Monday, September 15, 2008

Sharks! (Or Is It Shucks!)

Sharks, are said to be mean killing machines. Ruthless and efficient, they are unlike predators on land who may have to starve for days before succeeding in a hunt. Sharks on the other hand, have a near perfect killing ratio. But they do have a main weakness, if we can call it that. Sharks, do not have a ballast system to keep it buoyant. Hence, they find the constant need to swim, or sink to the bottom. To make matter worse, certain species of the shark are unable to breathe while in a state of motionless.

About 2 days ago, I was in a queue at a cashier of a hypermarket. There were not many people as one would normally expect. Perhaps, it was near middle of the month where most people normally don't shop. And perhaps in knowing this, the manager of the hypermarket decided to have only several cashiers opened. Anyway, soon after the guy in front of me moved off, I began to unload my cart onto the conveyor belt, only to be stopped by the cashier. It seems, the belt was not working and he requested that I unload my stuff nearer to him. Not a problem.

As I was unloading, a middle aged Chinese lady stood in queue behind me. I looked at her and we both smiled at each other. Then I said "The belt's not working. Thus, the store is giving everyone a discount". It was an icebreaker, and it bloody well worked as it had her in small stitches. Not only were we friendly after that, but she voluntarily assisted me in unloading my cart.

Not all sharks are man-eaters. In fact, the number of species that are, are much smaller than those not. However, if there is a specie widely feared by many, it has to be the Great White. It, is said to be the ultimate killing machine of the depths.

Normally, a shark such as the Blue Shark, would circle its prey in an ever tightening loop before launching a head-on attack. In doing so, the fins of the shark protrudes menacingly for all to see. But the Great White, executes in a different manner.

Before heading home, I headed to a nursery farm along Jalan Sungai Buloh to get several packs of fertillisers Emak had asked for. Since the road is being upgraded to a dual carriageway, certain stretches of it are notoriously congested with traffic, especially heavy vehicles carrying tons of earth either to or from a worksite. This, as it otherwise normally does, gives pedestrians a hard time crossing the busy road most especially since it is now wider.

At the RRI junction, I was in a queue of cars trying to either turn into RRI or make a U-turn. On the opposite direction from Subang, a huge truck came into view. Normally, drivers of such monstrosity would not give a hoot to other road users, what else if you are pedestrian. This driver however, proved to be an exception.

As there was a small break between his truck and the vehicle upfront, he flicked his headlights with long beams. In driver's language, this means he is allowing the traffic ahead to have the right of way. When the truck came to halt, the driver put out his dark hands and waved a group of pedestrians across.

Maybe one would not give much thought to the driver's chivalry. But at a time when certain people are stoking the fire of racism, trying to instill fear into the hearts of the people, I see a mountain out of this molehill; the driver of the truck it seems, was a nice Indian chap. The pedestrians on the other hand, were a mixed group of elderly Malay couple and some young Chinese primary school students. My point is: What the bloody heck was a leader of some obscure NGO talking about on 8pm News on TV3 just now? What racism?

I liken the the hot air the sarkas keeps blowing out to the shark's ballast system*.

The very sight of a shark's fin protruding out of the water strikes fear into the hearts of many. Perhaps, quite like before a submarine launches its torpedo attack, the captain has to peer the precise location of its target. But unlike the submarine which stays a safe distance away, the shark itself is a living torpedo.

During breaking of fast just now, emak mentioned her worries about not reading any statements from Anwar of late. She, a hard copy reader, finds little interest in the use of PC's, what else the Internet. To ease her worries, I gave her the shark analogy.

Once the Great White have identified its victim, it moves into the attack phase. The prey, may be lulled into a false sense of security seeing the absence of the menacing fin and in fact maybe jubilant about it and drops his guard, which when one come to think about it - being on guard, that is - is utterly useless when a hungry shark is around.

