Friday, January 09, 2009

Dogs Will Be Dogs

When I visited Bukittinggi, a small, beautiful town in West Sumatra, last December, I noticed an unusually large amount of dogs being walked around by their owners.

Why unusual? The majority of local residents are Muslims, who normally don't keep dogs as pets. For the unenlightened, a dog's saliva is considered haram (in a dirty kind of sense) in Muslim teachings. Not that we'd be so eager to kiss those dogs in the lips if we were taught otherwise.

This phenomenon piqued my interests enough to ask around. And I got a straight and simple answer.

Apparently, they use dogs to sniff out and hunt for wild boars. These boars might attack people and destroy crops. And using attack dogs is the most efficient way to hunt them down, since using firearms is illegal. Fighting wild boars head on with sharp weapons like spears may sound cool. But not if you know that it will make your chance to survive become lower than doing Russian Roulette.

For your information: boars are also considered haram. So in a way, it's like choosing a lesser evil.

Okay, that answered one part of the questions. There was this other part that still haunted me: but why so many dogs around? Are there also that many wild boars? A native answered, "No." Why, then?

The answer proved to be simpler:

Boars aren't the only things these dogs sniff.


Photo credits: the ever observant Adhi Rachdian.


pj said...

There is something very macho about wild boar hunting. Facing down 300 lb of frothing charging beast with a pointy stick. These guys probably get all the babes in bukittinggi. Psrsonally I'd be calling Chuck Norris - the pigs will take one look and give up...

Btw in college pigdog was slang for a guy that would sleep with well...anything. The photo is sooo apt.

therry said...

Those poor boars... I've enough looking at pictures of hunted boars because my father does it every now and again with his hunting mates.

As long as they don't eliminate any animals to extinction, I guess some controlling is still needed.

Uhm, so what else are the dogs sniffing at?

isman said...

There's always something macho about activities which involve adrenaline and possibility of lethal injury, pj. Almost to the point that sometimes we can substitute "macho" with "stupid".

But that's what makes us men, me hearties! Har! Har!

isman said...

Not to mention that boars have it rough, Therry. They don't have a neck, so their vital points are limited. At many hunting occassion (especially involving attack dogs), they die because of loss of blood.

Uh, what else? Well, you know... stuff.

isman said...

Oh, and pj, about Chuck Norris... the pigs won't only just give up. They'll offer routine sacrifices.

kang jodhi said...

boars at bukittinggi? not so much these days. the thing is my people just love to have those dogs as pets. of course we don't consume them.

kinda remind me of an old joke, about a man from bukittinggi trying to find a living at medan. after three or four years, gave up and plan to go back home. one of his friends, a bataknese, asked to join him to bukittinggi. the man bukittinggi try to reject him, "we don't have no jobs, we don't have no money, what would u eat, man?"

of course batakneses are way tougher than that. all those arguments couldn't stop him and the next day he left his hometown and join the journey to bukittinggi.

eventually they arrived at bukittinggi and the bataknese guy looked around the beautiful place. "what would i eat, u said", he smiled why saying that phrase. "no way i'll be starving at this city with so many food walking around the streets", he was pointing at so many dogs in sight.

-- no offence meant --

ichanx said...

mungkin lebih tepatnya pinggiran bukittinggi... di daerah persawahan, kayak di kaki gunung singgalang gituh... babi hutannya banyak... btw, asik loh kalo pas dapet momen ngeliat keroyokan anjing2 itu lawan babi hutan... CADAS! hihihi