugly” or “not like-able”. I guess it does not come close to the image of cute Miss Piggy of Muppets fame.

That said, the animal-free ambience is a reprieve. Everyone still went about doing their own thing unhampered or distracted. Never mind Miss Piggy.

As such, compared to last year’s (social) barking on account of the year of the dog, this year is free of any kind of snorting making the wishes of a prosperous and peaceful new year more realistic and welcoming. More than that it could also be read as a sign of maturing in social cohesiveness among Malaysians – notably the younger generations – who can discern the “rightful” role for building a more tolerant and cohesive community in a practical way.

The reality is that the day goes on business-as-usual without the images. Despite the absence it did not prevent feng shui practitioners from making their predictions of what is in store.

One said the “male” public figures may fare better than their “female” counterparts – rightly or wrongly.

Others made predictions that were negative, at least for the earlier part of the year, bringing the image of George Orwell’s famous satirical novella, Animal Farm, to mind.

It depicted an oppressive pig-style governance imposed throughout the farm based on their governing “wisdom” that “all animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.”

The latter group are mostly the pigs emulating the humans – walking upright and wearing clothes, carrying whips (as a symbol of oppression).

Be that as it may, these are useful and timely reminders of what the year can mean to all of us. I take solace that the “pigless” phenomenon does strongly drive the message that it is us – the rakyat – who decide for our betterment like how we did in the last general election.

Just remember that pigs can indeed fly! We may want to remember another adage: “The power of the people is more powerful than the people in power”. And this is how the Animal Farm storyline ended where pig-headed leaders eventually got disposed of thanks to the (animal) power of the farm inhabitants acting in unison against all forms of unethical and oppressive behaviour.

On that note let us rejoice knowing that we can still call the shots judiciously come what may. And yes we can make pigs fly after all.

With some four decades of experience in education, the writer believes that “another world is possible”. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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