To strike, a Great White would normally move into the depths and come rushing up straight at its victim. It is silent till the very moment it makes contact. The prey or victim, would in all probability be taken in by the shock of the attack, though it is has been observed it to be normal for the prey to strike back. When they prey does, it would try to go for the eyes. But in there, lies the irony of it all.

The shark's body is lean and as aerodynamic as any waterborne creature can be. As mentioned earlier, its body itself, is the torpedo in an attack of purposeful destruction of a prey. However, it finds the need to protect its most weakest spot which is the eye. And for that purpose, Allah s.w.t. has given it lids to do so; at the very last moment, the shark is blind for all intent and purpose. The success of its strike lies solely on the input it fed to its brain much earlier. To the victor, belongs the spoils - if its the shark, he gets to eat; if its the prey, he gets to live another day.

But mind you, DSAI or Pakatan Rakyat for the matter, is not a shark.

*Back in the mid 1970's when the Penang Aquarium was newly opened, I was informed that they had a 'yu bodoh' as one of the exhibits. Up to recent, I have never figured what it is. Guess now, I know.

I wrote this entry half sleepy. After reading Eskapisminda's comment, I found that I had actually cut corners in the last description. While its true that at the moment of an attack sharks become temporarily blind, it is not entirely true it is due to the lids.

The eyes of a shark is place at the rear of its snout and jaws. When a shark open its jaws, the snout is pushed upwards to the back. This action causes the eyes to roll in and the lid effect takes place.


Eskapisminda said...

Salam Cakapaje, this is a wonderful entry. You must have been in love with the study of sharks for quite some time. Who would have known that the sharks are blind before an attack?

p.s. I don't get the 8pm news either. Whose news are they talking about?

Kata Tak Nak said...

Well what do you know, I saw the yu bodoh when the aquarium just opened. Yap, it sure was bodoh alright. This is no joke Shah, I did go there when it just opened and distinctly remember a yu bodoh exhibited.

Now,I am more interested with a certain yu botak that is bodoh.

Ydiana said...

Salam Shah

Cikgu...yu botak yang bodoh!!! hee hee hee!

Ok, Shah, intersting write up. :)

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Intan,

Er...thank you. But I think I need to make a small correction.

About the news, I did not see but only heard it (TV's downstairs), which is why I could not remember the name of the NGO nor the person. But what I do remember or heard correctly was, suffice to say, yucky. And that includes his statement about 13th May and how reporters should exercise more care when reporting. How come this guy did not refer to the bukit bendera clown? Hmm...definitely bias and yucky.

cakapaje said...

Salam Cikgu,

I believe you, though I never did have the chance to see it myself. And I am certainly glad you confirmed that part of the entry, thank you :)

Regarding the yu botak bodoh, I guess you're referring to that shorty from Johor, are you? If so, I thoroughly and wholeheartedly do agree :)

cakapaje said...

Wa'alakumusalam ydiana,

Thank you :)

ps. Sukanya dia dengan comment Cikgu, lol! I pun suka gak.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...


that truck driver certainly is a rare breed. finally we have someone who has the might but is being responsible with it.

alinaabdullah said...

salam encek shah. eh saya suka writing begini. :) analogi dan sinikal.

tapi golongan yu bodoh tak reti kalau pakai perlambangan mcm ni. kena straight to the open, ie, terus tembak pada matanya. :)

cakapaje said...

Salam kerpie,

Yes, he was. And I believe that there are actually more out there.

cakapaje said...

Wa'alaikumusalam Cek Alina ;)

Lol! Den ingatkan den sorang yang kojam. Rupanya Cek Alina juga sama :)

Mior Azhar said...


Salam Ramadan! And reading your entry made my heart all warm up inside. There are still many good people around regardless of colour, race and religion. If only the stupid politicians can udenrstand this...

cakapaje said...

Salam Ramadhan Pak Mior,

Lama bonar tak bertandang ke sini ye :)

Yes, I believe that there's still lots of good people in this world. And I hope everyone will share a story or 2 about these people. They - the good people - are actually the unsung heroes of this life we live.